Santa Ana to Investigate Police Conduct in Pot Shop Raid

The Santa Ana Police Department will launch an internal affairs investigation after being provided video clips showing officers engaging in questionable behavior during a police raid last month on a medical marijuana dispensary, Police Chief Carlos Rojas told Voice of OC this week.

Attorney Matthew Pappas, who edited and produced the clips before providing them to Voice of OC, says the video shows officers eating food laced with marijuana, known in pot lingo as “edibles,” and seized during the raid. Officers also played darts inside the pot shop while apparently completing an inventory of the shop’s contents. Pappas represents the shuttered Sky High Holistic dispensary where the video was recorded.

The clips also show officers dismantling video equipment and cameras, indicating they didn’t know other cameras continued to record their activities.

In one clip, an officer is seen eating what looks like a food bar and closely examining it while a plain-clothes officer is talking about edibles found in a safe. A different clip also shows the same plain-clothes officer unwrapping and consuming some sort of food bar.

One of the clips shows an officer saying she should have kicked a woman “in her fucking nob.” Before that comment, the video shows a scene of the same policewoman walking with a female amputee in a motorized wheelchair. In addition to playing darts, the clips also show officers hanging around and joking.

“Definitely there’s behavior, conduct I’m concerned about,” Rojas said.

However, Rojas added that because of the editing, it’s impossible to know if the behavior was taken out of context. The video doesn’t show where the alleged edibles came from, and it’s not completely clear whether the policewoman was referring to the amputee in her comment. The clip with officers throwing darts appears to repeat some of the same scenes more than once.

“I don’t know if that’s [a marijuana] edible. Where did [the officer] get it?” Rojas said. “Is that a protein bar or an edible?”

Rojas requested that Pappas turn over the full, unedited video to police to assist in the investigation.

Pappas says he doesn’t know definitively that the officers were eating marijuana edibles because he “can’t see the labels,” but points to one officer’s close scrutiny of the wrapper and other behavior as evidence that they were indeed getting high on the job.

“I believe they are consuming edibles and the behavior exhibited gives every indication that’s what they’d be doing,” Pappas said.

As for Rojas’ request for the full video, Pappas said officers would already have it if they hadn’t destroyed video equipment. He says he’s already complained to an internal affairs officer about “police issues” several weeks ago, but never got a response.

“I’m concerned this video is necessary to trigger an investigation,” Pappas said.

Voice of OC also requested the full unedited video, but was told that it was taken from a digital video recording machine and isn’t in “a recognizable format,” making it difficult to transfer.

Pappas added that he would soon be filing a lawsuit aimed at invalidating a voter-approved measure permitting 20 marijuana collectives to operate in an industrial section of the city.

“I’m filing a lawsuit, so [the police] can get the raw footage in discovery,” Pappas said.

Pappas claims the lawsuit will include evidence of a “high ranking city official” having a “pecuniary interest in the operations of a lottery winning collective,” and that this official, whom Pappas declined to name, likely had a hand in directing the police raids.

According to dispensary operators and city officials, dozens of marijuana shops had been operating in the city in recent years. Under the measure passed last November, the city held a lottery for collectives to win a chance at applying for a permit. The city deems all dispensaries without a permit to be operating illegally.

Pappas is also known for having successfully invalidated a medical marijuana lottery in a lawsuit against the city of Long Beach.

There are already at least seven other active lawsuits intended to cancel Santa Ana’s measure, and its implementation is currently barred under a temporary restraining order.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at and follow him on Twitter: @adamelmahrek

  • Blanche Starbong

    Where is the update on this??

  • Filip

    The one cop mentions that phase two of their raid was eat the edibles. Can’t see the wrapper obviously, but if that if your only side for the cops. I clearly hear him say…phase two edibles. Then the other cop ingesting the “candy/protein” bar looks at his bar then back at the other cop and says phase two over. Meaning the edible phase has been completed….in his stomach… How can our respected PD embarrass their higher ups and our towns. And how can the chief or whoever is the higher up commenting, be so afraid to cop to their departments mistake, pun intended.

