Cops Sue Own Department to Suppress Incriminating Video of Weed Shop Raid

Anti-Media – by Carey Wedler

Santa Ana, California police recently made headlines when video of a May raid on a medical marijuana dispensary went viral. The officers—some of whom wore masks when they initially broke down the door—were caught on video breaking security cameras, insulting a disabled patient at the clinic, and consuming the shop’s cannabis edibles.  

Now, the city and its police are in the news again—this time because three unnamed police officers and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association aresuing to keep the video evidence from Santa Ana Police internal affairs investigators, who are conducting an examination of what happened during the raid.

It’s pretty pathetic for police to say if we don’t like something that it can’t be used as evidence,” said Mike Pappas, owner of the Sky High dispensary raided on May 26. However, the attorney for the police filing the suit claims Pappas altered the video to make it look more damning than it actually was.

The attorney representing the drug dispensary intentionally has misrepresented what happened,” said Corey Glave, who filed the suit against the city of Santa Ana, the police department, and Chief Carlos Rojas on behalf of the three officers and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (the city itself was implicated when Pappas sued over allegations the raid was prompted by his refusal to pay a bribe).

Glave alleges the video footage is invalid because it was taken without the police officers’ knowledge and “was handled by Pappas, among others, prior to being made public.” He alleged Pappas altered the video.

Pappas did, indeed, edit the video to make a “highlight reel” of the cops’ offenses during the raid, but he has also released the full, unedited video to both the Santa Ana Police and local newspaper, the OC Register.

Even so, Glave argues in the lawsuit that

All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks.

Believing they were “safe to do so,” the officers went on to insult a patient who was present when they initially broke down the door. In the video footage, they are seen “investigating” the shop (after the patients had left) when one officer asks another, “Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?”

I was about to kick her in her fucking nub,” a female officer replies, referring to a disabled woman in a wheelchair that was in the shop when the raid was initiated.

In spite of the officers’ disrespectful language, destruction of private property, and consumption of cannabis products, Glave vehemently maintains that Pappas lacked consent to film them. “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” the suit argues.

The lawsuit leaves observers wondering not only why police officers broke down a door wearing ski masks, insulting patients and consuming drugs, but calls to mind the common government truism: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.” But the officers are eager to keep evidence of their actions secret.

Pappas argues the lawsuit is meritless because the officers were aware that video cameras were on the premise—moving to destroy each one they could find. “They knew they were on video. … Just because they missed one camera doesn’t make it illegal,” Pappas said.

Though the Santa Ana police already have the footage of the raid, no officers have yet been reprimanded. They are all still employed by the department they are now suing.

Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. As a senior editor, her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where was born and raised. Learn more about Wedler here!

2 thoughts on “Cops Sue Own Department to Suppress Incriminating Video of Weed Shop Raid

  1. Savages! Savages with an attorney who is morally bankrupt. The Chief of Police is a low-rent scum bag. He should have acted immediately after viewing the unedited video. But no, he was probably hoping the whole thing would blow over. The Santa Ana Police department does not have a monopoly on sewer rat officers. They are everywhere and they are legion.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *