Video of Pot Shop Raid Prompts Investigation Into Officers - NBC Southern California

Video of Pot Shop Raid Prompts Investigation Into Officers

The video allegedly shows the officers dismantling surveillance cams, making fun of a disabled woman and throwing darts.

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    Investigation Launched After Police Raid Video Surfaces

    A video of a pot shop raid in Santa Ana prompted an investigation into officers' actions. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, 2015. (Published Thursday, June 11, 2015)

    Surveillance video received by nonprofit news group Voice of OC has landed 10 Santa Ana police officers at the center of an internal investigation.

    The officers are seen in the edited video during a police raid at Sky High medical marijuana dispensary last month. The officers, some in plainclothes, can be seen dismantling surveillance video equipment, joking around, throwing darts and allegedly eating marijuana-laced edible products from the shop.

    "These officers came in just looking like they were out of a movie," said Marla James, who volunteered at the dispensary.

    But for James, who is seen in the video leaving the dispensary in her wheelchair, escorted by an officer, it wasn't what she calls aggressive behavior that bothered her most.

    Video Raises Questions About Officers' Actions in Raid

    [LA] Video Raises Questions About Officers' Actions in Raid
    A video of a pot shop raid in Santa Ana prompted an investigation into officers' actions. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, 2015.
    (Published Thursday, June 11, 2015)

    One of the officers can be heard in the video allegedly making fun of James, who has only one leg, and laughing about it.

    "There's no doubt in my mind -- I was the only one there with one leg," she said.

    Matthew Pappas is the attorney representing the dispensary. He plans on filing a lawsuit against the police department, alleging the behavior is not only excessive, but criminal.

    He believes one of the officers seen in the video is eating a cannabis product.

    "Is it criminal -- if they're eating marijuana edibles, it's probably criminal," he said. "I think those officers should be drug tested."

    The dispensary has since been shuttered.

    Bruce Margolin, director of the National Organization For The Reform of Marijuana Laws' LA chapter, criticized the raid.

    "Totally, ridiculously horrible. (It's) unbelievable. The laws are ambiguous, everybody knows that. They take advantage of these poor people," Margolin said.

    Santa Ana police said all the officers will be interviewed as part of its internal investigation.

    Department officials were hesitant to comment Thursday on what they believe is a heavily edited version of the entire surveillance tape.

    "I’d be hesitant to use the work excessive right now because we have such a small glimpse of actually what happened," said Commander Chris Revere. "What I would say is we're concerned about what we saw on the video."

    Click here to view the video at Voice of OC

    Robert Kovacik contributed to this report

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