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Man blasts incident report detailing disputed pot search

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Lawrenceville man who triggered an internal police investigation after authorities searched his home for marijuana is calling the official account of the November incident "complete nonsense."

Scott Smithwick filed a complaint against several Gwinnett County police officers after they searched his home in early November because, according to authorities, they received tips that the 42-year-old was growing marijuana in the basement. Smithwick -- who contends he grows tropical plants in the home on Smokehouse Path while caring for his elderly father -- has said that officers sexually harassed him, spit in his trash cans and physically intimidated him during the unfruitful, hours-long search.

The internal affairs investigation remained incomplete as of Tuesday, a police spokesman said. Smithwick has never been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the official incident report has been made public, and Smithwick had several issues with it.

According to the report, written by Officer N. Cultarevic, Smithwick "advised he was sick and uses marijuana regularly to treat his mental illness," which is allegedly mild schizophrenia.

Not so, he said.

"I have no idea where they got that," Smithwick said Tuesday. "That's what's truly frightening." He said he's had to answer questions from longtime friends and neighbors about a disorder that he does not have.

The Brookwood High School grad also contradicted virtually every other facet of the report, calling it "a very tailored account." Among the alleged discrepancies Smithwick pointed out:

-- The report says officers found "four large sealed containers" thrown in the woods behind the home, saying that they "smelled like raw marijuana."

Smithwick "said the containers were his and he used them to store marijuana," the report said.

Smithwick himself didn't deny that he told officers they were his -- but said he only did so after hours of interrogation and being told police would leave if he just told them "what they wanted to hear."

"If those jars had constituted any piece of criminal evidence they would have been seized," Smithwick said. "It's not illegal to have a plastic jar in your backyard."

Nothing was seized from the home.

-- The report also said that Smithwick "stated the marijuana was in a safe place at his friend's house and refused to reveal the location of the marijuana. (He) promised that he will provide us with some information leading to other marijuana distributors in the area."

Again, Smithwick said he did say as much, but falsely and only after being intimidated into a "confession."

"I was ordered to tell them that under the threat of arrest," he said. "They're leaving out hours of coercion, and the threat of taking me away from my 70-year-old father."

-- Smithwick also pointed out several other discrepancies.

Cultarevic wrote about finding "two large water tanks used to supply" the alleged grow operation. There is only one 55-gallon water drum at the home, Smithwick said. The report also lists Smithwick's father -- a former attorney battling macular degeneration and recovering from back surgery -- as his stepfather; his father's car, rather than his own, as the "suspect vehicle"; and twists the elder Smithwick's words, his son said.

"That police report is full of lies," he said.

The police department does not comment on pending investigations.

Smithwick's original complaint alleges that, among other things, Officer J.P. Griswold roamed his home "spitting in my trash cans" and made a sexually inappropriate joke about the size of Smithwick's penis.

Comments

pcjohn 1 year, 2 months ago

A police report believed to be full of lies. I bet that never happened since we know how honest the cops are and how willing to admit they made mistakes. Yeah, right!

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Why is this being reported on again in a little less than 3 weeks? The investigation is still pending, does he think the publicity is going to help him?

GCPD probing officers' actions during disputed search for pot by Tyler Estep

FYI: An internet search on this "victim" shows images (mugshots) for DUI arrests in 2003 and 2006.

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scottsmithwick 1 year, 2 months ago

I did not get a chance to respond to the things from the police report that were printed in the first article. The police report is full of lies. I never told the police I was a daily pot smoker. I never told the police I used marijuana to treat a mental illness. I never told the police I had been diagnosed with mild schizoprhenia. I will definitely speak up when a group of police officers are trying to slander me in the county where I've lived for 35 years. There are quite a few other problems with the police report. They don't even have my vehicle information correct. They refer to my dad as my stepfather. They say my father would have let them search our home without a warrant. This is not true. They say I told them I took marijuana to another location and wouldn't tell them where. This is not true. They refer to my home as a complex crime scene. This is a joke. The facts are they found nothing criminial in my home whatsovever. The seized nothing. They have filed no charges. We were told they did a test of these plastic cannisters they found in my yard. We were told they tested postive for marijuana. This is a complete lie. There is no record anywhere of any field test being done at my home. This is why the cannisters weren't seized. They aren't criminal evidence. What they did find in my home was a 100 percent legal grow room with legal plants growing in it. If they had just searched my home, acted professional, and left, there would be no complaints.

