Hearne: Prosecutors, Cops Continue to Harass Coffee Wonk Owner After Court Win

IMG_2027It’s like a bad dream that won’t go away…

It’s been months since Micah Riggs locked the doors for the last time at his business Coffee Wonk at  3535 Broadway in Midtown Kansas City. And it’s been years since he sold a now controlled substance known as K2 or synthetic marijuana.

Riggs stopped selling it the minute it became illegal in August of 2010.

Unfortunately however, he’s been up to his eyelashes in prosecutors and police ever since Coffee Wonk was robbed at gunpoint in September of 2010 and police were called to investigate.

While they were there, the cops confiscated a new substance Riggs was selling which he says did not contain any of the banned K2 chemicals. And they charged him with distributing a controlled substance.

imagesRiggs was acquitted of those charges in March.

Subsequent to that trial he announced he would not reopen Coffee Wonk. Yet for some reason or another – an overzealous prosecutor wanting to put a “W” on her resume perhaps? – the government won’t let the matter drop.

On April 1st – “the fools day” – Riggs learned that the prosecutor was going forward with essentially the same charges he had just been acquitted of for a subsequent Coffee Wonk bust last October.

“They had tried to get me to take a deal before the last trial and this was still being held up because they hadn’t charged me,” Riggs says. “And they offered then not to go forward with this charge from October of last year if I took the deal.”

Feeling strongly that he was innocent, Riggs passed on the deal and then won in court.

So what was the deal the prosecutors were trying to make?

“The deal would have been if I agreed to let Kansas City Police and Regulated Industries inspect my shop for two years whenever they wanted to they would drop it,” Riggs says. “Of course at that point they would have been telling me what I could and could not sell.”

cc41_5694943.tThe reason Riggs passed on the deal?

“Because one, I didn’t break any laws and two, somebody had forged my signature on a consent to search form,” he says. “And three, this is how you go about bringing change. I wanted to show to society that if these laws that they were accusing me of were so good, why did they need to forge my signature to search one of my spaces?”

The questionable search played a role in Riggs March court win, he says.

“It was testified to by a document verification expert witness,” Riggs says. “And the prosecutor didn’t have any experts to refute it.”

Next up: Riggs is slated to be back in court this summer on a charge stemming from the September 2010 bust that he had ‘intent to create a controlled substance,” he says. “It was a hung jury on that count.”

Added to the duplicitous “distribution” charge from last October and a guns drawn visit from police shortly before his March trial, Riggs stands to spend a whole lot of time in court and a ton of money defending himself against charges he feels he was exonerated from by the jury two months ago.

“In February, right before the trial, after I was not taking their deals, they came in with guns drawn and seized money and product again and even took my computers and the video from my security camera,” Riggs says. “So I can’t even review the footage of that bust.

“And they arrested me and I was (basically) kept in jail for 24 hours while they tried to intimidate me, but I kept telling them I wasn’t going to answer any questions without my lawyer there. So they made me sit on an uncomfortable metal bench in a common area for 22 hours, and then tried to question me again before they finally let me go two hours later.”

Riggs bottom line:

“I mean, they got what they wanted, my shop’s closed…I don’t know what they’re trying to do. I think they just want their pound of flesh. I think it’s a complete waste of taxpayers dollars.

“My shops closed, it’s not reopening. I haven’t emptied it yet because I was hoping I could sell it, but I’m in the last month of my lease and I’m not reopening it.

“You know, polls show that 52 percent of Americans support the legalization of cannabis. And that shows we’re going in the right direction. I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I was thinking about opening a nutritional store, but now I’ve got to fight all these charges and commit all of my money to these legal things. So all that’s on hold for now. I can’t really get on with my life until I have this off my shoulders.

“I mean, I’ll fight it. I’m not waving any white flags. I’ll fight it until I prove my innocence and I have all the evidence to prove my innocence. So I’m just going to keep on fighting because I have all the facts and the facts are in my favor.”


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38 Responses to Hearne: Prosecutors, Cops Continue to Harass Coffee Wonk Owner After Court Win

  1. the dude says:

    Fiscal death by public prosectutor.
    You sir, are being made an example of and it will cost you.

    • Do-gooder says:

      Only maybe…as these things eventually work their way out and time always embraces truth.

      • the dude says:

        I highly doubt it, this kid is being made an example of, plain and simple.

