Manna Storehouse Coop SWAT raid #7 — The Stowers tell their story

Ohio’s Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is taking legal action on behalf of the Stowers of Manna Storehouse Coop. Here’s a statement about the case published today on the Buckeye Institute website.:

Columbus – The Buckeye Institute’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today took legal action against the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Lorain County Health Department for violating the constitutional rights of John and Jacqueline Stowers of LaGrange, Ohio. The Stowers operate an organic food cooperative called Manna Storehouse. ODA and Lorain County Health Department agents forcefully raided their home and unlawfully seized the family’s personal food supply, cell phones and personal computers. The legal center seeks to halt future similar raids. The complaint was filed in Lorain County Court of Common Pleas.

“The use of these police state tactics on a peaceful family is simply unacceptable,” Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said.  “Officers rushed into the Stowers’ home with guns drawn and held the family – including ten young children – captive for six hours. This outrageous case of bureaucratic overreach must be addressed.”

The Buckeye Institute argues the right to buy food directly from local farmers; distribute locally-grown food to neighbors; and pool resources to purchase food in bulk are rights that do not require a license. In addition, the right of peaceful citizens to be free from paramilitary police raids, searches and seizures is guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14, Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution.

“The Stowers’ constitutional rights were violated over grass-fed cattle, pastured chickens and pesticide-free produce,” Buckeye Institute 1851 Center of Constitutional Law Director Maurice Thompson said. “Ohioans do not need a government permission slip to run a family farm and co-op, and should not be subjected to raids when they do not have one. This legal action will ensure the ODA understands and respects Ohioans’ rights.”

On the morning of December 1, 2008, law enforcement officers forcefully entered the Stowers’ residence, without first announcing they were police or stating the purpose of the visit. With guns drawn, officers swiftly and immediately moved to the upstairs of the home, finding ten children in the middle of a home-schooling lesson. Officers then moved Jacqueline Stowers and her children to their living room where they were held for more than six hours.

Such are raids are beyond the scope of the purely administrative authority delegated to ODA and county health departments. In enforcing licensure laws, these agencies are only permitted to contract for routine enforcement services. Forceful raids and sweeping searches and seizures are not routine, and exceed the authority granted to ODA and county health departments.

The Buckeye Institute seeks an injunction against similar future raids, and a declaration that such licensure laws are unconstitutional as applied the Stowers and individuals like them.

There has never been a complaint filed against Manna Storehouse or the Stowers related to the quality or healthfulness of the food distributed through the co-op.  The Buckeye Institute’s legal center will defend the Stowers from any criminal charges related to the raid.

A copy of the complaint is available at http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/stowers.pdf.  A video of the Stowers describing the raid is available here.

The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, together with its 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, is a nonpartisan research and educational institute devoted to individual liberty, economic freedom, personal responsibility and limited government in Ohio.”

Read David E. Gumpert’s thoughtful analysis of these latest developments on his The Complete Patient blog.

Lorrain County Sherriff’s Office disputes “raid” at Manna Storehouse

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Manna Storehouse Coop SWAT raid #7 — The Stowers tell their story

  1. Pingback: Manna Storehouse #6, and speaking up for the kind of world we want, without “drinking the kool-aid of fear” « The Bovine

  2. Pingback: Manna Storehouse raid pt 5, 5a, 5b — Big brother and the holding company? — or the tip of a much bigger “iceberg” « The Bovine

  3. Pingback: Manna Storehouse SWAT, part 4: Did police really enter “with guns drawn”? « The Bovine

  4. Pingback: Manna Storehouse “S.W.A.T.”, part 3 « The Bovine

  5. Pingback: More on ODA’s Manna Storehouse raid « The Bovine

  6. thebovine

    Latest word from Katie Stowers:

    Hi everyone. We are happy to announce that you can now follow our case through our attorney’s website: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org . The press statement can be seen directly at: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/article/1284

    We are unable to personally answer questions about the case or do interviews at this time, so please direct those types of questions to our lawyer, who is doing that for us. His contact information:

    Maurice Thompson
    (614) 224-4422
    mthompson@buckeyeinstitute.org

    We would also encourage people to write letters, especially to the Governor of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Lorain County Health Department.

    We have had people inquire about making a donation to our legal fund. We would encourage anyone wanting to make a donation for that purpose to make it to the Buckeye Institute. The following is from their website:

    “The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and education group. As such, we do not perform contract work or accept government grants. To maintain the highest degree of intellectual integrity, we need the support of the people whose lives we’re seeking to improve through sound public policy. We thank you in advance for your support. ”

    Jackie would also request that anyone who has a similar story to share (government abuse), please mail or email it to us!

    Thank you again to everyone for your encouragement and support!

    Katie Stowers
    (for the rest of the family) :)

  7. Steve Smith

    I must admit I was skeptical when I first heard this story. I’ve been researching for the past 5 days in an attempt to find “legitimate” news sources and have waded through page upon page of right-wing “conspiracy-theory” type comments in order to “debunk” this story for my mother (who tends to believe anything controversial like the 9/11 Conspiracy and New Word Order theories). Now that the Stowers have spoken out and the Buckeye Institute has taken their case I believe that their rights were truly violated and I wish them the best of luck in their case and the speedy return of their property. The Buckeye Institute has a Podcast about the case available here:

    http://www.buckeyevoices.org/index.php?id=98

  8. Pingback: Doctor Hrothgar’s Word Hoard » Health Inspectors With Shotguns

  9. Pingback: While we Feast and Celebrate, our Neighbors were Raided | allenvaught.net

  10. Hi,
    I’ve read about your situation and am deeply moved and saddened. I am spreading the word down here in Missouri. http://allenvaught.net/?p=41

  11. Silver Zagrodnik

    Here is your change. Socialism is creeping its way into our lives. Next up controlled medical care. No more Naturopathy doctors? No more freedom of choice? This is what happens when you let your Government rule you instead of lead you. Scary stuff.

  12. Pingback: Manna Storehouse: Lorain County December 08′ Raid Gets Norwalk’s Attention « The Erie Wire

  13. Pingback: BizzyBlog

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