Man allegedly forced to eat marijuana sues Phoenix, police
PHOENIX — A Phoenix man who said police forced him to eat marijuana to avoid jail has sued the city and the officers.
Edgar Castro’s lawsuit seeks undisclosed punitive and compensatory damages for violating his civil rights and intentional infliction of emotional distress, during a traffic stop in September 2016.
The 20-year-old’s attorneys had filed a notice of claim in February in Maricopa County Superior Court. That move, which generally precedes a lawsuit, sought $3.5 million.
The lawsuit filed in August named three officers, Richard Pina, Jason McFadden and Michael Carnicle, all of them in their first year on the force. The trio resigned weeks later.
When Castro lodged a formal complaint, he told an officer on the phone, “They gave me two choices — eat the weed or go to jail.”
Another officer, Jeff Farrior, was demoted from lieutenant for improperly investigating the case.
Castro, then 19, was pulled over for speeding in a BMW near 45th Avenue and McDowell Road. McFadden and Carnicle saw a package from a medical marijuana dispensary in the car. Inside was a gram of marijuana.
According to the complaint, a fourth officer, not named in the suit, said McFadden said, “Oh, we should make him eat it …”
Castro hesitated, asked if he really had to eat the pot and Pina said, “Yeah, you need to eat it.”
McFadden told Castro if he wanted to go home instead of jail he had to eat the marijuana.
The complaint said Castro wanted to use his phone to record the incident but was threatened with shooting if he reached for his phone.
Castro ate the marijuana and was not arrested. His car was towed away and he walked home, where he later became sick, he said.
The court documents did not make it clear whether Castro showed the officers a medical marijuana card.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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