We watch with amazement as reports from America show the jaw-dropping footage of innocent people killed as SWAT teams blast into their houses with stun grenades, accidentally killing their pets and other family members as they look for medicinal cannabis plants.
Wow, crazy what happens in America, we say. Such a good job we live in the UK where we are safe from such lunacy. But are we?
It would appear not following the fatal shooting of Sean Fitzgerald in Coventry on the evening of 4 January during
This latest shooting incident goes to show that we are actually coming up behind America pretty fast.
Who was Sean Fitzgerald?
All we know is that it is suspected that cannabis was being produced at Sean’s home address. The search warrant used to enter the premises was for class A/B drugs, but there has been no mention of any other ‘drugs’ as the police like to call them. Sean was a 31 year old ex military man, who was well liked in his local community.
A friend is stated as saying he had “a heart of gold” and that he would “go out of his way for anyone”.
Why was Sean Fitzgerald shot?
Why was there a squad of armed men on this drugs raid? Is that some kind of new policy? When did this happen? Interestingly the search warrant for the raid made no mention of firearms or armed entry!
“Mr Fitzgerald ran out of the back of the premises and was shot and fatally wounded by an armed officer who was covering the rear of the house,” according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
This cannot be accepted or it may become the new normal. It would appear that he was shot for leaving his own house by an overenthusiastic armed police officer. The video footage worn by this officer is unlikely to ever see the light of day, but it must if justice is to be served fairly.
This is a wake up a call to cannabis growers and I sincerely hope that there are some knock-on effects from this utterly needless tragedy. Heavy-handed tactics using armed police are not welcome or acceptable in any part of the UK. There needs to be a serious investigation and justice must be served to Sean’s killer.
A five-minute hearing yesterday heard how the police officer who pulled the trigger on the unarmed Mr Fitzgerald is currently under investigation.
Andrew Beech, a team leader at the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), told the hearing that under examination would be the “decisions and actions of the police officer who fired the shot”.
It will also investigate the “intelligence and operational planning” before the raid, Beech continued.
The inquest, which is expected to last over 6 months, needs to be a serious investigation and justice must be served on Sean’s killer. It is, however, highly doubtful that it will be. Especially considering any previous comparable incidents.
Not the first case of its kind
Do you remember the name
Let’s hope the needless killing of Sean Fitzgerland is not brushed under the carpet in a similar fashion. I have no doubt whatsoever the authorities will do their utmost to protect the police officer who shot Sean.
Archaic, Hypocritical Laws Are Costing Lives
The UK’s cannabis policy has been damaging and wrong for years now. As well as completely unfit for purpose. Now somebody has died because of the outdated and frankly inhumane practice of chasing people down for growing a crop the world wants and needs, but is told that it can’t have. The madness needs to stop and stop right now. The UK authorities have blood on their hands.
We cannot continue down this path. We need to understand that
It must be brought to an end. Our laws hurt people more than the plant itself (which is almost benign) and this has never been more obvious than now. It is time to stop criminalising cannabis users once and for all.
Corporate Growers Free to Operate
The hypocrisy exists on a huge level. Not a million miles away from where Sean was cruelly gunned down, British Sugar grow thousands of tonnes of cannabis in an
For a while, the UK was even the largest producer of cannabis in the world, until Canada appeared on the legal cannabis map at least.
It is unfortunate that the medicines created by UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals are not as effective as other medicines created with the whole of the cannabis plant, and only now are results coming out to show this.
Isolating cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and calling them medicines – the typical pharmaceutical approach to creating medicine – actually makes for a less effective final product where cannabis is involved. But that is an entirely different matter.
Luckily for the people that work at GW Pharmaceuticals, armed men do not burst through their doors looking to kill them. This is the unfortunate reality now faced by anybody growing cannabis in the UK. Should medical cannabis growers now expect a knock on the door from the SWAT team with the associated collateral damage? I sincerely hope not.
GW has the protection of the corporate world, so can do exactly as they please whilst others are unrelentlessly pursued and caged like animals.
The UK needs to appreciate the changing worldview
Around the world, cannabis laws are being relaxed. In the UK, medical cannabis was apparently legalised (but not really) last November and we now trail many developing countries in Asia and Africa in our approach to cannabis.
Canada recently fully legalised, which is creating shockwaves around the world. The green rush is on. But not in the UK. Not allowed.
South Africa recently relaxed their laws and Thailand also are soon to allow medical cannabis. Jamaica has legalized. Australia’s cannabis industry is about to boom. Argentina
The UK’s cannabis laws are now far beyond a joke and the UK is increasingly being regarded as the sick man of Europe.
It is without doubt that our drug laws are indeed sick, and Sean Fitzgerland is the proof that we have to make changes right now before we sleepwalk into a violent and utopian police state.
The views expressed in this article are of the author. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr Fitzgerald. May his death be not in vain – High & Polite