Videos: Police Eat Edibles And Mock Amputee In Pot Shop Raid, Lawyer Says
A Santa Ana Police Department investigation is underway after videos of a marijuana dispensary raid surfaced, showing what an attorney says appears to be officers eating edibles, destroying security cameras and joking about kicking an amputee in her "nub" at the shop.
The raid took place on May 27 at the Sky High Holistic, according to OC Weekly. The videos come by way of attorney Matthew Pappas who told Voice of OC that he edited and produced the footage that was taken from the cameras the police apparently didn't realize were still up.
In the first video below, you can see officers, some in uniform and some in plainclothes and wearing ski masks going into the cannabis dispensary, busting down doors and telling everyone to get down. There is a woman, who is an amputee, using a motorized scooter who appears in the 0:56-minute mark of the video. She's calmly followed by a female officer. Later a man asks the female officer at the 1:33-minute mark, "Did you punch that one-legged old benita?" She responds with, "I was about to kick her in her fucking nub," and then laughs.
OC Weekly identified that woman in the motorized scooter as Marla James, a marijuana activist who was at Sky High Holistic that day to observe police actions because her attorney Pappas told her it would be raided. She says it was something Pappas says he found out from Santa Ana's city attorney Sonia Carvalho. It's one of the many raids that are taking place recently as the city is cracking down on dispensaries that are operating illegally.
Santa Ana Police Department Chief Carlos Rojas told Voice of OC that since the video footage was edited, the actions of the officers may have been taken out of context, and it's not clear if the officer was talking about James in particular.
There's more that a second video shows. In the clip below, you can see officers taking down security cameras, joking around and playing darts. At the 1:44-minute mark, one of the plainclothes officers mentions "edibles" and later another asks, "What flavor?" The video cuts to a plainclothes officer unwrapping something and eating it before handing it to another officer. It's not clear from the video if the officer is eating edibles, but Pappas told Voice of OC that he thinks the officer examining the wrapper shows that it was an edible.
Rojas has something different to say about that. "I don’t know if that’s [a marijuana] edible. Where did [the officer] get it?” Rojas told Voice of OC. “Is that a protein bar or an edible?"
The police chief says the department will be doing an internal investigation. “Definitely there’s behavior, conduct I’m concerned about,” Rojas told Voice of OC. However, he wants to see the Pappas' unedited, raw footage, but Pappas isn't interested in handing it over, saying if the officers didn't destroy the cameras, then they would have had it themselves.
Last year, Santa Ana residents voted in favor of Measure BB to legally allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city and be taxed so the revenue would go to Santa Ana, according to the OC Register. As part of a lottery, 20 medical marijuana dispensaries would be chosen to operate legally in Santa Ana. Hundreds sent in their applications to be selected as one of the lucky 20 in the controversial law. However, at the same time, officials began cracking down on pot shops that weren't selected in the lottery that were still operating illegally in the city. OC Weekly reported that Orange County Superior Court Judge David R. Chaffee issued a temporary restraining order last week against Measure BB after medical marijuana collectives who weren't selected in the lottery filed lawsuits.