Did cop sneak a pot treat?
A video that appears to show a Santa Ana police officer eating a marijuana-laced edible after a raid on a pot shop has prompted a police department investigation.
The video shows at least half a dozen officers entering the Sky High Holistic dispensary May 26 with guns drawn, forcing customers to the ground. The footage was released this week by an attorney representing the manager of the dispensary.
Police can be seen on the video removing security cameras and playing darts. One of the officers is shown examining what looks like an edible before tossing it into his mouth and flashing a thumbs-up.
Marla James, the dispensary’s patient manager for the day, said she’s not certain the officer ate a potlaced treat, but that it looked a lot like a 420 bar or a Bhang Chocolate bar — a potent marijuana sweet. The officer, she said, had left the dispensary’s edibles room, which is stocked with marijuana-infused treats.
If any of the officers are found to have consumed marijuana or otherwise to have acted inappropriately, they could be disciplined or terminated.
James, a legally blind amputee who uses a wheelchair, accused the police of causing $180,000 worth of damage to the dispensary during the raid.
The video shows one of the officers asking a female colleague, “Did you punch that one-legged guerita?”
The officer replies, “I was about to kick her in her ... nub.”
James, a vocal medical marijuana patient activist, said she was forced to sign off on a misdemeanor citation for operating a dispensary, even though she told the same female officer she couldn’t read the ticket.
“It makes me really sad because I have always respected the police,” she said. “What was done to me shouldn’t be done to anybody else.”
The raid was part of a search warrant obtained by Santa Ana police, who were investigating the marijuana dispensary for operating illegally in the city, Police Chief Carlos Rojas said. James said the marijuana was operating legally and would remain open.
But Rojas said the dispensary was not permitted and that a cease-and-desist order had been sent.
Police haven’t seen the full, unedited video but have requested a copy. The video came from a hidden camera in the dispensary.
The edited video, Rojas said, raises concern. “Our expectation for officers is that they act professionally at all time,” he said.
Rojas said he has pushed for a rapid internal affairs investigation. If any wrongdoing occurred, the officers will be held accountable, he said. But so far, he said “it doesn’t appear to be what people are assuming it is.”
“I don’t think it’s fair to the officers to indict them based on an edited video,” he said.
Rojas said it’s not uncommon for officers to eat their own snacks while they are at the scene of a lengthy investigation. Still, he said the officers would be tested for drugs.
“We will ensure that all investigative protocols are followed to ensure that no officer ingested any marijuana,” he said.
James said she plans to file a federal lawsuit next week.