Gwinnett County police drug investigators on Wednesday served a “no-knock” search warrant and forced entry into a Lawrenceville house, but soon discovered they were at the wrong address.
In a news release, a Gwinnett police official said it was “a case of human error and not deliberate malfeasance on the part of the investigator.”
The front door was patched with a piece of wood Wednesday night, but splinters still littered the front hallway of the home of John Louis, 38, and his girlfriend Heather James, 37.
Louis said he was upstairs working from a home office when police used a battering ram to break through the door. James and their 3-month-old daughter were asleep in separate bedrooms.
“They came in here and put guns to us. The house was full of police,” Louis said. “I’ve never had a gun in my face before. I’ve never even held a gun.”
He said that he and James, who was in a nightgown, were ordered at gunpoint to lie on the floor. When he tried to ask what they wanted, Louis said, he was told to “shut up.”
After the officers roamed through the house for a few minutes, they spotted the baby and realized their mistake, Louis said. He said they apologized and told him they confused his home with that of a neighbor two doors down, a suspected methamphetamine distributor.
Louis said he still has questions for police about how such a mistake happened.
“If you had the house under surveillance for three months, why did you come here?” Louis said. “You broke in here and put all our lives in danger, and all you can say is you’re sorry?”
Seems like we’ve reached a troubling new comfortableness with wrong-door raids when the police department’s defense is, “well, at least it wasn’t deliberate.” I’d hope that raiding the wrong house would never be deliberate.
Video of a local news report here.