A Pennsylvania couple is suing the police after the department made a huge mistake. Based on the photos given to them by an insurance agent, police officers made a “drug bust.” But they mistook a hibiscus plant for a marijuana plant.
Audrey Cramer, 66, could not hold back the tears as she described how three Buffalo Township police officers pulled her out of her home on October 5 wearing only her underwear. The police were at her home, responding to an insurance agent’s claim that the Cramers were growing marijuana in the backyard of their home.
Edward Cramer, 69, said he returned home a half-hour later to find his wife in the back of a police cruiser and officers pointing guns at him. He also was placed in the cruiser despite trying to convince the officers the plants were hibiscus, not marijuana.
The insurance agent was at the Cramers’ home to take photographs for a claim when he snapped photos of the hibiscus plants he thought were marijuana. He turned the photos over to the police, who agreed, and they immediately went to bust the Cramers for growing the plant.
“I was not treated as though I was a human being. I was just something they were going to push aside,” she said. “I asked them again if I could put pants on and he told me ‘no’ and I had to stand out on the porch.”
(Above: an image of a marijuana plant.) It looks just like the hibiscus plant, right? Well, an insurance agent and police sure thought so.
The Cramers say that police thought they were growing marijuana in the backyard of their Garden Way home. When officers got a search warrant and went to their house, the Cramers say their home was ransacked and they were handcuffed and forced to sit in a police car for four hours. “Sometimes I think they look for a crime where it doesn’t exist in order to justify their existence,” Edward Cramer said. *ding ding ding! We have a winner!*
Edward Cramer says he tried to explain that the plants were hibiscus flowers. The Cramers were released without charges, but are seeking monetary compensation.
Al Lindsay, an attorney for the couple, filed a lawsuit on their behalf. “I cannot understand the frame of reference that was on these police officers’ minds, what were they thinking,” Lindsay said.The Cramers say they never got an apology from the police and Audrey says she has severe emotional trauma.”I don’t sleep at night,” she said. “And you don’t leave me at the house by myself.”
Media outlets have reached out to the Buffalo Township police and the township manager but they have yet to respond.
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