Lawsuit: Couple detained after hibiscus mistaken for pot

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 17, 2017

Despite the fact that no marijuana was found on the property, Nationwide Mutual Insurance sent them a letter on October 26, threatening to cancel their policy if they failed to remove the marijuana plants.

Audrey Cramer, 66, said she was partially dressed when she went to the door and police would not let her put on trousers before she was handcuffed. The one on the right is kenaf hibiscus, a plant which is not marijuana.

The suit says she explained that the plants were flowering hibiscus plants, but Hess, claiming expertise, insisted that they were marijuana.

"I'm starting to understand why a lot of the public do not trust police officers.I really feel like I've been smacked in the face with this, and no, I don't think I'll ever trust a police officer again."

On October 5, the agent spotted the hibiscus plants while investigating a fallen tree on the property of Buffalo Township, PA couple Edward and Audrey Cramer.

A hibiscus on display at a retail store on August 9, 2016, in Miami.

Two days later, police came to the property.

During that time, officers ransacked their home looking for the alleged marijuana, which was nonexistent.

The couple's allegations include the use of excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. Township police also declined to comment.

The Cramers' attorney Al Lindsay said they are seeking punitive damages. "She was confronted with what she thought was a dozen police officers with assault weapons who said they had a warrant", Lindsay told reporters at a press conference. "They pushed her. They went through the house", WLWT reports.

A couple who say they were handcuffed for hours in a police patrol vehicle after their hibiscus plants were confused for marijuana is suing the police and an insurance company. Police, nevertheless, confiscated the hibiscus plants, describing them as "tall, green, leafy, suspected marijuana plants".

Edward also repeatedly asked to show police that the plants were flowering and clearly in bloom, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

They were released four hours later with no charges after the cops determined the plants were not marijuana.

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