CARTERSVILLE, GA — A retired man was awoken to his property being invaded by a swarm of police officers — accompanied by drug-sniffing dogs and a police helicopter — interested in the plants in his garden.
The early-morning raid occurred on October 1st, 2014, at the home of Dwane Perry. The first thing he remembers hearing was the whirring of the copter blades and strange men banging on his door.
“I was scared actually, at first, because I didn’t know what was happening,” said Mr. Perry to WSB-TV.
Agents from the Governor’s Task Force for drug suppression had apparently been trolling the skies over the area and observed plants on his property that they deemed suspicious. Based on that intel, a team of Broward County deputies trespassed on Mr. Perry’s land to harass and potentially arrest the retiree because of the contents of his garden.
After confronting Mr. Perry, deputies sheepishly realized that the tree-growing plant was actually okra — not cannabis. It has five leaves instead of seven, and produces a vegetable that is popular in southern cooking.
“Here I am, at home and retired and, you know, I do the right thing,” Mr. Perry explained. “Then they come to my house strapped with weapons for no reason. It ain’t right.”
“The more I thought about it, what could have happened?” Mr. Perry wondered, sensing the danger of having armed cops violating his privacy and property. “Anything could have happened.”
The danger was indeed real, as this website has documented numerous instances of innocent people maimed and killed by police for the most mundane of offenses; drug prohibition being chief among them. Gardeners have endured specifically harassment from drug warriors, as evidenced by notable cases in Illinois and Kansas.
See Mr. Perry’s reaction to the raid via WSB-TV: