Russ Belville, Portland Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Examiner
July 21, 2011

An Alameda County medical marijuana patient is reeling after sheriffs raided his garden and threatened to kill his pet dog today.

Jason Rivera, a paraplegic who suffers severe chronic pain, was detained by sheriffs presenting a warrant at his recording studio. The warrant was based on the tip of an anonymous informant, said Rivera, recounting the statements of deputies on the scene.

As sheriffs executed the warrant at the studio, one asked Rivera about searching his home. Rivera says the deputy threatened to kill his dog if he didn’t cooperate. “We can do this the easy way and you can take us to your house to look around,” Rivera recounts the deputy saying, “or we can detain you for six hours while we get a warrant and go to your house and shoot your dog.”

The killing of family pets by SWAT officers during marijuana raids has generated numerous headlines recently, including chilling video of a raid in Columbia, Missouri, where a man’s dog was shot seven times while the man’s seven-year-old child slept in the next room. In these cases, police spokespersons defend the actions of the officers by explaining that in these no-knock raids, securing the premises and eliminating immediate threats to officer safety is standard operating procedure. Rarely are any officers punished for the wanton killing of these animals that are merely defending their homes from intruders.

In Rivera’s case, however, we have officers who are obviously aware there is a dog at his home. They cannot justify using force against the animal when they have plenty of time to contact Animal Control and deal with the potential threat humanely. This threat is nothing more than emotional terrorism by our domestic police force to trample a disabled man’s Fourth Amendment rights in a crusade over a plant.

(Full disclosure: Rivera is also known as “RoLLaJaY” and one of the closest friends of the NORML SHOW LIVE podcast I produce. He donated to NORML thousands of dollars of used recording equipment that makes our show possible. He lives on a Social Security disability fixed income and requires a great amount of cannabis medicine just to live a pain-free life. He had very little usable medicine and about $80 cash when the raid occurred; coincidentally as he was listening to today’s NORML SHOW LIVE. Life in a prison cell without cannabis would be devastating for RoLLaJaY… far more so than the lesser time some lowlife coward snitch just traded for my friend’s health and freedom.)

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