The owner of sustainable farm in Texas claims a SWAT team came onto her property “under the guise that we were doing a drug trafficking, marijuana-growing operation” and ended up taking more than 20,000 pounds of material and allegedly violated personal rights, according to WFAA-TV.
“There were 15 to 20 blackberry bushes. There were sunflowers for our bees and gifting. Lots of okra, and we had a sweet potato patch that they whacked down with a Weed-Eater. The weeds that we used to shade our crops are also gone,” owner of the Garden of Eden Shellie Smith told WFAA of the scene after authorities came through.
The SWAT team had a probable cause search warrant to come onto the Arlington farm August 2. A code enforcement team also entered the property with an abatement warrant, which allowed them to take nearly “20,420 pounds of nuisance materials” from the property.
WFFA reported these materials including two dozen tires with stagnant water and “compost, wooden pallets and furniture.”
“The purpose was to improve the quality of life, to resolve life safety issues within neighborhoods and to hold the property owner responsible for creating blight conditions on their property,” the City of Arlington’s spokeswoman Sana Syed wrote in a statement of the raid.
The statement cited several complaints of the state of the property from neighbors who were “concerned about their health and safety due to the current unsanitary conditions on the property that promotes the harboring of rodents, mosquitoes and fire hazards.”
Smith was given notices about these concerns and failed to attend a Nuisance Determination Hearing, which she admitted to missing.
In addition to these items being collected, WFAA reported Quinn Eaker, who lives on the farm, saying he was one of eight adults handcuffed for hours during the raid.
“I think every single right we have was violated,” he told WFAA. “Every single one.”
The police department disagreed though, with Sgt. Chris Cook telling WFAA residents were only handcuffed for about 30 minutes and the whole operation was finished within 45 minutes.
Smith vowed the situation “will not end here.”
Watch WFAA’s report:
(H/T: Huffington Post)