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  • Fredrick Rebensdorf

    the dispensary owners should be alowed to kick in there doors and take and distroy any thing they want to be fair and there wife or husband and kids should have to be there and not know it is comming and be made to watch and be scared the same way they scare others it is unconchinable

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  • Allen Beck

    Rojas is already starting the cover-up. Internal investigation? Ha! A police dept. is only as good as it’s worst employee. If you want respect…be respectful!

  • Lt. Surge

    “Questionable” behaviour?

    This is DEPLORABLE behaviour!

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  • Jeffrey Dickman

    Chief Rojas should have others outside of the SAPD investigate this. I suspect this behavior is not a one-time indiscretion by the PD, but rather a deeper and systemic problem of abuse. If nothing much comes of this we need to get a new Chief. Rojas seems to be a good chap however SA politics is known, county-wide, as a corrupt place with continuing ethics issues. Show some light in this Chief. Lead.

  • Stephen Reb

    A pig is a pig is a pig…

  • Seatired

    Good thing laws don’t apply to cops. Could you imagine what would happen to masked intruders that broke into a business and started point guns at people while screaming? They terrorized these people and then they stole merchandise.

  • Joel Stoner

    I assume this raid was conducted with a warrant? Has the warrant been made public yet? I’d love to see the legal word wrangling they used to get this past a judge, knowing that medical is legal in California. Also what part of the warrant grants the authority to seize the security cameras and DVR?

  • Bo Ximenes
    • ramonzarat

      Wow, I’m not surprised as he literally defend the cops in all the posts in this thread!!!

  • OCservant_Leader

    Something smells in Santa Ana…and it ain’t just the pot laced brownies!

    I hope the cop who wanted to kick the disabled person enjoys what getting “kicked in the nub” feels like in jail.

    We can always count on the convicts for dealing out the “justice”! Please remember this scumbag.

  • Rachel Flanagan

    However, Rojas added “that because of the editing, it’s impossible to know if the behavior was taken out of context. The video doesn’t show where the alleged edibles came from, and it’s not completely clear whether the policewoman was referring to the amputee in her comment.”

    Police Chief Carlos Roja’s lying through his teeth,
    gee, where did the edibles come from, and maybe it’s another amputee LOL.

  • jane

    They should all be fired!! This is why people hate cops and they deserve it!

  • rogerrramjet

    OH christalmighty STOP the war on American citizens. This is just criminal.

    Free all non violent pop prisoners now as well.

    Gov Brown needs to step up and show some freaking balls. And this BS about overturning making it legal has to stop as well. These ahole cops are going to be on the wrong side of history and the books will show them as total losers.

  • Deborah Tharp

    When you repost, please copy this attached notice as well:

    Press conference on Monday at 1:30 @ the Long Beach Westin Hotel. The address is 333 East Ocean Blvd in Long Beach, Ca. Please dress as you would for court support. We want to impress these folks with the long arm of OUR law! Regarding news of this case,

    1) If the judge has declared a TRO against Measure BB in Santa Ana, then legally, Measure CC, which we also won, should be in effect.

    2) If the cop in question in this video was truly eating the edibles from the shop (which he appeared to be doing) then there should be federal firearms charges involved.

    3) We need to call for a grand jury investigation into this case. This is corruption at it’s worst, and the sort of thing we expect to see in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, not here in America, let alone Orange County, California.

    4) The judge who signed the search warrant for this raid was actually from Fullerton, not Santa Ana. The reason they chose this judge might be deduced from the fact that they were caught having beer with him at Staples Center.

    5) The female police officer who said that she wanted to kick Marla in her nub has not get been put on administrative leave. Nor have the cops who were standing around playing darts. Nor were the ones who were apparently trying to destroy video evidence. Nor was the cop who was eating the edibles. If you would like to speak to the investigating officer and let him know what you think of this situation, his name is officer Rivera, and is desk phone number is 714-245-8005. No need to be hostile–he’s actually a good guy. I’ve known him for years. Just give him support and let him know that should he choose not to walk that “thin blue line” and instead, do what he needs to prosecute these dirty cops, he will have the full support of the people.

