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The Santa Ana Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation into several officers caught on video eating marijuana-laced edibles, playing darts, and removing surveillance cameras during a pot raid last month.
Santa Ana police Cmdr. Chris Revere, in charge of the SAPD’s internal affairs division, said Thursday that the video is ‘concerning’ and although the department expects its officers to ‘act in a certain way’ it has ‘to be fair,’ according to The Orange County Register.
Long Beach-based attorney Matthew Pappas edited and released clips from the May 26 raid at Sky High Holistic, a medical marijuana dispensary, on Wednesday and said he plans to sue the city on behalf of one of a woman inside at the time, Marla James, a wheelchair-bound amputee, KTLA reports.
The video, compiled of multiple clips, shows eight officers bursting through a door of the dispensary with guns drawn and ordering everyone to get down on the floor and place their hands on their heads.
The officers let everyone leave and afterward are heard making remarks about James.
One officer is heard in the video asking another ‘did you punch that ‘one-legged old’ woman.
The other officer, laughing, responds: ‘I was about to kick her in the f***ing nub.’
A few of the officers are seen smelling and eating the marijuana-laced edibles with one asking ‘What flavor?’ before popping the snack into his mouth.
Later, an officer is seen in the video unwrapping a small package and putting it into his mouth.
Another officer is shown playing darts in the dispensary as others are seen standing around and laughing.
The video also shows officers removing surveillance cameras, but Revere said the officers may have done so to add the cameras to evidence in connection with a search warrant for the dispensary that was reportedly operating without a permit, the Register reports.
Revere said that he ‘couldn’t say for certain’ if the officers in the video were eating the edibles, according to KTLA.
‘We’re obviously concerned about the conduct that we saw in the edited video,’ he told KTLA.
‘We’re also concerned that the video was heavily edited.’
He said that the investigation could take weeks and will involve reviewing the clips, interviewing the officers, and interviewing those present when the raid took place, the Register reports.
Ultimately, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas will determine if the officers, who have not been placed on administrative leave, violated any department policies.
Revere also told the Register that the department has reached out to Pappas for the full-length, unedited version of the video because it would give those conducting the investigation a ‘complete picture’ of what occurred.
The lawsuit Pappas intends to file on behalf of James alleges that the officers grossly mistreated the 54-year-old woman during the raid, KTLA reports.
‘They intimidated me. They threatened me, and then they let us go,’ James told KTLA.
‘What they did, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.’
Pappas said that he would like the officers involved to be ‘disciplined.’ He added that he’d like to see the city ‘stop engaging in illegal conduct.’
Sky High Holistic was not one of the 20 medical marijuana dispensaries given permits to operate in the city, KTLA reports. The shop operated anyway and the owners said they expected to be raided.
A judge ordered a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the permits, according to the OC Weekly, and Revere said that no dispensaries in the city are currently operating ‘legitimately.’
A post on the dispensary’s Instagram account indicates that the facility is still in operation.