Archive for Public Records

SWAT Van Hit and Run on Cannabis and Human Rights Advocate in WA State


Auburn, WA:  While the nation roils over the treatment of black people by law enforcement, a case last month shows the struggles faced daily by the community beyond the misuse of deadly force.

On May 15, 2020, Black Excellence in Cannabis member and co-founder Peter Manning’s box truck was struck in a hit and run accident. 

While in traffic along SW Campus Drive around the 200 block in Federal Way, he heard a siren and saw lights in the rear view mirror to see an Auburn SWAT Police van racing up, so he tried to pull forward to the right to get out of the way. 

Unfortunately, he was unable to get all the way over, and the van struck his truck in the back, then sideswiped it and raced off, basically a felony hit and run by the officer in the police van.

Manning went on to tell 420leaks that he tried unsuccessfully to report the incident to the Federal Way Police dept, the town where the accident with the Auburn PD Van.

“I went and tried to file a complaint, but the clerk refused to believe me.  She said there was no way a cop would do that.”

At his insistence, he filed a report anyway.

He then tried to get help from a local attorney who refused to look into it, basically stating the same as the clerk at the Federal Way Police Dept.  He doubted Mr. Manning as well.

However, the report Manning gave appears to have disappeared, and the file created for the incident shows that no further investigation appears imminent.  Case closed.

Mr. Manning then contacted the news media and was given the same response as the clerk at the Federal Way police station and by the attorney. In other words, nobody would believe a cop would run after hitting his vehicle.

420leaks has learned through a public records request to the Auburn Police Department that not only did the incident in question take place, but fault is is admitted to by the officers after the fact. 

The files also show photos of the damage to the police van on the passenger side, exactly as Manning described it would be before he even saw the police photos shown to him by us.

After dismissing his uncooperative attorney, Mr Manning is now being represented by Kannin Law Firm out of Burien..

We can only imagine what would have happened to Mr. Manning if the roles were reversed and it was him who struck the police van. No expenses would have been spared to track him down and bring him into custody, even if it meant the use of deadly force.

It now appears the Federal Way PD declined to investigate or prosecute and instead handed it back to the Auburn PD to investigate themselves.

While the accident may have been understandable since the officer was on his way to a domestic dispute call, the behavior by authorities and the treatment of Mr. Manning after the fact shows that not only do the police have to change their culture, the attorneys representing victims of police abuse must change as well.  The press as well.

We will continue to update this story and hope Mr. Manning gets fair compensation for his damages.

John Novak contributed to this story

Peter Manning speaking for equity in the cannabis industry to the Washington State Legislators in early 2020

Black Entrepreneurs File Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Attorney General For Discrimination in the Cannabis Industry

Plaintiffs Aaron Barfield and Peter Manning are turning to the U.S. federal courts for justice after years of working for inclusion for African Americans in their state’s lucrative recreational cannabis market.
https://www.blacknews.com/news/black-entrepreneurs-federal-lawsuit-us-attorney-general-discrimination-legal-cannabis-industry/

FEBRUARY 2022 UPDATE

Man sues Auburn after police commit hit-and-run in Federal Way

The lawsuit alleges the city is responsible for the victim’s injuries.




Signs Your State Cannabis Regulatory Agency is More Interested in Being a Police Force

In Washington State, our Liquor & Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has developed policy to tap into people’s cellphones instead of just calling them up over regulatory compliance issues.

311.3.1 RESTRICTIONS ON CELL SITE SIMULATOR USE
“An LCB Enforcement Officer may only install or use a pen register, trap and trace device or cell site simulator device with a supporting court order or when there is both coordination with a prosecuting attorney and joint determination of probable cause to believe an emergency situation exists that involves immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury to a person. A court order must be obtained within 48 hours after installation of the pen register, trap and trace device or cell site stimulator device when an emergency situation exists (RCW 9.73.260)”

We received this in part of in a file today in a public records request about WSLCB search and seizure policies. Full document available on the 420leaks database at: https://app.box.com/s/wngfvo51soy4d6ph90qbbfyz4r1gmnda

(Photo used from EFF.ORG)

In his own words: WSLCB Officer and Whistleblower John Jung

NOTE FROM 420LEAKS: After hearing his testimony in front of state legislators in March, we decided to attend Officer Jung’s court hearing in his lawsuit against the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) in June.

