Home»Legal Encounters»Police raid and kill man over 0.2 grams of marijuana

Police raid and kill man over 0.2 grams of marijuana

“Nobody can believe that this happened to Jason,” said Westcott’s mother, Patti Silliman of New Port Richey. “They can’t understand how this could happen to Jason.” Photo by Tampa Bay Times
“Nobody can believe that this happened to Jason,” said Westcott’s mother, Patti Silliman of New Port Richey. “They can’t understand how this could happen to Jason.” Photo by Tampa Bay Times

Before the sirens and stretcher arrived on a hot night in May, there had been only one call to police about 906 W Knollwood St. in Tampa, Florida. It came from the house’s renter, Jason Westcott, and he was looking for help.

A man who had partied at Westcott’s home was plotting to rob him. An itinerant motorcycle mechanic, Westcott didn’t have much — two televisions and a handgun that once belonged to his brother were perhaps the most valuable possessions in his 600-square-foot house in Seminole Heights — but he was terrified by his would-be intruder’s threats to kill him.

Police tracked down the suspect and warned him to stay away. Westcott, those close to him said, was left with a word of advice from the investigating officers: If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.

On the night of May 27, as armed men streamed through his front door, Westcott grabbed his gun. But the 29-year-old didn’t have a chance to shoot before he died in a volley of gunfire. And those who killed him weren’t robbers.

They were police officers from the same agency he had enlisted to protect his home.

In the span of a few months, Westcott had become the target of an intensive drug investigation. On that Tuesday in May — a night when he typically baby­sat his sister’s children at his house, according to his mother — he was fatally shot by a Tampa Police Department SWAT team executing a search warrant for marijuana.

Authorities told news reporters who swarmed to the scene that Westcott was dealing drugs and had sold pot multiple times, armed, to undercover Tampa police officers. During the raid, officials said, he “raised his gun and threatened the officers,” who killed him in self-defense.

A month later, newly disclosed information raises questions about the narcotics investigation that led police to Westcott’s door.

Despite police assertions that Westcott was a drug dealer, the SWAT team found only 0.2 grams — approximately $2 worth — of marijuana in the house, according to documents provided by the department in response to a public records request from the Tampa Bay Times.

The drug buys that preceded the raid were conducted not by undercover officers but by an informer, who purchased less than $200 of pot during repeated visits to Westcott’s house over four months, the records show.

Police initially said that the investigation of Westcott’s alleged drug dealing began because of neighbors’ complaints. However, when the Times could find no neighbors who had called police and no records of the complaints, the department revised this assertion, saying the case began with a tip from the same informer who later bought the marijuana.

The only police records involving Westcott’s home before the drug investigation are those related to his request for police protection from a robbery.

Days ago a man in Texas was acquitted of shooting at officers who were performing a no-knock raid at his home.

Read the full story at Tampa Bay Times.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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  1. Kat
    July 12, 2014 at 2:42 am

    “Wake up America” It’s time to legalize marijuana across the county. There are many other illegal drugs that need to be controlled. Marijuana whether it be high in THC or CBD has become the answer for many medical problems. The state of Colorado is profiting tremendously due to a 25% sales tax on marjuana, when will the state of Texas follow?

  2. Just
    July 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    These killings and arrests against innocent people must stops, Marijuana was not created by any man but God and freely He had given everything here on earth for the service of man. It is not right that officers or government would waste people’s life and dreams for what they themselves have not created. Psalms 104:14 ” He (GOD) causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth”. Instead the government should setup educative measures to teach the people on the use of this medicine. I am concern about the innocents. Meanwhile in the society we have way corrupt criminals, rapists, murderers, thieves, adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals and all of the kind, these are the evils our GOD is against. And not someone who uses what He has made to be termed a “violator”. Every thing God made is good and a man created by God should sit somewhere and say what God has created is BAD. In God we all trust as inscribe on the dollar bill and we must obey His laws instead of man made laws, which get people nowhere as twice, and receive all He has made with thanksgiving. In truth, God must be feared and Honored on our land and none should change what He has said! Every thing He made, the Holy book says they are good, Genesis 1:29-30, ” And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (Food) And to every beast of earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life , I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” Who then is man to tell God that what He’s created is evil or on other words to change His laws if truly he believes in Him and obey His Laws, which is more important of our lives? Men want their own made laws to be obeyed, but do they as well obey the laws of their maker who owns their lives?

  3. […] Via: Tampa Bay Timesand Weedist […]