Bernie Goetz’s big pot bust

posted at 2:01 pm on November 3, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Here’s a name we don’t see in the news very often these days… Bernhard Goetz. The so called “Subway Vigilante” from the 1980s wound up on the front pages of New York’s papers this week when he was arrested in a “drug bust.”

Bernhard Goetz — the infamous “subway vigilante” who became part of New York City lore when he shot four youths who he said were threatening him on the subway in 1984 — was busted Friday evening for peddling $30 worth of pot to an undercover female cop, The Post has learned.

Goetz was arrested at 15th Street and Fifth Avenue near his Union Square pad at about 5:45 p.m., police sources said.

“He told her he wanted to get high with her and sold her a small amount of pot in a ­tissue,” a source said.

Goetz, 65, met the undercover on the street, chatted her up and walked with her back to his apartment, where he went upstairs to get the weed.
Modal Trigger

Bernie Goetz is escorted by police in 1985.

When he came downstairs to allegedly give her the pot, he was arrested, the source said.

What he did is technically still against the law (and fairly stupid to boot) so I suppose there isn’t too much to complain about here, but it still seems like a fairly crappy arrest. And yes, I know I’m being something of a hypocrite here, but that’s fine. Bernie was a character who loomed rather large in my family back in my Navy days and still causes controversy and questions to this day. For all the controversy it caused – and still causes – Goetz was something of a folk hero to both my dad and I back in the day, and I don’t apologize for always having something of a soft spot in my heart for him.

He’s been through a lot of ups and downs since that fateful day on the Number 2 Train, and hasn’t had the easiest of rides. He ran for Mayor of New York once, and a couple of other offices as well. He started his own security company which I believe was fairly successful over the years, but never to the point of making him wealthy. He certainly has his quirks and I’m sure we don’t agree on everything (such as his vegan lifestyle) but the guy woke a lot of people up to the fact that the police aren’t always there when bad people come to do bad things. So how did Bernie’s neighbors react to the arrest?

“Bernie? Oh, come on, they arrested him for that? It’s just pot, they should let him go,” said doorman John D’Antonia, 71, who works in a building near Goetz’s.

“People will now probably say he shot those kids because he was high.”

Kind of sad, but if nothing else, it’s a reason to remember Bernie Goetz and the small part he played in the long story of gun owner rights in America. And on that subject, it’s worth reminding people that after the subway shooting incident, Goetz was charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault. His fate was placed in the hands of a jury, and the only thing they found him guilty of was carrying a loaded, unlicensed weapon in a public place.


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To be fair, reports say that Goetz was also concealing a 42 oz. Mountain Dew when he was searched.

Cicero43 on November 3, 2013 at 2:06 PM

In a free country, you wouldn’t know this guy’s name.

Akzed on November 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Legalize weed and tax it like tobacco.

myiq2xu on November 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Legalize weed and tax it like tobacco. myiq2xu on November 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Why tax tobacco?

Akzed on November 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Damn good thing he wasn’t carrying salt or a doughnut. Bloomberg would try to reinstate the death penalty. As it is he’ll probably only get life + 15. No parole of course.

Oldnuke on November 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM

It’s nice to know that NYC’s finest is on the job protecting its citizens from pot while the murder rate is climbing.

RoadRunner on November 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM

To be fair, reports say that Goetz was also concealing a 42 oz. Mountain Dew when he was searched.

Cicero43 on November 3, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Crime against humanity.

CWchangedhisNicagain on November 3, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Good thing the undercover cop didn’t know who he was. He might have assumed he was packing and that sometimes doesn’t end well.

platypus on November 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

The first time he has been arrested since 1984, and it was for selling a little pot? Headline news, no.

SC.Charlie on November 3, 2013 at 2:28 PM

I can see the Cops episode now: “Bernie Goetz Stoned!”

Scott P on November 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

You don’t bring a screwdriver to a gun fight, punk.

Panther on November 3, 2013 at 2:42 PM

To be fair, reports say that Goetz was also concealing a 42 oz. Mountain Dew when he was searched.

Cicero43 on November 3, 2013 at 2:06 PM

In Manhattan, that’s probably a more serious offense.

Scott P on November 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Vigilante?
Vigilante: a person who is not a police officer but who tries to catch and punish criminals
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vigilante

Bernie was simply engaged in self-defense.

rbj on November 3, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Legalize weed and tax it like tobacco.

myiq2xu on November 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Yeah, because nothing makes me happier then paying $5 in taxes on a $2.50 pack of cigarettes. I’m sure the potheads will be stoked to pay $200 for an 8th of weed — $50 for the 8th, $150 in taxes.

Timin203 on November 3, 2013 at 2:48 PM

“He told her he wanted to get high with her and sold her a small amount of pot in a ­tissue,” a source said.

He wants to get high with her but she has to buy?

Rio Linda Refugee on November 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM

was busted Friday evening for peddling $30 worth of pot to an undercover female cop, The Post has learned.

