July 12, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 28

Police tactics criticized

A resident who said he was upset by Haines Borough police tactics at a July 4 concert said he’s considering taking legal action.

Dean “Bear” Lari said he was approached at the Fort Seward parade grounds by officers Simon Ford and Josh Knore around 10:30 p.m. while speaking to two local teenagers. Police asked what they were doing, and when Lari replied, “Talking. Why?” Ford ordered them to empty their pockets, Lari said.

Lari said that when he balked at emptying his pockets, Ford replied, “Bear, I am not concerned about a little weed. I want the little baggies with the meth in them.”

Lari said he “flipped out” at the insinuation he was dealing meth and emptied his pockets. “(I asked), are you really saying that I was somehow involved in meth sales with four minors at (a) family music fest surrounded by children in the wide open in broad daylight? I became very aggressive,” Lari said.

Ford this week gave a differing account, saying he approached Lari after he received a report of a drug deal there. Asking suspects to empty their pockets is a legal police procedure, Ford said.

“I just asked them to show me what was in their pockets,” Ford said. “We’d received several reports that involved (Lari). I thought I should check this out… I told him I heard there was meth coming into town and I wanted to find out.”

Lari told the CVN he moved here from Lake Tahoe a few years ago to join a grandson and daughter already living here. He was offended by Ford’s statement, which was made in front of friends of his teenage daughter.

“I’m just trying to raise my kids in a place that’s safe from stuff like that. And he thinks I’m selling this stuff? It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Lari said. “To accuse me of meth with a bunch of kids… Why don’t you just call me a child molester?”

Ford said he asked nicely for Lari to cooperate and when Lari became upset, he sought to cool off the situation.

Ford said he hasn’t seen any meth in Haines but he’s “hearing more and more” about it. “On the periphery of other investigations, people have mentioned it. We don’t have concrete information about it. It’s just rumors at this point.”

Because of the serious nature of the drug, “if it’s coming into town, we want to squelch it quick,” Ford said.

Lari describes himself as a struggling dad who sells “unique, tie-dye, hippie stuff” under his business, “The Happy Hippy.” He said he’s had no run-ins with police. “I thought I was on a good basis (with police). I’ve got 17 windows on my trailer and not a curtain on any of them. I’m not hiding anything.”