Crime

Florida Woman Says SWAT Team Took Over Her Home Without Permission

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Florida woman says she was ordered out of her Jacksonville home by a SWAT team involved in a standoff with her neighbor on Sunday.

Deborah Franz left her home during the entire 6-hour standoff, and when she returned she discovered police had been inside her home and left the place in disarray.

Sunday, she overheard a fight at her neighbor’s home and shortly afterwards a SWAT team swarmed the neighborhood.

"The cop goes 'You all need to leave, you can't be in your house,'" Franz told ActionNewsJax.

When they cleared the scene at 1 p.m., she found drapes thrown on the floor, her Xbox and TV disconnected and moved, and all her blinds opened.

She said it looked like her home was burglarized.

“I … came in the door and I stopped. I froze, because I realized somebody had messed with my TV,” she told ActionNewsJax.

"They were the last people I saw, was the police, so I'm assuming it had to have been them," she said.

When she called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office they confirmed, “Yeah Ms. Franz my men did come in your house.”

Franz said police didn’t have a warrant to enter her home.

Criminal defense attorney Miguel Rosada, Jr. said authorities don’t need a warrant if it is “reasonable" to enter.

"It seems they only entered into the home to gain a tactical advantage. I think if there's any violation that would probably be it," said Rosada.

Franz said that isn’t the point.

"If you're going to come in my home and use my home, at least let me know or at least try to contact me," she said.

Rosada said Franz wouldn’t have a case against the JSO if there were no damages, but he said the sheriff's office should have notified her that they entered the home.

The incident will be reviewed, Mike Williams, director of investigations and homeland security for the JSO, told ActionNewsJax in a statement.

"The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has been made aware, via the media, of concerns regarding the tactical approach utilized at the Feb. 2, 2014 SWAT call out on Glen Gardener Drive,” the statement said. “We continuously review our tactics and operational procedures to ensure that the methods we use are both legally sound and in the best interest of the safety of our officers, the community, as well as any suspects, victims, or witnesses that may be present at any critical incident. This case will get the same scrutiny to ensure that we used best practices and it will be assessed to ensure that we followed all legal and ethical guidelines."

Sources: Washington Times, ActionNewsJax