We wish to thank Officer Jung for having the courage to come forward and take his battle to the courts. Although he lost in Pierce County Superior Court, we hope he appeals the ruling as his evidence is overwhelming, to say the least.

We have started a new folder on the 420leaks database specific to his case. New files will be added as they become available. You can view those files here, including the transcript of the last court hearing.

Having said that, we wish the agency would be disolved or just go back to being a commercial regulatory agency and stop trying to become police officers.

We have watched the WSLCB beg the state legislators for full police powers after i502 passed in 2012. The legislators turned them down every time. Now they have a dubious win in court.

It changes the nature of the agency relationship to their licensees and the public in ways we did not vote for with our medical or adult use cannabis laws.

It is well beyond time to remove it from the controlled substances act completely.  And to take this out of the hands of this agency completely.

The story told by Officer Jung emphatically shows us the level of corruption on the inside, and it begins at the top levels of leadership.

They are an agency that has found itself on the receiving end of a cash windfall, thanks to cannabis regulation and enforcement. It is time for this state to reign them in, if not completely destroy them by absorbing their duties into the other regulatory, without the police state goon squads.

What happens if one of these officers who don’t have the proper training has a weapon accidently discharge, or worse, actually shoots someone?




In his own words: WSLCB Officer and Whistleblower John Jung


I’ve been a liquor enforcement officer (LEO) for the past 11 years with Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).

However, in recent years, I have noticed what I consider to be unethical and unlawful acts against the public; from inconsistent application of rules to preferential treatment of licensees, but the most notable problem being LEOs without proper police training being passed off as if they are peace officers, contrary to the requirement of RCW 43.101.095.

After Citizen Review Panel investigation into WSLCB’s problematic enforcement activities, it was concluded that WSLCB needed to apply more consistent enforcement practices and meet the state law enforcement training standards by enrolling all new LEOs to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (known as BLEA) at the Criminal Justice Training Commission.

This was a part of the accountability assessment from the investigation findings. WSLCB acknowledged that more consistent standard training will result in more responsible LEOs for the division. With funding approved, WSLCB initiated BLEA training for all new recruits.

Unfortunately for WSLCB, between 2002-2007, retention of LCB officers who had completed BLEA training had a critically high turnover rate during that period of 43 officers, nearly 50%.

In fact, nearly 80% of the candidates left the agency with full law enforcement credentials to go to other agencies for better working conditions and pay.

To evade this problem, WSLCB simply changed the training requirement to an abbreviated 440-hour version of BLEA or sent recruits to Idaho police academy, which limited LEOs ability to transfer as laterals to other agencies.

Essentially WSLCB created a sub-standard police training for recruits, thereby not meeting the requirement of being Washington Peace Officers (RCW 43.101.095) but yet calling them peace officers.

Soon after Washington state privatized liquor sales and legalized marijuana, the agency met with many challenges to this new role and responsibilities, according to an internal agency document.

Legislatively, the agency attempted year after year to expand LEOs authority including “grandfathering” existing LEOs to peace officer status in order to alleviate these legal challenges.

Unfortunately, it never gained enough support to expand and legalize LEOs as peace officers.

However, in late 2017, the agency, without legislative action, implemented policies not only identifying LEOs as peace officers but also encroached into general authority law enforcement activities.

These troubling actions have left me with doubts about the agency’s integrity, including misinformation in LEOs annual performance evaluation forms which indicate as if LEOs attended and completed BLEA training regardless of their previous training records.

Anyone in the public who gains access to these files will assume all LEOs are peace officers since the documents note completion of BLEA training.

This is nothing more than a deception.

Although many LEOs are aware of this troubling decision by the agency yet many remain silent in fear of retaliation.

I, too, could’ve remained silent about this action and allow this agency to continue to misuse its authority against the public.

However, my personal integrity is greater than the fear of retaliation and that’s why I’ve decided to speak out in order to hold this agency accountable and transparent because the public deserves more.

My claim against the state isn’t about me wanting more training, rather it is about an equal opportunity of training like other LEOs, but more importantly it is about following the law, RCW 43.101.095.

As an enforcement agency, LCB has the obligation to be held at higher standards when it comes to respecting and enforcing laws of this state.

