A California medical marijuana dispensary has sued local police following a raid during which officers allegedly harassed employees and ate cannabis candy.
The officers’ antics were caught on a secret video camera, even after they dismantled the store’s official surveillance system. One officer joked about a worker’s disability, threatening to kick her in the stump of her amputated leg.
The Santa Ana Police Department has already let the officers off the hook without punishment, even though the video clearly shows one officer taking an edible item from beneath a counter, inspecting it, unwrapping it, and tossing it in his mouth.
The lawsuit claims police violated the civil rights of the dispensary and its employees. Attorney Matthew Pappas said he has obtained new video that proves the officer ate cannabis candy in violation of his legal duties.
In case you missed the video, here it is below:
Police chief denies the officer ate edible
Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas insisted no such video exists. Some of the officers behaved badly, he said, but he refused to acknowledge drug use or to sanction his officers for breaking the law they swore to uphold.
“We do have information that leads us to believe that they are not consuming edibles,” despite clear video evidence that proves exactly the opposite.
Rojas refused to disclose what proof the department has that officers didn’t break the law, saying the information was a confidential personnel matter.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in early July, seeking damages for the raid. It names the City of Santa Ana and its police department.
Santa Ana bans medical marijuana dispensaries
The raid occurred last month at the Sky High Collective of Santa Ana. The city bans medical marijuana dispensaries, and Sky High allegedly operated in violation of that law.
Officers were caught on tape dismantling the store’s security system after ordering employees to the ground at gunpoint and then herding them into a side room. But the officers didn’t realize there was a hidden secondary camera system.
Mary James, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, was present for the raid after she received a tip police were coming. The secret video captured one of the officers returning from the other room and saying of James, “Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?”
A second officer responds: “I was about to kick her in the fucking nub.”
“How can I respect someone like that?” James said after the raid. “It just makes your stomach turn. Maybe she doesn’t know what it’s like to have an amputation. I don’t know what was going through her head, but man that was disrespectful.”
Medical cannabis is legal in California, but many local communities, including Santa Ana, tightly restrict the stores that sell it. Dispensaries are essentially prohibited everywhere in Orange County, though the area is still home to a thriving marijuana delivery industry.