By Charmie Gholson
Originally published in the October, 2010 issue, Midwest Cultivator
On August 25th, 2010, the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement team carried out a simultaneous series of paramilitary drug raids on several businesses and homes in Oakland County. Bill and Candi Teichman owned and operated two of those businesses.
My name is Bill Teichman and I’m a state-sanctioned medical marijuana patient and caregiver. I have a degenerative bone disease and underwent back surgery in 2008. My family physician recommended medical marijuana because of the amount of vicodin I was taking for the chronic pain, he said they would kill me. When I was taking the medical marijuana I was completely off all narcotics. Now I’m back on Vicodin and anti depressants, where as before I was on nothing, just blood pressure medicine. Same with my wife Candi. She was involved in a head on collision. A drunk driver hit her two years ago and broke her hand, foot, ribs and pelvis. She now has arthritis in her pelvis. She had been seeing the same doctor who was prescribing Vicodin for her as well. He also recommended she become a medical marijuana patient. It worked for her too.
We were not recreational marijuana users before becoming patients.
On August 25th I had just fed the kids and they’d gone down the street to play with some friends. My wide Candi was working at the family business, Herbal Remedies. It was closing time and I usually went up to help her close.
I was in my bathroom when I heard my door open and these guys charged around the corner at me with guns, screaming, “SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT YOU’RE UNDER ARREST.” I just froze. There were guns everywhere, cops everywhere. They grabbed me and threw me on the kitchen table.
They all had black masks over their faces, only showing their eyes, like ski masks. They identified themselves as the Sheriff’s department and yelled, “We have a warrant for your arrest,” I asked, “What’s the warrant for?” and they said, “three counts of manufacturing and delivery of marijuana.”
They cuffed me. They stripped me of my belt. While they were cuffing me they were yelling, “WHERE ARE THE GUNS?”
I felt like I was being beat up. In my head it felt like it lasted an hour but in reality it probably lasted more like 30 seconds. The shock and trauma of these guys coming in with guns and masks…
They searched my pockets, pulled everything out grabbing at every part of my body including my groin. They threw my wallet and phone on the table, took the money out of my pocket, cuffed me and kept saying ‘where are the guns?’
They hooked me up and walked me out of my house to the end of the drive, parading me out in front of my neighbors.
When they got me to the end of the driveway, I was standing next to a patrol car when the head narcotics officer Michael Pankey came down the driveway and said to me, “I understand you have a safe in the house.” I said no. He said, “I heard you have a safe in the house.” I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He said, “Give me the fucking combination to that safe or I will tear the door off and destroy your house.’
I said, “Show me the search warrant.” That happened twice, and then he said, “Fuck it, we’re just going to tear it up, “ and started walking up the driveway. I told him, “Don’t be such a dick.” He turned around and said, “I’ll give you one more chance to give us the combination to that safe.” I told him to show me the warrant and he said, “It’ll be on your table when you get home.”
That’s when I gave them the combination, after they threatened to destroy my whole house. Knowing full well my children are five houses down the street and could witness what was going on, knowing full well I was going to jail and my children could walk into a house that was going to be destroyed by the police. My
kids take precedent over everything else I’ve always told them they’re suppose to trust the police, now I tell them to stay the hell away from them.
They forced me to give them the combination to the safe. Then they threw me into the back of a patrol car and took me in.
That’s where they got all those guns you saw on the TV! I thought this was America! I thought the 2nd amendment allows me to own guns, especially when they’re locked up a safe. I have a CCW permit. Those guns were used by family to hunt, not used in a crime! They were locked securely in a safe so my kids couldn’t get to them. My kids didn’t have the combination to my safe, no one did until the Oakland County Narcotics Team made me give it to them so they could take my guns and show them on TV.
They took my computer, took all my business records, all of my tax records, my passports, my kids passports. They took over $2,000 in cash and because they stole my tax records I can’t even prove how I earned that money!
They cleaned out my whole filing cabinet. The only thing they didn’t take was my divorce papers. But they did take my wife’s “personal massage item” out of her drawer in the bedroom.
My ex wife, who was only allowed four hours a week visitation, found out we were arrested. She’s an alcoholic. She walked into judge Elizabeth Pezzetti’s courtroom and told her that I was in jail and she needed custody of the kids, and the judge gave her custody for three months, with no parenting time for me!
Pezzetti was the judge when we went through the divorce and was always good to me. My ex wife would never show up to court, she’s been in the hospital five times this year alone for detox. I won full custody of the kids 5 years ago. This is the only house they’ve ever lived in.
