California: Cops In Medical Marijuana Dispensary Raid Eat Edibles, Mock Amputee
By Steve Elliott
It's apparently not enough for California police to simply raid medical marijuana dispensaries. Security camera footage from a police raid on a Santa Ana dispensary shows officers eating cannabis edibles and joking about abusing an amputee.
Footage posted to YouTube from the May 27 raid at Sky High Collective shows officers disabling security cameras and video monitors in the business -- but the dumb cops missed some equipment that continued to record their bad behavior inside the medical pot shop, reports Ben Hooper at UPI.
An officer can be seen in the video consuming something from a bag and sharing it with another cop, who asks him, "What flavor?" The officers then laugh.
Sky High workers said the officers were snacking on the store's medical marijuana edibles. The officers were sure they'd get away with their churlish behavior, unaware they hadn't located some secret cameras.
The video shows store volunteer Maria James -- an amputee who uses a wheelchair and is legally blind -- being escorted out the back of the dispensary by officers.
After James is out of the store, an officer asks a female colleague, "Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?"
"I was about to kick her in the fucking nub," the female officer replies.
James said she was shocked when she saw the footage. "When I saw the video it almost made me cry," she told CBS Los Angeles.
"She doesn't know what it's like to not have a leg," James said. "I still have phantom pains."
James said she was struggling to understand why the female officer in the video would make fun of her disability. "You know what, I was really nice to that woman," James said. "I even complemented her on her hair."
Other footage shows police officers, some of whom are wearing ski masks, knocking down the dispensary's front door and storming in with guns drawn. Officers are shown using a crowbar to disable surveillance cameras and a DVR machine.
Santa Ana police claimed the video is being "investigated" by officials.
"Obviously, we're concerned about what we saw in this edited video," mealy-mouthed Santa Ana Police Commander Chris Revere told KABC. "Anytime we get an allegation or indication that our officers might be engaged in misconduct, we want to make sure we conduct a thorough administrative investigation," he claimed.
Revere claimed the police chief "will make the appropriate disciplinary recommendation if it's warranted." "If it's warranted," get that? Nice.
Raids were conducted at Sky High and other dispensaries amid an ongoing legal battle over the city's implementation of a lottery system for awarding dispensary licenses, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly.
A Superior Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the city's Measure BB, which will allow some 20 dispensaries to operate legally in Santa Ana. The judge's order was in response to lawsuits filed by dispensaries that failed to win the controversial February 5 lottery.
James is suing the police department over allegations of misconduct, according to Long Beach-based Matthew Pappas, an attorney representing her. Pappas edited the video and released it to the public, and several police actions in the video will be included in the lawsuit.
"I'd like to see the police officers disciplined for the behavior that goes on here," Pappas said, reports KTLA. "I'd like to see the city stop engaging in illegal conduct."