Last week, police ran up the stairs of an apartment building, donned with MP5 submachine guns. Holding a battering ram, they pounded on the door of 50 year old Will Laudanski. The disabled veteran was tying his robe and reaching to open the door when the police pushed past him in a rush.
Laudanski wasn’t wanted for a violent crime. He wasn’t even suspected of running a major drug operation. The reason for the raid was that people in the four-unit apartment building had complained of the scent of marijuana.
Cops found marijuana. They discovered Laudanski’s growing operation in his back bedroom. Unfortunately for them, the growing “operation” consisted of two plants, each about one foot high.
Laudanski is an authorized medical marijuana user. He tried telling the police that as they rushed past him. His paperwork was in the home, authorizing him to grow up to 15 plants. He had broken no laws and the police admit that.
Seattle Police spokesperson Sean Whitcomb said, “Clearly, in this case, there was no law violation that was discovered.” Police didn’t take the plants. They simply left after determining no laws had been broken.
But, it would seem that a minimal investigation could have uncovered this fact as well. Couldn’t the police simply have knocked on Laudanski’s door and asked him some questions? He may have even let them in to look around.
Seattle police and the Mayor have said repeatedly that marijuana enforcement is on their lowest list of priorities. There are much bigger fish to fry and it would seem much more important things for the taxpayers to spend their money on.
Laudanski says the police “ransacked” his apartment and left a large crack down the center of his door. They tossed things around and made a general mess of things.
“Our mission is to enforce the law. We do that by gathering information of any evidence of any criminal violation,” says Whitcomb. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t look like much intelligence gathering took place here. The police got complaints and allowed their drug dog to sniff around the apartments before getting a warrant.
Despite medical marijuana laws and the words of city officials who state marijuana enforcement isn’t a priority—their actions speak to the contrary. Regardless of how much pot you have, your home can be raided by gun toting cops.
If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana or any other drug offense, our Washington state attorneys can help with a free case evaluation. Let’s talk about your case and whether or not the police had legal justification to search you or your property.