Three police officers who took part in an unlawful and deeply asshole-ish raid on a Santa Ana dispensary last year are now off the police force, as reported by The Cannabist.
We reported on the incident last summer, when the attorney representing Sky High Holistic released a video of the 5-0’s misconduct. When that video was first released, attorney Matthew Pappas alleged that it showed officers stealing and eating edibles during the raid. Prosecutors later decided that they couldn’t prove from the video whether the snacks that the cops chowed down on were medicated or not. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged three of the officers involved, Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo, with petty theft, possibly for yoinking that snackage.
Much more disturbing than the unlawful consumption of brownies is the ugly manner in which the officers treated the members of the Sky High collective. After bursting in with ski-masks and guns like they were raiding a crack house, the police forced patients to the floor. Once the area was cleared of anyone who might hear them, the officers proceeded to make fun of one of the dispensary’s managers, a legally blind, wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient named Marla James.
“Did you punch that one-legged old benita?” one officer asked. “I was about to kick her in her fucking knob,” another replied.
At the time, James told KTLA that police had also intimidated her into signing documents she couldn’t read because of her vision impairment. “They intimidated me. They threatened me. It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” she said. “They told me I better sign the ticket or I’m going to jail.”
So these guys were pretty cool is what we’re saying. Sky High Holistic knew just how cool the local cops were, which is why they say they installed a secret hidden security camera in their dispensary. The officers only got up to really bad behavior after they’d disabled and taken what they thought were all of the CCTV cameras in the place. Later, Sontag, one of the officers present, was accused of vandalism for destroying the security system.
The three officers who were charged with theft are now off the force, as confirmed Thursday by Santa Ana Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. He didn’t confirm whether the three resigned or were fired, saying, “I cannot comment on personnel matters.”
You can see video of the raid, which includes unproven allegations by the dispensary’s attorney, below.