An Orange County judge ruled Wednesday that video footage showing police officers eating marijuana edibles, mocking a disabled woman, and destroying almost every security camera during a dispensary raid is admissible in an internal investigation.
The police officers union had filed a temporary restraining order to block the video from being used by investigators looking into the officers’ behavior during a raid of the Sky High Holistic medical marijuana dispensary in May.
The union claimed the dispensary video was edited to make the police officers look bad, but the Sky High lawyers say they turned over the complete 12-hour tape to the authorities conducting the investigation.
The video shows officers kicked down the medical marijuana dispensary door and ordered everyone out at gunpoint. After they destroyed every camera inside they could find, the officers starting playing darts, eating marijuana edibles and joking about an amputee in a wheelchair.
“Did you punch that one-legged old Benita? I was about to kick her in her f**king nub.”
The officers and their union argued the use of the dispensary video violated their right to privacy because they had a reasonable expectation of privacy while they were inside.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Bauer disagreed, however, saying any actions taken by the on-duty officers while conducting official business is admissible.
“[The officers] should not expect privacy in their on-duty performance of an official function at a marijuana dispensary. They have made no claim that their work required secrecy or that it would be impeded by public view.”
The Sky High dispensary has also filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Santa Ana Police Department claiming the use of excessive force and the theft of marijuana edibles along with thousand of dollars in cash.
A hearing on the theft and return of the dispensary’s property is scheduled for Friday.
The controversial incident has sparked a wave of outrage from citizens criticizing the police department to lawyers praising the judge for standing up to a powerful union.
Citizens have taken to Twitter to question the officers’ behavior and criticize their motives.
The Santa Ana Police Union has the option to continue the legal fight to suppress the dispensary video but so far hasn’t made any decisions.
The raid itself is not in question, as the dispensary failed to obtain the needed operation permit after a restraining order shut down city dispensaries; only 20 sites were issued the required permits.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]