-John Jung, WSLCB Enforcement Officer

View his testimony in front of the Washington State Legislature in March 2019 starting at about the 25 minute mark.

Officer Testifies on Toxic Culture, Corruption Within WSLCB

Can’t believe this didn’t make the news. On March 19, 2019, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Officer Officer John Jung exposed corruption at a public hearing in front of the WA ST House Commerce and Gaming Committee, fears retaliation to the point of hiring an attorney to help him. Start watching from the 25 minute mark…
https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2019031223

The Hemp Files

Recently, we at 420leaks filed requests to the Washington State Department of Agriculture over their Industrial Hemp Research Program rule making files, and just last week they gave us a bunch of redacted documents from the Attorney General as part of it.

John Worthington’s copies:
https://app.box.com/s/oj2dlcjfjm0die4vz6lyn6614f0lwy3f

My copies:
https://app.box.com/s/q3vx429e9r83ix6ur3ajrk30eznp55lz

Worthington complained back, saying you can’t redact public rule making files. Their public records officer hemmed and hawed over attorney/client privilege.

So March 28, 2017, Worthington filed a lawsuit against WSDA and had their office served at 2:00 pm.

Thirty-seven minutes later, they emailed us the files with no redactions.

Sent to Worthington:
https://app.box.com/s/phx9u89ocfxq9jcavlp4ktnpcculxrh8

Sent to me:
https://app.box.com/s/1hum7xwek4ggsdz3urjn8fm7dihfbcb7

I guess they figured the corruption was not worth risking their careers over this time.

Why is any of this significant?

Well, for one, it shows us the Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General Staff is not as corrupt as what happened during the I502 rule making and the WSLCB. We have also seen no hidden hand of the Governor’s office this time, unlike what we saw around I502.

However, the process revealed that our group of researchers had it right when we believed the Attorney General’s Office was at least in part responsible for running the rule making in our state. Not so much the state agency heads.

They do this under the guise of the attorney/client privilege, so they can redact it all from public view. We say the AG’s office is partly responsible because we now have two different people from their office with two very different results: one still intent on burning up taxpayer funds to keep their secrets with I502, and one that did the right thing when confronted with the evidence.

What appears to be certain is eliminating the files from the public rule making file is not legal. It completely violates what the spirit of the Public Records Acts stands for; that the people are sovereign and government does not get to decide what is good for us.

RCW 42.56.030
Construction.
“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created. This chapter shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed to promote this public policy and to assure that the public interest will be fully protected. In the event of conflict between the provisions of this chapter and any other act, the provisions of this chapter shall govern.”

This was why the state settled over a case to make one public records requester go away, back at the end of 2014, that made headlines for the amount of the payout: $192,000 by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. They stand to lose even more with the case filed against them by John Worthington over these same files, with the next hearing coming in early June.

But not this time. Bravo to the WSDA and AG’s office. We at 420leaks give them a gold star…on this one. For now.

Having said that, the agency gets a major reduction in gold stars for lack of privacy protections. Their Industrial Hemp program director, Emily Febles, apparently allowed a breach on at least three of their own employees, potentially exposing their social security numbers, including her own information. This story was learned about in one of our recent requests that came back around the same time as the rule making files. We asked them this question: Did you follow proper protocols and notify all the employees affected within the time required by law? It appears not.  See the email at
https://app.box.com/s/kft0eplpkz0m4v9d20mr4vm9qe8b5l21

Which leads us to the next question. Why are two well known activists in Washington State bitterly fighting to the point of threatening lawsuits against each other, all around a bill that would take industrial hemp out of the state Controlled Substances Act?
http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2064&Year=2017

The infighting has led to great confusion in the cannabis community and is a question that led us to asking for communications to the WSDA, one of which revealed the privacy breach. We hope to find answers and more as we go through these files, with more coming, from the WSDA.
https://app.box.com/s/pyao3j0y88ikfw445mgv

But it looks like a battle between those who fear federal interference by removing it from the State’s Controlled Substances Act, and those who feel the plant needs to be descheduled with few regulations. View the public hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee back on March 9th.

The bill passed with a unanimous YES vote in both houses of the legislature in spite of efforts to kill or amend the bill by the Washington State Dept of Agriculture and a few from the cannabis community.