Santa Ana Police Settles Pot Raid Corruption Lawsuit for $100K

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 28, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Santa Ana police department recently settled the lawsuit against it alleging that their officers stole product during a marijuana dispensary raid. A secret camera that officers were unaware of caught officers eating marijuana-laced treats that were for sale in the dispensary. Additionally, the video footage captured an officer mocking a disabled woman in a wheelchair.

While the officers who were caught misbehaving have been fired, the department clearly felt compelled to settle the lawsuit as the six-figure settlement implies. Whether or not the lawsuit's larger allegations of corruption were, or could be, substantiated, may never be found out due to the settlement.

What Happened to the Fired Officers?

On top of the embarrassment that will likely follow them for life, the three officers have more to worry about. The threesome was not only fired as a result of eating the marijuana dispensary's products, they are currently being prosecuted for theft and vandalism, likely only misdemeanor charges though. The officers have pled not guilty to the charges, and will be back in court in a month, even though the charges were filed back in March of this year.

Officers are generally prohibited from taking, keeping, or eating evidence. While evidence that can be returned usually is, typically if it cannot be returned, states have regulatory schemes that govern how it should be sold or disposed of. If a piece of evidence has any monetary value, typically it will be sold for the benefit of the local police department.

What About the Dispensary?

While the dispensary was allegedly raided for some violation, the charges against its owners have been dropped. In addition to the dispensary's lawsuit alleging that officers ate their products, there were claims of government corruption in association with the city's dispensary lottery system. The dispensary asserted that the mayor and city employees favored certain dispensaries that were providing kickbacks, or had financial ties to the city officials.

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