High on power: Santa Ana police raid marijuana dispensary
These days, news stories of unjust acts perpetrated by members of our justice system have become all too common. From hearsay reports of police shooting unarmed black men, to racist text messages, to the overall need for prison reform, our legal system has come under relentless fire for abuses of power.
Recently, perhaps one of the most blatant examples of such abuse occurred in Santa Ana, California, when local police raided a marijuana dispensary.
Video of the incident can be viewed below:
The video shows police barging into the pot shop in force — guns drawn — and forcing all of the patrons to the ground. Their reasoning for the raid was that the dispensary itself did not have proper permits to operate within the city.
Manager of the dispensary Marla James — an amputee who uses a wheelchair — reports victimization and abuse at the hands of the officers. At one point during the video, one officer asks another if she punched James, at which point the female officer responds, “I was about to kick her in her fucking nub.”
From that point, the video shows officers disabling security camera throughout the property, playing darts, and even possibly ingesting edible marijuana products. Whether or not the officers actually ate edibles obtained on-site has yet to be confirmed, but the department has stated that the officers involved in the raid will be tested for drugs in the near future.
Is that really enough? Testing officers for drugs could be a start, but the rest of the video should speak for itself as damning evidence. Not one of the officers involved in the raid has received any sort of disciplinary action for their conduct. The department has opened an investigation into the matter, but if this footage had not been obtained, the officers could continue to conduct themselves unprofessionally, with impunity.
We rely on the police to keep us safe, yet we see officers abuse and bastardize their power for personal gain. By no means should we assume that all police officers do this — many uphold the law in exemplary fashion — but departments need to adopt a zero tolerance policy for those who choose to act contrary to what they enforce.
What do you think of the surveillance video? What sort of punishment should the department levy against its officers? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!