Police raided the home of a 75-year-old grandmother, handcuffed her and falsely accused her of being a drug dealer.
It was a mistake – a big one. They were in the wrong apartment in the mid-April raid in Henrico, Virginia.
“I thought it was somebody breaking in to rob me and kill me,” Ruth Hunter said.
Hunter said police didn’t ask her any questions until they put plastic handcuffs on her. Hunter said police stood over her in bed and left her door broken and open.
They asked if she was dealing drugs.
“I said ‘How you dare insult my integrity,’” Hunter said. She said she has never been in trouble with the law, added that police accused her and her granddaughter of being drug dealers. Police found nothing illegal in her home, WTVR Channel 6 reported.
“I’m very irritated and angry. He never said I’m sorry, never apologized for having the wrong house. … He said you got to get someone to fix that door,” Hunter said of the officer who broke into her apartment.
Drug Raids Round Up Law-Abiding Citizens
An unidentified woman who lives at Hunter’s apartment complex told Channel 6 reporter Jon Burkett that police had gone to the wrong address. Police were looking for someone who lives in Apartment G; Hunter lives in apartment E.
Hunter was so upset by the raid that she told Channel 6 that she is moving to a new home.
Hunter is only the latest in a long line of law-abiding citizens who were the object of police drug raids. Some people have even had their homes raided because they were seen shopping at hydroponic stores. That’s what happened to Robert Harte and his family in 2012 after he purchased products at a hydroponics gardening store. A SWAT team smashed down the family’s front door during the night with a battering ram and held the couple and their two children at gunpoint for two hours.
“It was just like on the Cops TV shows,” Robert Harte said. “It was like Zero Dark Thirty ready to storm the compound.”
Deputies found no marijuana in the Harte home and then refused to tell the family the reason for the raid. Instead, Harte and his wife Adlynn, who are former employees of the CIA, had to spend $25,000 suing the county to discover why the SWAT team paid them a visit.
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“With little or no other evidence of any illegal activity, law enforcement officers make the assumption that shoppers at the store are potential marijuana growers, even though the stores are most commonly frequented by backyard gardeners who grow organically or start seedlings indoors,” the Johnson’s lawsuit alleged.
Other citizens have had their homes ransacked for other reasons including owning artifacts imported from other countries.
The Hartes said their seven-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son were shocked and frightened by the raid. The children had to remain on the couch while armed deputies searched the home.
“If this can happen to us and we are educated and have reasonable resources, how does somebody who maybe hasn’t led a perfect life supposed to be free in this country?” Adlynn Harte asked.