An internal investigation has been launched after several officers at the Santa Ana Police Department in California were caught smashing CCTV cameras, eating edible marijuana, and making abusive remarks about an amputee during a raid at a medical marijuana dispensary (pot shop).
A video has been released that purports to show the above incidents which Santa Ana police commander, Chris Revere, said was “concerning”.
“We expect our officers to act in a certain way,” said Revere, “If they don’t we hold them accountable. But at the same time we have to be fair.”
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Attorney Matthew Pappas, who represents Sky High Collective, provided the edited clips to the Register and other media outlets Wednesday. He could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Santa Ana Police also have attempted to reach Pappas for an unedited version of the video clips, Revere said.
“Having the whole video shortens the investigation process because we get a complete picture,” he added.
In one of the clips, armed Santa Ana officers can be seen breaking through the front door of the 17th Street dispensary and then ordering at least a half-dozen customers to the floor.
“Everybody on the ground!” one officer shouts. “Hands on your head!”
Another clip with subtitles purports to show officers making demeaning remarks about a woman in a wheelchair with an amputated left leg who was in the dispensary at the time of the raid.
“Did you punch that one-legged old Benita,” a male officer asks a female officer, apparently referring to the woman in the wheelchair.
“I was about to kick her in her (expletive) nub,” the female officer replies, according to the subtitles accompaning the video clip.
In another clip, Pappas has titled with superimposed wording: “Officers eating edibles and playing darts,” a voice can be heard asking, “What flavor?” Then an officer can be seen unwrapping a small package and putting something in his mouth.
The same clip shows an officer playing darts inside the dispensary while another clip shows several other officers removing surveillance cameras.
It’s possible the officers were removing the cameras as part of the collection of evidence in connection with a search warrant for the dispensary, Revere said.
None of the officers involved in the raid have been placed on administrative leave, he added.
The internal affairs investigation could take several weeks and will involve reviewing the videos and interviewing the officers and those present at the dispensary when the raid took place. A final report will be delivered to Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas, who will determine if the officers violated department policies, Revere said.