Massena, NY — In a story that sounds like something out of an episode of an Adult Swim cartoon, the Mayor of Massena, NY, and the town's former police chief was arrested this month after speeding away from police while throwing crack cocaine out of the window of his car.
Timmy J. Currier, the former police chief and current mayor of the village of Massena has announced a leave of absence this month after video showed him getting arrested at gunpoint after leading police on a high speed chase.
Before becoming mayor of Massena, Currier was the city's top cop. He was the Massena police chief for over two decades — which is likely where he developed his affinity for crack.
According to police, during the chase, this former chief of police and current mayor began throwing crack out of the window to avoid getting caught with it.
The incident began as part of an undercover sting operation in which Currier was a suspect. Officials with the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office said detectives and special agents from an undercover operation in association with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security attempted to pull Currier's vehicle over on suspicion of drug sales and possession on Saturday Dec. 1, at 12:25 p.m.
However, Currier did not stop when police initiated the stop and instead led them on a chase. Detectives said they witnessed Currier throw the crack from his passenger's side window as he was the only occupant of the vehicle.
When police finally caught up to Currier, the mayor was held at gunpoint and pulled from the car, before being handcuffed and brought to jail. According to Syracuse.com, Currier was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, and released to appear at a later date.
Apparently, his two decades as the police chief and his current position as the mayor, has granted him a little privilege among the law enforcement class and he was simply allowed to walk right out of the jail, posting no bail, and facing no other charges despite running from cops.
After his arrest, Currier issued a public apology, essentially admitting to the crimes:
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“Some time ago, I made some poor decisions that unfortunately led me down a path resulting in my arrest on Tuesday, December 1st. I cannot express how embarrassed and disappointed in myself and for my family and friends.
I want to apologize to my family and friends who continue to show me unconditional love during these difficult times.
Please remember that the Village of Massena employees and staff do incredible work for this community each and every day. My poor decisions should not reflect negatively upon them in any way.
I have spent 32 years in public service working for the citizens of Massena and the North Country. I have always appreciated their trust and support. I hope and pray that I will have an opportunity to regain that trust.
This morning I informed Deputy Mayor Matt LeBire and Village Administrator Monique Chatland that I will be taking a leave of absence from my position as Village of Massena Mayor, so I can seek professional treatment. Deputy Mayor LeBire will serve as acting Mayor in my absence.
I ask that you respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
Had Currier not been the mayor and the former police chief, rest assured that he would likely still be in jail right now. Indeed, many will argue — and rightfully so — that Currier should face harsher punishment due to the betrayal of his trust in the community. However, had Currier not made a living off of kidnapping and caging people for these very same acts, he shouldn't be "punished" at all for them—no one should.
Criminalizing addiction and substance abuse has done nothing to curb use. People are literally dying in the streets at an increasing rate and no amount of police state can stop it. In fact, since the inception of the drug war, drug addiction and overdoses have gotten worse. Why is that?
Last year, TFTP reported on a similar incident in which a cop — whose job consisted of locking people in cages for illegal substances — overdosed while on duty. Luckily for Franklin Township police officer Matthew D. Ellery, 29, he was found early enough to save his life and the officer who responded to his overdose was an EMT.
As we reported, like the mayor, Ellery did not go to jail for betraying the people he served, instead he received drug treatment and probation.
Unlike Ellery and the mayor, the thousands of people who get caught with similar substances every year do not get his treatment and end up locked in a cage. Clearly this is not working.
Research — according to many law enforcement officials — shows that the cost of incarceration, especially for repeat drug offenders, is far higher than simply treating their addiction. It is also far better for a society who values freedom.
The good news is that some law enforcement across the country are realizing that treatment — not cages — curbs the problem of addiction far more successfully.
Currier's arrest needs to serve as a wake up call to law enforcement and the rest of the country who continues to blindly support the war on drugs. Your support for kidnapping and caging drug users is causing unnecessary suffering and even mass death. And, it has led to one of the largest drug epidemics the world has ever seen. When the state's war on drugs can't even prevent its own enforcers like the mayor and former police chief from driving down the road throwing crack from the window, it's high time we rethink where this is going. End the drug war now.