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Judge Slams ‘Incompetent’ Cops After SWAT Raids Innocent Family for Growing Tomato Plants

Justin Gardner

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Wichita, KS – In a “huge and significant victory for the Fourth Amendment,” the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit brought by a Kansas City couple who endured a SWAT raid over their tomato plants. Robert and Adlynn Harte — and their two young children — were caught up in a county-wide sweep of suspected cannabis growers, in a prohibitionist state which still has not even legalized any form of medical cannabis.

The judges not only reinstated the Harte’s lawsuit against the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, which was dismissed by a federal judge in 2015, but went on to castigate the law enforcement agencies involved. They described the 2012 raid as an “unjustified government intrusion based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation and a publicity stunt.

In the realm of unlawful police raids, this one may take the cake. It began with a Missouri State Highway Patrolman staking out a garden store every day in Kansas City in hopes of catching some pot growers. Robert Harte visited the store with his two children to buy supplies for an educational vegetable garden project in his basement.

The sergeant shared Harte’s information with a counterpart in the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), which was planning to raid several suspected cannabis growers on 4/20. JCSO went through the Harte’s trash on three occasions, eventually finding what officers believed was cannabis clippings soaked in THC extract.