Two months after Chesapeake, Va., police raided his Christmas tree farm in search of marijuana plants, Frank S. Williams has received an apology from the city.
What police found in his 62-acre field wasn't marijuana but brown-eyed susan, a ragweed common in the area.
"I was guilty until proven innocent," Williams, 66, a swimming pool salesman, said Tuesday. "It was very embarrassing to me. My 16-year-old granddaughter thought I was growing dope.
"These weeds grow all over out here, and this could happen to anybody living down here."
On July 14, camouflage-clad detectives on dirt bikes, eight police cars, a fire engine, a garbage truck and accompanied by a television news crew rumbled onto Williams' property to search for marijuana plants.
For three hours that night, Williams paced as detectives searched behind his house. Williams said later he had never seen marijuana.
When the motorcade pulled out, police told Williams they would analyze the weeds and call him in the morning. Two days later, Williams called police and was told the plants were not marijuana.
Williams filed a complaint and this month received an official apology from City Manager James W. Rein and Capt. Eugene Saunders, who led the raid.
"They thought they were doing right, and I don't object to that," Williams said. "I just objected to the way they did it."