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  • borderraven

    Trust in the man is eroding daily. Drug test the entire Santa Ana PD and officers on that raid. Drug test the OC LEA community randomly. Zero Tolerance!

    • Jimmy J

      Exactly. If they haven’t done anything wrong they should have nothing to hide.

  • Crazy

  • Craig

    The moment a civilized country loses faith in those HIRED to ‘serve and protect’ is the moment that country begins to disintegrate. It’s because of this – inappropriate behavior be police officers has to be dealt with severely. And VERY publicly.

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  • Martin Armies

    Which City Councilmember could be involved? My guess is Vincent Sarmiento. Failed restaurant (the award winning chef loathed Sarmiento), multiple houses to make mortgages on (since he has to hide the fact he does not really live in the City), his mom’s business is fading (which has always supported Sarmiento’s lifestyle) and his law career is a bust (he let his license lapse in 2006 only to renew it when he wanted to be elected).

    Finally, the kickback he was to receive from his Cal Berkley buddy Mario Turner with the AMCAL deal went down the drain when Smarmy Sarmiento’s little bullying tactics, and removal of staff opposing him, caused a minor firestorm that resulted in that project being tabled in favor of an affordable housing funds RFP (which barely addresses the City’s real housing problems). Vinnie will try and twist staff’s arm and award it to AMCAL but his power at City Hall is fading.

    Smarmy Sarmiento now wants to be Supervisor (per The Liberal OC blog) but no way this two bit huckster gets anywhere near real political power. That’s why he has to get money from the MJ dispensaries what with his other cash flow ideas not panning out.

    Get the popcorn ready!! Vinnie’s flaming out in full public view 🙂

    And Chief Rojas is an inexperienced mid-level type administrator completely in over his head. Because the City cannot attract talented workers anymore due to the Council’s meddling and corruption, Chief Rojas is just another deer caught in headlights as scandal upon scandal erodes his department’s credibility. Besides the City being short 300 cops they are also woefully short of tough, competent leadership.

    The citizens of Santa Ana deserve better.

    • Paul Lucas

      Can you verify any of this?

      • Bo Ximenes

        Can you verify that the officers were eating marijuana edibles?

        • Paul Lucas

          Yes I can by way of a Urinalysis test.

          • Bo Ximenes

            By requesting a urinalysis test tells me that you’re not absolutely sure what they were eating. I understand that you’ve convinced yourself that they were eating marijuana edibles, but let’s wait and see what the investigation reveals.

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  • Larry

    We need to organize a militia to protect us from these armed and dangerous criminals.

  • fratdawgg23

    Since these cop intentionally destroyed surveillance equipment to conceal their actions, then they no longer deserve any benefit of the doubt from the community.

    • Digi13

      You hit the nail on the head! That should have been the last thing they took down after the raid so it documented everything they did! Good thing this owner was smart enough to to run two separate systems!

  • amber

    My ex was a cop. One of his best friends/co-worker would confiscate the pot on busts and give it to his wife because she enjoyed smoking it. My ex also had another buddy in LE that shot himself “accidentally” in the leg while on duty so he could get some opiates. Eventually that guy was arrested for heroin possession. My ex used to abuse me (physically and emotionally) and who do you call when 911 is beating you up? It’s not like I could go to a shelter or get away all that easily since the sheriff’s office in that community actually ran the local women’s shelter. So it seems like there’s definitely a certain type of personality (I’m not saying all LE) that is attracted to the allure of an unequal balance of power.

    • Bo Ximenes

      And you were attracted to this type of personality, so much so, that you married him?

      • Digi13

        And you are so out of line with this comment it’s disgusting! Notice she also divorced him! Most abusers charm the women they want and after they have them that’s when the abuse starts. I guess though you’ll pass your judgment without any facts on her, unlike having evidence on these officers. You’re kind of the pot calling the kettle black here now aren’t you Mister know the facts before you jump to conclusions!
        You actually owe this woman an apology, but I doubt your arrogant and self centered it’s all about me personality will allow such a thing. Because as you’ve tried proving thought this forum, you’re the only one who is fair and just and willing to wait for all eveidence.
        Personally I think you’re just another little minded jackass that gets off trying to look impressive hiding behind his computer or phone screen. Trust me though if most commenters are like me, they’ve laughed at your argumentive posts as you ramble and repeat yourself.

        • Bo Ximenes

          Simmer down there digi. It sounds as if you’ve been abused yourself? I hope you’re doing better and have escaped what you were experiencing?

          • Digi13

            No actually I haven’t, but I’ve seen too many women that have. You proved my point though, you aren’t man enough to admit you did the same thing to this lady in judging her as you were accusing everyone of doing to the officers. Nor were you man enough to just apologize. No response to me is needed, I’ve better things to do. I just had to show you were just like everyone else here in jumping to conclusions without evidence to support your accusations. Enjoy awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

          • Bo Ximenes

            Well, i’m glad you haven’t been abused. I, too, have seen many women and children abused and realize what a difficult situation they’re in. As to the woman (amber) that you want me to apologize to I really have my doubts that what she is writing is true. Just my honest opinion.

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  • Social Conservative

    Lock up those scum bags in their own jail and throw away the key!

  • Connor Macleod

    Why did they raid the shop in the 1st place

  • Jimmy J

    Thankfully the police will look into whether the police were breaking the law. I was worried they were going to get away with it. Honestly entire communities are being “policed” by legalized gangs with guns, they represent the worst of America. This is not true for all police departments but those of you who are good cops are complicit because you will not speak out against thugs like these. You all have made your own bed now lay in it.

  • Sarah

    “I don’t know if that’s an edible”? Hahaha. The OC Register reports that none of them have even been put on administrative leave.

  • Ian Battles

    Drug test the cops.

    “If they haven’t done anything wrong, they should have nothing to worry about.”

  • Brian Folks

    Your tax dollars at work. Cops busting pot dispensaries while outside real crimes are being committed, then stand around playing darts, eating lunch and bullshitting with each other. Is anyone really proud of these morons that are too dumb to realize they could still be on camera?

    • Bo Ximenes

      I take it you won’t be calling the police when you need them?

      • ippon

        weak minded response….I work for several property management companies and on occasion have to involve the police. I expect them to do their job, nothing more, nothing less.

        • Bo Ximenes

          Weak minded? It was just a simple question. Why are you getting defensive? By the way…you ever take a break while working for the several property management companies that employ you?

          • ippon

            not in the middle of job, i wait until i’m done. were they on break when destroying cameras, or playing darts? I answered your simple question, yes, and i expect them to do their job. nothing more, nothing less, no destruction of property, no taking a “break” in the middle of doing said job.

          • Bo Ximenes

            Destruction of property? You seem to know more about what the judge has ordered the police to seize on that search warrant than all of us? Care to tell us what they were ordered to seize?

          • ippon

            nope, could have included retrieving tapes, kind of doubt it said knock cameras of walls, which seemed to be their first priority, wonder why…hmmmm….wonder if it included playing darts? Back to your original question, yes, and i expect them to do their job, nothing more, nothing less.

          • Bo Ximenes

            Obviously because they’re all crooked, just like teachers, lawyers, clergy, etc. It’s funny that you can be so easlly influenced by an “edited” tape. But, again, it appears that you had already made up your mind about cops in general before you even viewed this video. That’s ok.

          • ippon

            and you made up your mind that their all saints even if they wanna kick a few disabled in the “nub.. that’s ok too

          • Bo Ximenes

            No, on the contrary. I believe everyone deserves a fair trial and or investigation. Yeah, even the cops. They should be held to a higher level, but deserve a trial or investigation. That’s all I’m saying. People are so quick to judge, you included, and we need to allow for everything to come out first before we render a decision. There are bad cops out there no doubt. But they’re making this out to be a bigger deal than it actually is and it’s from an ‘edited’ tape. Why hasn’t the rest of the tape been released? Maybe that will answer some questions?

          • ippon

            I agree that we need to see the whole tape.

          • Bo Ximenes

            Good to hear ippon. Now go flip your next opponent on his back.

