Texas police officer calls for legalizing marijuana at Dallas rally
A Dallas police officer went to work Saturday morning, and later in the day spoke in support of legalizing marijuana at a downtown rally.
“We are here today specific to cannabis, but I’m also here because what we’re talking about is choice, freedoms within a moral context. I see nothing wrong with advocating for freedoms, for decisions that we ought to be allowed to make,” said Officer Nick Novello to a large crowd gathered at Dealey Plaza as part of the Dallas Marijuana March put on by the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws which also featured Dallas City Councilman Phillip Kingston.
Novello, who has 35 years of law enforcement experience, has been an outspoken proponent of changing marijuana laws and ending arrests for possession of the plant. He spoke to the Texas legislature earlier this year, and was also featured in a television ad supporting a bill which would have decreased the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
His work has landed him in hot water with his department however, and he is currently under investigation for his vocal support of changing the law. He is also being investigated for his whistle-blowing when he made public that emergency calls were not being responded to in a sufficient amount of time, largely due to a severe shortage of officers.
“Today, government does whatever it wants to do, and you and I have to ask permission to exercise our basic freedoms” he stated early on in his speech. Novello over the years taken his department to task on the issue of other officers infringing on the civil rights of Dallas residents.
Novello, who has preached that action should follow words over the years, ministers to prison inmates every week, among other efforts to help people. He took that same tack on Saturday, telling those in attendance that they needed to do more than just show up to a rally. “That’s what the city knows. We’re gonna come out, we’re gonna make some noise collectively, and then we’re gonna go home.” He stressed that if they were going to make change, that everyone needed to be more focused and specific about their demands.
He then took the opportunity to tear into Dallas’ new cite and release program, which he characterized as “criminal” saying that “it’s still the criminalization of those we’re sworn to protect.”
Novello cited a number of politicians who have echoed the same sentiment concerning marijuana laws, including former Texas governor Rick Perry.
He concluded, saying “I want you to know, I’m here because I support you … I have no hatred for any man, I’m as broken a man as the next, I believe in the full grace and mercy of Christ, but I do speak with passion and hatred for policies and programs that have taken our freedoms from us.”