To The Richland County Sheriff's Department,
Your pursuit of a case against Michael Phelps, which was opened in relation to a photograph of Mr. Phelps holding a bong, is the most ludicrous initiative of a Sheriff's Department and an absolute waste of time and resources in pursuing such a case. The only reason you have a "case" to pursue is due to the celebrity recognization of Mr. Phelps. If such a photograph was taken of any other college student on the campus of the University of South Carolina, not only would the case be dismissed if brought to the table, it would never be initiated. If I am wrong on this assumption, then there is something seriously wrong with the way you handle your department.
Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor charge (if that) in just about every state and county across the country; however, what is the charge to be brought up against a man for being photographed with a bong (most notably, somebody else's bong) if he was not arrested during said possession? How can you even prove that said bong was used to smoke marijuana and not tobacco as many Americans do each day? Or did you not even think about how you would present such a case to a Judge and prosecute an American Olympic Champion who, rest assured, will come to court with the best lawyers he can afford with money made from the endorsements he still retains? You are dragging his name through the mud with your warrantless case, arresting and harassing any and everybody who can provide incriminating evidence against Mr. Phelps. If I was Mr. Phelps, I would turn around and sue your entire department for slander and defamation of character.
Your department is an embarrassment to the American justice system. It is officers like you that give police departments across the country a bad reputation. Instead of pursuing actual criminals and protecting and serving the American People, you aggressively pursue citizens for victimless crimes, using an unjust and unconstitutional "war on drugs" as a basis for the justification of your bully tactics. You should be ashamed of the way you perform your duty to your country. Not a single person has ever died from smoking marijuana, but you treat it as if it's a crime against fellow citizens. Victimless crimes such as this take away from our granted rights and freedoms as Americans. Bogus laws to criminalize the use of harmless drugs is an argument for another day and another audience; but this assault against Mr. Phelps, who was NOT caught and arrested at the scene, is a disgrace to not just the Constitution which you are paid to protect, but the American People who's tax dollars fund your livelihood.
Concerned American Citizen
In response to the reading of this article