(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
UPDATE: this trial has now been postponed until after the first of the year. I will be covering it then.
John and Jackie Stower run the Manna Storehouse in LaGrange, Ohio. Last December their organic food coop and homeschool were raided by a SWAT team, who invaded their home with guns drawn, held them and their family captive for six hours, and confiscated a large amount of food. No charges were ever filed. The Buckeye Institute is helping the Stowers sue the The Lorain County General Health District, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The trial will open October 8 and 9 at 8:30 am.
From what I can gather, all this happened because the Stowers were running a buying club, buying in bulk with a bunch of people who pre-ordered with them organically grown food, grass-fed meat, and such other healthy food that they could not afford if they did not buy it in bulk. They were raising their own meat, and had the animals slaughtered by a licensed USDA butcher.
The Stowers did not have a retail food selling license, though.
The search warrant was expired. The SWAT team took computers, personal food stocks of the Stowers, the meat had been delivered back to the Stowers by the butcher shop the day before (this was not long before Christmas, right?)
The Stowers tell their story:
The Stowers are pretty damned scary, I guess.
Cable TV to cover Manna Co-op Trial
by Brad Dicken
October 5, 2009
ELYRIA – A county judge has granted permission to the cable television network formerly known as Court TV to cover a civil trial next week in which the owners of a LaGrange food cooperative have sued several government agencies over a raid on their property last year.
The Dec. 1, 2008, raid on Manna Storehouse on state Route 303 has already garnered quite a bit of attention and complaints that local authorities overstepped their bounds.
Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Scott Serazin said complaints about how deputies handled the raid – law enforcement disputes claims that officers stormed the home of John and Jacqueline Stowers with guns drawn – are obscuring the real issues in the case.
It happened before Christmas 2008 at a food and health ministry for hungry families in Ohio. It was as if the family were bio-terrorists or something.
Three snipers with high-powered rifles were aimed at the home with ten children being homeschooled. Babies and toddlers were inside also. About twelve armed sheriff deputies along with agents from the Lorain County (Ohio) Health Department and the Ohio Department of Agriculture raided and ransacked the inside and held the family for six hours inside a room in their home outside Lagange, Ohio.
Food, computers and phones were seized from their private home along with 61 boxes of grass-fed beef and lamb were taken that was butchered, wrapped and labeled by a licensed and USDA inspected butcher shop and delivered the day before. According to the expired search warrant, deputies were to seize money and bank accounts. The storehouse of organic foods from a variety of suppliers as well as the personal food stock were taken as the terrified family watched.
Whatever complaint the State of Ohio had, it is hard to imagine why the officials couldn’t just ask politely, or at worst show up with a search warrant and insist. But the idea that they needed to scare everyone with weaponry and arrest them is far beyond the pale. I think once we buy them a SWAT team, they will inevitably find excuses to use it.
And once they start invading people’s lives and taking them prisoner like that – people with kids – and get away with it, what’s to stop them from taking the kids?
It happens. “You are criminal parents, and now we’re absconding with your children and foisting the child protection agencies upon them.”
Oh, happy days. Oh, Merry Christmas. Not.
If you want to read more about this, here’s the wordpress blog link.