Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Legal Skirmish in War on Drugs Is Family Matter

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Legal Skirmish in War on Drugs Is Family Matter

Article excerpt

IT DIDN'T start out as a Family Values case. Instead, it seemed like just another skirmish in our long and futile War on Drugs.

In October 1994, the cops in Pagedale got a search warrant for a house on Leroy Avenue. According to the affidavit the cops gave the judge, they had reliable information that Antonio Gray was selling crack cocaine.

Even without their informers and their surveillance, that seemed a reasonable assumption. Gray, who was then 18, already had three drug felony convictions on his record. So the cops got their search warrant, and over to Leroy Avenue they went. According to the cops, Gray saw them coming, pulled a piece of siding away from the house, tucked something into the little hiding place and then ran into the house. Gray denies he tucked anything anywhere. No matter. The cops entered the house and found eight people in the living room. Most of them were related to Gray. Included in this group was his grandmother. She was then 65 and in poor health. She used a walker to get around. According to the cops, she excused herself to get some medication, and went into her bedroom. While there, she grabbed a bag of crack cocaine that was sitting on the dresser and tried to hide it. At least, that's the police version. But again, no matter. What we do know is that the police found a baggie of crack cocaine in the grandmother's room. This grandmother, incidentally, reminds nobody of Ma Barker. You'd be hard pressed to find anybody who really believes that she had much to do with drug dealing. The more logical assumption would be that her grandson was the resident drug dealer. At any rate, a detective walked out of the grandmother's room, hoisted the baggie to the assembled relatives in the living room, and asked, "Who's gonna take a case for grandma?" That was a question dripping with family values. The implication, of course, was that because the cocaine was found in grandma's room, and somebody was going to get charged with it, either somebody in the living room would speak up or the case would fall on grandma. Nobody spoke up. So grandma got charged for the baggie in her room, and Gray caught a case for the baggie that the cops said they discovered under the siding. …

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