Civil Rights Violated
Around 12am on April 22, 2010, my boyfriend and I were taking our dogs for a walk. When we returned to his front door there were two police officers scoping out the place waiting. My boyfriend walked around the side to dispose of the dog’s waist where he was approached by other officers and held for questioning. I was held at the front door. The female officer allowed me to put the dog I was walking inside the door but made me stay outside. She explained to me that a neighbor had reported a possible meth lab in his home. We had small talk for a few minutes. They asked me to get the other dog from my boyfriend and place it inside as well but to remain outside, and I complied.
While I was still being held at the door, the other officer asked my boyfriend if they could enter his house for a brief walk through. He told them no because the dogs would get upset and wake up his roommate. Then they came and told me “your boyfriend wants you to put the dogs out back so we can enter”. Of course I believed them and went inside and took the dogs to the back porch. On my way back to the front door, they already had opened it and were letting themselves inside. A few officers made it inside before I even saw my boyfriend coming in. He had no idea they were getting in. Not only did they lie and trick their way in but they came in on their own.
The female officer held me in the living room while 3 others held my boyfriend in his bedroom, and another was in the kitchen searching through closets, pantries, and drawers without a search warrant. My boyfriend is currently enrolled in culinary school. He had some lamps, potting soil and the set up in his room to grow an herb garden. He and my 11yr old daughter were planning to grow herbs and spices for him to use in cooking. They assumed that it was for growing pot.
So when they found those items they asked my boyfriend what they were for and he told them the truth about the herb garden, then the female officer asked me about them and seemed very irritated that I gave the same answer. They proceeded to wake up his roommate for questioning and they found two marijuana pipes from him (still without a search warrant) and discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from a traffic violation.
Around 1am the female officer asked me to take myself and my 3yr old daughter home for the night because they would be here for a while. Around 2:30 am or so my boyfriend called me to come pick him up because they were rushing him out of his own house and they were to remain in the home until the search warrant showed up. After we got to my house he called the Tempe police department to find out what was going on, this was around 4am and they stated that the search warrant was still not there yet, and would call us when they were finished.
Around 6am we got the call and they told my boyfriend that they were finished and that he was to be charged with possession of paraphernalia. Around noon we returned to the home to find the copy of the search warrant and the list of items seized. The search warrant showed it arrived there at 4:55am and the list showed that they took one of the lamps, a t-shirt with marijuana leaves on it, a decoration from the ceiling that had fake (fabric) marijuana leaves, a pipe and index cards that were his notes from a school project. The school project was to show how hemp oil for cooking was healthier for you and provided more nutrients than other cooking oils.
The following evening, again after midnight, an officer came beating on the front door again. He read my boyfriend his rights and stated that he was there to arrest and release him as well as serve the citation.
Thank you for taking the time to read over this I know it is long, and please be advised that the Tempe police are under the impression that they can barge into you home whenever they feel the need and perform illegal searches and waste their time when they could be solving real crimes and arresting real criminals. Do not let this happen to you. If you know of any organizations or advocates that could help please respond to this posting.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP MY BOYFRIEND IS SEEKING A LAWYER BUT FUNDS ARE LOW DUE TO HIM BEING A FULL TIME CULINARY STUDENT AND HE IS WILLING TO SUPPLY FREE MEALS OR CATERING IN RETURN FOR DONATIONS TO RAISE THE MONEY FOR A LAWYER. ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.