The state of New Jersey and the city of Trenton continue their attack on NJWeedman. In the past few months NJWeedman and his religious temple and restaurant (“Liberty Bell Temple III” and “NJWeedman’t Joint”) have fallen victim to police raids and numerous arrests. LBT-III was raided by police twice (March 6 & April 27, 2016), leading to 11 arrests, and NJWeedman was arrested three times in the last three weeks (April 19, April 27, May 13, 2016). The past week has been equally as bad.
If things were not tough enough for NJWeedman in court already, on May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his petition for writ of certiorari, stemming from his 2010 New Jersey arrest. The U.S. Supreme Court was his last chance to overturn the state’s charges against him that he spent numerous hours trying to win for the last six years. He will now have to start over in his next court case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court again. He was also plagued with two more bizarre incidents this week.
First, NJWeedman received summonses in the mail for smoking inside a Trenton public building in violation of a city ordinance and smoking in public in violation of state law. This was for his smoke-out stunt at a Trenton City Council meeting on November 5, 2015, when he lit up a joint with several others at City Hall in protest against the City Council refusing to vote on a non-binding resolution in support of marijuana legalization. No one was charged or arrested that night for smoking inside the building, but, as the Trentonian headline read from the May 19, 2016, article: “Trenton Police Charge NJ Weedman Six Months After City Hall Smoke Stunt.” Trenton Police Captain Edelmiro Gonzalez, who apparently witnessed NJWeedman smoking at City Hall six months earlier, signed the summonses against him. NJWeedman reported to the Trentonian that this served as another example of “harassment” from Trenton police. “I am under siege by the police department,” he said.
After the Trentonian wrote the article about NJWeedman being charged six months after the fact, the newspaper was contacted by police officials, who said the summonses were signed the day after the smoke-out and mailed via regular mail. Yet, police officials declined to comment on why no warrant was issued for his arrest over the smoke-out. NJWeedman, who was unaware about the smoke-out summonses until he was informed about it that week in court for his cyber-bullying case, thought the purpose was to make him unaware of the court dates for the summonses, which would lead to a warrant out for his arrest for not appearing in court. NJWeedman was quoted by the Trentonian again on May 20: “I’ve been in and out of the court system for 20 years and I completely understand how it works.” He continued: “If I missed court, there would’ve been a warrant from the City of Trenton.” NJWeedman’s attorney, Ed Heyburn, called the city out for applying “selective prosecution” against his client.
The Trentonian also reported on the second issue with Trenton police this week. On Thursday, May 19, 2016, “NJWeedman’s Joint” business manager, Phil Charles (28-year old black male) was arrested on the same street as the business by Trenton police. On Wednesday night, May 18, a police car sat across the street from “NJWeedman’s Joint,” making sure the restaurant didn’t serve turkey burgers or chicken wings past 11 P.M. The “Joint” was closed by 11 o’clock, and shortly afterward Phil left the restaurant along with his friend Deenia Sackie (21-year old ‘Joint Girl’). According to Phil’s narrative, this is what went down. Phil and Deenia walked toward a vehicle owned by a friend of Phil’s, who apparently let Phil borrow the car to drive to work. As manager, Phil asked the Trenton police from his car, which still wasn’t turned on, if there was a problem he could help with. At some point Phil allegedly “sneezed” out of his car window, but the police interpreted this as him “spitting.” Immediately afterward one officer walked up to the driver side of the car and asked Phil for his license and registration. Phil asked “why” twice, to which the officer responded by opening up the door and handcuffing Phil and Deenia. After both were handcuffed, the officers performed an entire search of the vehicle owned by Phil’s friend. Police found less than 50 grams of weed stashed in the vehicle, and arrested and charged Phil for “alleged possession of marijuana under 50 grams in a motor vehicle and for allegedly spitting on the sidewalk.” Deenia was also arrested and charged for possession charges under 50 grams. However, neither of them possessed marijuana on themselves personally, and there was no marijuana smoke or scent inside the vehicle. The entire search of the car stemmed from alleged spitting.
Phil was taken to jail, where his summons became a warrant by order of Sgt. Stokes, according to Phil, for failure to appear in court from 2013, which Phil claimed he attended and paid. When Phil was released from jail early Thursday, May 19, he posted a video on Youtube with him and NJWeedman discussing these “false charges.” While Phil was still being held, Trenton police extended the attack on Weedman’s Joint by issuing the restaurant a ticket/ordinance for staying open past 11:00 P.M., which it wasn’t! NJWeedman, who wasn’t even at the “Joint” during this period, said the police were using their time to harass him instead of dealing with serious city issues like “murderers” and “rapists.” NJWeedman also mentioned it was discriminating that other restaurants and fast food places in the city could be open past 11 P.M., like Taco Bell, Sonic, and numerous other food stores that were ‘grandfathered’ in to serve food late at night. NJWeedman said these food stores were granted special privilege because they are white-owned businesses, unlike his black-owned restaurant.