The owners of the Garden of Eden, a small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, are requesting an apology from local police who conducted a 10-hour SWAT raid in the name of the war on drugs.
Police found no weed during the August 2 incident, instead seizing "17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants ... native grasses and sunflowers," after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least 30 minutes, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement.
In the same statement, Smith also mentioned that the raid came after the property was hit with several code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house and generally unclean premises."
Quinn Eaker, a resident of the farm who was arrested during the raid for an unrelated, outstanding warrant over unpaid parking tickets, told NBC 5 that the six adults who live at the farm were handcuffed when SWAT officers from the Arlington Police Department came into the home with weapons drawn.
"We live a very peaceful life here,” said Eaker. “We've never hurt anybody. This is our land. We have the right to be secure in our person and our property. Period. That's undebatable."
The raid is just one of many incidents in which SWAT teams have been utilized to enforce petty offenses at great cost to the taxpayers. The Huffington Post reports that massive police action has been used to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products.