Arrested Buffalo Township Couple Sue After Police Mistook Hibiscus Plants For Marijuana

A Buffalo Township couple is suing the township police and the Nationwide Insurance Co. after, their lawsuit says, hibiscus plants growing in their backyard were mistaken for marijuana plants.

In a lawsuit, Edward Cramer, 69, and his wife, Audrey Cramer, 66, claim that Buffalo Township police handcuffed them both and made them sit in the back of a police car for hours last month as police ransacked their house looking for marijuana.

But rather than running a pot-growing operation, the Cramers say they grow flowering hibiscus in their backyard.
The Cramers were not charged.

They filed a civil lawsuit Thursday in Butler County Court against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Nationwide agent Jonathan Yeamans, Buffalo Township and three of its police officers.

Among the allegations are use of excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

“Nationwide is not in a position to discuss the matter at this time,” company spokesman David Gilligan wrote in an email.

Buffalo Township police did not immediately return a request for comment.

The trouble started when a neighbor’s tree fell on the Cramer’s property in September.

The lawsuit states that Yeamans came to the property on Oct. 5 to investigate the insurance claim.

But the suit claims that Yeamans surreptitiously shot photos of the flowering hibiscus growing in the Cramers’ backyard and sent them to police as evidence of a marijuana grow operation.

According to the complaint, Yeamans “intentionally photographed the flowering hibiscus plants in such a manner as not to reveal that they had flowers on them so that they would appear to resemble marijuana plants.”

Based on those photos, the suit claims, Buffalo Township police Officer Jeffrey Sneddon obtained a search warrant for the Cramers’ property. The suit says that Sneddon claimed to have expertise in identifying marijuana.

The suit alleges that the search warrant contained no probable cause to search the Cramers’ home.

The police apparently arrived at the Cramers’ home around noon Oct. 7 while Audrey Cramer was on the second floor only partially dressed.

When she answered the door, she alleges that about a dozen officers were pointing assault-style rifles at her.
According to the complaint, Sgt. Scott Hess demanded that Cramer put her hands up and told her that he had a search warrant but would not show it to her.

Then, “Hess entered the home and went upstairs. Upon returning downstairs, he demanded that (Cramer), a 66-year-old woman, be handcuffed behind her back in a state of partial undress.”

The suit claims Cramer asked if she could put on a pair of pants next to her, and was told “in no uncertain terms” that she could not.

She was placed under arrest and read her rights.

The complaint alleges that she was walked outside and made to stand — handcuffed, in her underwear and without shoes — for 10 minutes.

The suit claims that Hess refused her request to get sandals. Police walked her down the gravel driveway, barefoot, to a police car.

The complaint alleges that she was left in the “very hot” patrol car, with her hands cuffed behind her, for four-and-a-half hours.

For full story visit: http://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/12960252-74/buffalo-township-couple-sues-township-insurance-company-claiming-false-arrest

If you haven't already, be sure to like our Filming Cops Page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our sister site Smokers ONLY

Sign Up To Receive Your Free E-Book
‘Advanced Strategies On Filming Police’


About author

Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3374 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

You might also like