NY Heroes Bust Into Wrong House, Shoot Unarmed Cowering Woman In Chest

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Police burst into wrong apartment, shoot innocent woman hiding in closet

“I told them I was afraid and do not shoot me, and one officer screamed at me to put my hands above my head… That’s when I heard the shot.”

(Source: Tom Weber / Getty Images)

HEMPSTEAD, NY — An innocent woman hid in a closet when armed strangers unexpectedly broke into her apartment. While cowering in fear, she was discovered by one of the intruders — actually a police officer raiding the wrong address — who promptly shot her in the chest after opening the closet door.

A Flawed Warrant

The botched raid was part of a joint narcotics investigation by the Nassau County Police Force Bureau of Special Operations (BSO), the Town of Hempstead Police Department, and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

When officers had reason to suspect that someone was in possession of arbitrarily banned substances, a search warrant was signed by a New York judge, authorizing police to break down the suspect’s door at any time they felt appropriate without warning. The no-knock warrant was “justified by the possibility that evidence would be destroyed,” according to official documents.

The warrant left off a crucial fact. The target address was a residential property that contained 2 separate apartments. The downstairs and upstairs of the property were separated, and contained completely unrelated tenants. However, the warrant broadly (and negligently) granted police the authorization to search the entire premises without distinction — even though it included the home of a woman not suspected of any crime.

Botched Execution

The raid team was dispatched to the property on May 13, 2010. It consisted of Officers Michael Capobianco, Carl Campbell, Joseph Grella, Dwight Blankenship, and Nassau County Police Sargent Hermann. Also present was Thomas Bidell, an investigator with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

The men proceeded to use a battering ram to breach the door of the downstairs apartment, which belonged to the suspect of their investigation. Officers charged in with rifles and began searching the house. When they encountered an impassable staircase, one of them yelled, “Alternate breach!” and the men exited the home and proceeded with breaching the basement and upper apartment in a similar fashion.

Iyanna Davis, age 22 at the time, resided in the upper-floor apartment and was hiding in a closet after hearing the violent commotion in the downstairs living unit. She stated that she did not know the intruders were police officers and assumed the home was being targeted by criminal home invaders.

The officers had split up at this point and only Officers Capobianco and Campbell were on the upper floor searching Davis’ apartment. Versions of what happened next varied between police and the innocent tenant. The result was Officer Capobianco firing his rifle at Ms. Davis, striking her with a single bullet that traveled through her breast, abdomen, and both thighs.

Police made various claims about the shooting, including an assertion that Ms. Davis had jumped out of the closet, as well as another version that claimed she held the closet door shut as cops tried to open it from the outside, causing clumsy officer Capobianco to fall down and negligently discharge his rifle. The victim’s story, however, included her pleading for her life.

“I told them I was afraid and do not shoot me, and one officer screamed at me to put my hands above my head,” Ms. Davis said in a deposition. “That’s when I heard the shot and I felt myself sit down because the force actually knocked me back on my backside.”

Resolution

The indisputable facts of the case held that Ms. Davis had nothing to do with the investigation, yet she ended up being shot while unarmed in her own home by a police officer who should never have been there. Despite this breathtaking display of negligence and incompetence, the department investigated itself and cleared its officers of any wrongdoing.

Finally, after wrangling in the legal system for over 4 years, Nassau County agreed to settle with Ms. Davis to the tune of $650,000. As part of the settlement, the police internal investigation was officially sealed. According to Charles Horn, Ms. Davis’ attorney, this was to prevent its many “inaccuracies” from coming to light, which were falsely presented to convey justification for shooting an unarmed woman.

Taxpayers footed the bill, and no police officers received any sort of reprimand or termination.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. There is no legal or moral justification for “no knock” warrants. If the circumstances demonstrate imminent threat to someone else’s life no warrant is even needed. Those who just want to shortcut their workload by using them are not going to like the unexpected push back.

    • RE: “Those who just want to shortcut their workload by using them are not going to like the unexpected push back.”

      …Unless of course, they like it like that?

      If they’re anything like the dummkopf’s I knew who became coppers, they are just salivating at the chance as if it were at a football game and they want to take out the quarter back while the taxpayers pickup any penalties. It’s a freakin’ Free For All for them and they Love it!
      They have Nothing to lose.
      Their greatest hope is that the SHTF and they get to whip-out on everyone.

      Those guys, anyway.

      I know them.
      Wish I didn’t.

      They’re salivating like a pack of Pavlov’s dogs on speed with an eye for the lifeblood of every low life in the neighborhood… and the high class daughters, too.
      In their minds, it’s like a loop, “Kill ’em all. And let God sort ’em out!”

      I wonder where they got that idea from?

      I think maybe the judges of this land are the same way, too?
      They get off on some vicarious thrill from having instigated the dirty deed?

      For every No Knock Raid, there’s a guilty judge.

      I pity them all.

      • @Helot – They are not going to like the no knock reprisals out of left field. No one can defend against asymmetric warfare.

        • RE: “They are not going to like the no knock reprisals out of left field.”

          Maybe it depends on who ‘they’ is?

          The dudes I knew who became coppers. I think they’d like it,

          They are sick fucks.

          As I wrote, I know them.

          They are not Old School, or anything close to that.

          They are part and parcel to the Free Shit Army. They’re just looking for a reason to lash out. Their idea of a Fun Time is kicking you/I in the gut… go from there.

          I kind of have an idea of what/who you are… they’re nothing like that.
          Video upon video proves the point.

          • @helot – Oh I know. There are the Billy bad asses in every police station. I have also seen the badge shoved up their dark hole by someone badder then they were too. Who knows, maybe one of the Las Vegas pizza place killings was one. Maybe one or two of Dorner’s Los Angeles rage victims was one. There will be innocents hurt too if this Hempstead stupidity continues without apology or change in procedure. If the power bosses want to throw away the Constitution and Bill of Rights in the name of some lame “drug” war, or the bad guy may be a bad guy… Well, the good guys will eventually get fed up with the antics of showing up in their home unannounced in police berkas ready to cap rounds in anything that moves. Some Americans won’t put up with living in Fallujah for no good reason. Just sayn’ IMHO.

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