Judge upholds police work in rights suit over pot bust
By Patty Lawrence-Perry CORRESPONDENT
HOLLAND— Police Chief Kevin Gleason has been vindicated by a federal judge in connection with a 2006 civil rights case filed by an outspoken proponent of the legalization of marijuana.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor in Springfield has dismissed the case filed by David G. Bunn, who alleged his civil rights were violated in a search of his home at 90 Maybrook Road on March 27, 2003.
In his Nov. 19 ruling, Judge Ponsor wrote, “Gleason was merely engaging in routine and competent police work in following up on rumors, eventually borne out, that Plantiffs had marijuana at this home.”
Further, the judge noted about Chief Gleason, “His conduct during the course of the search never rose to a level of excessive force.”
The lawsuit stems from a search by Holland police and members of the Eastern Hampden County Narcotic Task Force. Police had a search warrant and had information that Mr. Bunn was selling marijuana from the house. Police also had copies of newspaper articles in which Mr. Bunn was interviewed as an activist in favor of legalizing marijuana. Police had said they also had evidence from a confidential informant who witnessed the sale of marijuana at Mr. Bunn’s property.
In the complaint filed by Mr. Bunn, he said he was in the hospital at the time of the search. The complaint alleged improper conduct by police during the search with residents, including children in the house.
As a result of the search, Christena Dodge and Judith Bunn, Mr. Bunn’s wife, were charged with possession of marijuana. The charges were later dismissed. Mr. Bunn was not charged.
Holland selectmen this week said they were pleased the town and its police officers were exonerated.
Chief Gleason yesterday said, “I just think it is a shame that the town and the Police Department have to defend ourselves on a frivolous lawsuit like that. I also think that when people bring lawsuits, they should be held accountable, but that is not the way it works.”
The Bunns could not be located for comment. Selectmen said they have moved out of town. A message left at the office of Mr. Bunn’s lawyer was not returned yesterday.
Hers the other side of the story:
Sorry no link this was from a personal comunication.