          • ramonzarat

            What’s obvious here is you intensely advocating FOR the cops. You are clearly not impartial here. What they did and how they did it is wrong on so many levels, edited tape or not, I don’t even know where to start!

            Nothing that was shown here has an hypothetical context where it would be acceptable, and here you are, trying to convince us all that such a twisted scenario actually ecxist. A scenario where the cop on this video did 100% all right.

            You are taking us for retarded fools and that’s very insulting to our collective intelligence. Those cops did a terrible job and acted reprehensibly, period. I wish them luck to defend themselves with these irrefutable videos that survived despite their attempt to destroy the evidences.

          • Bo Ximenes

            You’re obviously not mentally challenged, at least I hope not. What I’m advocating is for everyone to await what the investigation reveals and to view the entire video. You wouldn’t want the same for yourself?

          • Bo Ximenes

            “Edited” tape Ramon…edited tape.

          • Paul Lucas

            Were they ordered to destroy the cameras? Or sample the contraband by eating it?

          • Bo Ximenes

            Paul, what type of edible were they eating? For clarification, are you opposed to opening up an investigation? Or would you rather just convict them all of what you’re purporting without any investigation? Here in the United States we have a justice system where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. You may not like it, but it’s the way the system works around here.

          • Stephen Reb

            I love these video exposes! The public is shown almost every day the sort of poorly educated, foul-mouthed, criminal slobs we pay to police our streets. What trash. But now it’s finally out in the open. Only the the most bitter, hate-filled morons can defend these swine.

          • Bo Ximenes

            Sounds as if you’re describing yourself?

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  • kevinl4000

    Does anyone else see a conflict of interest in the Santa Ana PD investigating themselves?

    • Ian Battles

      It’s not like the DA has the integrity to pursue charges…

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  • Bob A. Booey

    It’s going to be a problem with the police investigating themselves.

    I’ll bet the union won’t allow any rug tests.

    In a private sector job, everyone of those people would have been looking for a job as soon as this video went public (as it should be).

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  • Paul Lucas

    Adam, Norberto, please demand a urine test for all the officers involved in this raid.

    • Bo Ximenes

      And when they come back negative are you going to believe the results?

      • rogerrramjet

        WOW, do you work for the cop union or what? Besides it’s a month after the raid. Maybe hair tests and if it comes back positive are you going to be okay with that or still be copsucker.

        • Bo Ximenes

          Assuming they get tested, yes, I’ll accept the test results. Will you rogerrimjob?

          • Arcanek

            So now it’s down in the dirt with name calling. Couldn’t keep it clean, could you? Looks like his comment hit home.

        • Paul Lucas

          This wasn’t a month ago it was last week.

      • ramonzarat

        No, I would not. UNLESS it would be done BLINDLY by at least 2 INDEPENDENT labs. Then yes, I would accept the results.

        The real question here is this: Would *YOU* accept the results done ONLY by the Santa Ana police lab?

        • Bo Ximenes

          Your response is a perfect example of how all of us commenting here, me included, don’t know everything. As far as I know the Santa Ana Police lab does NOT conduct urinalysis. In other words that is NOT an option.

        • Bo Ximenes

          Ramon, can you honestly see what they are eating? The video qualty isn’t the best and I honestly can’t make it out.

  • Steve Downing

    The Chief of Police should be easily able to determine which, if not all, officers took part in ingesting the marijuana. Give each of them a drug test. This is usually a random process in police departments- – now we have a situation where there is a “reasonable suspecion” in view of the “totality of circumstances” to administer drug tests. The THC will be discoverable for at least a week. So, he should order the tests now and let the public know that this has been accomplished as part of his investigation into the other thug-like behavior displayed in these films. As a former law enforcment professional, I am personally embarrassed for the Santa Ana Police Department and sickened by the behavior of these thugs who have tainted my profession.

    • $$$$

      And two be fair pee in two cups for two different labs

    • Sarah

      The raid was reported as having taken place last month. Too late for drug test now.

      • Nicholas Colyer

        Hair samples…

        • Rawr

          They’ll use hair sample on criminal without badges. Not on their own kind.

