Sorry About Terrorizing You…
Kenyan immigrant Nancy Njoroge had been living in the United States for a year when a Montgomery County SWAT team burst into her Gaithersburg apartment at 4 a.m., handcuffed her and her two teenage daughters, and searched her apartment, court records show. Police found nothing.
The reason: Njoroge lived in No. 202 of her apartment complex. The police had a search warrant for apartment 201.
After rejecting an offer from the county’s claims adjuster of a “couple of movie passes,” the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the county on the family’s behalf for unspecified damages, according to ACLU records filed in court.
The ACLU said the purpose of the lawsuit was to hold the police department accountable for its mistake. “Officers had but one apartment to locate, in a quiet and well-lit hallway in the dead of night, without distraction and with clearly marked doors and numbers,” ACLU lawyer Fritz Mulhauser said in a letter to the county.
Sounds fair to me, have your door kicked in, put on the floor handcuffed and had assualt weapons pointed at you at 4 am for doing nothing wrong….yeah movie passes, sounds reasonable.
Court records don’t give a clear reason why the police raided the wrong apartment, and the county attorney assigned to the case did not respond to inquiries for the story. But in court records, a SWAT team leader indicated that it was an isolated incident.
“In six years as the supervisor of the tactical section, I have led approximately 600 raids,” Sgt. Darin Magee, whose job was to lead the SWAT team to the correct apartment, said in a statement. “This is the first such error that I have made and I hope this will be considered when the situation is judged.”
I love this. Its always an isolated incident. And we have know way to verify if Sgt. Darin Magee is lying or not. Until quite recently there was no requirement to record anything about SWAT raids in Maryland. Whether they were successful or not, whether it was on the on the right address, whether drugs or whatever else was found, injuries, etc. All we have to go by is the word of a cop, who if he’s had more than one bad raid could affect his career (no incentive to lie there, nope). And the city/county has no reason to keep records an a huge incentive not too–lawsuits. Oh wait, I know how they can spin it, by not keeping records and not offering up a clear account of how many botched raids there have been, the police are protecting citizens from having to pay out large settlements for their incompetence. Yeah, that’s the ticket.