A Kentucky cop claimed he smelled marijuana coming from a residential home in Louisville, leading him to believe the family was running an illegal marijuana growth operation inside.
That led to a judge signing a search warrant based on the cop’s “training and experience” which led to a Louisville police SWAT team donning their stormtrooper gear and raiding the family at dawn, using explosives and a battering ram to terrorize a man, woman and their three children at gunpoint – finding no evidence of an illegal growth operation inside.
The search warrant did not even include the family’s real name, claiming instead that a man named Anthony McLain and his girlfriend, Holly, were dealing drugs inside, according to the lawsuit filed by the couple, Ashlea Burr and Mario Daughtery.
The Louisville Metro Police Department initially claimed it had body camera video footage from the raid but that proved to be a lie when attorneys pointed out they were required by departmental policy to wear body cameras.
The department then provided footage that was mostly redacted but one segment captured the 14-year-old daughter sobbing in the rain after she was forced to the ground at gunpoint while trying to run to her grandmother’s house next door.
The family who is black and believed they were being robbed is now suing.
According to WDRB:
“It is completely unreasonable to execute a warrant that vaguely mentions someone potentially smoking marijuana at a residence with a SWAT team of 14 officers, exploding devices, forced entry, and assault rifles, particularly when no investigation was done to determine who lived in the residence,” the suit says.
And the suit argues the department has a custom of searching predominantly African American homes in mostly black neighborhoods “without probable cause” and in violation of the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.
(Attorney for family Josh) Rose said LMPD initially denied his request for body camera video from the officers, telling him none existed.
The attorney was later provided video after pointing out that the officers were required to wear body cams under department policy, he said. But the footage was “almost completely redacted visually and audibly” until after the raid was mostly over, according to the suit.
The incident took place on October 26, 2018. The lawsuit, which was filed last week, names Detective Joseph Tapp as the main defendant.
The video of the girl sobbing in the rain is embedded in this article.
Read the search warrant and the lawsuit.