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scottsmithwick 1 year, 2 months ago

The police are the ones who made threats to arrest me for wanting to videotapte and have an unbiased record of what happened in my home. They are the ones who didn't want a record of their behavior. I wonder why? They are the ones who threatened to arrest me for having legal grow equipment and fertilizers. They are the ones who bullied me over a three hour period and made threats to arrest me if I didn't tell them where they could find a pound of marijuana in one week. Officer Griswold was the one spitting in my trash cans and making a comment about the size of my penis. They are the ones who went onto my neighbor's property and opened their mailbox without any search warrant. Sargent Kannigiser is the one who was swearing at me and threatening me with arrest time and time again. Once again I will say that not one single piece of criminal evidence was found or taken from my home. Officer Cultarevic and Officer Mitchem came back to my home a week after the raid to get information on where they could find a pound of marijuana. I told them I was invoking the fifth amendment and wouldn't be answering any more questions. In the report the officer says I invoked the fourth amendment. And yes I do have DUI arrests on my record from 2003 and 2006. In April I will also have 5 years of sobriety. What do my DUI arrests from 2003 and 2006 have to do with the way the police behaved in my home on Nov. 8, 2012. And yes the investigation is still pending. I filed this complaint on Nov. 20, 2012. We were told it would take 45 to 60 days. It's now been 80 days. It shouldn't take 3 months for internal affairs to finish an investigation of what six police officers did in my home for three hours. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a video or audio tape of that night. There wouldn't be any dispute about what happened or what was said. Oh yeah, I tried to do that but was threatened with handcuffs. Why wouldn't the police audiotape their interrogation of me?

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mountainman 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree with news2me. This man is attempting to creat publicity in order to "muddy the waters" Let the internal investigation be completed first and see where it leads.

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pcjohn 1 year, 2 months ago

The internal investigation will result in a finding that the cops did nothing wrong and they are the bravest of the brave. Tell me of a case when one group of cops ever found their compatriots at fault for anything. I imagine that it's taking so long because they are rewriting all the reports to justify anything the cops at the scene want to say to defend their actions.

Of course,you might realize that the homeowner might be telling the truth in this case, but I'Il bet that thought never even entered your mind.

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scottsmithwick 1 year, 2 months ago

The complaint was filed on Nov.20, 2012. We were told it would take 45 to 60 days. It has been 80 days now.

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Tell me of a case when one group of cops ever found their compatriots at fault for anything. Does this come to mind ....

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-02-24/justice/atlanta.police_1_kathryn-johnston-johnston-s-home-raid?_s=PM:CRIME .....................................................................................

Of course,you might realize that the homeowner might be telling the truth in this case, but I'Il bet that thought never even entered your mind.

Highly doubtful. Real victims often don't seek out media attention. Just like with the mom that went to the media about her son being treatened with a knife at school. Look at the outrage it created here on this site. Yesterday's news.

Regarding this particular incident no where does it mention that he has a lawyer, with the exception of his elderly father being one. No lawyer worth the money is going to let you talk to the media. It also mentions that the father has macular degeneration, recently had surgery - does that not send off more alarms regarding the use of marijuana? More and more elderly are turning to it again. Nothing about the Smithwick's job, just that he is a Brookwood grad from years ago - is that supposed to mean something? Not to mention where it was easy for me to dig up 2 DUI arrests here in Gwinnett on this guy. He might be telling the truth? Wow.

pcjohn - I will say this politely as I can. Your sympathy for the victim and outrage at law enforcement is a perfect excuse for someone like this. You are his audience. There are lots of pcjohn's out there cheering these anti-establishment nutcases on while using the media to create hype.

Fortunately people are growing tired of of all these dramas being played out through the media. The distrust in the media and the 24/7 pc driven news is becoming redundant .....