    • Rawr

      None of them will goto jail. They may lose their job, but then join a diff dept in a couple of months. No one goes to jail unless you’re poor.

  • Rod Hansen

    Just your typical cop behavior.

  • Paul Lucas

    These officers are getting high on the job eating edibles. The thing with edibles is tha they come on real slow but real heavy. Id like to see how these officers behaved after eating those edibles.

    • Bo Ximenes

      Are you absolutely sure they were eating marijuana edibles? Come on Paul…I thought you were smarter than that.

      • Paul Lucas

        Yes I am sure they were eating edibles. And who are you ? I don’t know you.

        • Bo Ximenes

          And how do you know that? Were you there? Come on Paul! You’ve come to a conclusion before the investigation is even complete. You’re smarter than that.

          • rogerrramjet

            OH puhleeze you know and I know and everyone watching this KNOWS that is what they were eating. Grow up and stop defending the cops.

          • Bo Ximenes

            Does that wig give you some sort of incredible eyesight, because I honestly can’t make out what they’re eating.

          • Rachel Flanagan

            Its pretty clear to everyone but the police what the officers were eating.

          • Rachel Flanagan

            Police Chief Roja’s is that you?

          • Bo Ximenes

            Ok, since you can see better than everyone else here what kind of edible was it? Was it a brownie, candy, gummy? If they were eating edibles then they should be disciplined. But I highly doubt it.

          • Rachel Flanagan

            I think the owners of the shop will be much more qualified to answer the specific products the police stole and consumed.
            I smell a big settlement for the dispensary, and they deserve it.

            Yes, we all got a first hand look at Santa Ana police, when they thought they weren’t being watched. A disgrace to the uniform and the job.

          • Bo Ximenes

            So YOU don’t know?

          • Rachel Flanagan

            You’re not in the court of law, give it a rest.

            When the camera’s on, no one’s eating, but once they thought the cameras came down, they began gouging themselves on store product.

            How many stoned police drove their vehicle for the rest of the day?
            An offense, I’m sure they’ve arrested many citizens for.

          • Bo Ximenes

            I’m just using some common sense here. No one is arguing that they were eating. The question is what were they eating? It seems that even you cannot tell me what type of “edible” they were chowing down on.

          • ramonzarat

            Tell us, “Bo Ximenes”, what is your opinion on this case?

            Do you agree with what the cops did there? The over the top unjustified raid? The illegal arrests? The destruction or personal propriety? The total lack of professionalism?

            You agree with all that?

          • Bo Ximenes

            I only know what the article reads and what the “edited ” video shows us. Ramon, you mention ‘unjustified raid’ and ‘illegal arrests’. The cops served a search warrant signed by a judge ordering them to execute the search warrant. We can argue how they went about serving the warrant, but they were ‘justified’ to serve the warrant. As far as illegal arrests, you’re the first one I’ve heard that from. Who was ‘illegally’ arrested? Again, illegally not who you feel shouldn’t be arrested. Bottom line, you, me and everyone should wait to see what the investigation reveals. If it were you or someone you cared about you’d expect the same.

          • Arcanek

            No, you’re not using common sense. You’re rationalizing, which is fallacious. Why were they eating on the job,during a drug raid? Do you actually think that is part of a professional raid? The raid should have been captured on video once the location was secured. Are you suggesting that the cops brought the food in with them? On a raid? Or that it is ok for the cops to eat whatever they find, as long as it is not contraband? And what about dismantling the cameras? What is the legal justification for that? You are either a shill or extremely stupid. I suspect both.

          • Robert Brown

            I wish they just drove stoned. Its the Benzos and Pain Pills that concern me.

        • LB Concerned Citizen

          Yep, just check out the dialogue.

      • LB Concerned Citizen

        Look at the dialogue….it’ll make you smarter !

  • Paul Lucas

    That’s a bold statement about a council member having a financial stake but I would nit be surprised.

  • Red

    shoot these brutal pigs in the head

  • Paul Lucas

    This is just going to get worse.

    • Rawr

      Civil War!