Pittsburgh SWAT Officers Dragged 10-Year-Old from Bathtub, Made Him Stand Naked Next to 4-Year-Old Sister, Terrorized FamilySubmitted by barracuda_trader on Mon, 07/29/2013 - 08:14
Lawsuit: Pittsburgh SWAT Officers Dragged 10-Year-Old from Bathtub, Made Him Stand Naked Next to 4-Year-Old Sister, Terrorized Family
Georgeia Moreno and her mother and stepfather have filed a federal lawsuit against the city, Police Chief Nate Harper, Officer Michael Reddy and several unidentified officers for injuries and property damage they claim to have suffered in the December 2010 incident in Carrick.
Police had a warrant for Moreno's husband, William, but attorney Tim O'Brien says they crossed the line with the family by "pointing loaded assault weapons at their heads, shouting profanities at them, forcibly handcuffing them, inflicting bodily harm, and in one instance rousting a 10-year-old boy from a shower and interrogating him while he stood there naked."
O'Brien says police violated the principles of the Fourth Amendment by making an unnecessary and violent entry to the family's house.
"This wasn't a Middle Eastern terrorist. This is a guy who was being sought because he was in a bar fight, and there were other ways they could have him turn himself in without doing what they did," O'Brien said. "But even beyond that, once they were in the house and they seized this individual -- which they did immediately, they knew who he was -- they should have left. But they didn't. They stayed in the house, terrorized other people, ransacked the house, caused thousands upon thousands of dollars of damages, and it was unlawful and unconstitutional."
"Police obviously have a legitimate interest in protecting themselves, but how they go about doing that, and what's reasonable in one situation and not reasonable in another has to be looked at," O'Brien said. "There was no evidence in this case that the suspect was armed. There was no evidence that there was any issue about weapons. This is a suspect who was accused of hurting someone in a bar fight."
"Do we need this kind of force? Do we need a SWAT team of 12 to 15 officers armed with assault weapons and flash grenades barging into a house with a battering ram? Is that where we've come to? And if we have, we have to ask if this is a democracy or a police state."
Pittsburgh SWAT officers must face claims that they raided a family’s home, violently dragged a child from the bathtub, and “terrorized” them at gunpoint, a federal judge ruled.
Georgeia Moreno and her family sued Pittsburgh, its police chief and 14 police officers in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The events unfolded as Georgeia, her husband, William; and her stepfather, Mark Staymates were watching television in their living room as Georgia’s sick mother, Darlene, slept upstairs at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7, 2010. They suddenly heard a loud explosion and saw bright lights, “as if grenades were going off,” the complaint states.
Although the team purportedly sought to arrest William for quarreling with a drunk, off-duty police officer at a local veterans club early that morning, the family says that their "terrorization" continued for another 45 minutes after William was apprehended.
Pittsburgh family sues police over 2010 raid on their home