While I’m no lawyer, and every state names their laws differently, I would assume that when someone breaks into your house, it would at least be considered something like unlawful entry or burglary, and if you’re present, and the assailants hold a gun to your head while they steal (or as the police like to call it “seize”) your items, then charges of robbery, theft, kidnapping, unlawful detention, breaking and entering, destruction of private property, and assault with a deadly weapon would apply at the very least, and I’m sure a motivated prosecutor could (and would) come up with many, many more. But since these
police SWAT teams gangs of armed criminals are granted qualified immunity by the state, it’s very unlikely that any of these charges will ever be brought against them. If anything, they will probably be given commendations, medals and pay raises for their “heroic” actions.
Two recent incidents are detailed below.
When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for “proceeds” from an illegal marijuana grow. (Full Article)
The SFPD and DEA found no piles of marijuana money at 243 Diamond St., one of six addresses raided simultaneously in San Francisco that morning. Instead, they found Clark Freshman, who rents the penthouse at the two-unit building. Freshman, a UC Hastings law professor and the main consultant to the television show Lie to Me, was put into handcuffs while in his bathrobe as agents searched, despite Freshman’s insistence that they had the wrong place and were breaking the law. “I told them to call the judge and get their warrant updated,” he says. “They just laughed at me — I guess that’s why they’re called pigs.”
Sounds like they messed with the wrong law professor on this one.
Soon they may be called defendants in a lawsuit. A furious Freshman has pledged to sue the DEA and the SFPD for unlawful search and seizure of his home.
“I’ve been on the fence for years about the legalization of drugs … and now I’m a victim of this crazy war on drugs,” says Freshman, who pledged to sue until “I see [the agents’] houses sold at auction and their kids’ college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century.”
And coming in second for SWAT raids gone wrong:
A man and his wife are suing the Metropolitan Police Department for $1 million in damages for allegedly barging into and searching the wrong apartment during a drug investigation last year in Southeast Washington.(Full Article)
“The police officers had a duty, before attempting to execute their search warrant, to make sure that they were executing the warrant only for the apartment the warrant authorized entry,” the couples’ attorney, Wendell Robinson, said in the complaint [.pdf]. “But the police officers negligently, intentionally, willfully, wantonly, and maliciously, forcibly entered the plaintiffs’ apartment without sufficient evidence that it was apartment #305.”
Apparently the conversation went like this:
“Where is the stuff?”
“What is the stuff?” Costello allegedly responded.
“Drugs,” the office said, according to Costello’s lawyer.
Costello said the drugs were in a drawer.
“Not the prescription drugs,” the officer replied after looking in the drawer.
“Maybe we got the wrong door,” an officer said, according to the complaint.