Man forced by Phoenix police officers to eat marijuana talks to ABC15

Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-24 13:17:31-04

The man who says Phoenix police officers forced him to swallow a gram of marijuana to avoid jail time says he knew as events were unfolding that his story would be hard to believe.

"I asking him if the camera was on," said Edgar Castro, who says the incident happened after he was pulled over for speeding in Maryvale on September 13.

"I was at a red light at 43rd [Avenue] and McDowell when the cops approached me from behind," said Castro.

During the stop, officers found a gun and the gram of pot in his car. However, he was only given a citation.

After he was cited, that's when police officials said the officers turned off their body cameras, which had previously been rolling. Castro says Jason McFadden, a lateral transfer from the Chicago Police Department, walked over with a deal.

"McFadden came up to me with the gram of weed, and he said, 'Do you want to go home tonight?' I was like, 'Yeah, I have work tomorrow,'" Castro said. "The officer said, 'Either you eat the marijuana or go to jail tonight.' I asked him, 'Do I really have to do this?'"

Castro said McFadden and another officer, Richard Pena, were both serious, and he ate the weed to avoid going to jail. After finishing, he immediately told the sergeant on the scene.

"He was pretty upset," said Castro. 

But Phoenix PD says there was a delay in the investigation because the lieutenant in charge didn't seem to understand the severity of the situation.

Thursday, Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner announced the three officers involved in the stop had resigned rather than be fired for their actions. The lieutenant was demoted. 

Despite the delay. Castro is happy with the way the department handled things and has no hard feelings.

"I appreciate that it came as far and the action they took was responsible for the Chief. I don't hold grudges. It's something that happened. I don't know what the reason was but we will get to the bottom of it once the case is over," he said.

The department is pushing for criminal charges against McFadden and Pena. The third officer who resigned was a witness to everything that happened.

All three of their cases will be sent to AZ POST, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, for review and possible revocation of their status as certified peace officers.