The prevalence of law enforcement personnel using excessive force while serving search warrants has been detailed numerous times in recent months. A recent report chronicles a police raid on a home in Iowa that residents say left them stunned and outraged.
A security camera captured the entire ordeal, prompting many to accuse the Ankeny officers of resorting far too quickly to the use of a battering ram to enter the home.
Officers were reportedly searching for a suspect in connection to purchases made with a stolen credit card. Though police initially said they knocked prior to forcing their way in, video surveillance tells a different story. The footage not only reveals officers barreling through the door mere seconds after one member of the force beat against an exterior wall; another officer is ironically caught on tape destroying another security camera on the property.
Resident Sally Prince said she was left with residual fear and is “so traumatized” that she can no longer sleep at night.
Her son, Justin Ross, recently received an honorable discharge from the Army and was legally carrying a firearm during the ordeal.
“I stood up, I drew my weapon, I started to get myself together to get out the door, I heard someone in the main room say ‘Police,’” he explained. “I re-holstered my weapon, sat back down and put my hands in my lap.”
The family said they would have gladly cooperated had police simply knocked on the door. Instead, they say officers terrorized them and, after searching the home, left empty-handed in regard to the warrant. Two occupants were arrested on unrelated charges.
A department spokesperson subsequently issued a statement indicating the forceful entrance was due to the fact that one occupant was arrested 13 years ago for assault. The source declined to comment on the blatant destruction of the surveillance equipment.
Too often, it seems, police overreact to situations, disregarding the effect their actions have on the citizens they swore to protect. While many officers undeniably serve their community with courage and honor, the frustratingly common occurrence of incidents like this one leave a permanent stain on the entire profession.