A Mother and her two older children told officers there was a 2-year-old in the room. Police ignored them, told them to cover their ears, and threw a smoke bomb into the room as the 2-year-old Justin stood near the door.
Ventura, CA — A 2-year-old boy was burned and hospitalized after police threw an explosive device directly into his room during a “no-knock” raid on the wrong home, despite being told by the parents that there was an infant in the room, according to a lawsuit.
Jose and Paulina Salinas are suing the City of Oxnard and its police department, seeking damages for assault, battery, trespass, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress.
According to Courthouse News, in their lawsuit, the Salinas family says they were sleeping on April 16, around 4 a.m., when they were awakened by scuffling footsteps and vehicles outside their condominium.
When Jose Salinas drew the curtains of his bedroom window, he saw the barrel of a policeman’s gun pointed at him.
Police broke the front windows of the home and set off three smoke bombs. Police then crashed through the front door with guns drawn, yelling, “Get down and put your hands to your head!
With laser-mounted guns pointed at them, Paulina and Jose Salinas were handcuffed and put to their knees. Their 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son were shoved into a corner.
As police approached one of the bedrooms, Paulina Salinas and her two older children told officers there was a 2-year-old in the room. Police ignored them, told them to cover their ears, and threw a smoke bomb into the room as 2-year-old Justin Salinas stood near the door.
When the smoke bomb detonated, shrapnel from the blast hit Justin in the foot, causing first-degree burns and glass cuts.
The 2-year-old was brought the the hospital and treated for his injuries.
This incident was confirmed by a press release from the Oxnard Police Department released shortly after the incident in April.
The press release reported that a 2-year-old boy had been injured during a “multi-location search warrant operation” conducted by several agencies to combat gang activity.
“At one of the search warrant locations, a 2-year old sustained minor injuries,” the statement said. “The child was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.”
After the initial horror of the raid, the family was detained for four hours despite there being “no resemblance of any claimant to any of the previous tenants at the location,” according to the complaint.
Police were apparently looking for an individual who lived in the house at least four months prior to the Salinas family, according to the report.
The Salinas family is now dealing with the physical and emotional stress of this traumatic experience. They now feel that their home is a dangerous place to live and are “scared to death and rattled by any noise they hear at night.”
Justin is “afraid of the dark and of people in general,” while the other two children “suffer recurring nightmares, and are terrified of sleeping alone,” the lawsuit states.