Last week, our firm filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against two police officers who were involved in an unlawful and unconstitutional search of our clients’ home.
A team of about ten officers in battle gear raided our clients’ home based on a search warrant that was issued for an entirely different address. The officers involved in the search apparently made no effort to confirm that the address on the warrant was the same as the address posted conspicuously on the residence.
In this case, police used one of those notorious “no-knock” warrants which allow police officers to basically invade a home if there is any suggestion that firearms may be present inside or if there is a possibility that evidence could be destroyed. Of course, there were no drugs or guns at this home because it was the wrong house.
Once they stormed into the home, the officers found a three-year old child, a pregnant woman, and other innocent family members who were literally in fear for their lives. The officers were pointing assault rifles at them while screaming inconsistent and confusing directions. All of the family members were threatened with being shot and were told they were going to jail.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to hold law enforcement officers responsible when they perform their duties in a reckless and negligent manner like this. The only way to successfully pursue a police officer for this type of conduct is to file a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. A lawsuit pursuant to this section requires us to show that the officer intentionally violated the constitutional rights of the individuals who were harmed by his reckless behavior. It is often a difficult standard to meet, and many times the officers are entitled to immunity.
Although it is not easy, we believe that this case warrants such a lawsuit and we are prepared to pursue the officers in court. It is difficult to determine just how badly how this family was harmed by the officers’ assault into their home, but that doesn’t mean that they did not suffer and should not be compensated.
We hope the judge and jury will hold these officers accountable for what they did to this innocent family.