Two Arizona cops who have been accused of forcing a teenager to eat a gram of marijuana may now lose their law-enforcement certifications in the state. Last September, three Phoenix cops pulled 19-year-old Edgar Castro over for speeding, and discovered marijuana in Castro's car. The teen claimed that he was a legal medical marijuana user, but did not have his card on him.
Officer Jason McFadden allegedly told Castro that he would either have to eat the gram of pot or go to jail. After officer Richard Pina allegedly backed up McFadden's threat, Castro ate the weed. The third officer on the scene, Michael Carnicle, heard the conversation take place but did not intervene. Records report that Carnicle and McFadden both turned off their body cameras before making the threat, and that Pina's camera was not on at all.
The cops resigned after the story of the event went public, but the officers maintained their law enforcement certifications, which would allow them to join other police departments in the state. Carnicle voluntarily relinquished his certification last November, and the other two cops may now lose theirs, thanks to disciplinary proceedings recently initiated by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.
The AZPOST board has alleged that Pina and McFadden violated two rules: “committing malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in the office” and “engaging in any conduct … that tends to disrupt, diminish or otherwise jeopardize public trust in the law-enforcement profession.” If the board finds the cops guilty of these violations, their peace officer certifications may be suspended or revoked entirely.
A criminal investigation was also initiated against the cops involved in the case, but the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the cops earlier this year.