After the Serial podcast highlighted a police brutality case
in Euclid that stemmed, ostensibly, from marijuana possession, the east side suburb has voted to reclassify the crime. Beginning next year, those found with small amounts of marijuana will now only face a maximum $150 fine, as opposed to the $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail they face currently.
that Euclid City Council voted unanimously (8-0) earlier this month to revise their criminal code. The new classification will take effect Jan. 2, and will move Euclid in line with all other Cuyahoga County municipalities except Broadview Heights. There, possession of any amount of marijuana is still a first-degree misdemeanor, with corresponding harsher sentences, (up to $1,000 in fines, up to six months in jail).
The reform is a direct response to the Serial podcast. Euclid Councilwoman Stephana Caviness told ideastream that council members had discussed the show and determined that it was important to align Euclid with the Ohio Revised Code and other cities in Cuyahoga County.
Serial's episode three told the story Emirius Spencer's brutal beating at the hands of two Euclid police officers, including officer Michael Amiott, who went on to savagely beat Richard Hubbard III after a traffic stop in 2017 and was revealed by Channel 5
as one of the Euclid officers most prone to violence.
Amiott and his partner attacked Spencer in his own apartment complex after patting him down and discovering a single blunt on his person. Spencer had been knocking on a neighbor's door, hoping to bum a cigarette.
The episode went on to show how local prosecutors and cops work together to "script" testimony that produces airtight defenses for police so that they are almost never held accountable, even for egregious constitutional violations.
Euclid's marijuana possession reform is a step in the right direction.