Musician Sentenced To 8 Years Of Prison In Mississippi For Possession Of Legal Weed
Patrick Beadle, 46, was accused of drug trafficking by Mississippi police.
Oregon resident Patrick Beadle may lose everything for exercising his right to purchase marijuana legally.
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Beadle was sentenced to eight years without parole for drug trafficking in a Mississippi court on Monday, reports the Clarion-Ledger. As an Oregon resident, he purchased 2.89 pounds legally with a medical marijuana card. The weed was intended to treat chronic knee pains and be used for religious/Rastafarian purposes.
Last March, the 46-year-old Jamaican-born musician, who goes by the stage name Blackfire, was traveling through Madison County, Mississippi, after visiting his 8-year-old son in Ohio. A deputy pulled him over for a traffic violation, claiming he crossed over the painted line on the side of a roadway, referred to as a fog line.
But Beadle believes there was no traffic violation, and he was a target because of his locs and out-of-state license plate. Then Deputy Joseph Mangino searched his vehicle and discovered no large sums of money, drug paraphernalia or weight measuring scale for a trafficking charge.
"This is not the typical defendant you see. He is not a drug dealer," said Beadle's trial attorney, Randy Harris.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Madison County Police Department because of the rampant and disproportionate searches of Black residents, according to the ACLU's Twitter account.
This is inexcusable: A Black musician was just sentenced to 8 years in prison in Mississippi for having marijuana legally obtained in Oregon.— ACLU (@ACLU) October 17, 2018
He was stopped for a traffic violation by a police department we have sued for racial bias. https://t.co/UUHcU0U3Hn
The Williamette Week reports Madison County Circuit Judge William Chapman had the chance to change the charge to simple possession but did not on the grounds the jury convicted Beadle under the drug trafficking law. Beadle's mother, Tommy Beadle, pleaded with Chapman for a shorter sentence to no avail.
“Judge, I’m asking for mercy for my son,” she said according to the report. “I wouldn’t stand here before you if my son was trafficking in drugs. As a mother, I’m asking you to please don’t lock him up behind bars."
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