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Hipster Norman Councilman hit with felony “drug” charges…

stephen holman

A few weeks ago, we told you the sad story of hipster, man bun-wearing Norman City Councilman Stephen Holman. He was the manager of some head shop... errr... novelty store called Friendly Market.

Norman PD raided Friendly Market and stole... errr.... "seized" thousands of dollars worth of bongs, pipes, rolling papers, daisies, jacks, and other merchandise from the store because there is a chance that adults – a group of people who probably have the right to make their own personal decisions as long as they do not hurt or harm others – could use the items to smoke a deadly, terrifying, legal-in-a-neighboring-state substance like marijuana in the privacy of their own home.

In addition to stealing... errr... "seizing" the store's merchandise, the Norman PD filed felony charges last week against Holman and the Friendly Market's owner, Robert Cox, for "acquiring proceeds from drug activity." They also hit him with six counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

A Norman city councilman facing a felony drug charge over his employment at a pipe shop said the case against him is "erroneous and very likely politically motivated."

Councilman Stephen Tyler Holman was charged Thursday with a single count of acquiring proceeds from drug activity, a felony, and six counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Holman is the general manager of The Friendly Market, 1100 E Constitution, which sells glass pipes and smoking accessories.

Robert Winston Cox, 62, the store's owner, faces the same counts. The case follows a police raid on Dec. 1, in which investigators seized glass pipes, rolling papers, cash and miscellaneous merchandise.

Question: What's the Norman PD going to do with all this stuff? Recycle it? If so, I know a guy with a glass recycling facility. Hit me up and I'll make something happen.

Anyway, if you think all of this is absurd, check out the time and energy the Norman PD put into the raid:

Arrest warrants were issued Thursday for Holman and Cox. Attorney Brecken Wagner said they plan to turn themselves in Friday afternoon.

A police investigation into The Friendly Market included visual surveillance, an undercover buy on Nov. 12 and a purchase made by a confidential informant on Dec. 1.

Detective Rick Newell led the investigation, court records show. From August 2014 to April, Newell investigated several businesses suspected of selling drug paraphernalia, resulting in raids at McCloud'z Pipes in Norman and Fatt Hedz locations in Norman and Oklahoma City. Both Norman stores closed, and both stores' owners face felony charges.

Surveillance, undercover buys and confidential informants? Yeah, that may seem excessive and a colossal waste of resources, but we can't expect the Norman PD to spend all its time harassing OU students, deleting video tapes from Pickleman's or trying to prevent theft and violent crime. I'm sure that gets monotonous after awhile. Sometimes, they just need to mix things up and target businesses and individuals that pose no real harm or threat to society.

After the raids, Cox called detective Newell and was informed his store was the police department's "next stop," according to a search warrant affidavit. Cox removed the pipes from his store shelves.

But he started selling pipes again after retaining Wagner as his attorney. Wagner defended owners of The Funky Munky, a similar retailer in McAlester, in a civil forfeiture proceeding.

So, can anyone sign up for advanced notice of police raids, or is that only for the friends of police detectives? When I open The Happy Ogle, a novelty shop that will sell Himalayan salt lamps, incense and variety of glass pipes and bongs to smoke tobacco, I'd like to get some advanced notice before the cops steal... errrr... "seize" our assets, shut us down and hit me with felony charges.

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