If you had any doubt that the War on Drugs is racist, check out this story of two average Americans who faced the same legal problem that had very different impacts on their lives because of their racial and economic background.
In the one corner, you have Ross - a young white guy from Houston who got pulled over one day in his hometown. After searching his car, the cop found a sock full of a powdery substance that the arresting officer tested using a drug field kit. Ross sat in the back of the officer's car, chatting with a friend as he waited for the bad news: he was charged with possessing 252 grams of meth based on the results of the field test.
In the other corner, you have Barry, a black guy who was also pulled over in Houston one day. His vehicle was also searched, and a powdery substance found inside was also put through a field test. But unlike Ross, Barry had to wait for the result while lying on the ground with an officer's knee on his neck because they found a gun magazine in his car. No, not a 'magazine' as in a clip of bullets. Officers found a copy of Guns & Ammo magazine in his car. Barry was then taken into custody when the sample tested positive as less than a gram of cocaine.
So both men were charged for drug crimes. But Ross got to walk out shortly afterward because his dad secured a bail bond and hired a lawyer that had the case overturned after a more accurate test revealed that the sock was actually full of kitty litter. Turns out, Ross' dad put the litter-filled sock in his car after reading that it was a good makeshift de-humidifer/de-odorizer.
Barry wasn't so lucky. He couldn't afford a lawyer, so he got stuck with a court-appointed attorney who recommended taking a plea bargain instead of waiting for the results of the drug test to come through. And Barry had good reason to take the lesser sentence since the prosecutor wanted 20 years for the crime. And the judge warned him, "If you all want to play with me, by the time you get out of jail, they'll have flying cars."
So Barry ended up doing 180 days in prison. When he got out, his criminal record kept him from getting public assistance or food stamps. Then a year after his release, a lab report came out verifying that the roadside test was wrong. But he had to wait another 5 years to be exonerated of the charge.
But the worst part is that we're going to be seeing a lot more cases like Barry's because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it tougher to double-check the results of those flawed field tests -- which can give false positives for substances like chocolate, soap, cheese, anything with sugar and a lot of other common household items. Samantha Bee explains why in this video.