At the end of every month, I like to scour the Factiva and LexisNexis news databases for stories about the dissociative drug phencyclidine—better known as angel dust, or PCP. The drug has an outsized reputation in the media, largely because of often-exaggerated stories of how its users can develop superhuman strength, or like to gouge out their own or other people’s eyes, or similar feats of insanity. But while taking PCP probably won’t turn you into the Incredible Hulk, it can indeed prompt the sorts of paranoid delusions often associated with schizophrenia, and encourage the sorts of actions that might get your name in the newspaper.
This past month was filled with stories about the weird and irresponsible things that some people do when allegedly hopped up on PCP. Here are a few of the highlights.
“What happened? I just smoked PCP.” There’s a pretty decent chance that if your night begins with smoking PCP, it will end with you confused and disoriented, asking awkward questions after slamming your Acura into an unmarked police car. That’s what happened to Robert Kinnery Jr. of Jersey City, N.J., last month. After he banged into the cop car, police found Kinnery, an unlicensed and uninsured driver, “in an incoherent state with red eyes and slurred speech,” according to the Jersey Journal. “What happened? I just smoked PCP,” he allegedly said to the cops.
World’s worst roommate. At the end of April, a Lufkin, Texas, judge sentenced a woman to 25 years in prison for a bizarre 2011 incident during which she doused her ex-roommate in gasoline and set him ablaze in a dispute over back rent. In a rare switcheroo, it was the crime victim, not the perpetrator, who said he had been smoking PCP on the night of the dispute.
Delusions of divinity. On April 29, Jerome Becton of Jersey City, N.J., removed his shirt and began ramming his body into the front door of the building where he and his brother lived. When police arrived, reports Aiyana Cronk of the Jersey Journal, they “determined that Becton was under the influence of PCP.” Perhaps you can predict what happened next:
After police ordered Becton to stop, he continued to charge the door, yelling that he is God, reports said. When officers approached Becton, he began swinging his arms at the police, punching one of the cops, reports said.
I guess the Bible does say that we know not the time or hour when Christ will return to walk on the earth. But—call me presumptuous—he probably won’t return as a shirtless, jumped-up door-rammer in Jersey City. Becton was charged with aggravated assault and criminal mischief. His story has already been optioned by the producers of Godspell.
You may also have noted that this is the second PCP story to come out of Jersey City this month. Be warned, Jersey City motorists.
PCP Story of the Month. Jersey City, though, was not America's PCP capital this April. The night of Thursday, April 4, was a big one for police in Monroe, La., who made three separate PCP-related arrests, each more bizarre than the one that came before. Zack Southwell of the News Star reports that the weird night began around 9 p.m., when “police responded to a call of a subject rolling on the floor inside a residence”—a common crime in Monroe, headquarters of the International Anti-Floor-Rolling League. The suspect was Tased, subdued, and booked on charges of battery and possessing PCP with intent to distribute.
Right after midnight, cops responded to another call about a “suspicious loud noise coming from a storage room.” The noise was being made by Arenta Berry, 33, who, having somehow wandered into this random storage room, was not about to pick up and leave. When police arrived at the scene to coax Berry out, she allegedly “lunged at the officers, swinging her arms at the officers more than once.” Swinging your arms once at the police is something we’ve all done on occasion. Twice or more, however? A clear sign you’re on PCP. Berry was arrested.
The final incident came later Friday morning, when “a man identified as Cedric Martin forced his way into a residence and was found by the residents who were inside the home asleep.” Apparently Martin was also making suspicious loud noises, because the homeowners woke up and confronted Martin, who “claimed he did not know how he got into the home and did not know where he was.” A likely story. Martin fled, but was eventually located and arrested by the police, who announced that “Martin was believed to be under the influence of suspected PCP at the time of the incident.” It was that kind of night.