Long Beach Pursues Costly Marijuana Raids; Lawsuits Result


A Long Beach cop smashes the video surveillance camera at the THC Downtown Collective

City Is Broke, Yet It Pursues Expensive, Futile Marijuana Dispensary Raids, Resulting In $1 Million Lawsuit
The City of Long Beach, California had an estimated deficit of $14 million in 2011. At an August 2, 2011 news conference covering the “fiscal year 2012 proposed budget,” Mayor Bob Foster is quoted as saying, “We have an extraordinary hole to climb out of and as all of you know, the first rule of holes is when you are in one you stop digging, we need to stop digging.”
On June 19, for a medical marijuana collective raid, the local government utilized roughly 14 of its police officers, numerous patrol cars, the fire department, a hospital ambulance, a city official of the Department of Finance (Erik Sund) and an attorney from the City Attorney’s office (Kendra Carney). All were intermittently onsite for an estimated time of 4-5 man-hours.

The purpose was a raid of a medical cannabis dispensary named THC Downtown Collective, that had not payed the $14,742 fee to enter a now debunked lottery held by the City of Long Beach. The lottery and its ordinance were determined to be illegal by a Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The judge’s ruling on the ordinance states “the evidence seems to show that the city through its police have used what I refer to as strong arm tactics to knock down doors of the collectives without a warrant and without exigent circumstances.”
While the Court of Appeals has made this determination, the City of Long Beach is still spending tremendous amounts of man-hours and city funds to raid medical cannabis facilities. The amount of taxpayer money spent on these raids is unknown, as is the amount spent in total to pursue and jail several collectives and members for misdemeanor citations (which are the equivalent to code violations) around the city over the last few years.
It is known that the amount of money amassed in the city’s illegal lottery, which was to be a non-refundable fee, totaled nearly $1 million and had caused an enormous amount of funding for the City. The lottery (City of Long Beach) was supposed to refund all monies to the collectives after the federal ruling was imposed.
To date, none of the collectives have received any refund from the city, but have been instead repeatedly persecuted.
Currently there are dozens of medical cannabis lawsuits pending with more being filed weekly due to Long Beach city officials inability to come to a common agreement with it’s pro-medical cannabis citizens and the California State Law. Estimates of liable damages for these collectives are in the hundreds of millions.
It was reported in LBReport.com on August 4, 2011, that millions of dollars of Long Beach City Hall’s current $33-$40 million three-year projected deficit is attributable to actions advocated by Mayor Bob Foster in his first term.
Also of note, stemming from the THC Downtown raid of June 19, there is a new lawsuit being filed by employee Dorian Brooks who is alleging that the officers on that raid had used excessive force and debasing racial comments while detaining him on misdemeanor charges prior to being jailed.
The video shows Brooks surrendering to police by lying facedown on the floor, reports Josh Crank at Lawyers.com. One officer then appears to step on Brooks’ back and neck before handcuffing him with the assistance of two more officers. Shortly after that, the officers notice the security camera in the room, which they destroy.
Long Beach Police confiscated the video recording equipment they found onsite, but the morons didn’t realize the video was being recorded at an offsite location. Days later, the footage of Brooks’ arrest was posted to YouTube, along with video of a police officer smashing a second camera and a brief tour of the ransacked shop.
“They noticed there was a camera that was on the wall right above my head, so they proceeded to smash it with a metal rod,” Brooks told NBC Los Angeles. “I wasn’t able to protect myself because my hands were cuffed. I felt violated; I felt disrespected.”
In addition to confiscating video equipment and causing what THC Downtown Collective employees estimate to be tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage, Long Beach Police also stole, I mean “confiscated,” computers, cash, an entire ATM and medical marijuana.
These actions were captured on video and now the Long Beach Police Chief along with other city officials are purportedly reviewing the contents. Long Beach Police claimed a “thorough review” of the incident will be undertaken, reports Dennis Romero of LA Weekly.