Mass Arrests at a Party Bring Controversy in Georgia

Cops nab more than 60, many of whom complain of bogus pot charges
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2018 9:39 AM CST
Stock photo.   (Getty/Kali9)

(Newser) – Cops showed up at a party in Georgia about 2:30am Sunday to investigate a complaint of shots fired, and when all was said and done, more than 60 people were arrested, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Now, controversy has ensued over whether the officers in Cartersville overreacted. Many of those detained tell WSB-TV that they were unfairly arrested because officers smelled pot and nobody would own up to having it. They ended up charged with a single count of possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, reports the Daily Tribune News. "All the subjects at the residence were placed under arrest for the possession of the suspected marijuana, which was within everyone's reach or control," says Maj. Mark Mayton of the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force.

Police also say they obtained a warrant and entered the home (an Airbnb rental), finding two weapons, one of which was stolen. In addition to marijuana and "smoking devices" scattered about, they also found suspected cocaine and related paraphernalia. Party host Deja Heard says she figured cops would just send everybody home, not round them up into a police van. Those arrested range in age from 15 to 31, and several told WSB they're now worried about having a criminal record despite doing nothing wrong. "I'm about to graduate college this semester, so it was kinda embarrassing," says attendee Dakelin Wells. "I had my cousin with me, he's in the military, so it just sucked we had to go through it that way." The NAACP tweeted that it was investigating the incident. (Read more Georgia stories.)

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