Last month, High Times brought you a report on a vile group of Santa Ana police officers that got caught on surveillance cameras eating marijuana edibles as well as making inappropriate comments about a disabled patient during a raid at a local dispensary. Well, it seems some of the officers who have been suspended from duty as the result of the viral video have since filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent the footage from being used against them in an internal investigation.
According to the Orange County Register, three unidentified police officers in conjunction with the Santa Ana Police Officers Association seek to prevent internal affairs investigators with the Santa Ana Police Department from using the security footage from their May 26 raid at the Sky High Collective because they claim their privacy rights were violated.
Attorneys for these despicable human beings argue that since the officers were under the impression that they had disabled all of the surveillance cameras in the dispensary, the video that has surfaced, and been published around the world, should not be admissible in the internal affairs investigation because none of the officers were aware they were being recorded. Essentially, the cops are suggesting that since the dispensary never obtained their permission to document their activities, the use of the video violates California state law.
“All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks,” reads the suit. “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer.”
However, as Reason’s Jacob Sullum points out in his latest column, California’s eavesdropping law indicates that “all parties to any confidential communication must give permission to be recorded” unless the conversation is recorded “in public places, government proceedings, or in circumstances where the participants of the conversation could reasonably expect to be overheard or recorded.” Therefore, since the video was captured in a dispensary, a public place, the three cops are going to have a hard time arguing that the recording breaks any laws.
Matthew Pappas, a lawyer for Sky High, told reporters that it is funny how these officers have presented a double standard in regards to this case – desperately seeking for this video to be vacated from evidence when they regularly employ the same documentary practices to build cases against the average citizen.
“It’s pretty pathetic for police to say if we don’t like something that it can’t be used as evidence,” Pappas said. “They knew they were on video… Just because they missed one camera doesn’t make it illegal.”