Aspen police: Student combative during marijuana arrest
An Aspen police officer’s Friday arrest of a high school student on suspicion of marijuana possession quickly hit social media and prompted authorities to issue a statement explaining the incident.
Police officer Adam Loudon was making his rounds on Castle Creek Road when at approximately 12:20 p.m. he spotted a student rolling a joint at a bus stop near Aspen High School, said Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn.
When Loudon approached the student, he “became combative with the officer,” says a statement from the Police Department.
Loudon called for emergency back-up as he tried to restrain the suspect, police said.
“A citizen and an off-duty police officer stopped at the bus stop and assisted the officer with controlling and handcuffing the individual,” the statement says.
At least two students were there, as well, and the incident was video-recorded by multiple parties. It soon hit Facebook and other social-media websites, police said.
The Aspen Police Department typically doesn’t issue statements for misdemeanor arrests; the student was cited for misdemeanor counts of underage marijuana possession and resisting arrest.
But Linn, who reported to the scene, said the Aspen Police Department felt it was necessary to get ahead of the incident with a statement because video footage of the arrest hit social-media sites.
“In the modern world, if you sit back and let social media exclusively tell the story, it isn’t necessarily the complete story,” he said. “We wanted to be up front with it. We had a number of parents asking about it, and it created a level of concern.”
Linn and Assistant Police Chief Linda Consuegra said they reviewed videos of the incident. They said they could not release it to the media because the case involves a juvenile suspect.
“As with many modern police incidents, several youths on and near the scene produced cellphone videos of the incident, which have been very helpful in reviewing what happened, and the Police Department is in possession of some of these videos,” the statement says.
Linn said the suspect was pinned against the bus-stop wall before being taken to the ground. Officers also applied pressure-point techniques on the suspect in order to calm him down, Linn said.
One of the videos, which was obtained by The Aspen Times, shows the suspect taken to the ground, yelling, “Leave me alone!” and “Please stop!”
Linn declined to release the suspect’s age or grade level.
“Verbal reports and an initial review of the videos appear to show that the force used in response to the resistance was low and appropriate, though a more complete analysis of the facts will require further review,” the statement says.
Loudon does not face any disciplinary action at this time, Linn said.
“With every single use-of-force incident, there’s a review process,” Linn said. “That hasn’t actually happened yet.”
Police Chief Richard Pryor also issued a statement on the matter.
“We respect the rights of adult individuals to use marijuana within the confines of the law,” he said. “However, when it comes to children and youth in our community, we absolutely have their safety as a priority and will continue to investigate any suspicious situations or complaints related to any alcohol or drug use that are brought forward to us.”
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