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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids ("SWAT")

Please let us know of any additional paramilitary police raids incidents you hear about so we can add them to the listing. This page was last updated on 4/8/09. Follow the links at http://stopthedrugwar.org/policeraids for additional sources of information on this issue. Maryland family – Carroll County, Maryland, January 2009 The family of a 22 year old Maryland resident were woken up at 3:30am when more than a dozen SWAT members with M-16s forcibly entered their home to execute a warrant that stemmed from the 22 year old's prior marijuana possession arrest. At the time, the target of the raid no longer lived at the house, but his parents and siblings (ages 12 and 18) were handcuffed and taken to local police barracks. A small amount of marijuana was found, and Emmanuel Dozier – Henderson, Nevada, December 2008 Officers did not identify themselves when attempting to raid the home of Emmanuel Dozier. Hearing loud banging and his daughter's cries for help, Dozier took steps to protect his family, and shot three officers in the leg as they entered. His girlfriend, Belinda hid in the closet with Dozier's teen daughter and her infant when shots were being fired, fearing it was a home invasion. No drugs were found. Samuel Hicks – Indiana Township, Pennsylvania, November 2008 FBI special agent, Samuel Hicks was killed during an early morning raid on a suspected cocaine dealer's home. Apparently abruptly awoken by the officers, the couple inside the home mistakenly thought their house was bring broken into. Details are still unclear at this time, since the suspect told reporters he did not shoot anyone and that the officers must have fired on him themselves. Pennyamon Family – Buffalo, New York, September 2008 Terrell Pennyamon, who suffers from epilepsy, was struck in the head by the end of a shotgun when police broke down the door to his family's residence. Looking for heroin, the cops raided the Pennyamon's apartment by mistake, terrifying their six young children & his wife. When police later raided the "correct" house, no drugs were found. Mayor Cheye Calvo – Berwyn Heights, Maryland, July 2008 A SWAT team raided the home of Cheye Calvo after delivering an intercepted box containing 32 pounds of marijuana to his house and observing him bringing it inside on returning home. a package containing 32 pounds of marijuana into his house. Police shot and killed the Calvo's two dogs and handcuffed Calvo -- the Mayor of the town, they found out later -- and his mother in law while searching the property, finding no other drugs. The Calvos were cleared after it was determined that the family did not have any knowledge of the contents of the package, which a UPS deliveryperson intended to intercept before their return home. Floyd Franklin Jr. – Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, July 2008 Floyd Franklin Jr. was shot 3 times after he did not comply with officer's demands to drop a pistol he was pointing at them. Agents were acting on warrants related to an investigation into the distribution of a "large amount of illegal narcotics". Police recovered two bottles of liquid codeine from his home. Ronita McColley – Albany, New York, July 2008 Ronita McColley, a single mother, was shocked when police threw a device through her window as part of a drug raid. McColley had no criminal background and had never been involved with drugs, and no drugs were found in her home. Police later admitted they raided the wrong address. Terry Speck – Mustang, Oklahoma, March 2009 Terry Speck was roused from her bed early one morning by six armed men who were part of Oklahoma's Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, who were looking for her 20 year old son. Speck told the cops that her son was already in prison, but they continued to search the home for 20 minutes before leaving empty handed. Hubert Henkel – Mulino, Oregon, March 2009 80 year old Marjorie Crawford was arrested for growing and distributing marijuana after a botched raid on her home. When her boyfriend, 68 year old Hubert Henkel, heard banging on the door, he grabbed his shot gun and was met at the door by police. He was shot and killed. Derrick Foster – Columbus, Ohio, May 2008 Derrick Foster, a former Ohio State University football player, was at a house for a dice game when police executed a raid. Fearing they were being robbed, and never hearing police identify themselves, Foster used his gun – for which he had a license – shooting and wounding two police officers. No one in the house has been charged with a drug crime. Gonzalo Guizan – Easton, Connecticut, May 2008 Gonzalo Guizan, 33, was visiting the home of a friend, Ronald