On June 29th, 17 year old Eric Perez was out riding his bike in West Palm Beach, Florida. Police stopped him for riding his bike without a night-light. During a search, police found marijuana on Eric.

During his time at a detention center – where he was sent due to being on probation for a “years-old” robbery charge – Eric began complaining of a headache and started vomiting. Despite calling for help repeatedly, Eric was left to suffer for 6 hours before finally getting medical attention. By then it was too late…Eric was dead.

Records say lockup supervisors and the facility’s superintendent instructed staff not to call 911.

An incredible tragedy, not only caused by the incompetence of the detention center staff, but also caused by our ridiculous cannabis laws, which put this teenager in his tomb because he had some weed on him, violating his probation.

Without cannabis prohibition, there is a pretty good chance Eric would still be alive. After all, left to his own devices, the instinct of self-preservation would likely have prompted Eric to call 911 or at least get someone to do it for him – a loved one perhaps that cared about him and not some detention guard or supervisor who could care less.

Joe Klare

About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

26 Responses

  1. Robert Chandler

    I think this is what others fear legalizing marijuana would do!

    He is 17, what the hell is he doing with marijuana anyway?

    Tragic. This is not a case of marijuana prohibition but a teen caught with marijuana violating his probation! Big difference. Police negligence yes!

  2. Christian Maldonado

    The real criminals are the heartless people who accept this and just brush it off. Information is power, don’t be ignorant.

  3. Re: Robert Chandler

    Not everyone was off bending over for their priests at age 17. Many are introduced to this wonderful world much younger. One day, you will stop feeling angry about everything, and realize that relaxing and enjoying life is more important. Good luck and have fun in life. I hope you learn the difference between prejudice and priorities.

  4. Fuck Robert Chandler

    He’s a 17 year old experimenting with a harmless drug. Most people that smoke marijuana have done so BEFORE they were 17. Get real, he should’ve never been brought to jail for simply riding his bike. I truly believe he was putting no one in danger.

    Although he was violating his probation, he would have never been violating it if possession of marijuana (a harmless drug) was legal.

  5. Karold Humar

    Ok, how does this represent what legalizing marijuana would do? You realize studies suggest legalizing it would actually reduce marijuana usage in teenagers?

  6. Austin H

    Robert, exactly the opposite would have happened if marijuana was legal. This is a tragic loss of human life due to police negligence.

  7. Donald Helder

    @Robert chandler

    Are you serious, man? Do you read and honestly believe what you write?

    That is the most ludicrous attempt to rationalize this extreme case of inappropriate behavior by police that I have ever seen.

    Legalizing marijuana would result in more people ending up like this? I don’t even understand what you’re trying to say.

  8. Izzy

    This is just an article used to promote the decriminalization of marijuana. The focus should not be on that but rather the fact that proper medical attention was not given to someone who was in pain.

    While he was carrying marijuana when he was stopped it is completely irrelevant to the case at hand. The focus should be on the lack of attention the kid received and not the fact that he was carrying.

    While marijuana should be decriminalized, you should go about it by not piggybacking onto an unrelated issue.

  9. kill

    Wait how much weed did he have on him? And if he’d had a light on his bike he would have avoided the whole thing – Correct? I’m all for legalization of weed, but this story if anything highlights the dangers of it! Why did he get sick? Where did he get his weed? The police were at fault but that happens all the time…..its the public service! This is a sad story where both sides were in the wrong! What if he was cycling and got a headache, got sick and crashed into a car thereby killing an entire family! now which story is worse!
    This story does us who are fighting for legalization no favors !

  10. Marty Liera

    “Police stopped him for riding his bike without a night-light. During a search, police found marijuana on Eric.”

    There’s the problem, our jack booted thugs of a law enforcement, searched for riding a bike w/o a light????? Give us a break.

  11. Fuckin Police

    F**k those fa**ots. Did they really not call 911 because he was brought in for possession? They should all be fired for their negligence.

  12. footface68

    Another article i read about this said he was 18 not 17. Also I would rather my kid have weed then alcohol. So much safer. Stories like this really kill me. The system sucks.

  13. kill

    @ Kill. Weed doesn’t kill you. The kid probably had a medical condition that was neglected while he was in jail.

  14. rick in british columbia

    Most Americans i find are ignorant of the fact that cannabis(the most natural stress relief available when used properly and not abused)is only against the law in the land of the free due to lawmakers from the southern states protecting the cotton industry versus hemp production in the 1930″s.

  15. Cann_I_B Concerned

    @rick in BC

    Thank you! People don’t understand that it’s not about the drug at all. It’s untaxed revenue in the eyes of the government. People are making money off of themselves, and we all know what happens when you don’t give the government their “fair share”…

    *shoots self in face*

    Innocent people go to jail for getting caught with a single gram of marijuana, but DUI offenders get 3 strikes. I see a massive failure in our justice system.

  16. ...

    Cannabis is the most medicinally active, nontoxic substance known to man. If drug prohibition was not in effect and this safe substance could be sold legally there would be age limits on purchases (drug dealers don’t check for ID) and this would not have happened either way. So (a) if he was 17 it would be hard for him to get or (b) if he was of age it would be legal for him to have and no cage needed. A human being spent his last moments in a cage because of this prohibition. Away from family and friends. Disgusting.

  17. Anonymous

    Boo f**kity hoo, someome got put in detention for having pot while on probation. It’s his own fault for breaking the law.

    It is very terrible that the detention center didn’t help, but that has nothing at all to do with pot legalization. Don’t ask for weed to be legalized because someone died from incompetent staff. Rather, ask that the staff be (severely) disciplined and that their superiors give better training. Although that makes me wonder, what did the kid die from? People don’t get headaches, vomit, then just die for no reason. The vomiting part suggests to me that perhaps he’d ingested something he shouldn’t have (which would be his own fault, although it is still the detention center’s responsibility to watch after him).

Leave a Reply