California Man Demands Damages; Cops Beat Him And Took His Joint


Graphic: Jim Wheeler

​A California man who is a medical marijuana patient is demanding punitive damages against Berkeley police officers, saying they ran him over with a bicycle, knocked him down, and stomped him because he was smoking a joint during a Mardi Gras parade.

J. Hadley Louden said he was marching down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley during the 2009 Mardi Gras parade, with a large set of drums and cymbals harnessed to him, smoking a joint, reports Robert Kahn of Courthouse News Service.
According to Louden, he was the leader of the band.
Louden said a Berkeley cop, “Kelley,” approached him and demanded the joint. Louden explained his possession was legal and turned away, according to the complaint in Alameda County Court.

Photo: Raw Spirit Festivals
J. Hadley Louden wouldn’t give up his joint, so the cops beat him down.

​I guess cops really don’t like it when you won’t give up a joint. Because what happened then got way worse. Another cop, “Cummings,” rammed him with a bicycle, injuring him and damaging his drums, Louden said.
Louden then turned back to Officer Kelley and handed her the joint, at which point the other cops must have decided it was time to “teach him a lesson.”
Louden said the Berkeley police officers “kneeled and stood on top of him, kicking, stomping and pressing his face and body into the pavement, while handcuffing him.”
He said the officers stomped him in the back with boots, twisted his arms and handcuffed him improperly and painfully, and threatened him with a large knife which they then used to “needlessly and roughly” cut his drum straps.
Louden called the cops’ actions “gratuitous mayhem, clearly carried out maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.”
Louden is demanding punitive damages for civil rights violations. He is being represented by attorney Dennis Cunningham of San Francisco.