'Burning Man Barrister' Offers Free Legal Advice to Festival Revelers
In response to complaints about overzealous law enforcement agents at the annual Burning Man art and music festival in the Nevada dessert, a Palo Alto, Calif., attorney has formed Lawyers for Burners, a legal defense team to aid festival revelers in their brushes with the law.
David Levin, aka the Burning Man Barrister, accused federal officers of destroying a peaceful counterculture celebration in the Black Rock Desert, reports the Associated Press.
“It’s a police state out there,” Levin said of the presence of undercover agents at dances and drug-sniffing dogs that roam the camps, according to the newspaper. “There’s very little criminal activity at the event, but they cite and arrest people in order to justify their existence.”
However, Mark Pirtle, special agent in charge for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, countered that the seven-day festival isn’t a free pass for attendees to purchase and use illegal drugs. “I don’t want my guys to be party poopers, but we have a job to do,” Pirtle is quoted saying.
Sixty-five percent of citations last year involved drugs, according to AP. About 50,000 people are expected to attend Burning Man, which runs through Sept. 6.