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Texas Commune Sues After SWAT Raid Gone Very Wrong

You know the old lyric: You say tomato, police say illegal marijuana grow-op
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2015 3:16 PM CDT
Updated Aug 16, 2015 10:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – A commune in Arlington, Texas, is suing the city two years after a no-knock SWAT raid resulted in handcuffed residents, an eight-hour search, and absolutely nothing illegal, specifically the guns and marijuana police believed were there, the Houston Chronicle reports. The lawsuit, filed by Garden of Eden residents last month, claims police violated their rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure during the Aug. 2, 2013, raid, in which the 20-man team came in with guns drawn, cut down and hauled off healthy plants (among them, sweet potato and tomatillo), and broke irrigation lines. "We were treated worse than criminals, like terrorists," resident Quinn Eaker tells the Chronicle. He says the Garden of Eden is filing the suit to keep the same thing from happening to anyone else.

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The lawsuit alleges police had no probable cause; the Chronicle relays the four points detective Magdalena Perez made in a probable cause affidavit: Eaker "committed the offense of possession of marijuana" about a month prior; an anonymous source claimed Eaker had guns on the property; a pilot on a surveillance flyover saw what he thought was possibly pot; and the commune's website described its food as "uber dank high vibe cuisine," which Perez wrote she knew was slang for good pot. Except the Dallas Observer reports Eaker hadn't been arrested or cited for pot possession; NBC DFW reports the tall plants spotted by the surveillance plane turned out to be tomatoes; and no drugs or guns were found. As for the "uber dank" food, the plaintiffs note that the commune's website has a lengthy translation of the phrase, which means delicious and was born when Eaker once uttered, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, this is UBER DANK," while eating. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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