..... Yawn

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scottsmithwick 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't need a lawyer. I haven't been charged with a crime or did you forget that little fact. So know having macuar degeneration and surgery is reason to suspect someone of using marijuana. This shows how truly ignorant you are. Smoking is the worst thing you can do for macular degeneration. I will also mention the fact that you don't know the first thing about my father. Since you believe that more and more elderly are turning to marijuana, you should lead the task force that raids all of the nursing homes. As for my job, I am a full time caregiver for a very sick man. Do you have a problem with that? And yes I did attend Brookwood High School. And no it's not supposed to mean anything. No one said it did. I have lived in this community at the same home for 35 years. And yes that does matter. Yes I do have DUI arrests on my record. In April I will also have 5 years sobriety. What exactly do my DUI arrests have to do with the way the police behaved in my home on Nov. 8, 2012?

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pcjohn 1 year, 2 months ago

@ news2me - I am familiar with the Johnston case. As I recall, the cops at the scene blamed the whole affair on Mrs Johnston. Then, the Internal Affairs folks came out and pronounced everything the thugs did as justified because they had "evidence" that that house full of drugs. Later, one of the police informants that the cops used to justify their actions started talking to the media and said that, while he was threatened by the cops to keep his mouth shut, he never gave the police the "evidence" the reports and IAD used to justify Johnston's murder. It took over a year for the Feds to enter the case and sort out the lies that Atlanta PD gave the press and them. Finally, it was the FEDS, AND NOT THE LYING THUGS WITHIN APD that brought the bums to trial (at grossly reduced charges, I might add). I thank you for using the Johnston murder to answer my remarks. It is not often that an opponent uses an example to bolster my case and refute his.

And, as politely as I can, I advise you that your knee-jerk reaction to support the police without considering any other evidence is what allows police corruption and bad acts to continue. You fall in line with them while conjuring up any and all scenarios against Smithwick. You have a great imagination. I'm not so sure about the fairness of your judgement.

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InTheKno 1 year, 2 months ago

pcjohn, are you saying that there is not one instance in which an cop was found at fault / guilty of misconduct based upon a complaint from a citizen? Not one instance? I find that hard to believe. I agree that the news2me's Katherine Johnston case in ATL was a bad example of police finding their own accountable. Nevertheless, if you were honest you would know that there are numerous cases where cops are held accountable by their peers / departments.

You seem to only question the credibility of the cops. I would question Smithwick's claims as well. Perhaps his father is covering for his "failure to launch" son, or maybe Smithwick is even pressuring his father to support him and his claims. Who knows?? Like the old refrain from Paul Harvey, I cant wait to "hear the rest of the story".

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scottsmithwick 1 year, 2 months ago

I've been taking care of my sick father by myself for over 15 years through a variety of illnesses and episodes. Family comes first to me. Suggesting that I am a "failure to launch" without knowing me or my situation is just rude. Maybe you are a "failure to use your brain before you open your mouth"

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pcjohn 1 year, 2 months ago

To say it never happened would be a violation of the Law of Probability and I make no such statement. I just cannot remember where or when it happened. Can you cite such an instance where a cop was arrested and charged by his department as heavily as a regular citizen? I'd love to read about it. There have been cases where cops were "disciplined" internally by their superiors but that was in lieu of bringing them to account in a court of law. A very light "punishment" indeed.

I do question the credibility of the cops since I have personally known too many guys in law enforcement, at several levels of jurisdiction, and can attest that they all believe in the "blue wall" of protecting one another in all matters. I know that reports of shady police conduct are reviewed and rewritten to make the department look clean, as happened in the Johnston murder. You, on the other hand, attack Smithwick very personally and hardly present a balanced view with your presumptions of him. If you're waiting for "the rest of the story" I hope you don't rely solely on the final cop report since that is always going to be a self-serving declaration in their favor. Neither side can prove their point because, as you might recall, Smithwick was prevented by the police from filming of recording the encounter. Did you ever wonder why they prevented that evidence from being collected?

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." - Shakespeare


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pcjohn 1 year, 2 months ago

I assume you to be the lady in question. For you bring forth an argument full of the sound and the fury...and signifying nothing! ----- also Shakespeare

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Pot use among seniors goes up as boomers age

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35519187/ns/health-aging/

*"The kids are grown, they're out of school, you've got time on your hands and frankly it's a time when you can really enjoy marijuana," Stroup said. "Food tastes better, music sounds better, sex is more enjoyable."

The drug is credited with relieving many problems of aging: aches and pains, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and so on. Patients in 14 states enjoy medical marijuana laws, but those elsewhere buy or grow the drug illegally to ease their conditions.*

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