Terebesi, Jr. to discuss opening an employment business when a heavily armed police team stormed the house. Unarmed, and possibly unaware that the intruders were police, Guizan ran toward the officers, and they shot and killed him. Kathy Adams – Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, April 2008 Drug Task Force officers raided the home of Kathy Adams, a 54-year old former nurse and her husband, while they were sleeping. Authorities had been tipped by a subcontractor who had been in the house earlier in the day who noticed a lot of chemicals in the bathroom. Mrs. Adams had explained to the subcontractor that the chemicals were, as they were clearly marked, used to maintain the couple's salt-water fish tank. The subcontractor went to the police, who obtained a warrant, and raided the home on suspicion of the home being a methamphetamine lab. No arrests were made. Eric Halperin – Durham, North Carolina, March 2008 Eric Halperin, a senior honors student at Duke University unknowingly brought a package containing 27 pounds of marijuana into the fraternity house in which he lived. Although the package was addressed to a woman who did not live there, police intercepted and delivered it to the address as part of an undercover operation. Once Halperin called the number listed on a note left with the package, police stormed his residence, then handcuffed the student at gunpoint, strip-searched him, and took him to jail. All charges were dropped within a month. Burbank Commons – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 2008 Acting on rumored information that a student apartment was being used to grow and sell marijuana, the Baton Rouge Police Department broke through an apartment door with a battering ram and threw a flash grenade into the room. No arrests were made, and the rumors about a marijuana operation were apparently false. Jarrod Shivers and Ryan Frederick – Chesapeake, Virginia, January 2008 Ryan Frederick's home had been burglarized a few days before police officers forcibly entered it in the middle of the night, and Frederick assumed the worst about what was happening. Before realizing who the intruders were, Frederick reached for his gun and shot it into the dark, killing Detective Jarrod Shivers. An informant had told police that Frederick was growing marijuana, but it was Japanese maple trees. Tracy Ingle – North Little Rock, Arkansas, January 2008 The North Little Rock SWAT team stormed Tracy Ingle's house one night and his first instinct was to protect himself, so he reached for a small pistol he kept by his bed. When he looked outside and realized the intruders were police, he dropped the gun and tried to raise his hands. One cop yelled that he had a gun and a few officers started to fire at Ingle, hitting him five times. Ingle had no drug involvement or violence in his history. Pam & Frank Myers – Accokeek, Maryland, November 2007 While watching a movie together, Pam and Frank Myers were interrupted by Sheriff's Deputies of Prince George's county banging on their door. The couple was held hostage by the deputies in the room and not allowed to go to the bathroom for 45 minutes. Mr. and Mrs. Myers claim that in spite of the trauma, it could have ended well with an apology, until they heard two shots from the yard which killed their five year old boxer, Pearl. The police had the wrong house. Scott Family – Temecula, North Carolina, August 2007 Lillian Scott and her husband were in the living room discussing family plans, when Temecula police officers carrying rifles charged though the unlocked front screen door and ordered the couple to the floor. Officers also handcuffed their teenage daughter children and two friends, and their teen son who was feeding their five month old baby when he was forced to the ground. No drugs were found and it was determined that the officers had targeted the wrong house. David and Eunice Nam – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 2007 David and Eunice Nam, owners of a tobacco shop, were forced to the ground and had their hands bound with plastic ties as members of a narcotics squad ransacked their store. The officers immediately smashed their surveillance cameras and reportedly stole various items and cash from the Korean couple's store. The Nams were arrested for selling tiny ziplock bags that police consider drug paraphernalia, but which the couple described as tobacco pouches. Cheryl Ann Stillwell – Amelia Island, Florida, December 2006 Cheryl Ann Stillwell was prescribed Oxycontin for pain after an accident that prevented her from working. The warrant cited an informant who claimed to have purchased two pills from an unknown white female at the address. She was killed when police broke into her home looking for a stash of prescription