Raspberries for Portland Police Raid on Patient

March 24, 2005

EDITORIAL, Corvallis Gazette-Times

RASPBERRIES to Portland police, whose handling of a 2003 drug raid on the home of a disabled medical marijuana patient has lawyers lining up to sue the city on her behalf. Vicki Marie Tyler is a diabetic amputee who is the poster child for why Oregon voters approved limited use of medical marijuana to ease pain and stimulate appetite in certain patients. She uses a prosthetic leg and has kidney failure. She suffers from arthritis.

Tyler was sleeping on her couch when 13 Portland police officers broke into her North Portland home, looking for drugs. They found less than an an ounce of the marijuana that she has a prescription to possess, but they nevertheless confiscated her electric scooter, her primary method of mobility, saying it was bought with proceeds of drug sales.

A jury acquitted Tyler of any drug charges last year.

Of course, the police have yet to weigh in on why they brought down the hammer so hard on Tyler and confiscated her scooter, even though their warrant did not authorize taking property, much less keeping the scooter for three months, until a Multnomah County judge's ruling forced them to give it back.

The police will have a chance to tell their side of events, however. Tyler is suing the Portland Police Bureau, seeking $15,000 for pain and suffering associated with the raid, as well as unspecified punitive damages.

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