Another Isolated Incident

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

In Maui . . .

A Kihei couple is suing the Maui Police Department in federal court after officers allegedly raided their home while executing a search warrant on the wrong address last year.

April and Norman Freeland allege that police forced them outside and searched their home for nearly half an hour, even after they knew they were at the wrong location. Attorney Sam MacRoberts of the Law Office of Philip Lowenthal said the couple still has never seen a warrant for the search.

“Everyone is supposed to feel safe inside their home, and the one person who’s supposed to protect you, the police, are the ones who invaded their home,” he said. “They feel violated.” . . .

According to the Freelands’ complaint, they were at home hosting a dinner for three guests on April 15 when they heard a loud noise from their front lanai at around 9 p.m.

When the Freelands approached the door to their lanai they found armed men who did not identify themselves but were later identified as Maui Police officers, according to the complaint.

“When Norman Freeland touched the door, the men rushed into the Freelands’ home without permission,” the complaint alleges, adding that the officers did not “knock and announce” their presence as required by state law.

The officers “screamed and yelled” as they entered the home, grabbed Norman Freeland by the wrist and forced him and his wife outside, where they were held by a man carrying a “combat-type weapon,” according to the complaint.

The men told the Freelands that they had a warrant but did not show it to them, according to the complaint. It also claims April Freeland told them that they were at the wrong house and pointed out that their address was clearly displayed on the outside fence and door. Still, the officers continued to detain them and searched the house for around 30 minutes, according to the complaint.

The officers “overturned furniture,” “searched the Freelands’ drawers” and “created a mess in the Freelands’ home,” according to the complaint.

The police say they promptly apologized once they realized they had the wrong house, and that the Freeland’s are lying about the search, the time they were detained, and that the police overturned furniture.

“If a chair got knocked down in the process of an entry, that might have happened, but it would not have been done purposely to damage any part of their home,” she said.

Maybe the Maui police are different, but that’s certainly not consistent with the many post-drug raid photos I’ve seen. In any case, there’s no need for concern, as this was just  a, well let’s just let them say it . . .

Lutey said the situation was extremely unusual, but police responded correctly as soon as it was apparent that they were at the wrong address.

“It’s certainly not our practice or policy to go to the wrong house to execute warrants,” she said. “This is the first time I’m aware of this ever happening in all the years I’ve been involved in representing the Maui Police Department.”

 

 

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

18 Responses to “Another Isolated Incident”

  1. #1 |  Stephen | 

    I guess we are so used to this that we no longer bother to comment on it. :(

  2. #2 |  me | 

    So – what kind of recourse do people have in cases of damage done by police action in their homes?

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    Warrant? We don’t need no stinkin’ warrant!

    Notice how they never seem to have a warrant on them during the raid?

  4. #4 |  croaker | 

    No tickee, no washee. Cops who break in without a warrant are committing burglary while armed. One of these days there will be dead cops as a result, and I for one will say they have it coming.

  5. #5 |  Highway | 

    Official police response to consumer complaint: “Nuh-uh!”

  6. #6 |  mcmillan | 

    “It’s certainly not our practice or policy to go to the wrong house to execute warrants,”

    I’m glad they cleared that up, until then I was wondering if they screw up on purpose.

  7. #7 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Tossing a house is common police practice when serving a warrant. I would be more surprised if they didn’t empty all the drawers, sweep every thing out of the cabinets and off the counter tops and slice open all cushions.

  8. #8 |  Bill | 

    “If a chair got knocked down in the process of an entry, that might have happened…” I completely sympathize. I almost always knock over at least one chair when I enter a house. Sometimes I knock the door right out of the frame before I stumble into the chair and knock it over. After that, I sometimes accidentally flip over most of the living room furniture and–whoops–how did all those drawers get overturned onto the floor? And about ripping open those bags of flour and sugar when I careened into your kitchen, well, my bad.

    I am such a klutz. But hey, I’ll be going now. I was actually here to visit your neighbors anyway. Sorry about that.

  9. #9 |  Steve Florman | 

    “and that the Freeland’s are lying about the search . . .”

    I can’t believe that you of all people, Radley, misused this apostrophe. This totally invalidates libertarianism. I’m voting for Obama.

  10. #10 |  supercat | 

    #4 | croaker | “Cops who break in without a warrant are committing burglary while armed.”:

    I wish they would be more often described as burglars wearing police uniforms. The Supreme Law of the Land states, clearly and unequivocally, that unreasonable searches are illegitimate (saying that “X shall not happen” implies by definition that anyone who does X, does so illegitimately.) I would like to hear anyone argue why a cop should think it reasonable to break into a swelling in a supposed effort to serve a warrant, without first personally confirming that the warrant on its face authorizes a search of the dwelling in question. Even if there are 20 cops involved in a raid, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to take turns examining the warrant well enough to confirm that it in fact authorizes the raid they’re conducting.

  11. #11 |  Not Sure | 

    “there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to take turns examining the warrant well enough to confirm that it in fact authorizes the raid they’re conducting.”

    Where I work, there are documented entry procedures for all confined spaces. Before commencing work in one, everybody on the crew is expected to read the permit for the job and voice any questions or concerns they have about how the work is to be carried out.

    Aside from being a good idea, this is also required by the government. Sounds like another example of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

  12. #12 |  croaker | 

    @10 As long as police are protected by that tin-plated patent of nobility, there will be no incentive to do it right. Things will change when cops don’t go home safe at the end of shift, and right now I’m past caring if it’s cell, ICU, or morgue.

  13. #13 |  Juice | 

    and the one person who’s supposed to protect you, the police

    People say this often and every time I see it I chuckle and sigh.

  14. #14 |  AlgerHiss | 

    #4, that happened years ago: Cory Maye.

  15. #15 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Notice how they never seem to have a warrant on them during the raid?

    This seems to be kind of a new thing, as far as I can tell (past 5 years maybe). The police argument is that they have to show the warrant only if they are going to use evidence in a criminal proceeding, and even then, the police believe that they can show search / arrest warrants many hours, or even days, after the search / arrest.

    Of course, that is no help for people who are not criminals. The police are basically saying that if we want to see our search warrants at the time of a raid on us, the we are going to have to (as a society) bring a few civil lawsuits.

  16. #16 |  Burgers Allday | 

    fyi Matthew Stewart facebook:

    http://www.abc4.com/content/news/slc/story/Facebook-page-created-for-accused-killer-of-Ogden/v__21p_mcEKY7tL2o61EWw.cspx

  17. #17 |  Jamessir Bensonmum | 

    I’m glad the Freeland’s don’t have a dog. We know that because there’s no mention of it being shot to death which is standard operating procedure for police raids.

  18. #18 |  c andrew | 

    Hey Burgers,

    Did you catch this goofball’s comment?

    cscrow – 11:58 AM
    Please don’t post a link unless you add one for Officer Francom and the other officers. This was not a ‘grey area’ shooting. The man opened fire on the officers from a hidden vantage point over plants…plants! No doubt there are people in his life who care about him, love him and support him. All people have a history and society around them. But, he still shot to kill, on purpose with full intent. I find it insulting that this was news worthy.

    Hey CS Crow. You seem to be forgetting that the cops broke in and offered violence – including the capacity to shoot the homeowner over plants…plants!

Leave a Reply