narcotics. The police say they had to shoot in self-defense because Stillwell pointed her gun at the raiding officers.. Patricia Durr-Pojar and Curtis Pojar – Springfield, Missouri, June 2006 Officers from the Combined Ozark Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Team conduct a raid on the home of Patricia Durr-Pojar and her son Curtis Pojar on an anonymous tip that the two were running a meth lab inside. Police break out windows, tear down doors and screens, throw objects out a second story window, and throw Durr-Pojar and Pojar to the ground and handcuff them. Police found no meth and no meth lab. Dep. Joseph Whitehead – Macon, Georiga, March 2006 During a no-knock raid, Dep. Whitehead was shot and killed by residents Antron Dawayne Fair and Damon Jolly. Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena told the Macon Telegraph that once the suspects realized the raiding party was law enforcement and not gang members, they surrendered immediately. Tarika and Sincere Wilson – Lima, Ohio January, 2008 A SWAT team Burst into the home of Tarika Williams, her one year old son, and her boyfriend, and immediately opened fire. Tarika was killed, her son's finger shot off, and even one of the family dogs was killed. While the SWAT team executed the raid at the proper address, their wanton use of excessive force cannot be justified by the undisclosed amount of marijuana and crack they purportedly found in the possession of the boyfriend. the El-Bynum family – Philadelphia, September 2007 The El-Bynum family was the victim of a botched police raid while sitting down to Sunday dinner. Police burst into the wrong house, found no evidence of illegal activity, yet arrested Mr. and Mrs. El-Bynum anyway. Frances Thompson – Atlanta, September 2006 Two months before Kathryn Johnston was killed, Atlanta police conducted a no-knock search on the home of 80-year-old Frances Thompson, who brandished a toy cap gun at them. She dropped the gun when told to and no shots were fired. Police later realized their mistake and apologized. Norma Saunders – Philadelphia, September 2007 Norma Saunders returned home from a family reunion to find her home trashed, her front door broken in, and her burglary alarm torn from the wall. Police officers had raided the house looking for drugs and weapons. The house they intended to hit was several houses away. David and Lillian Scott (and family) – Temecula, California, August 2007 A specialized police unit has been temporarily disbanded after mistakenly bursting into the house of David and Lillian Scott. After throwing Mr. and Mrs. Scott, their two teenage children and two friends of their daughter to the ground and handcuffing them, police searched the house, breaking several doors, without finding any evidence of illegal activities. The Mayor of Temecula later apologized for the mistake. Carol Wallace – Chicago, July 2007 A narcotics team raided the home of 63-year-old grandmother Carol Wallace. Wallace said about six of the officers dumped clothes from a dresser and closet on her bed and floor and rifled through her medications. She has no criminal record, but had earlier accused the police dept of harassment. Thelma Lefort, Mike Lefort – Thibodeaux, Louisiana, July 2007 Mike Lefort, 61, and his mother, Thelma, 83, were surprised and thrown to the ground when the police burst into the wrong house with a "no knock" warrant. Thelma suffered from a spike in her blood pressure and had a difficult time overcoming the shock. The police chief later apologized. Virginia Herrick – Durango, Colorado, June 2007 77-year-old Virginia Herrick was surprised by a police task force in gas masks when they barged into her mobile home and threw her to the ground. Her home was ransacked and she was separated from the oxygen tank she needs to help her breath. Police later realized that they had the wrong house and apologized. Dennis and Sandra Braswell – Hendersonville, North Carolina, May 2007 A SWAT team stormed the home of Dennis and Sandra Braswell by mistake while the Braswells' 16-year-old son was hosting a party on the back porch. Police threw two smoke grenades into the home before entering, according to Sandra Braswell. Upon seeing the police, several underage guests tried to run, adding to the confusion. The mistake was acknowledged belatedly and the underage guests were not arrested. Kari Bailey, 23, and her 5-year-old daughter, Hayley – Stockton, California, May 2007 An eight-member code enforcement team investigating a complaint about drug use shot the Bailey's dog in the paw, and shrapnel from the bullet injured the Baileys. It was a wrong address. Betty and Frank Granger – Elgin, Illinois, March 2007 Frank and Betty Granger, both in their sixties, had their home raided after police received a tip