Three Arizona police officers have resigned after they forced a teenager motorist to eat around a gram of marijuana found in his car during a traffic stop, Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said at a news conference on Thursday.
Officers Richard G. Pina, Jason E. McFadden, and Michael J. Carnicle resigned after they gave a 19-year-old suspect two options during a recent traffic stop: Ingest a gram of marijuana or face criminal charges, when the teenager was stopped for a traffic violation at about 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 13.
The teenager apparently ate the marijuana to avoid being taken to jail. Then, he was issued traffic tickets and allowed to leave. However, the 19 year old driver, who said he fell ill afterwards, filed a complaint with the police department, which prompted an internal investigation in this regard.
All three officers, who were all probationary employees in their first year with Phoenix PD, allegedly turned their body cameras off just prior to the traffic stop. A fourth officer, Jeff Farrior, was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant after it was learned he was aware of the incident but "did nothing about it," said Yahner.
The Phoenix Police Department has a strong history of holding officers accountable for their actions, and this includes seeking criminal charges whenever appropriate. Phoenix Police Chief called the incident "appalling, unacceptable and extremely unprofessional," saying it’s against everything the department stands for. “The conduct alleged by our resident is contrary to everything we stand for as community servants,” Yahner said.
Meanwhile, the police on Friday said the teen will likely not face drug charges. None of the three former officers has been charged with a crime.