Target: Will Johnson, Chief of Arlington, Texas, Police Department
Goal: Demand apologies and repayment for the destruction of Garden of Eden Organic Farm during a groundless marijuana raid, and end the surveillance of farms via unmanned aircrafts.
A SWAT team in Arlington, Texas, conducted a ten-hour marijuana raid on Garden of Eden Organic Farm. This raid occurred after photos taken from a surveillance drone showed evidence of plants growing at the farm that appeared to be marijuana. These plants were, in reality, tomato plants. The farm’s property owner and manager reports that police “destroyed everything” during the raid; the six adults who lived and worked there were handcuffed and held at gunpoint. In addition, police “seized and destroyed 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants and sunflowers.” Ultimately, no evidence of drug use, distribution, or criminal wrongdoing was found on the farm, although police did manage to arrest one worker for an outstanding parking ticket. Although the six adults terrorized by the SWAT team all swear that this raid lasted over ten hours, RT reports that Arlington police claim that the raid lasted “only 45 minutes.”
This action epitomizes the American police state. Thousands of dollars of equipment and produce were destroyed during this faulty drug raid. The officers responsible for gathering intelligence and conducting surveillance cannot even be trusted to do this properly and without causing undue harm to innocent civilians. The Arlington police must admit to the faulty nature of this raid and the faulty surveillance responsible for it. Chief Will Johnson must discipline the officers responsible for this mistake, and his department must reimburse the workers and owners of the Garden of Eden farm for any monetary, psychological, and property damages occurring as a result of this groundless drug raid.
Dear Chief Will Johnson,
Your department authorized a groundless drug raid on an organic farm. Despite there being of no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the property belonging to the owners, workers, and managers of Garden of Eden Farm, your SWAT team members destroyed “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants and sunflowers”, according to recent reports. Your agents handcuffed and held six workers and residents of the farm at gunpoint. This all happened because members of the Arlington Police force misidentified tomato plants as marijuana plants. This is surely embarrassing news for you and your department, but it is infuriating news to civilians both in and outside of Texas.
It is frightening to think that police can brazenly enter somebody’s place of work or residence simply due to faulty intelligence. If the members of your department responsible for enforcing drug law and policy cannot even properly identify the drugs for which they are supposed to be searching, how can they be trusted to authorize and carry out drug raids? The answer is that they clearly cannot. What use is the intelligence issuing from your beloved surveillance drones if the professionals responsible for processing their content cannot do their jobs correctly? The workers, residents, and owners of Garden of Eden Farm deserve compensation, restitution, and a formal apology for the actions of the Arlington Police. Do not keep destroying the jobs and lives of innocent civilians via these quixotic marijuana raids.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: smlp.co.uk via Flickr