February 4, 2014
Armed militarized police in Iowa smashed their way into the home of an innocent family last week and discovered that they were being filmed on home security cameras. The response paints a vivid picture, as one officer ripped a camera from the wall, while another covered up a second camera to prevent the raid being documented.
WHO tv in Des Moines reports that Ankeny police carried out the raid in search of “someone they suspected of using stolen credit cards to buy clothes and electronics.”
The cameras, stationed around the property on the inside and outside, captured the moment that up to a dozen armed police dressed in helmets, ski-masks and riot gear marched up to the home of Sally Prince and prepared to smash her door in over what turned out to be nothing more than unfounded suspicion of minor fraud.
“This is over property purchased with a stolen credit card,” Prince told reporters, noting that if police had knocked she would have allowed them to execute a warrant to search the house. “It doesn’t make any sense to go to such extremes for something that simple.” Prince said.
“I’ve been so traumatized, I don’t sleep at night,” Mrs Prince added saying she is now afraid of staying in her home because of the police actions. “The police are supposed to protect and serve, not make you in fear of them – And I’m totally terrified of them now,” Prince said.
The police department told reporters that “they knocked first.” However, the surviving footage shows officers battering down the door within a couple of seconds of reaching it. The police also stated that they “do not have a written policy governing how search warrants are executed.”
Police have long been required to “knock-and-announce” before raids, in order to allow those inside the opportunity to avoid potential violent confrontation, in addition to damage to their property.
Indeed, as is related in the report on this incident, Mrs Prince’s son, recently honorably discharged from the Army, was legally carrying a firearm, and had drawn the weapon when he heard a commotion. “I stood up, I drew my weapon, I started to get myself together to get out the door, I heard someone in the main room say police. I re-holstered my weapon sat back down and put my hands in my lap,” Ross noted, pointing out that things could have turned out very differently.
In the end, none of the items listed on the warrant were found. Two people in the house were arrested on non-related charges, one for a probation violation and one for possession of illegal drugs – which in itself raises questions.
Recently, federal appeals courts have ruled that it is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment to use a SWAT team to perform a regulatory inspection of someone’s home in cases like this.
This is what a militarized police state in America looks like. Increasingly, any kind of felony is being responded to with armed raids, often during which people and pets are injured or even killed.