[ ... ]

“He told her he wanted to get high with her and sold her a small amount of pot in a ­tissue,” a source said.

Goetz, 65, met the undercover on the street, chatted her up and walked with her back to his apartment, where he went upstairs to get the weed.

So … NYC cops are spending their time standing around, talking with people on the street, going to their apartments and then nailing them for a $30 bag of weed?? They don’t have more serious crime to spend their time and money in that sh!thole?

I guess New Yorkers are lucky the cop was occupying herself talking to people and walking around doing nothing, since if she ever pulled a gun she would probably do what NYC cops do when they shoot their guns – hit every by-stander around and miss the perps. Bernie Goetz, on the other hand, hit only the perps. New York cops are just jealous that Bernie was a much better shot than they are.

$30 worth of weed is the tally for half a day of “undercover” work. What a friggin joke. I used to live in Manhattan for years but I left in the 90s and have never gone back. That place can sink for all I care. What a sh!thole.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on November 3, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Pot must be somehow linked to guns or fat in NYC???

aryeung on November 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Pot must be somehow linked to guns or fat in NYC???

aryeung on November 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Well, pot has been known to inhibit judgment as to what is healthy to eat — so the fear is that someone high on marijuana may buy an illegal 20 oz soda and illegally salty, transfatty foods on the black market. THAT would be a catastrophe. So I’m glad to see the NYPD is trying to avoid that horrifying outcome.

Timin203 on November 3, 2013 at 3:03 PM

In a free country, you wouldn’t know this guy’s name.

Akzed on November 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

This. A thousand times, this.

ex_machina on November 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Bernhard Goetz — the infamous “subway vigilante” who became part of New York City lore when he shot four youths who he said were threatening him on the subway in 1984 — was busted Friday evening for peddling $30 worth of pot to an undercover female cop, The Post has learned.

If Goetz wasn’t attempting to defraud this undercover cop posing as a consumer by selling her something she doesn’t want or passing something off as being worth more than it really is, then I say let him go.

But if he was, then they should throw the book at him for impersonating a government employee.

Dusty on November 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM

since if she ever pulled a gun she would probably do what NYC cops do when they shoot their guns – hit every by-stander around and miss the perps.

Call “spray and pray”

Wander on November 3, 2013 at 3:31 PM

He shot guys that could have been Trayvons fathers age now. He shot Obama!

BL@KBIRD on November 3, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Isn’t Goetz under a civil penalty of millions of dollars for one of the kids he shot who ended up paralyzed? That’s a financial prison. You can never build up any cash to help yourself. You live hand to mouth.

Paul-Cincy on November 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Another exciting weekend with Jazz Shaw. Yawn!

bw222 on November 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM

15th and 5th, near Union Square Park and that’s what they get him for? That place is a carnival – a Vanity Fair – crawling with people, mostly young, whose sole interest is in getting off in one form or another.

I’ve seen things in that area that I can’t print here and they’ve got an undercover babe busting a guy like him for $30 of POT?! That’s like, what? A half a joint?

Just amazing.

Cleombrotus on November 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Legalize weed and tax it like tobacco.

myiq2xu on November 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Why tax tobacco?

Akzed on November 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM

We need a tobacco tax to pay for tobacco farmer subsidies.

Fenris on November 3, 2013 at 4:00 PM

In a free country, you wouldn’t know this guy’s name.

Akzed on November 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

This. A thousand times, this.

ex_machina on November 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM

…a billion times this!

KOOLAID2 on November 3, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Legalize weed and tax it like tobacco.

myiq2xu on November 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

If you want to legalize it, don’t tax it. Legislators should legalize it only if they think it is the right thing to do, not just to get another “revenue” stream.

Kafir on November 3, 2013 at 5:27 PM

<blockquote“He told her he wanted to get high with her and sold her a small amount of pot in a ­tissue,” a source said.

He wants to get high with her but she has to buy?

Rio Linda Refugee on November 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Really… that story’s not working.

MrMoe on November 3, 2013 at 6:17 PM

His fate was placed in the hands of a jury, and the only thing they found him guilty of was carrying a loaded, unlicensed weapon in a public place.

He’s lucky it happened 30 years ago, not today, or he would have been 4xZimmerman.

disa on November 3, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Looks to me like somebody is still using his notoriety to further their cause or career. I would never presume to judge Mr. Goetz — or, sigh, his accusers, because the press is so unreliable and capricious. I wish him peace. Best from Tx.

RushBaby on November 3, 2013 at 8:26 PM

I can’t wait for the overblown movie: “Meth Wish”!

Shy Guy on November 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM

Bernie is obviously a serial pot dealer… My god, he was trying to pick her up, said let’s get high together, said wait here while I get some, and brought it down in a TISSUE, … you have got to be kidding me… is this the kind of pot bust NYC is sending an undercover crew to catch??? What a waste of money… wait for it, they’ll ask for another federal bailout to pay for the money they borrowed to make this bust in 5-10 years.

RedManBlueState on November 4, 2013 at 11:22 AM