Kenyan immigrant Nancy Njoroge had been living in the United States for a year when a Montgomery County SWAT team burst into her Gaithersburg apartment at 4 a.m., handcuffed her and her two teenage daughters, and searched her apartment, court records show.
Police found nothing.
The reason: Njoroge lived in No. 202 of her apartment complex. The police had a search warrant for apartment 201.
After rejecting an offer from the county’s claims adjuster of a “couple of movie passes,” the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the county on the family’s behalf for unspecified damages, according to ACLU records filed in court.
The ACLU said the purpose of the lawsuit was to hold the police department accountable for its mistake.
“Officers had but one apartment to locate, in a quiet and well-lit hallway in the dead of night, without distraction and with clearly marked doors and numbers,” ACLU lawyer Fritz Mulhauser said in a letter to the county…
Court records don’t give a clear reason why the police raided the wrong apartment, and the county attorney assigned to the case did not respond to inquiries for the story. But in court records, a SWAT team leader indicated that it was an isolated incident.
The movie passes were a nice touch. The raid actually happened in 2005, but after negotiations with the county failed, the family filed its federal civil rights suit this month.