Santa Ana Cops Filmed Sampling Merchandise During MMJ Dispensary Raid

By May Wilkerson 06/16/15

The officers were also caught verbally abusing customers and playing darts.

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A group of police officers in California were caught on security camera eating marijuana edibles during a raid on a Santa Ana pot shop, in footage released by an attorney who is suing the city over the incident. In the video, the officers are also seen verbally abusing customers, smelling the merchandise, and playing darts.

The raid took place at Sky High Holistic, a medical marijuana dispensary that was operating without a business permit, officials confirmed.

The footage shows at least eight officers entering the dispensary with their guns drawn, shouting “everybody on the ground” to customers and workers. After removing surveillance cameras mounted on the ceiling, the cops are seen laughing while smelling the merchandise and discussing its flavors. Several officers appear to break off pieces of the edibles and eat them, while others played darts.

“I’d like to see the police officers disciplined for the behavior that goes on here,” said attorney Matthew Pappas, who edited and released the footage to the media. “I’d like to see the city stop engaging in illegal conduct.” Pappas plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of Marla James, an employee at the dispensary who was allegedly mistreated by the officers. In the footage, one of the officers said “I was about to kick her in her f—ing nub,” referring to James, who has an amputated leg.

“They intimidated me. They threatened me, and then they let us go,” said James, 54. “What they did, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.”

Local police Cmdr. Chris Revere said the police department is currently investigating the incident, but that viewers shouldn’t be quick to judge what they see in the footage. “We’re obviously concerned about the conduct that we saw in the edited video,” he said. “We’re also concerned that the video was heavily edited. We’d like to see the original video in its unedited version.”

Revere also said he “couldn’t say for certain” if the officers were actually eating the edibles in the video, and noted that the dispensary was not operating “legitimately.”

But dispensaries in Santa Ana currently have no choice but to operate illegally, said James. According to the OC Weekly, a judge recently issued a temporary restraining order preventing the city from distributing 20 permits for dispensaries, despite support from voters. Pappas and James are fighting to lift the restraining order so that dispensaries may operate legally. They also hope that releasing the video footage will lead to police reform.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.