Originally published April 1 2014
Kansas couple seeks justice after militarized police raid home over indoor hydroponic growing equipment
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A Kansas City-area couple whose upscale home was illegally invaded by police in a SWAT-style raid back in 2012 is demanding justice, including access to the documents that allegedly justified the raid and $7 million in damages. Reports indicate that the Harte family of Leawood, Kansas, was literally held hostage at gunpoint by law enforcement goons who ravaged their house and tore apart hydroponic growing equipment that they falsely believed to be part of a nonexistent marijuana grow operation in the family's basement.
KCTV 5 News in Kansas City explains that the horrific incident occurred after an obviously senseless Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) officer spotted Robert Harte walking out of an organic hydroponic equipment store with his 13-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter earlier that year. Harte was allegedly seen carrying "a small bag of merchandise," which the MHP officer ridiculously assumed might contain paraphernalia for growing cannabis.
Roughly eight months elapsed following this observance when the Hartes suddenly noticed that their trash was being rummaged through by what appeared to be government officials. And within days, deputies showed up and battered down the Harte's door, storming the house and terrorizing the family at gunpoint while they desperately searched for something with which to incriminate the Hartes, which they never did find.
When raid turns up empty, mindless cops falsely accuse teenage boy of smoking dope After it became clear that the Hartes were not running a secret marijuana grow operation in their basement -- all that growing equipment the family purchased from the hydroponic store was being used to grow vegetables and tea plants -- the jackboots who initiated the raid then tried to falsely accuse the couple's 13-year-old son of using marijuana. But the boy was obviously innocent, which had already been made evident by the fact that drug-sniffing dogs used during the raid turned up nothing cannabis-related in the house.
"The Hartes -- targeted as marijuana growers on the basis of innocent purchases and the brewing of loose tea leaves that they discarded in the trash -- were intimidated, accused, traumatized and held under armed guard for 2 1/2 hours despite the fact it was clear on the warrant on its face rested on virtually no grounds," reads a lawsuit filed by the family following the illegal raid.
"It was obvious after the discovery of the vegetable plants that the prolonged and illegal search was aimed simply at uncovering something that would get the deputies off the hook for their improper actions," adds the suit. "But the Hartes had never used any type of drugs, and there was nothing to find."
Harsh penalties required for police units that break the law by conducting illegal raids For all the trauma and disturbance the Hartes sustained as a result of the raid, the family is now seeking $7 million in damages. If successful, the suit will hopefully have the consequence of discouraging police units everywhere from breaking the law by conducting illegal searches without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
"The raids were not a legitimate law enforcement operation, but rather were part of a publicity binge intended to place the sheriff and the department in a positive light," adds the suit, noting that deputies had never conducted a proper investigation prior to the raid, nor did they perform any due diligence in gathering evidence and making a proper case.
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