In Letha, Idaho a husband and wife who were known “Constitutionalists” were raided by a Sheriff’s SWAT team early one morning. According to the report, one officer was noticed by Marcella Cruz outside their kitchen window with a gun and tactical vest, while another was armed with an assault rifle at the front door.
When Cruz opened the door slightly to look outside after calling to her husband that there were guys outside with guns, the following took place:
“Don’t go back into the house,” the stranger ordered Marcella as the woman instinctively retreated into the safety of her home.
At roughly the same time, another intruder armed with an assault rifle pounded on the front door.
“Come out!” he demanded.
As Marcella tried to shut the kitchen door, the first intruder – who outweighed her by at least 100 pounds – grabbed her by the left wrist and started to pull the terrified woman from the house.
“Why are you dragging me out of my home?” asked the terrified woman. “Why would you be pulling me out of my home?”
“Open the door,” insisted the assailant, using his weight advantage and leverage to extract the woman, who had braced herself against one side of the door while clinging desperately to the other with her right hand. As she lost her grip, the left side of Marcella’s body scraped painfully against the door frame before she was thrown to the ground.
One of the invaders finally identified himself.
“Bear! Step out – Sheriff’s office!” bellowed the Berserker packing an assault weapon.
“What’s the matter?” asked Michael Gibbons – known as “Bear” to his friends — as the exasperated farmer opened the front door. “What is the problem?”
“Who else is in the house?” demanded one of the invaders.
“Nobody,” replied Bear.
“You guys having a fight this morning?” inquired the armed man, his finger still poised on the trigger.
“We had an argument,” Bear replied, his voice tinged with incredulity. “What’s going on?”
“We’ll let you know in a sec,” the armed man replied in a dismissive tone. “For right now, go to your knees for me. Face away from me.”
The officers then proceeded to handcuff Bear and search their home without a warrant and without probably cause to do so. They discovered what they believed to be a “growing room” for marijuana. “We found your grow room,” Lt. Timony told Bear after the officers emerged from the home a few minutes later.
“You found our tomato plants!” Bear responded.
That didn’t mean they did not use marijuana, for the officers cited them for “drug paraphernalia,” which can be purchased legally all over the U.S. In fact Bear does occasionally use marijuana to treat lingering chronic injuries, the most serious of which he received while he was a police officer. He was stabbed in 1982 by a shoplifter.
The video below indicates that the officers did not believe there was a threat to their lives. So their story to start with about the couple arguing really was no reason for them to enter the house, much less armed the way they were. However, the video does illustrate just how interested they were to find evidence of marijuana use as they specifically lifted and sniffed ashtrays, went through personal belongings and discovered the “grow room.”
Why, then, did the Gem County Sheriff’s Office choose to mount a SWAT-style raid against Bear and Marcella? The short answer is that the couple was the victim of “political profiling”: They were identified as a threat to “officer safety” on account of their perceived political opinions.
“Are you familiar with these guys?” asked a deputy identified in the 911 recordings as “Officer 57.”
“Negative,” answered another deputy designated “Officer 56.”
“I am, and it’s affirmative, there is [sic] weapons,” continued Officer 57. “He is – or at least was – anti-law enforcement. We’ve had issues with him. He’s a Constitutionalist.”
Idaho is one of the few states in the Union where most people would consider the term “Constitutionalist” to be a plaudit rather than a pejorative.
That epithet – which Officer 57 spat out in audible disgust – was the reason why Bear would soon find himself on his knees with his back to a deputy whose finger was caressing the trigger of an assault rifle.
All of this happened in response to an alleged call from a neighbor who claims they heard the couple arguing.