Radley Balko has the story of another drug raid gone wrong, this one in Troy, New York, terrifying a young single mother — no guns, no drugs. Apparently it was based on a bad tip, with no follow-up buys or confirmation (and also apparently four houses were raided that morning and all turned up nothing).
But check out the interview with Troy Police Sergeant David Dean:
Sgt. Dean: “We did not hit the wrong house, we hit the house that the search warrant directed us to hit.” […]
Anya: “Do you think this will hurt your credibility?”
Sgt. Dean: “The last thing we want to do is enter an innocent person’s home – it doesn’t get us anywhere, and it doesn’t hamper the drug trade.”
Anya: “Will you be going back to clean-up the damage to the house?”
Sgt. Dean: “We just have to enter lawfully with our search warrant, that is our only obligation.”
Anya: “And you can leave it in any state that you left it?”
Sgt. Dean: “Yes. We had probable cause that led us to believe there was drug activity.”
So as long as the court signed their pathetically inadequate warrant, they don’t have any obligation to the people they serve. And the reason for not wanting to raid an innocent person’s house is not because their innocent, but because it will be wasted effort for the police.
This guy should be fired. Immediately.
Update: I should really check what Scott Morgan has written before I post something — he’s got a good take on this story as well, with a suggestion for hearings in the state legislature.