It clearly states in my divorce decree that her boyfriend cannot be around the children, and she was found in contempt and fined once for having him around the kids. That’s where my kids are living right now, with my drunk ex-wife and her sexual offender boyfriend. They’re sleeping together in a twin-sized bed in Pontiac.
I’m afraid of everything right now and so is Candi. I see a cop and I freak out and don’t know what’s going to happen.
I am losing my restaurant, losing my building. The compassion club was in the same building our restaurant is in but now customers are afraid we’re going to get raided again and won’t come in. They know all about the brutality of the raids.
Those people destroyed our lives.
CANDACE TEICHMAN WAS AT WORK at Herbal Remedies when the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team came through the front door.
I have to buzz in people that come into my building, my door is locked. A plain-clothes person that I didn’t know was an officer opened the door. It was windy and she grabbed it and looked to her right and half ass- smiled. She looked at me directly and I said, “Hi, how are you?”
She stepped backwards down the handicapped ramp and looked again on her right side and smiled and looked at me and then masked gunmen came in yelling, YOU’RE UNDER ARREST OAKLAND
COUNTY SHERIFF GET DOWN ON THE GROUND. WHO IS CANDACE?
I said, ‘I’m Candace,’ and I raised my hands. They threw me to the ground and put their boots into the back of my neck and back and handcuffed me behind my back.
The whole time they were yelling WHERE ARE YOUR WEAPONS? TELL ME WHERE YOUR WEAPONS ARE! I said, ‘I have no weapons. There are no weapons here.’ At that point, my head was turned to my little Yorkie, my four pound dog and I saw that light on him, it was a little red laser light and I screamed PLEASE DON’T’ SHOOT MY DOG.
He was going in circles and barking. He didn’t know what to do.
They’re still yelling WHERE ARE YOUR WEAPONS, GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING WEAPONS. I told them again, ‘I don’t have any weapons, and there are no weapons here.’ Then I hear, BOOM BOOM BOOM on my office door. This is all taking place at the same time. They were trying to break the door down with this 3 foot long, round tube with a big square thing on the end of it. A battering ram I suppose.
My hands are behind my back I’m on the floor I have a boot on my neck and back and they’re searching me. I said, ‘Officer please don’t knock the door down. Someone had just pulled the keys out of my pocket and gave the keys to a cop. There are three keys. They put one key in and it didn’t work so they were done with it. BOOM BOOM BOOM—in goes my office door.
The wanted the combination to the safe and said, ‘We’re going to rip your fucking safe door off to open it’ so I gave them the combination.
There was no reason to do this to us. No reason. We had no weapons. We were not violent criminals.
They took us to the Oakland county jail and when we first walked in I saw my husband standing there and thought he was there to bail me out but that was not the case. They took us to booking I came across several other women who worked at other businesses that had just been raided. They processed us all at the same time, fingerprints and photos. From there we went to the isolation holding tanks. People were there detoxing from heavy narcotics and in suicidal confinement. You’re watched very closely, no contact with the outside world whatsoever.
From the cell I was in I could see the TV. Every time the news came on and would say something about the raid they would shut it off.
We were all denied phone access or to contact our attornies.
I told them I have high blood pressure and I am in extreme amount of pain and I need my blood pressure medicine. I asked them about my anti depressants.
They said you have to fill out a form and in a day or two you will be called to see the doctor. On day three they took me to see the doctor and I told her I was in extreme pain and she said I can’t give you any pain reliever. Then I said I want my medical marijuana and she said, ‘where do you get your medical marijuana from?’ and I said, ‘it’s none of your business,’ and she said, ‘no it is my business,’ and asked me again and I told her again, ‘it’s none of your business.’
Then she said, ‘who is your doctor,’ and I said, ‘that’s none of your business either.’ They didn’t give me any medication, no blood pressure pills, nothing. Zilch.
In late September, Bills oldest daughter Christina arrived to take her brothers to school and found her mother drunk and incapacitated. Christina took the boys home with her. Bill’s oldest son called him and said, “Mom’s drunk, I’m living at Christina’s and I want to come home.”
Bill and Candi called Child Protective Services, their attorney and the police. The police investigated and determined that the mother was in fact highly intoxicated. During an emergency court hearing, Judge Pezzetti said she had no choice but to return the children to their father. Candice said Judge Pezzetti told the courtroom, “if anyone read this case file they’d think I was crazy.”