Sustainable farm owners in Arlington, Texas, said SWAT members invaded their home and property under false pretenses -- alleging the family was growing marijuana -- and destroyed fruit and vegetable patches and confiscated 20,400 pounds of material used for the farming operation, all in the name of obliterating what city officials said was blight.
The local WFFA reported that the authorities confiscated the likes of "compost, wooden pallets and furniture," as well as two dozen tires that contained stagnant water. The homeowners say the confiscations violated their constitutional rights, and SWAT members destroyed "15 to 20 blackberry bushes," "sunflowers for our bees and gifting," and "lots of okra" and "a sweet potato patch," The Blaze reported.
The SWAT team had a search warrant, The Blaze reported. But accompanying code enforcement officers with the city did not, the property owners claim, and they were the ones who allegedly took the 20,400 pounds of property.
City officials say the operation was legal, and aimed at keeping the neighborhood clean.
"The purpose was to improve the quality of life, to resolve life safety issues within neighborhoods and to hold the property owner responsible for creating blight conditions on their property," Arlington City spokeswoman Sana Syed said, in a written statement about the raid, reported by The Blaze. The city also said several neighbors had complained and expressed concerns about rodents, mosquitoes and fire hazards. One of the adults who lives at the property that was raided and cleaned said he was handcuffed for hours while the operation went forth.
A local police officer said the residents were only cuffed for 30 minutes, however, The Blaze reported.
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