As law enforcement across the U.S. make headlines for busting illegal grow ops and black market cannabis businesses, an Indianapolis police officer has found herself on the other side of the law. Christina Slack is facing charges in connection with a cannabis grow operation, according to a Wednesday announcement from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).
The 22-year veteran of IMPD is charged with possession of cannabis-growing or cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana where a defendant knows it is growing on-premise and fails to destroy. According to IMPD and court records, Slack will be suspended pending a recommendation of termination to the Civilian Police Merit Board.
The charges date back to late last year, when detectives in the IMPD Special Investigation Unit began to investigate Slack after officers were called on Dec. 27, 2021. The officers were investigating a disturbance on the 2900 block of South Pasadena Street, according to an IMPD release. At the time, Slack was off duty. When police discovered that one of the involved parties was a current off-duty officer, detectives from IMPD’s Special Investigation United were brought to the scene.
Cannabis Grow Operation Uncovered in Domestic Dispute
Court documents state that Slack told police she was assaulted, with an officer noting that she showed signs of injury, including abrasion and swelling. Police arrested Slack’s boyfriend, 43-year-old Jamel Owens, who Slack claimed had lived in the residence for several months. Owens faced charges of domestic battery and battery, though they were later dismissed.
When Owens was arrested, he yelled at officers to check the back bedroom and indicated that Slack had a cannabis grow operation in the home, according to court documents. Once a judge granted the warrant, police checked the room and indeed found a cannabis grow operation with fans, LED lights, an air filtration system and a black tent containing 18 cannabis plants in different stages of growth, the court documents note. Police also said they found what they suspected to be psychedelic mushrooms.
Police also got a search warrant for Slack’s and Owens’ cell phones, which contained various text conversations, photos and video related to buying and growing cannabis. According to court documents, a video from October 2021 features Owens saying that the grow project is for Slack’s pain management for previous surgeries. He then adds that he’ll tell everyone she’s a “dirty cop.”
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against Slack on March 22. Owens was also charged with possession of marijuana growing or cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana where a defendant knows it is growing on-premise and fails to destroy.
Slack was recently appointed to IMPD’s North District, and an initial hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 26. IMPD said that detectives will continue to work with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office on the case.
This Isn’t the First Instance of Unlawful IMPD Officers
This discovery of a cannabis grow operation wasn’t the first time IMPD has navigated charges against their officers, even in the past year. The suspension and charges come months after another Indianapolis police officer, Gregory Ressino, was accused of driving drunk while off duty, resulting in a hit-and-run crash. In October, another officer, Sgt. Eric Huxley, was issued two felony charges after body camera footage captured him kicking 38-year-old Jermaine Vaughn in the face while assisting in his arrest.
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor spoke out after the charges were filed against Slack, indicating that the news of charging an IMPD officer is “never something I want to hear.”
Taylor added, “These charges are certainly a disappointment for me and the entire department. At the same time, I appreciate for the work of detectives within the department who investigated this incident to the fullest.”