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Burning Man: Tons of undercover cops ambush pot smokers
August 31, 2010, 9:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

WTOP: RENO, Nev. (AP) – David Levin represents entrepreneurs, investors and developers in his legal practice. As an aside, he’s a Burning Man barrister _ offering free legal advice to those who run afoul of the law at the annual counterculture festival on the Nevada desert.

The Palo Alto, Calif., attorney maintains law enforcement has become so heavy-handed at the eclectic art and music gathering that he was compelled to form a legal defense team known as Lawyers for Burners to help participants who were cited or arrested.

He and other Burning Man fans accuse overzealous officers of destroying the quality of an otherwise peaceful celebration of radical self-expression to be held Monday through Sept. 6. Some 50,000 people are expected to gawk at offbeat artwork, wear bizarre costumes or nothing at all and torch the event’s 40-foot signature effigy on the Black Rock Desert, about 110 miles north of Reno

Among other issues, Levin said, female undercover agents in costume have asked male Burners for drugs, drug-sniffing dogs and their handlers have roamed camps, and armed officers have “snooped” on revelers at dances. Last year, almost 300 Burners were cited or arrested by federal officers

“It’s a police state out there,” Levin said. “There’s very little criminal activity at the event, but they cite and arrest people in order to justify their existence.”

Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Pershing County Sheriff’s Department cite a new study by U.S. Park Police that concludes an even larger police presence is needed. The two agencies plan to have 80 officers at this year’s event _ far below the 144 recommended in the Park Police report.

“I don’t want my guys to be party poopers, but we have a job to do,” said Mark Pirtle, special agent in charge for the BLM. “They’re not bad people, but they like to use drugs.”

Last year, 65 percent of 287 citations issued by BLM rangers involved drugs, largely marijuana, LSD, mushrooms and ecstasy, with cocaine and heroin down on the list, Pirtle said.

“So many people think they can go out and smoke dope openly, but that’s not the case,” he said. “Pot possession is a felony under Nevada law.”

Taken from and read more: http://www.wtopnews.com/?sid=2039713&nid=104

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Comment by LEAH KLEIM

Comment by Head of the Shonah

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Comment by yaqov

Hey Yaquov,

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