that guns were in the house. Police burst into their home, smashed doors and windows, and handcuffed them and their grandhcildren. On the bright side, city workers came out the next day to fix the damage, and an officer apologized. Davis Family – Jacksonville, Florida, March 2007 Masked police officers burst into the Davis family home and ordered everyone to the ground while they ransacked the house looking for evidence of a drug crime. Willie Davis, grandfather of murdered DreShawna Davis, and his mentally disabled son were forced to the ground and watched helplessly as police tore apart the memorabilia from DreShawna's funeral. This show of paramilitary force was in response to the alleged sale of two crack rocks, an amount worth roughly $60. Daniel Castillo Jr. – Wharton, Texas, February 2007 Police raided the home of Daniel Castillo Jr., age 17, in search of weapons and drugs. Daniel was awakened by his sister crying "don't shoot." When he entered the room to investigate, police officer Don Falks shot him in the face, killing him. Daniel had no criminal record, and no drugs or weapons were found. Isaac Singletary – Jacksonville, Florida, January 2007 As the victim of a botched sting operation, Isaac Singletary was shot to death after reacting to two undercover officers posing as drug dealers. Believing that he was being confronted by armed criminals, Singletary brandished a gun, prompting police to open fire. Singletary was announced "completely innocent" by the Jacksonville sheriff. Carl Keane and Chieko Strange – Petaluma, California, December 2006 Carl Keane and his girlfriend Chieko Strange were arrested during a military-style raid and charged with felony possession of marijuana even though no drugs, weapons, or money were found in their house. Charges were eventually dropped when the informant was unable to identify Keane and Strange in a lineup. Corporal James Dean – Leonardtown, Maryland, December 2006 Cpl. James Dean, an Army reservist, was killed by a Maryland State Police sharpshooter during a standoff that began when police intervened in Dean's apparent suicide attempt. Dean did fire some shots, so the case is complicated, but had not threatened anyone other than himself until the SWAT team arrived. Salvador Celaya – Gilbert, Arizona, December 2006 Police raided the house of Salvador Celaya by mistake, causing a standoff with Celaya, who was 73 years old and suffers from Alzheimer's. Believing his home was under attack by criminals, Mr. Celaya fired on the police. He was eventually driven from his home by the fire which had started from a flashbang grenade thrown into his house by police. While no one was injured, the house did burn to the ground. Kathryn Johnston – Atlanta, Georgia, November 2006 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was killed by police during a raid conducted at the wrong house. Ms. Johnston fired at the police officers as they were breaking in through her living room window. Three officers were injured, but Ms. Johnston was struck 39 times and died at the scene. Derek Hale – Wilmington, Delaware, November 2006 Retired marine Derek Hale was targeted by police due to his association with a motorcycle club. When a team of SWAT officers poured out of the black vans they had arrived in, Hale was told to raise his hands, but was tasered before being able to comply, then was tasered two more times and shot three times point blank in front of his friend and her two children. Police claimed he resisted arrest, however, all witnesses testified that he had been attempting to comply with the police but was unable to because of the three taser attacks. He had no criminal record and had served two tours in Iraq. Durrell Jones – Sarasota, Florida November 2006 Police raided the home of Durrell Jones where he lived with his brother and four year old son. Police barged in both front and back doors with guns pointed. The family was forced to the ground and the house was searched before one of the officers realized they had raided on the wrong house. Otto Zehm – Spokane, Washington, March 2006 Zehm, a 36-year-old mentally disabled janitor, stopped breathing and lapsed into a coma after being beaten, shocked with a taser weapon and placed on his stomach for an extended period of time while hogtied by a force of no less than seven police officers. He never regained consciousness and died two days later. Margot Allen – Sugar Land, Texas, October 2006 A police SWAT team burst into the Allen home, set off a flash grenade, shot the family dog and arrested Allen's son and boyfriend. In their subsequent search of the house police were only able to find one small marijuana cigarette. Lupe and Pilar Cuellar – Brownsville, Texas, September 2006 The Cuellar home was burst into by heavily armed