These cops decided to crack down on pot dispensaries operating without permits. Instead of simply padlocking the business the cops decided to deliberately terrorize the shop owners and their customers with a commando raid. Then they ate the pot.
|Knucklehead Cops: They were video taped breaking surveillance cameras — They missed one.|
By Conor Friedersdorf
Unions that represent American police officers are often complicit in keeping bad cops on the street. This is a story about one of those unions flagrantly allying itself with misbehaving cops who are trying to suppress hard evidence of indefensible behavior.
Even the backstory is jaw-dropping.
Earlier this year, Santa Ana, California, decided that it had too many pot dispensaries operating in the city without a permit. Officials decided to crack down. Police could have quietly served a search warrant or padlocked a front door.
Instead, they opted for a raid during business hours with guns drawn.
As a result, customers at Sky High Holistic marijuana dispensary had a terrifying experience: While browsing the pot shop’s products, they suddenly heard someone busting in the door. Seconds later, men were rushing into the room with guns drawn. Some wore masks. Frightened patrons quickly lay face down on the ground.
All by itself, this potentially dangerous, totally unnecessary show of force was troubling. The pot business was accused of a mere misdemeanor. There was no need to surprise patrons—some of whom were ill—with guns in their faces. But needlessly endangering the public was just the beginning of the dubious conduct. A surveillance camera recorded officers disconnecting the shop’s surveillance cameras. Under the impression that they’d got them all and were only accountable to fellow police officers, the cops discredited themselves in footage destined for YouTube:
On-duty police officers appear to be eating edible pot products—OC Weekly transcribes words they spoke while egging one another on. (“Those candy bars are pretty good,” one said. “I kinda feel light-headed though.”) Other dialogue offers a number of insights into the subculture of this narcotics unit. Take the woman with an amputated leg that police encountered on entering the dispensary. “Did you punch that one-legged old benita?” one police officer asks another. The other cop laughingly replied, “I was about to kick her in her fucking nub.” These are people Santa Ana taxpayers empower to use lethal force at their discretion.
What’s new is the way that the cops caught misbehaving on camera and the police union that represents them have responded to an internal police investigation—not with embarrassment, contrition, and public apologies, as would befit trustworthy people of good character, but with shameless, discrediting chutzpah: They’ve sued to keep now public video of their indefensible behavior from their overseers!