SWAT deliberately changed the address of a raid to the wrong house, leaving a family held at gunpoint for over an hour, including a breast-feeding mother and child, who happens to be married to a police officer, according to a lawsuit.
Fontana, CA -- The Fontana and Anaheim police departments have been named as defendants in a lawsuit after falsifying documents leading to a raid of an innocent family, that "shocked the conscience."
The incident began in March of 2014 after a repair store had reported a missing laptop to police. Security video from the location of the theft showed a new car, with no license plates, driving away from the scene.
The laptop was equipped with gps tracking and the I-Crack Repair store had received a "ping" from someone bringing the laptop online.
On March 9, I-Crack Repair reported the location of the ping to authorities. Police were given the address of 543 Eveningsong Lane in the suburbs of Anaheim Hills. The I-Crack representative also gave the police a screenshot of the address indicated by the "ping."
In response to the missing laptop, Anaheim police began a stakeout of the residence at 543 Eveningsong Lane. No activity was observed at 543 Eveningsong, however, Dan Nunley was in his driveway at 539 Eveningsong; he was also putting a license plate on his new car.
Oddly enough, the representative from I-Crack Repair was on location during the stakeout and informed police that Dan Nunley was not the man in the surveillance footage, nor was it his house which sent the "ping." The placing of the license plate on his car was simply a coincidence.
According to the lawsuit, the fact that this was not the right house, nor the right person, did not stop the police from altering the address on the search warrant to 539 Eveningsong.
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Prior to the militarized action by police, several visitors arrived the home of Dan and Kathy Nunley. One of the visitors was Robert Hultgrien, a family friend and local attorney. The other visitors were the Nunelys’ adult daughter, Kimberlee Evelo, and her 1-month-old baby.
At 7:30 pm the warrant was issued and in this neighborhood of million dollar homes, police were prepared for war.
According to the lawsuit, although "knock notice" procedures were utilized, the officers serving the warrant had a battering ram with them in case they ran into resistance. A police helicopter was also utilized in the rather serene residential neighborhood. Neighbors were interviewed by police officers. Plaintiffs were held at gunpoint for a lengthy period of time, including Plaintiff Evelo who was breast-feeding her baby when police officers came rushing into the residence. The officers conducting the search were clearly looking for unknown items besides the stolen contraband. Inappropriate and offensive comments were made to Plaintiffs by the officers serving the warrant.
Despite the lengthy and illegal search, no items of contraband were found or seized as described in the search warrant. "It was clear that police were at the wrong house," the lawsuit states.
Not one of the individual Fontana defendants or the Anaheim defendants apologized for falsifying information in the search warrant affidavit and the resultant inappropriate search of persons, search of property, and unlawful detentions of law-abiding citizens at gunpoint. Moreover, at least the individual Fontana defendants, or some of them, deliberately lied or deliberately omitted critical information in the preparation of their police reports in order to attempt to justify their actions, alleges the lawsuit.
The gross negligence and incompetence applied by the two departments involved in this raid is staggering.
Dan & Kathy Nunley, Robert Hultgrien, and Kimberlee Everlo jointly hired Joel Baruch, who filed the complaint in this case. They are seeking monetary as well as punitive damages for violation of civil rights guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and for false imprisonment and/or arrest without a warrant.