Video: Santa Ana police raid pot shop, then eat its edibles, attorney says

Santa Ana police eat pot-laced edible during pot shop raid, attorney says

A video that appears to show a Santa Ana police officer eating a pot-laced edible after raiding a pot shop has prompted a police investigation.

The marijuana dispensary's surveillance video, released to reporters by attorney Matthew Pappas, shows Santa Ana police officers entering Sky High Holistic on May 26 and forcing patrons to the ground as they raid the facility. At some point, officers appear to be removing security cameras and playing darts.

An officer examines what appears to be an edible. On the video, he tosses it into his mouth and flashes a thumbs-up gesture.

The dispensary’s manager, Marla James, an amputee who uses a wheelchair, told KTLA-TV reporters that she was victimized and intimidated by police.

The video shows an officer asking another female officer, “Did you punch that one-legged guerita?”

The female officer replies, “I was about to kick her in her [expletive] nub.”

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, Santa Ana police Chief Carlos Rojas said.

The Police Department sent a cease-and-desist order on Feb. 26, but the dispensary remained open even though its operation was not permitted, he said.

Police haven’t seen the full, unedited video and have requested a copy.

The edited video, Rojas said, raises concerns.

“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 into the officers’ actions. If any wrongdoing occurred, they 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.

The officers are not on administrative leave.

Rojas said it’s not uncommon for officers to eat their own snacks while they are at the scene of a lengthy investigation, but he said the officers will be tested for drugs.

“We will ensure that all investigative protocols are followed to ensure that no officer ingested any marijuana,” he said.

Pappas, meanwhile, told KTLA-TV that he and his client, James, plan to file a lawsuit next week.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


11:50 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional comments from the police chief and details about the video.

The first version of this article was published at 6:45 a.m.