BUFFALO TOWNSHIP, Pa.
A plant mistaken for marijuana led to a Butler County couple suing their police department for a wrongful drug bust.
Audrey and Edward Cramer talked about that incident on Thursday as they announced the lawsuit.
The Cramers said it all started when their insurance agent came to their Buffalo Township home for a property damage claim and took pictures of hibiscus plants. The agent thought they were marijuana and gave the pictures to police.
Audrey Cramer could not hold back the tears as she described how three Buffalo Township police officers pulled her out of her home on Oct. 5 wearing only her underwear.
“I was not treated as though I was a human being. I was just something they were going to push aside,” she said. “I asked them again if I could put pants on and he told me no and I had to stand out on the porch.”
The Cramers say that police thought they were growing marijuana in the backyard of their Garden Way home. When officers got a search warrant and went to their house, the Cramers say their home was ransacked and they were handcuffed and forced to sit in a police car for four hours.
“Sometimes I think they look for a crime where it doesn’t exist in order to justify their existence,” Edward Cramer said.
Edward Cramer says he tried to explain that the plants were hibiscus flowers.
The couple’s attorney, Al Lindsay, filed a lawsuit today on their behalf.
“I cannot understand the frame of reference that was on these police officers’ minds, what were they thinking,” Lindsay said.
The Cramers say they never got an apology. Audrey says she has severe emotional trauma.
“I don’t sleep at night,” she said. “And you don’t leave me at the house by myself.”
Channel 11 reached out to the Buffalo Township police and the township manager but they have yet to respond.