A little more than a year ago, Rawesome Foods, a health food co-op based in Venice, California was the target of an armed raid by several agencies, and the resulting video went viral.
On August 3, 2011, Rawesome experienced another multi-agency raid, but this one resulted in the arrest of the establishment’s owner James Stewart.
Stewart, and Sharon Palmer, the farmer who supplies him with raw goat milk, are being held on bails in excess of $100,000 and are each charged with four felonies and several more misdemeanors. Some examples of the charges are “processing unpasteurized milk,” “improper labeling of food,” and “improper egg temperatures.”
The government has kept pursuing Stewart and his club for years, despite a lack of any reports of illness or injury from consumption of his foods. Rawesome members argue that they are part of a private club, not subject to government regulation, and that they are being persecuted for their alternative lifestyles.
The FBI estimates that in 2009, more than 30% of criminal homicides went unsolved. Nearly 60% of forcible rapes, more than 70% of robberies, more than 40% of aggravated assaults, and nearly 90% of burglaries and motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. And yet some law enforcement officers believe that their time is best spent harassing people who are just trying to make a living by providing people with products and services that they want.
If you have a free moment, call the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office at 213.974.3525 and demand that they immediately release James Stewart and Sharon Palmer, drop all charges against them, and cease this outrageous campaign of harassment and intimidation.