- A Pittsburgh man has filed a lawsuit against the FBI
for violating his 4th amendment right protecting against illegal search
and seizure and 5th amendment right to due process after they raid his
home with a battering ram wielding assault rifles without a search warrant
to enter the premise.
- If they agents had done any kind of due diligence in
establishing probable cause and legally seeking a warrant to raid the home
to being with they would have discovered that the suspect they were searching
the house they illegally raided had not lived there for more than 2 years.
- A contact from the Pittsburgh area tells me the city
requires all renters to pay for and file a registration with the city.
If the FBI did quick search of that database they would have immediately
realized the suspect they were searching for no longer resided in the home
that was raided.
- Instead in a blatant violation of the Constitution a
man, his wife, and his children were terrorized by over a dozen men holding
assault rifles to their heads as the horrified parents watched red dot
lasers crawl back and forth on their children's faces.
- The Raw Story reports:
- Man files suit after 'terrifying' FBI raid on wrong house
- A Bellevue, Pennsylvania man is suing a dozen FBI agents
for allegedly violating his and his family's constitutional rights when
their home was wrongfully raided by agents wielding assault rifles.
- The Pittsburg Tribune-Review reported that
FBI agents used a battering ram to enter Gary Adams' rented home in search
of a former resident who was charged with being part of a drug gang.
- The agents had an arrest warrant, but no warrant to search
- His fifty-eight-year old wife Denise Adams described
the raid as "terrifying."
- The suspect, Sondra Hunter, hadn't lived at that address
for almost two years.
- "They had guns on my wife, my babies," he told
the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I'd like to know how they would
feel if that happened to them."
- The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review provides further
- Bellevue family sues FBI over 'terrifying' raid
- Thursday, June 16, 2011
- The lasting impact of the raid on Gary Adams' home became
clear in a comment from his 3-year-old granddaughter during a recent trip
to the pharmacy.
- "She said, 'Granddad. Police. Hide,' " Adams,
57, of Bellevue recalled Wednesday while discussing the federal lawsuit
he filed against the officers who burst into his home March 3.
- Led by FBI Special Agent Karen Springmeyer, about a dozen
officers used a battering ram to enter Adams' rented Orchard Street home
in a search for Sondra Hunter, then 35. But Hunter hadn't lived at that
address for almost two years, while Adams and his family had been living
there for more than a year, according to the lawsuit filed by Adams and
10 other family members.
- [...]The lawsuit says that officers knew, or should have
known, that Hunter no longer lived there. By executing an arrest warrant
at a residence that wasn't Hunter's, they violated the family's Fourth
Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, and their Fifth
Amendment right to due process, the lawsuit says.
- The officers were part of a local, state and federal
task force rounding up more than three dozen people suspected of being
members of the Manchester Original Gangsters street gang. Hunter was still
at large at the end of the sweep, and court records show that she was living
in Long Beach, Calif., at the time. She returned to Pittsburgh when she
heard she was wanted by the police.
- [...]"They had guns on my wife, my babies. I'd like
to know how they would feel - the people in my house - if that happened
to them," he said.
- Denise Adams, 58, said seeing the red dots from the officers'
targeting lasers crawl across her children's faces also has cost her faith
in law enforcement.
- "I don't want to, but this was terrifying,"
- The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article goes on to say
that while the officers don't have a right to raid homes without search
warrant authorizing the raid, the lawsuit filed faces several obstacles
because law enforcement officials are given "qualified immunity"
to protect them from mistakes they make when conducting their jobs.
- While raiding the house without probable cause or a search
warrant would bar the officers in this raid from the immunity, the beloved
Supreme Court, who has done such an excellent job in protecting our civil
liberties and keeping the executive branch and Congress in check, has repeatedly
made it harder for anyone to sue law enforcement officials for anything.
- The Tribune-Review quotes a University of Pittsburgh
law professor David Harris as saying "Not only do they have to make
a mistake, it has to have been particularly egregious, They have to be
violating a law that was absolutely crystal clear, and they have to have
- So, the first issue at here is the definition of particularly
egregious. If we take the Supreme Court's ruling on abduction of US Citizens
along with their overseas detention and torture as the standard this lawsuit
is dead in the water.