My name is Larissa Danielli. I am a mother, a voter, a taxpayer, a business owner and a medical marijuana patient. I am writing about the apartment fire I was victim of on November 3, 2011, and the way Officer Crane and the SDPD handled the disaster. I am writing to express my concerns about the way my case has been handled so far, and to ask your help in resolving these problems as soon as possible.
I am prescribed medical marijuana due to a debilitating accident I suffered from 15 years ago. I was hit by a drunk driver and went thru the windshield of my car, causing permanent damage to my face, neck and spinal cord. I suffer from severe and chronic pain which I have tried many prescriptions for and have found medical marijuana to be the most effective with the least side effects. It is the only medication I use. I am responsible about my medication and never medicate around my children.
On November 3rd, 2011, firefighters reported to a fire above my unit and entered my apartment to access damage. Upon my arrival, according to the American Red Cross, I had a normal reaction to the disaster and the ensuing damage. I was handled with absolutely no compassion or sensitivity and was arrested. Officer Crane held me in the back of his cruiser for five hours, refusing me an attorney, a phone call, or even air, while assuring me I was under arrest. Officer Crane informed me he was going to take my baby away and place him in a children’s home. I begged him to let my baby be picked up from daycare by family, or to take me to jail so that I could bail out and pick up my baby myself from daycare. He refused.
My baby spent six days surrounded by strangers in a strange place, not able to see his mother or hear her voice. He still resides out of home, due to Officer Crane insisting he be picked up by police, not family, and involving CPS. I now have a long fight ahead of me in family court as the CPS/Juvenile Court System operates on the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard–51% of the evidence–the lowest judicial standard of evidence. These are just a few of my concerns.
My son had never been away from home nor his mother before this incident. For a 22 month-old baby with no real sense of time, six days was an eternity for him and it’s not over yet. I also lost my job due to this incident and have had my civil and constitutional rights violated. My baby and I have both suffered severe physical and emotional duress. Not only did we lose our home to a fire, we lost each other.
I would like the abuse of power and complete lack of sensitivity displayed by Officer Crane and the SDPD looked into and that appropriate, proper and constitutional measures be taken to re-unite me with my baby as soon as possible.
I’m sure you can agree with me that this case could have been handled better and that tearing a family apart during a crisis is not beneficial to the child’s well-being nor in the best interests of the child. I’m sure it is your goal to protect law-abiding citizens from gross mis-justices.
c: Sheriff William D. Gore, SDPD
Walter K. Ekard, Chief Administrative Officer, San Diego County
William Lansdowne, Chief of Police
Dianne Feinstein, Senator
Barbara Boxer, Senator
Susan Davis, Representative
Jerry Brown, Govenor
Christine Kehoe, Senate
Greg Cox, District 1
Toni Atkins, Assembly