There Is Definitely Something Icky About This Police Department's Prank on Meth Users

Last week, the police department of Granite Shoals, Texas, posted a fake news story to its Facebook page saying that there had been reports of crystal meth and heroin tainted with the Ebola virus and for users to bring their meth down to the station for testing.

The now-deleted post featured a “BREAKING NEWS ALERT” picture and text announcing that the drugs “could be contaminated with the life threatening disease Ebola. If you have recently purchased meth or heroin in Central Texas, please take it to the local police or sheriff department so it can be screened with a special device DO NOT use it until it has been properly checked for possible Ebola contamination! Contact any Granite Shoals PD officer for testing.”

Believing the warning was real, one woman actually did bring her crystal meth in for “Ebola testing” and was subsequently arrested and held on $5,000 bail. Chastity Eugina Hopson, age 29, was charged with possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance. On Friday,they posted her picture to their page, announcing her as the “winner” of their Facebook post challenge.

This morning, we had our first concerned citizen notify the Granite Shoals Police Department (GSPD) that they believed their methamphetamine may be tainted. Our officers gladly took the item for further testing. Results and booking photos are pending. Please continue to report any possibly tainted methamphetamine or other narcotics to the Granite Shoals Police Department. Public health and safety continue to remain our #1 priority. ‪#‎notkidding‬

This, of course, is the kind of wacky “dumb criminal” story that we’re all supposed to have a good laugh at. It’s the kind of story that’s supposed to make us all feel better about ourselves, because we would obviously be too clever to fall for something like that.

But it doesn’t make me feel like laughing, it makes me feel sad. It actually makes me feel like maybe Chastity Eugina Hopson was a pretty damned good person for taking that kind of risk in order to prevent the spread of a deadly virus. I have a hell of a lot more respect for her than than I do for the Granite Shoals Police Department right now.

Last October, in Chicago, 74 people overdosed on heroin in 72 hours due to a particularly bad strain that was laced with the painkiller Fentanyl. Over the Easter weekend, Minneapolis police responded to five overdoses on Fentanyl-laced heroin.

Imagine if there were a situation where drug users could actually get that kind of stuff checked out without fearing arrest? Wouldn’t that be preferable to that many people overdosing? Why would we want drug addiction to be even more dangerous than it already is? If there actually were a situation where heroin and meth were contaminated with a deadly virus, I would very much want people to be able to go in and have those drugs tested.

I don’t know! As a person who has actually lost people, literally and figuratively, to drug addiction, I just don’t think this is all that cute or funny or whimsical.  I’d rather see police departments across the country advocating for things that would actually help people overcome drug addiction rather than waste their time pulling stupid pranks on Facebook. I’d like to see drug addiction treated like a disease rather than a crime. I’d like to see more clean needle exchanges, more treatment and fewer people just thrown in jail.

Adding to the overall grossness of this “prank” is the way the Sgt. Chris Decker of the Granite Shoals Police Department (pictured above) responded on Facebook to accusations that the post was “unprofessional.”  In what appears to be the first piece of good judgement from this police force, that post has since been taken down. But luckily, I still have the text because I never closed the tab I had open to it yesterday! So let’s interpret this class act paragraph by paragraph!

I’m sorry but I feel this post needs to be sent out again:

I hope you liked our last post. Looks like about 99% of our followers got it. However, there were a few that thought we (GSPD) were being “unprofessional” by posting something of humorous nature. So here is a quick thought on the GSPD and law enforcement:

God, why won’t all these jerks just let us be hilarious? Clearly, they don’t “get it.” Obviously the problem is with other people, rather than the fact that we are not actually funny.

Many law enforcement agencies have Facebook® accounts. Most post minimal information, if anything at all. Some use it only to post information about suspects they are looking for. Others reach out to the community and show ways officer and the citizens interact. Others post about In The Line of Duty Death notices. We do all of the above and add the personal flair of the officers of this department.

Pulling these kinds of pranks makes us better than other law enforcement agencies, who for some reason seem to care only about like, protecting people with crimes and such. We’ve got flair! And personality! That we show off by faking a public health crisis for the lulz! LOLFOREVER AT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BOTH AN ADDICTION TO METH AND THE DECENCY TO NOT WANT TO SPREAD A DEADLY VIRUS!

Law enforcement is one of the best and worst careers to have. We get to help people. However, we also mainly see people at their worst or worst times of their lives. It’s rare for us to see you having your best time. The news only wants to show law enforcement at our worst times and not at our best. Only dirty laundry sells advertising time. This is not to say all law enforcement officers are saints. Just like any group, there is a bad apple or two that can tarnish all of the work of thousands of honest, caring professionals. Also, we have just split seconds to make life and death choices, while everyone else can re-play, in slow motion, for months on end armchair quarterbacking the actions of officers. And trust me, the story you see on the 6 o’clock news is not the whole story.

Ugh, what’s up with “the media” always reporting on police brutality? Why can’t they focus on the cool things police officers do, like playing hilarious pranks on people with substance abuse problems?

Also, this terrible prank we pulled was definitely the fault of Black Lives Matter. Somehow! Even though the lady who got arrested was white! Because we totally wouldn’t even have to resort to these hijinks if people would just stop getting all bent out of shape over police officers shooting unarmed black people on the regular!

The current atmosphere in this country, at least according to the news media, is anti-police. This career can eat your soul. Law enforcement continually ranks as the profession with the highest rate of suicide, divorce, and substance abuse. This is not to mention PTSD and other medical disorders. The average life expectancy of a police officer who has a career in the field is ten (10) years LESS than the average American.

While we delight in humiliating other people with substance abuse problems, we implore everyone to have sympathy for police officers with substance abuse problems.

Let’s not forget that unlike a solider in a war zone, we can be called upon to respond to situations that can be more confusing and more dangerous than Bagdad. While we don’t (yet) have to worry about roadside IED’s, police are being targeted at an alarming rate. This year ALONE there have been twenty six (26) In The Line of Duty Deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States, and nine (9) K-9 officers. That is an unacceptable number and the current political atmosphere will not even address the problem.

We don’t have to worry about roadside IEDs… yet. Because surely that is a thing that could happen in the near future, especially if the world at large continues this incredibly dangerous trend of giving a fuck when we kill people instead of just ignoring it. You know, like we’vedone for so long.

Also, if you care when unarmed people get shot by police officers, or feel disturbed by police brutality, that totally means that you don’t care when officers who have not shot unarmed people or committed acts of police brutality die in the line of duty.

So we at the GSPD like to show all parts of the enforcement world on Facebook® and that includes our sense of humor. To quote Jimmy Buffet, Changes in Latitude Changes in Attitude, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” Look for more posts to come that include suspects we are seeking information on, safety updates, interactions with citizens, In The Line of Duty Deaths, and things that make us laugh. I hope this will allow you to see who we are, humans, just like you. We have families, friends, lives, laugh, cry, and bleed all the same.
Sgt. Decker

As far as I know, saying “Hey, faking a public health crisis for the purpose of mocking people with substance abuse problems is kind of a shitty thing to do” is not any kind of code for “I think you lack a functioning vascular system, have no relatives and cannot quote Jimmy Buffett songs.” Also, if “I bleed!” was a valid excuse for terrible behavior, there would be no need for a police force to begin with.

I really hope that the fact that the Granite Shoals Police Department pulled the message is a sign that they are experiencing some kind of regret over their actions, and that this will not become a hot trend for police departments across the country. Because if the goal here was to “humanize” cops and get people to empathize with them–they totally failed.



Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}