Even in areas where marijuana is legal, the addiction of law enforcement in the war against drugs remains like a black cloud over the country that is purportedly free of crime.
Even in California, which has been a leader in the movement to legalize cannabis, cops still routinely violate the rights of innocent folks who dare to produce, consume or market this most therapeutic plant.
The devotion of law enforcement officers in Riverside County, California, to the war on drugs, has recently resulted in a cost of $136,000 being passed on to the town’s taxpayers.
Chen-Chen Hwang, 67, as well as her hubby, Jiun-Tsong Wu, 75, received the monies in order to settle a governmental civil rights lawsuit accusing militarised agents of the state who broke into their two homes and ransacked them while officers looked for marijuana plants that did not exist. The lawsuit alleged that the officers were looking for plants that did not exist.
As per Alex Coolman, the lawyer who brought the case in the best interests of the older couple, the police were monitoring the power bills of residents of the town and cited the low number of the couple’s bills as evidence that they have been growing marijuana. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an elderly couple.
Hwang was quoted in a statement that was sent by Coolman’s office as saying, “This was a really odd and terrifying occurrence.” We did nothing at all to deserve this, but we were made to feel uncomfortable in our own homes as a result of it.
The residence of the couple sustained thousands of dollars worth of damage when the raid took place on August 5, 2021.
It would seem that the law enforcement in Riverside County monitors power use, and when they notice a low usage rate, they immediately conclude that individuals are stealing electricity to cultivate marijuana.
According to what Coolman told the Press-Enterprise, the deputies assumed the defendants were stealing electricity to grow marijuana since the defendants’ power use was low. The deputies also said that they had this belief.
But according to Coolman, the couple was not cultivating marijuana, and their electricity use was minimal because they utilized solar power and were “thrifty.”
According to the allegations made in the couple’s complaint, on August 5, 2021, members of SWAT knocked down the front door to the couple’s house in their peaceful community by using a battering ram. The house was scoured by the deputies for many hours while nobody was there, and in their fruitless quest for a plant, which they never did locate, the homeowners’ belongings were destroyed.
After getting a search warrant for this residence and not turning up any evidence of criminal activity, law enforcement officials moved on to the couple’s other residence, which despite the fact that it was physically impossible for them to have used electricity from their primary residence also came under investigation. However, according to the complaint, they did not have a warrant for the next search and seizure, which was similarly completely unproductive.
According to the allegations made in the complaint, the 67-year-old victim said in the statement that “uniformed, armed deputies hammered on the door.”
According to the statement, the deputies told Hwang that they had previously gone into their other house “because they suspected she was engaged in cultivating marijuana and requested that she come inside.”
According to the allegations made in the complaint, Sergeant Julio Olguin, who is named as a defendant in the case, was aware that what they were doing was unethical and “agreed that the raids of the residences were unlawful.”
As per Coolman, this is a typical practice in Riverside County, where sheriff’s deputies try to justify their presence by conducting raids on residents in homes with low utility bills. On the other hand, he pointed out that “this is the only case I know as to where there wasn’t a warrant and no clear rationale.”
According to Coolman, the manner in which the police handled this matter was both inappropriate and unlawful. “No one’s house should be forced into on the basis of a guess about how much power they consume,” says the author.