In a lawsuit against cops who forced him to eat weed, a man accepted a generous settlement. Although the victim was vindicated, it’s a bizarre and sickening case from start to finish. Worse still, it’s just one piece of the horrifically widespread issue of police brutality in the United States.
This lawsuit against cops who forced him to eat weed has weighed on Edgar Castro for over a year now. But what exactly happened?
According to the lawsuit. back in September 2016, police officers pulled over Castro, then 19 years old, for speeding in Phoenix, Arizona at 3:58 a.m. The officers, Jason McFadden and Michael Carnicle, saw a small amount of cannabis in Castro’s vehicle. Some of the cannabis was in packaging from a medical marijuana dispensary.
Shortly after, two more officers, Kevin Harsch and Richard Pina, arrived on the scene. Harsch, who is not a defendant in the suit, said that he overheard McFadden say, “Oh, we should make him eat it.” Harsch left the scene to assist another officer elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Castro was handcuffed and placed in the back of one of the police vehicles. During this time, Pina and Carnicle conducted a search of Castro’s car. After the search, Castro was removed from the police car and instructed to sit on the ground.
Where It Gets Dicey
As reported in the lawsuit, McFadden asked Castro if he wanted to be able to go home; Castro replied in the affirmative:
Defendant McFadden then told Plaintiff to eat the marijuana or he would be going to jail. Plaintiff asked Defendant Pina if he really had to eat the marijuana, to which Defendant Pina responded, “yeah! You need to eat it.” Plaintiff asked for his phone so that he could record the incident and McFadden stated that if he grabbed it he would be shot.
To reiterate: McFadden threatened to shoot Castro, who was unarmed and 19 years old at the time of the incident.
After initial protest, Castro ate the weed. He then asked to speak to a supervisor. Sergeant Jordan arrived he asked Officer Carnicle if they were going to book Castro for possession; they were not.
Sergeant Jordan spoke with Plaintiff. Plaintiff asked Sergeant Jordan “is it wrong for an officer to make you eat your weed?” Upon information and belief, Sergeant Jordan said, “McFadden stated that it was against the law to have weed.” Sergeant Jordan then left the scene.
The defendants towed his car and forced him to walk home. As the officers drove away, McFadden told Castro, “don’t get shot tonight.” As a result of the officers’ actions, Castro “became ill and vomited.”
After the incident, Castro made a formal complaint against the officers who assaulted him. Sergeant Jordan notified his immediate supervisor, Lieutenant Farrior, who said they would take care of it later that week. Jordan was “uneasy about the situation,” and began to review the police footage. He then filled in Lieutenant Winchester, who said that the incident needed to be reported. Farrior was later demoted for his failure to act according to standards. Pina, Carnicle and McFadden resigned, according to AZ Family.
The defendants of the lawsuit are McFadden, Pina, Farrior, Carnicle and the City of Phoenix. Castro requested compensatory damages as well as punitive damages against the individual defendants.
Final Hit: Man Settles In Lawsuit Against Cops Who Forced Him To Eat Weed
In the lawsuit against cops who forced him to eat weed, Castro settled for $100,000 in damages. But for him, it’s more than just the money. He hopes that the treatment he endured will jumpstart improvements in police policy.
“The officers who violated me did it because they felt like they could,” he said. “They felt their uniforms made it OK for them to be racist… and treat me like a second-class citizen… Dirty cops with records of assaulting people in the worst ways imaginable should never be hired by other departments. There should be systems in place to make sure these sick individuals never carry a gun or a badge again.”
Castro’s assault is just one example of police brutality. More specifically, his case is just one example of police brutality that is related to cannabis possession.