officers who threw Lupe Cuellar to the ground and arrested him on domestic abuse charges. Only after dragging him outside in his underwear at 1:30am did the police realize they had the wrong house. Anita Woodyear – Brownsville, Texas, September 2006 A police SWAT team burst into the home of Anita Woodyear, handcuffed her 11- and 12-year old and shot the family dog. Police justified the bust by evidence of the sale of a mere $60 worth of marijuana. Raybon and Annie Hunt – Brookeland, Texas, September 2006 Police broke in the door of the home of Raybon and Annie Hunt, and proceeded to trash it -- kicking in two doors, tearing up three lamps, and tearing down the gate coming into the house. Officers confronted the Hunts at the rear door of the home and ordered them down at gunpoint. They left abruptly after realizing they had the wrong house. Cheryl Lynn Noel – Chicago, Illinois, January 2005 A police SWAT team raided the Noel family home after finding marijuana seeds in the trash outside their house. They broke into the house at 4:30am in full riot gear after setting off a flashbang grenade. Upon entering the bedroom and finding Mrs. Noel holding her legally licensed pistol, the officer fired three times, killing her in her bed. Flexton Young – Bronx, New York, August 2006 Flexton Young, his wife and their four children were asleep when police broke down the door of their apartment on the fourth floor of 974 Anderson Ave at 6:00am. They ripped through the front door, tore off the closet door, and ripped both of the childrens' rooms to pieces. The search turned up one mostly smoked marijuana cigarette in an ashtray. Arlita Hines – Dale City, Virginia, July 2006 Police burst into the home of Arlita Hines, where she lives with her sister and nephews. They threw the family members to the ground and handcuffed them, tossed the house looking for drugs, but found none. Police later acknowledged they had raided the wrong house. Guillermo Urquiza – McKinney, Texas, June 2006 Based on a tip from a so-called informant, police claimed Guillermo Urquiza solicited a hit man to kill a police officer, and raided his home looking for evidence. Urquiza says he thought his home was being invaded, so he grabbed a gun to defend himself and his mother who was also in the home. He didn't get a shot off until after the raiding SWAT team had shot him multiple times -- two bullets he fired afterwards hit the ceiling. Urquiza was never indicted for the allegation that police claim prompted the raid, but was charged with shooting at the police. He was convicted of assault and sentenced to five years in prison. Urquiza's wounds required him to have several operations and resulted in a heart attack at the age of 27. Steven Blackman – Fort Worth, Texas, June 2006 The raid on Steven Blackman's house began when police fired several rounds of tear gas into the house, and the SWAT team officers rushed in and broke down the back door. While they had the right address, they did not know that the man they were pursuing had not lived there for three years. The person they were looking for was suspected of mere possession. Kenneth Jamar – Huntsville, Alabama, June 2006 51-year-old Kenneth Jamar, a semi-invalid with severe gout and a pacemaker, was shot several times and nearly killed in a SWAT raid on his home last June. Jamar was holding a gun when the SWAT team kicked down his bedroom door. Police were apparently looking for Jamar's nephew. Despite the fact that the address on the search warrant was incorrect (the address listed was that of the suspect's father), police insisted that the raid on Jamar's home was legal and that his home was the home they'd intended to raid all along. Joy White – Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 2006 The home of Joy White and Bob Lazar was raided by a police SWAT team because they ran an online business specializing in the sale of chemicals for scientific activities. They count the Department of Homeland Security and several police and fire departments among their clients. Police handcuffed the couple and held them on suspicion of selling illegal fireworks. Police confiscated all materials and computers from the business, but could not tie White or Lazar to any illegal activity. Elderly Couple – Horn Lake, Mississippi, March 2006 A man and a woman – both in their 80s – were injured as TACT team members secured their house although no drugs were found. The woman received a dislocated shoulder and the man received bruised ribs. Both were taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto. Police later admitted to hitting the wrong house. Salvatore Culosi – Fairfax County, Virginia, January 24 2006 Dr. Salvatore J. Culosi was shot and killed by a member of the county police SWAT Team while being served