Virginia couple sue police over raid

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A Virginia couple say they have filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Newport News Police Department following a raid two years ago when law enforcement officers accosted them after mistaking their legal hemp grow for marijuana.

Shardell Gerald and Lamont Burgress said they have video of police handcuffing them during the raid Sept. 30, 2019, four months after they planted hemp under a proper license from the state and a local business permit. The plants had also previously been tested by the state and found to be in compliance with allowable THC levels for hemp, said Gerald, a Newport News city employee.

Gerald told 3WTKR television station five or six officers were aiming guns at them when the couple answered a knock at the door. They were later uncuffed and were not arrested, but Gerald said the experience left the couple traumatized and embarrassed in front of their neighbors. Also, police have yet to provide the couple any information about the raid despite the filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

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