        • Do-gooder says:

          The example is a young man taking a daring move to start a coffee shop and sell products he was told was legal. A get some people do not like people standing up for their rights and questioning unfettered powers…but Micah is not the type to give into pressure. Some people miscalculated…more than once.

          • the dude says:

            Look, when you become a seller of bath salts and synthetic weed you are treading on thin ice to begin with in my book. People have no idea what kinds of effects it has on the mind when they are taken into the system. Like I said before the inventor of synthetic THC never meant for it to be smoked, he very highly recommended against it.

  2. Brian says:

    I was reading this trying to think how the inevitable plant would try to blast Micah. The gut emotional reactions from media campaigns are gone and now we’re just left with the sore truth that our governments will put us to the grindstone for sticking up for ourselves… and we’ll watch it happen as long as it isn’t us.

    At least no one is trying to declare you an enemy combatant, right?

    • Justice says:

      Let’s hope not. It’s still the small town gunk going on. Just shows we need community leadership and accountability in our third prong of government. It’s time to bring Sunshine into the courts. I’m confident things will be a lot different if the public actually showed up at court and understood the system better.

  3. Lady Wants to Know says:

    This Sucks…..This is what happens when city employees are employed by the State. They get “God” complexes. I used to be proud of my city. I really miss those days…..

    • the dude says:

      This is purely political Lady, doesn’t matter who writes the checks- state or city.
      This chump will be harassed until the political end is met or the button pusher moves on to something else.

  4. cheech lifting weights says:

    Two separate offenses, two separate set of charges. Maybe he won’t get the benefit of jury nullification this time. And the issue with the ‘forged signature’ was obviously not resolved in the dealer’s favor as the result of an improperly obtained consent is to throw out the evidence as it was the fruit of the poisonous tree. If he had won that part, the case would have been dismissed before it even went to the jury.

    More money can be made nowadays with research chemicals that mimic amphetamines and LSD and not the ones that mimic marijuana. Perhaps that is his new venture?


    • admin says:

      Say what you will about the “forged”signature.

      Full disclosure, Riggs did sign a release to allow the search of his “tobacco area” Then at the end of the day, a second one magically appeared signed for another area.

      The document expert verified it, the prosecutor didn’t contest it with their own expert and the jury it would appear bought it.

    • Doubter says:

      Evidently, you have little knowledge in this area. I wish it was as simple as you suggest but things get much more complicated in these situations. It will all come to light. It eventually does.

    • Do-gooder says:

      It’s time to stop the ugly rumors and attempts to persecute an interesting and brilliant young man. He has integrity and even the police testified he was cooperative and a nice man. Micah is not a public enemy…just a pretty neat guy with guts. I’m following this story as it may be one of the most important in our community. More and more people will be watching, too…and all the evidence of improper acts will come to light.

    • Do-gooder says:

      A jury following the law is not nullification…not the first time, second time, or even third time. The outcome will always be the same.

      • the dude says:

        Wow, you seem to have a serious nieve faith in what is at times an extremely flawed judicial system. I try to avoid it at all costs because even if you are innocent you can still be found guilty.

  5. chuck says:

    Interesting story.

    The last time Hearne ran a story about this guy, there were some very interesting comments on both sides of the issue.

    If I recall, the discussion that touched on the danger of these drugs with respect to addiction, short and long term effects, and distribution of same was contentious and certainly never resolved.

    It does look like the DA is, at this point, is breaking the butterfly on the wheel.

    The man is out of business.

    Let it go.

  6. smartman says:

    I have a friend who is a PI. If someone can provide the names of the police officers and prosecutors that are harassing this man I will pay the costs to have them checked out. Cops are usually wife beaters, philanderers and shitty parents. Prosecutors generally have issues with booze and anti-depressants.

    Mr. Riggs should start a legal defense fund. He should be able to raise $100K in no time.

    This type of persecution is exactly why there will be a revolution in this country. It is justice run amock.

    • harley says:

      smartman..you are a character!!!! i can’t figure you out..one day you’re
      the biggest j.o….then the next you’re kind of a cool guy…
      if its the paraphanelia part…why are there more and more
      stores opening in kc with “tobaaco smoking accessories”…
      was at one on wornall across from quick trip by 435…
      why hassle this guy…..they’ve got better thingsto do….

    • Do-gooder says:

      Great idea…I’m in.

  7. admin says:

    Whole different deal – and not to take anything away from Riggs tale of woe – but you guys should hear some of the stuff the Scribe’s going through with the authorities. Because one in particular is hanging fire, he may not want to share at this point in time.

    • the dude says:

      Spill the beans Hearne, you know you want to.

      • admin says:

        Yeah but in this case I’m gonna leave it to Craig.

        There’s not too many things he shies away from but every once in a while…

  8. Coco says:

    It’s disappointing to hear a story like this. I left India thinking I was getting away from such abuses of power and corruption. Kansas City should be embarrassed for allowing these greedy and egotistical people represent them. Makes me think I was better off in India.

  9. Libertarian says:

    Cops and prosecutors never have to admit it when they’re wrong.

    The most f’ked up part of all-none of the brass responsible will be punished in any way.

    What happens to the average citizen when he screws up at his job? He gets fired.

    I want to see more accountability when the system fails, due to human error.

    If you suck at being a cop, prosecutor, or judge, find a new vocation.
    Lives depend on it.

  10. Goose13 says:

    Look at the crap that happened to that Leawood family by the Joco Sheriff department. The sheriff department has asked, and recieved the ok to buy from the County Commissioners, a armoured car. WTF do they need that for. Also, the sheriff hired a private attorney to deal with the lawsuit from the Leawood couple. Why? The county has a legal department. Why not use them. Waste of money.

    • the dude says:

      The private hire was probably a fixer to clean up the mess and minimize the liability they had created from screwing with the wrong people.

      The armoured car and the militarization of our police forces is meant to intimidate and get the populace used to the idea that they exist in a nanny police state where the populace is viewed as criminals or future criminals and you are one offense away from a tazer or drone strike in your own backyard.

      • admin says:

        Did you guys see the armada they wheeled out in Boston post the bombing?

        Real life policing is turning into video game stuff.

        No wonder people are buying up assault weapons. Don’t think it’s gonna do them any good though.

  11. Embarrassed says:

    The prosecutor who continues to pursue this case is making a laughing stock out of Jackson County. There are so many serious problems in this county and our county’s tax money is spent like this. Really?…That’s crazy. I use to work for Jackson County Family Court and in that division we had to be careful on how we spent every penny of the taxpayer’s money. I think this prosecutor needs to remember not to spend the taxpayer’s money so frivolously. Riggs had his day in court and won so now the prosecutor needs to move on and start putting energy towards something that really matters. A couple of years ago the county had yard signs all over town for an up coming election that said something like “Combat Crime Vote Yes on Prop __” (I don’t remember what prop it was). I voted for it last time but if this is the type of stuff they are talking about to “combat crime” I would rather keep my money thank you very much and not pay a higher sales tax for the county to waste. Yes this is very embarrassing for Jackson County.

    • Justice says:

      I’m with you. I was at a meeting a couple years ago and a Missouri Supreme Court justice discussed our access to courts may be limited in the near future due to financial constraints. It makes a person wonder the end game in this case. Is it for the taxpayers to pay over $50,000 a year to jail an impressive and stalwart young man? Really????!!! Just saying.

      • the dude says:

        It already is limited, how many average joe sixpacks after years of stagnant salary pay and rising costs can really afford to hire a lawyer in a case such as this? The number is getting less and less each day.

  12. Pluto says:

    Micah will win then run for Congress…and win again. He has my vote as the ultimate whistle-blower willing to put his liberty at risk for disclosure. I just hopes he is able to testify at some point. It will be powerful.

  13. Tom-Tom says:

    One word…brilliant. One man…courageous. One outcome…vindication!

  14. cheech lifting weights says:

    lotsa synthetic astroturf in this thread. it smokes like a real comment thread

    • the dude says:

      No kidding, you would think this was some Republicrat think tank discussion with all the astroturfing.

  15. Confused & Outraged says:

    This Prosecutor is the perfect example of Abuse of Power.
    She is so focused on her agenda that in her mind “The End justifies the Means”.
    She obviously believes she is exempt from “Laws” built to protect citizens and when you provide officials with unlimited budgets this is what you get.
    Jackson County has so many larger issues to spend their dollars on. What is she trying to prove by continuing to waste the counties manpower, funds, and resources on this case?
    This is Harassment and needs to be stopped!

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