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POLICE BOOK 19 FOR POT USE AT VIGIL FOR LENNON

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NEW YORK -- The police arrested 19 people on charges of smoking
marijuana at the day-and-night vigil to commemorate the life of John
Lennon on the 20th anniversary of his slaying, officials said
yesterday.

Officers, both in plainclothes and in uniform, policed the peaceful
vigil, which attracted more than 1,000 people. The officers were
overseen by the department's third-ranking official, Chief of
Department Joseph Esposito.

The police said that the arrests in and around Central Park's
Strawberry Fields, opposite the Dakota, the apartment building where
Lennon lived, began Friday afternoon and continued until early
yesterday. Officers also arrested one person for selling marijuana
and issued summonses to two others, one for drinking alcohol from an
open container and one for marijuana possession, the police said.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who denied a request from organizers of the
vigil to waive the park's 1 a.m. curfew, citing public-safety
concerns, defended the arrests. "It is illegal in the United States
of America to sell or smoke marijuana," he said. "The police were
doing what they should be doing."

Norman Siegel, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties
Union, said the arrests and Esposito's presence were a
disproportionate level of enforcement. "It raises serious questions
about the judgment of the Giuliani administration and the NYPD," he
said.
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MAP posted-by: Kirk Bauer


Newshawk: Jane Marcus
Pubdate: Mon, 11 Dec 2000
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
Copyright: 2000 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Contact: editpage@seattle-pi.com
Address: P.O. Box 1909, Seattle, WA 98111-1909
Website: Home