They were so sure of themselves, these California cops who raided a marijuana dispensary last year, terrorizing customers while wearing masks, forcing them to the floor at gunpoint, then disabling surveillance cameras inside the shop to ensure their crime went unnoticed.
But the Santa Ana cops failed to remove a hidden camera, which caught them eating marijuana-laced snacks while mocking a handicapped woman.
And as a result, the city of Santa Ana just had to pay a $100,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the May 27, 2015 raid.
The suit alleged that Mayor Miguel Pulido and other city employees favored certain dispensaries over others. It said the city put up a ballot proposal, Measure BB, for the November 2014 election, soliciting payments from collectives with the promise of winning a spot in an eventual marijuana permit lottery.
Sky High Holistic did not win a spot in the lottery and its patients allege that because Pulido and other city employees had financial ties with competing dispensaries, they used their positions to close down the competition.
Pulido denied the allegations and said the city hired a firm to conduct the lottery.
Earlier this year, three police officers were charged with misdemeanor petty theft and one with vandalism for allegedly stealing snacks and damaging surveillance cameras. They are no longer employed by the city’s police department.
The three cops who are no longer on the force are Brandon Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo. They were fired, according to San Francisco Gate.
They have pleaded not guilty to vandalism and theft charges. They are due back in court next month.
One of the cops, Sontag, has been involved in at least three shootings, one of them resulting in a $2.55 million settlement in 2013, according to the Orange County Register.
Matthew Pappas, the attorney for the Sky High Holistic dispensary, said he is still trying to get the city to return more than $7,000 in cash as well as marijuana seized from the raid.
After obtaining the video from the hidden camera, Pappas sent it to Voice of Orange County, which published it on its YouTube channel where it has more than 1.2 million views as of today.