Senior Couple Sues Police, Claim Cops Mistook Hibiscus for Pot Plants

Police thought hibiscus plants were marijuana, inset, couple claims in lawsuit. Wikipedia

Edward and Audrey Cramer claim cops ransacked their house after mistaking hibiscus for pot.

An elderly Pennsylvania couple has sued their local police department, claiming officers handcuffed them and ransacked their home after mistaking their hibiscus plants for pot.

Edward Cramer, 69, and his wife, Audrey, 66, contend Buffalo Township Police forced them to sit shackled for hours in a patrol car while they overturned their possessions, pointed guns at them and refused to believe their assertions that the greenery in their garden was flowers, not marijuana.

In their lawsuit, which was filed this week, the Cramers said police were contacted by their insurance agent, who took photos of the plants in their backyard while investigating a fallen tree that had damaged their house. The agent sent the pictures to police, believing they showed sprouts of pot.

Audrey Cramer teared up at a press conference Tuesday in her lawyer's office, describing how she was home alone when officers arrived on Oct. 7. She was wearing only a bra, a short top and underwear when she went to the door, she said.

Officers made her stand on the porch, handcuffed her, and refused her requests to get a pair of pants and shoes, she told reporters.

"I didn't want too many people to know what had happened, because I really don't like being stood outside in my underwear," she said.

Edward arrived about 30 minutes after the police, the couple said, and was astonished to find cops combing his property. He says he repeatedly told the officers the plants were hibiscus. "They actually ignored me. They wouldn't even listen. I said, 'I can show you pictures on the internet."

The couple sat in the back of a cruiser for about four hours before police allowed them to return to their home, they said.

The Cramers were not charged. 

They are claiming emotional distress and are seeking unspecified monetary damages. 

"I don't sleep at night, and you don't leave me at the house by myself," Audrey said.

The police department did not immediately return a voice message left by Tuesday. They have not commented publicly about the case.