At last one terrified family thinks so. Yet another story about a supposed no-knock warrant raid is going viral online and shocking Americans.
The fully-armed raid on the home was not done as part of a search for suspected murderers or armed robbers, but for two people who allegedly committed credit card fraud. None of the people Iowa police officers were searching for were found inside the home, nor was any stolen property found.
Police officers maintain that they did knock and announce themselves before busting down the door with a battering ram, but a video shows otherwise. According to a Washington Post report about the military-style raid, the police officers were decked out in full “battle dress” including balaclava hoods, guns, helmets, and ballistic shields.
During a video taken during the raid viewers can see and hear two Iowa police officers try to prevent the family from recording the event. One law enforcement officer even reportedly destroyed a surveillance camera at the home during the raid.
The Des Moines family told local news media that they were completely terrified during the police raid. Sally Prince has been afraid to stay inside the house since the incident: “I’ve been so traumatized. I don’t sleep at night,” Prince said. Family members also stated that they would have willingly answered the door if the police had just knocked.
“This is over property purchased with a stolen credit card. It doesn’t make any sense to go to such extremes for something that simple,” she added.
Justin Ross, the son of the homeowner, was in the bathroom when he heard what he thought was a home invasion. He drew the gun he was legally entitled to carry, stood up, and started to go out the door into the living room. Thankfully, Ross heard someone in the room say the masked men were police and re-holstered his firearm and put his hands in his lap. If Ross had not reacted quickly, both he and a police officer could have wound up dead. Ross was recently honorably discharged from the Army.
Two people visiting the home were ultimately arrested on unrelated charges, possibly misdemeanors. Two of the people inside the house had no criminal history. A third person did have an arrest record, but the most serious charge was for theft and the allegations were dismissed.
Once backlash spread about how the warrant was executed in Iowa, Ankeny Police Department officials said they “do not have a written policy governing how search warrants are executed.” The Prince home is located in Des Moines, but the alleged crime took place in Ankeny, about 11 miles away. In some police jurisdictions around the country, all felony searches are now served by a SWAT team. One federal appeals court recently ruled that using such tactics does not violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
According to the search warrant, the Ankeny police were looking for approximately $1,000 worth of property purchased with a stolen credit card. A 46-inch Hisense television, an S3 Galaxy cell phone, and a Redbox movie were among the stolen items listed on the warrant.
Ankeny Police Captain Makai Echer stated during a press conference that officers look at “several factors” when deciding to enter a home with such force, as opposed to simply knocking, announcing themselves, and waiting for a response. One factor noted was the criminal records of those believed to be inside a home. WHOTV reported that a name on the warrant was spelled incorrectly. Richard Forestier Adair, who was actually on the premises, did not have any criminal record to speak off, according to local news media. But, Richard Foster Adair, the man incorrectly listed on the warrant, did have a lengthy criminal sheet which included several violent arrests. A spokeswoman for the department also noted that since one man with a weapon permit who had no criminal record was inside the home, that was also taken into consideration before the militarized raid.
Ankeny police officers refused to address why one officer ripped a security camera off a wall. Before the camera was rendered inoperable, it captured images of a dozen police officers storming into Sally Prince’s Des Moines home.
Do you think police departments in America are becoming too militarized?