Another Botched Police Raidby Doug Mataconis
Via Radley Balko comes news of yet another
botched police raid isolated incident:
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.”
La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard and Southwest Drug Task Force Director Lt. Rick Brown confirmed Herrick’s story.
Some deputies stayed with Herrick as others searched the house. They entered every bedroom and overturned a mattress in her son’s room.
Deputies asked Herrick if she knew a certain man, and she said no. Then they asked what address they were at, and she told them 74 Hidden Lane.
Deputies intended to raid 82 Hidden Lane – the house next door.
While Herrick was on the ground, deputies began placing handcuffs on her. They cuffed one wrist and were preparing to cuff the other.
In other words, they knew, or should’ve known that they were at the wrong house:
Herrick’s son, David Herrick, said investigators surveilled the neighbor’s house before the raid, and it was extremely unprofessional to enter the wrong house.
“There is a big difference between 74 and 82,” he said, referring to the house numbers.
What’s more, Herrick doesn’t understand why his 77-year-old mother was handcuffed.
“Why they thought it was necessary to handcuff her and put her on the floor I don’t know,” he said. “And then they had to ask her what the address was.”
Brown said it is common practice to make all occupants lie on the ground handcuffed in case gunfire erupts.
“It’s just safe for everybody if they’re controlled on the ground,” he said.
David Herrick said he has contacted lawyers about a possible lawsuit.
“It’s pretty upsetting that they do that to a 77-year-old,” he said. “A little common sense, I think, would have helped out on the problem a lot.”
Virginia Herrick said she is glad her meth-dealing neighbors are gone, but also said: “I’m still angry at the whole situation. For them to raid the wrong trailer was not very smart.”
Because, of course, she just looks like a drug runner