David Frederick's marijuana bust: Pot arrests by surveillance camera?

After the passage of Amendment 64, and its signing by Governor John Hickenlooper, adults age 21 and over could legally have up to an ounce of marijuana. Possessing more than that remains illegal, however -- and a recent arrest suggests that police officers will use all the tools at their disposal to make sure those who exceed that amount are punished. The bustee: Daniel Frederick, whose offense is said to have been observed by surveillance camera.

Last Wednesday afternoon, according to a Colorado Springs Police Department release, members of what's referred to as the "Downtown Area Response Team" were monitoring surveillance cameras when they saw a "known individual" -- Frederick -- near a playground in Acacia Park with "a large baggie of suspected marijuana."

Shortly thereafter, CSPD reps headed to the scene and found Frederick near the intersection of Bijou Street and North Cascade. The release says the bag with him contained 96 grams of marijuana -- about 3.39 ounces, or more than three times the amount he's allowed under A64. As such, Frederick was arrested and booked on possession with intent to distribute marijuana, which remains a class 5 felony.

Judging by this information, Frederick probably won't be compared with a brain surgeon anytime soon. Hard to say if the "known person" designation means he's a notorious pot dealer with a criminal past or if the cops are profiling white people with dreads (see the larger images here to see what we mean). And if you're going to carry a bag of weed in plain view, an area near a playground is the worst location imaginable to do so, with the possible exception of a police station waiting room.

On the other hand, the circumstances of the arrest suggest that if officers watching surveillance cameras in the Springs see anyone with pot, they apparently have enough time on their hands to investigate, even if the amount is considerably less than what Frederick allegedly had. The release concludes with the following: "The Colorado Springs Police Department would like to remind citizens that the passing of Amendment 64 allows an individual 21 years of age or older to possess less than one ounce of marijuana.... It dos [sic] not allow the sale or use of marijuana in public."

Let that be a lesson to you. Even if you only have a joint, someone could be watching on Cannabis Camera. Here's a larger look at Frederick's booking photo.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey to drop pot cases legal under Amendment 64."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts