Busting Down the Wrong Door
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that two homes were invaded recently, by robbers looking for drugs.
"These guys kicked in the doors of people 's residences who had nothing to do with the drug trade, " said Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain. "It was a terrible event for both couples. "
And a violent one, especially for the women in each couple.
In the first attack, at about 2:55 a.m. on Sachtjen Street on the North Side, the woman was hit in the head with a pistol that one of the two intruders was carrying when they burst into the couple 's bedroom and demanded to know, "Where it at? " according to a police report. They fled without taking anything after the man in the couple yelled at them to leave.
In the second break-in, at about 3:30 a.m. at an apartment on Pike Drive on the South Side, the intruders kicked in the couple 's front door and punched the woman in the face while yelling "something about money and drugs, " the couple told police.
The men in that case rummaged through areas of the apartment before leaving. And again, one of the two intruders was armed with a handgun.
"The couple could not think of any reason why someone would try to rob them, " the report said.
This is a horribly, horribly ironic story. Why? Well, it reads exactly like the stories I've read about cops kicking down the doors of the wrong house, looking for drug dealers. The treatement is exactly the same however. Homeowners terrorized, brutalized, and left without an apology for compensation for damages. Don't believe me?
How about this?
The couple baby-sitting their grandchildren when police mistook their home for a drug dealer's residence has been awarded a $325,000 settlement, their attorney said yesterday.
That's when, without a warrant authorizing entrance into the home of William and Sharon McCulley, but rather with an "anticipatory search warrant" that authorized them to search any property where the marijuana was transported, police entered their home.
Though the Toyota truck they had been following and the transported box wasn't at the McCulley's home, police then threw Sharon McCulley on the ground next to her grandchild and handcuffed her, pressing a gun so hard into her head it left a circular mark, according to the complaint.
Her husband, William McCulley, who has a severe nerve disorder and has a walker and leg brace, was also ordered to lie on the ground, but was unable to do so quickly because of his disability. Thrown to the ground by an officer, William McCulley's implanted electronic shocking device to alleviate pain malfunctioned causing him to convulse, court documents state.
The three defendants were among a group of DEA agents who burst into the couple's home Dec. 19 using a search warrant signed by a Sonoma County judge for an investigation of a cross-country shipment of six pounds of marijuana.
No drugs, drug residue, money or weapons were found during the search of Keane's house.
Strange, 63, said in the suit that a DEA agent held her down with a boot on her head as agents stormed through the house yelling, "Where are your weapons?" and "You know why we're here."
Williams said he believes the team was supposed to be raiding a parolee's home Aug. 24 when they inadvertently hit the wrong door.
Officers ended up at the home of David and Lillian Scott, just off Rancho California Road.
Lillian Scott said she and her husband were in the living room discussing family plans, their 15-year-old daughter was in the garage with two friends and their 16-year-old son was in another room feeding the Scotts' 5-month-old baby.
That all changed at 9:35 p.m. she said, when Temecula police officers -- four or five, she's not sure -- carrying rifles charged though the unlocked front screen door and ordered the couple to the floor.
"Two of them came over and put handcuffs on the two of us," Lillian Scott said. "We asked what we had done wrong and didn't get an answer."
Elsewhere in the house other officers handcuffed their daughter and her two friends.
"(The officers) told them to get down on the f---ing floor," she said.
Her 16-year-old son, who was feeding the baby, was also ordered to the floor and handcuffed, Scott said.
From the other room, Scott heard her infant crying.
"I asked if my baby was OK and the officer told me if I moved he was going to put a bullet in my head," Scott said.
Law-enforcement officers raided the wrong house and forced a 77-year-old La Plata County woman on oxygen to the ground last week in search of methamphetamine.
The raid occurred about 11 a.m. June 8, as Virginia Herrick was settling in to watch "The Price is Right." She heard a rustling outside her mobile home in Durango West I and looked out to see several men with gas masks and bulletproof vests, she said.
Herrick went to the back door to have a look.
"I thought there was a gas leak or something," she said.
But before reaching the door, La Plata County Sheriff's deputies shouted "search warrant, search warrant" and barged in with guns drawn, she said. They ordered Herrick to the ground and began searching the home.
"They didn't give me a chance to ask for a search warrant or see a search warrant or anything," she said in a phone interview Thursday. "I'm not about to argue with those big old guys, especially when they've got guns and those big old sledgehammers."
Or this guy, who accidentally tripped his own security system?
"I felt a lot of voltage going through my body," Mr. Hicks said recalling the events of that late July weekend. "That's what woke me up."
Jumping to his feet, Mr. Hicks was aware of an intense sensation between the shoulder blades of his 150-pound body. It didn't stop there. His whole body felt as if it were on fire.
... According to Mr. Hicks, the cops were skeptical. "How do we know that you're who you say you are?" the shorter of the two cops asked.
At that point, the cop holding the Taser squeezed the trigger, sending Mr. Hicks into paroxysm of agony. It was not a short jolt like the first one he received. He fell to the floor. His screams woke the neighbors.
"What do you want?" Mr. Hicks asked. "Please stop [shooting] me." The shorter cop helped him to his feet. Swaying unsteadily, he offered to show them his identification. They searched him and found his wallet. After inspecting it, they threw the wallet on the coffee table.
"I told you I lived here and that I'm the legal resident," he shouted, believing he finally had justice, common decency and the angels of heaven on his side. A staff member at the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania, Mr. Hicks counts himself on the side of the law-abiding citizen.
The cop with the Taser squeezed the trigger again, anyway. Mr. Hicks flapped his arms wildly, but didn't fall. All he could do was scream loud enough to be heard all over the Mon Valley.
After removing the pellets from his bloody back, the cops handcuffed Mr. Hicks and led him out his front door to a police van. They did not read him his rights, Mr. Hicks says. The back of his shirt was soaked with warm, sticky blood.
Meanwhile, cops from six neighboring boroughs searched the house for other "burglars."
Mr. Hicks' mother, Arlene, arrived just as her son was being escorted out the door. She had Mr. Hicks' 11-year-old daughter and a niece in tow. "Why are you arresting my son?" she asked. The taller of the two cops answered that he "didn't have to tell her anything."
When Mrs. Hicks persisted, he said her son was being arrested for "being belligerent."
Ah, yes. Belligerence. A crime truly worthy of repeated tasering, false arrest, and a night in jail. Sounds to me like the cops were angry because the rest of the world doesn't take them nearly as seriously as they take themselves. Of course, they won't face any discipline for the behavior. Honestly, I'm more frightened of hopped up SWAT teams than I am of actual criminals.