Man forced to eat pot by Phoenix officers files $3.5 million lawsuit

Man forced to eat pot by Phoenix officers files $3.5 million lawsuit
Posted at 1:26 PM, Oct 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-11 16:27:02-04

A man who says Phoenix officers forced him to swallow a gram of marijuana during a September 2016 traffic stop is filing a $3.5 million lawsuit against the city and the officers involved.

"It is abundantly clear that Edgar Castro's civil rights were violated by Phoenix police when they forced him to ingest marijuana during a traffic stop," Rev. Jarrett Maupin said in a Wednesday release regarding the suit. "This is the most scandalous recent example of abuse of power and police misconduct with respect to the Phoenix Police Department."

In an interview with ABC15 following the incident, Castro said it happened after he was pulled over for speeding in Maryvale on September 13, 2016.

"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 Castro's car, but 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 to avoid jail time -- all he had to do was eat the marijuana.

Castro said McFadden and another officer, Richard Pena, were both serious, and he ate the weed to avoid going to jail.

Phoenix police Chief Joe Yahner announced later in September that the three officers involved in the stop had resigned rather than be fired for their actions. A lieutenant was also demoted. 

Maupin in his Wednesday release said the incident highlights the need for better officer training.

"This trial will make Mr. Castro whole in terms of justice and usher in much needed police training and accountability measures to protect members of the public from a repeat of this type of violence, intimidation, and violations of their civil rights."