with what should have been a routine documents search warrant. The officer involved was not disciplined and the county is refusing to reveal the information leading to the killing. Chidester Family – Springville, Utah, January 2006 The County SWAT team manhandled a family when it erroneously raided their home. Lawrence Chidester was tackled and his face shoved into the ground and rocks although he was standing with his hands in the air repeatedly saying "I am not resisting." The Chidesters allege SWAT members threw him to the ground and pointed a gun at his head. Upon realizing their mistake the police left without apology. H. Victor Buerosse – Pewaukeep, Wisconsin, January 2006 68-year-old retired lawyer H. Victor Buerosse was the victim of a botched raid when a SWAT team burst into the wrong apartment. His continued pleas that the officers had the wrong place were answered by violence. In one instance, Mr. Buerosse was struck on the head with a police shield; he was also thrown into a closet door. This show of force was marshaled in response to a tip that small amounts of marijuana might be in the intended residence. Edwin and Catherine Bernhardt – Hallandale, Florida, February 2006 The police broke down the Bernhardt's door in a late-night raid, then threw the two of them to the floor and held them at gunpoint while the officers searched the house. Edwin had been nude, so the police made him wear a pair of his wife's panties. The couple was then taken to jail, and sat there for several hours until the police realized they had the wrong address. Michelle Clancy and Robert DeCree – Paterson, New Jersey, December 2005 Police mistakenly burst into the home of Robert DeCree and his girlfriend Michelle Clancy instead of the intended target next door. Before acknowledging the mistake or relenting in their assault, they forced Clancy, her 65-year-old father and 13-year-old daughter to stand in the cold entryway for 20 minutes while they searched the house, and threatened to shoot DeCree and his barking dog. Utah Rave Raid – Utah County, August 2005 Over 90 officers in full military gear stormed a legal dance party in Utah County. Claiming that rave parties are hotbeds of drug use, underage drinking, and even sexual assault and firearm violations, the police force burst into the venue and began arresting. Several eyewitness reports describe people being tackled and kicked, though they did not resist arrest. The police allege that the gathering was illegal, but this has not held up to the evidence. David Scheper – Baltimore, Maryland, August 2005 Thinking his home was being invaded by criminals, David Scheper armed himself with a Czechoslovakian pistol from his collection of firearm relics. The gun discharged accidentally into the ground before Scheper was seized by the police who had stormed the house. While the police found no evidence of illegal activity and acknowledged having made a mistake in entering Scheper's home, they nonetheless charged him for the weapons discharge. The charge was defeated in court. Anthony Diotaiuto – Sunrise, Florida, August 2005 Sunrise police claimed that Diotaiuto had sold some marijuana, and because they knew he had a legal gun, decided to use SWAT. Neighbors claim that the police did not identify themselves. Police first claimed that Anthony pointed his gun at them, and later changed their story. Regardless, Anthony was dead with 10 bullets in him, and the police found a mere two ounces. John Simpson – Nampa, Idaho, June 2005 Police threw a flashbang grenade through the window of John Simpson's home, stunning him and his wife. The intended target for the raid was the duplex next door. No one was injured in the raid but the Simpsons are currently seeking counseling for the trauma. The intended culprit was found with four ounces of marijuana next door. Sharon and William McCulley – Omao, Kauai, March 2005 Police officers entered the home of the McCulleys -- grandparents -- whom they suspected of marijuana dealing. One officer grabbed Sharon McCulley and threw her to the ground, handcuffed her and pressed his gun into her head, leaving a mark, while her grandchild was forced to lie near her. William McCulley, who walks with the aid of a walker, was also thrown to the floor, after which he began to flop on the floor due to shocks from an electronic device implanted in his spine to alleviate pain. Police searched the house and found no trace of illegal activity. The McCulleys sued the officers involved in federal court. This document is a work in progress, and cases going back at least as far as the year 2000 will be posted here shortly. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/policeraids for much more information on this issue.
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