$1M Claim Filed in Long Beach Pot Shop Raid

A claim alleging excessive force seeks damages in connection with a June 19 police raid of a pot shop in Long Beach

By Jason Kandel and Michelle Valles
|  Friday, Jan 4, 2013  |  Updated 2:20 PM PDT
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Dorian Brooks, a volunteer employee at a Long Beach marijuana dispensary, and his attorney filed an excessive force claim against the city of Long Beach, alleging police used excessive force when they raided the THC Downtown Collective in June. The bust was caught on surveillance cameras. Michelle Valles reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 5, 2012.

Michelle Valles

Dorian Brooks, a volunteer employee at a Long Beach marijuana dispensary, and his attorney filed an excessive force claim against the city of Long Beach, alleging police used excessive force when they raided the THC Downtown Collective in June. The bust was caught on surveillance cameras. Michelle Valles reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 5, 2012.

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More than a dozen Long Beach Police officers raided the THC Downtown marijuana dispensary for allegedly operating without a permit. The raid was caught on camera -- showing officers smashing surveillance cameras and stepping on volunteer employee Dorian Brooks, who has filed a lawsuit claiming excessive force was used. Michelle Valles reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 4, 2012.

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Lawyers for a medical marijuana dispensary worker wounded in a police raid at a Long Beach shop filed a claim on Thursday seeking $1 million in damages from the city of Long Beach.

The claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, alleges that a police raid of a pot shop June 19 was illegal and that the officers involved used excessive force.

"In terms of the excessive force claim, we will investigate that aspect of it," said Long Beach City Attorney Robert E. Shannon.

Shannon said that the Long Beach Police Department is also mulling whether to open a criminal investigation into the activities of the medical marijuana dispensary and police are considering an internal investigation into the officers’ conduct during the raid, Shannon said.

The claim, filed Thursday with the Long Beach City Clerk’s office, alleges officers injured a volunteer employee, violated his civil rights, and violated the state’s disabled persons act.

It also alleges officers "engaged in conduct that violated various provisions of the state and federal constitutions," the claim alleges.

The claim stems from a YouTube video that shows officers smashing surveillance cameras and stepping on a suspect at THC Downtown Collective in the 300 block of Atlantic Boulevard. The video was posted by user "Long Beach Raids" on July 1. Officials said they learned about the video on July 3.

An advocate for medical marijuana dispensary owners and workers criticized the officers’ conduct.

"That behavior is so blatant it cannot be the first time," said Steven Downing, a retired Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief and current board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition."It was arrogant. It was unnecessary and it was brutal."

The claim seeks damages in excess $1 million for medical treatment and mental counseling.

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