DRUG WAR BRIEFS:Domestic Terrorism

February 7- Wisconsin's Shepherd Express reports: Jacqueline Paasch woke to the sound of heavy feet on hardwood floors, then stampeding up the stairs, but before she could figure out what was going on, her bedroom door was kicked in, a shot rang out and she lay bleeding on the floor.

"It sounded like elephants were coming up the stairs," she recalls in a recent interview. "I thought we were either being robbed or there was a fire and someone was coming to save me."

But instead of burglars or firefighters racing through her mother's house that early April morning, it was a seven-member SWAT team from the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department that had been called in to execute a search warrant.

The warrant listed Paasch and her two brothers, suspected of possessing marijuana and possibly other drugs.

By the time the SWAT team had satisfied its search, it found a very small amount of marijuana and a pipe (charges were later dropped). Meanwhile, Paasch was on her way to the hospital with a severe gunshot wound in her leg, wondering if she was ever going to walk again. She was 18 at the time of the shooting.

Two investigations concluded that Deputy Scott Mathis had been justified in discharging his weapon. In the months following the incident, however, Paasch sued the county, questioning the validity of the investigations and claiming that her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure had been violated, as well. Accusations of excessive use of force were also made.

It's been nearly two years since the shooting occurred on an unusually snowy spring morning in the Village of West Milwaukee, and the lawsuit is being settled out of court this week for $700,000.

Doctors told her that the situation would have been much worse had the bullet hit the bone, but to Paasch, the $19,000 in medical expenses and the year of physical rehabilitation has the same result: She can no longer dance, something she had done since she was 3 years old.

Besides losing her ability to dance and to walk normally, the shooting has caused Paasch to be extremely afraid of police.

"I'm paranoid all the time. I have nightmares where police are chasing me at least three times a week and I have to sleep with all the lights on."

"The fact that this can happen to me and my family has made me realize that it can happen to anyone. And that's really frightening because the police are the ones you're supposed to count on to protect you."

February 12- The Associated Press reports: Federal agents raided a medical marijuana club and arrested four people Tuesday amid an ongoing tug-of-war between local and federal officials over the sale of pot for medicinal purposes.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized 630 pot plants from the Harm Reduction Center and arrested the group's executive director, Richard Watts, said David Witty, the marijuana club's chief of security.

Kenneth Hayes of Petaluma was arrested in Canada and Edward Rosenthal of Oakland on charges of cultivating more than 100 pot plants and maintaining a place to grow it, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Each face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

A fourth man, James Halloran, of Oakland was arrested in a separate case, and charged with growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants and also keeping a place to grow it. He faces life in prison if convicted.

District Attorney Terence Hallinan has been outspoken in his support of the clubs, and Police Chief Fred Lau has said his officers wouldn't take part in any raids.

The raid coincided with President Bush's announcement Tuesday of a stepped-up war on drugs, with a goal of cutting drug abuse by 25 percent in five years, in part through improved law enforcement.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson at kcnelson@premier1.net.

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