Santa Ana Cops Settle with Pot Dispensary for $100,000 over Civil Rights Violations

Santa Ana police

In June 2015, Santa Ana California cops were seen raiding a pot dispensary; captured on a hidden camera. The problem was, the officers broke the law. They disabled cameras, munched on pot edibles and vandalized an otherwise legal cannabis dispensary. The owners of the dispensary have since taken the unruly cops to court and won a $100,000 settlement.

Santa Ana police

Besides winning the $100,000 settlement, which will most likely barely cover the damage done to the facility, all defendants who worked for the dispensary will have their criminal cases dismissed. According to District Attorney Michael Pappas, “The settlement of civil rights claims and dismissal of criminal actions shows Santa Ana is taking responsibility for its improper actions taken, including the raid of Sky High Holistic, in support of its lottery-based marijuana ordinance.” The lottery system Pappas speaks of basically gave 20 dispensaries in the area the right to operate, of which Sky High Holistic was not one of them. Whether or not the dispensary was in compliance with the law does not negate the responsibility of the police to operate in a legal and professional manner.

Santa Ana police
Police officers raid the Sky High Collective pot dispensary in Santa Ana in May in this screenshot of a video taken by security cameras. A lawsuit, filed last week in Orange County Superior Court by three unidentified police officers and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, seeks to prevent Santa Ana Police Department internal affairs investigators from using the video as they sort out what happened during the May 26 raid on Sky High Collective.

More than a year after the video surfaced, showing the cops going to town on the dispensary and treating the customers like criminals, three of the officers involved faced misdemeanor charges for their misconduct during the raid. None of the three officers involved still work for the Santa Ana Police Department, however, in a not-so-surprising show of the thin blue line, the department refused to disclose whether or not the officers were fired or allowed to resign, as is so often the case. The former officers Jorge Arroyo and Nicole Lynn Quijas face six months in jail for theft of product from the store, while Brandon Matthew faces up to 18 months for theft and vandalism for smashing cameras.

Santa Ana police

The charges against the officers involved are not adequate under Californian state law. The dispensary owners are adamant that the police officers ate cannabis-infused edible products, which are governed under the state’s controlled substances act. Theft of a controlled substance is a felony charge in the state, however, the lawyers for the officers involved deny that the products taken contained cannabis. Being that the footage surfaced some time after the incident, drug testing the officers was no longer a viable option.

The officers were not only captured on video committing crimes, they were also caught making fun of one of the customers of the dispensary. A female patient of the dispensary, seen in a wheelchair on the video, was partially blind and paraplegic. One male officer can be heard asking, “Did you punch that one-legged Benita?” The female officer responds, “I was about to kick her in her f*cking nub.”

The level of professionalism demonstrated by these officers is a sure indicator that the police are not out there to protect and to serve. They are there to demonstrate their authority over you, and if left unchecked, results in incidents like this. Thankfully the use of modern surveillance technology caught these “bad apples.”

Sources: The Free Thought Project, The Free Thought Project – video.

This article (Santa Ana Cops Settle with Pot Dispensary for $100,000 over Civil Rights Violations) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and


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