A veteran of the U.S. special forces is suing a Colorado police department for raiding his house looking for marijuana. What's the basis for the lawsuit? Well, turns out the soldier had a permit to grow marijuana.
At 6 a.m. on July 22nd, 2016, a SWAT team from Fountain, Colorado burst into the home of Eli Olivas and his girlfriend Marisela Chavez. The police used a flash-bang device and pointed assault rifles into the faces of the couple. They were then forced outside and told to sit next to the exhaust pipe of a running police car. According to the lawsuit, the couple began experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including "difficulty seeing, faintness, nausea and headaches."
The police broke a gate at Olivas' home, seized his three of his guns, which he legally owned, and presented him with a complaint for an illegal marijuana grow.
The issue is Olivas had a permit to grow marijuana. He received the permit to help treat his PTSD he developed as part of his tours in Iraq and Bosnia, for which he earned a Bronze Star. Under Colorado law at the time, citizens with grow permits can have up to 99 marijuana plants on their property. Olivas only had 18 plants inside his greenhouse.
The lawsuit claims that the Fountain police failed to properly train their officers in investigating marijuana cases. A simple search would've shown that Olivas owned a permit and therefore any cannabis plants on his property would be perfectly legal. The lawsuit also claims the illegal search caused undo stress on Olivas and caused a relapse of his PTSD.
In defense of his department, Fountain Police Chief Chris Heberer said, "At the end of the day he was safe, the public was safe and we were safe."
Wasting police resources? Traumatizing a war hero? Subjecting innocent citizens to carbon monoxide poisoning? Well, no one died, so we should just move on with our day...