A dispensary in Costa Mesa, California is fighting back after local police conducted an illegal raid on their facility. Not only did the raid lead to the extended detainment of employees, who were eventually released with no charges filed, attorneys for the dispensary can’t even find a copy of the search warrant police claimed to have had. A lawsuit has been filed against the police department, demanding they return the property they stole.
On January 27, 2016, Costa Mesa police burst through the doors of the now-closed Costa Mesa Collective. With guns drawn and aimed, cops ordered dispensary employees and patients to the ground, making it clear that no one was to move.
After screaming that they had a warrant, but showing no such proof, law enforcement spent over two hours cleaning house and questioning employees.
Of course, in true government fashion, police confiscated the security cameras from Costa Mesa Collective, which contained video evidence of the unjust raid, as well as proof of everything police removed from the premises. What cops didn’t find was the four hidden cameras and recorder located around the story.
The dispensary’s attorney, Matthew Pappas, was able to show the Superior Court more than two hours of footage that showed police ordering people to the ground at gunpoint while removing copious amounts of cash and cannabis, and refusing to show proof of a warrant.
Certainly sounds like a robbery to me.
Getting the goods back
Pappas filed a lawsuit with the Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday alleging that police exceeded their legal authority while conducting the raid. He also believes police violated the constitutional rights of those present in the dispensary at the time of the raid by entering the facility and seizing items without the correct warrant.
Costa Mesa police only had an inspection warrant, used to ensure the building is up to health and safety codes. This type of warrant does not allow authorities to seize items meant to be used in criminal cases.
The attorney is asking that all of the confiscated money, cannabis, confidential patient records and video equipment be returned to Costa Mesa Collective. The former business is also asking for restitution for unspecified damages they experienced as a result of the raid.
With so much attention on recent police brutality throughout the country, high-ranking governing bodies, like the Superior Court, are forced to pay particularly close attention to cases such as this. Pappas believes the court needs to support the dispensary’s lawsuit and show the authorities in Costa Mesa that they will not be permitted to abuse power.
The city of Costa Mesa believes it is above the law. No longer can cities and police departments violate people’s rights based on marijuana once being part of failed drug prohibition policies. – Pappas
Costa Mesa officials have yet to comment on the lawsuit or the conducted raid. Police Chief Rob Sharpnack continues to deny speaking with any press on the matter, due to an “ongoing investigation.”
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