An Iowa family is confused and angry in the wake of a recent brush with America’s highly evolved military police, who executed a search warrant on their home by suiting up a dozen officers in tactical gear, battering down the door and generally treating everyone as though violence was an expected outcome. The police were looking for someone who had used a credit card to fraudulently buy stuff. They found nothing like that.
Thankfully, a surveillance video captured a significant portion of the raid. It doesn’t bear out the cops’ claim that they knocked on the door and gave homeowner Sally Prince adequate time to open it. It does show a cop destroying one closed-circuit security camera outside, and another attempting to cover up a camera inside the house.
Iowa’s WHO-TV reported on the shock raid Monday, including plenty of surveillance video that clearly illustrates the extent of the SWAT-style overkill.
“Sally Prince is afraid to stay in her Des Moines home,” reported the station’s Aaron Brilbeck. “She isn’t afraid of burglars breaking in — she’s afraid of the police.”
“I’ve been so traumatized. I don’t sleep at night,” Prince says.
On Thursday, Ankeny police executed a search warrant looking for someone they suspected of using stolen credit cards to buy clothes and electronics.
The whole search was caught on surveillance video.
Ankeny police tell us they knocked first, but the video shows one officer pounding on the side of the house and seconds later, officers use a battering ram to force their way in.
The video also shows an officer destroying a security camera outside the home.
Two people in the house were arrested on unrelated charges, and the family says none of the items listed on the warrant were [sic] found.
The raid, although conducted by police from the town of Ankeny, took place at a home inside the Des Moines police jurisdiction “because the alleged theft took place in Ankeny, but the suspects live in Des Moines.”
Ankeny police captain Makai Echer said the squad made a tactical decision to use force to gain entry because the department believed the occupants’ criminal records justified it. Here’s WHO-TV’s report on the occupants’ criminal past:
Monday, we reported one of the four people listed, Richard Forestier Adair, had no real criminal record. But the name on the warrant is apparently wrong. Adair’s middle name is Foster and he does have a long criminal record but very few violent arrests. Adair has two assault convictions about 14 years ago and a domestic assault conviction in 2002.
A police spokeswoman also said officers believed there was a gun in the home. The man [Justin Ross] who lives there, who does not have a criminal record, does have a weapons permit.
Ross, Prince’s son, was in the bathroom and was legally armed at the time. A cop kicked the door once; it didn’t open. He got it on the second try. The time between those two kicks may have made the difference between Ross living and dying, because he realized the situation as the cop was kicking away, and went from a defensive stance, with his weapon drawn, to a submissive one.
“I stood up; I drew my weapon; I started to get myself together to come out the door,” explained Ross. “I heard somebody out in the main room say ‘police’ — and I re-holstered my weapon, I sat back down and I put my hands in my lap.”
If he hadn’t quickly holstered his gun, said Ross, “I would’ve been standing there with my weapon drawn, pointed at the doorway, and they probably would’ve shot me.”
“This was over… property purchased with a stolen credit card,” said Prince. “It doesn’t make any sense that they would go to such extremes for something that simple.”
The search yielded nothing named in the search warrant. Two people living in the house, Miranda Scigliano and Richard Adair, were arrested on unrelated charges. Scigliano was taken in for probation violation; Adair for possession of drugs with intent to deliver.