A Huron, Ohio man was left terrified and handcuffed on the floor after police incorrectly raided his home. The man, 26-year-old John Collins, was sitting in his house when he heard a knock at the door. As he got up to answer the door, someone yelled out “Huron County Sheriff.”
“As soon as I stood up, they bum-rushed the door and threw me on the ground at gunpoint,” Collins told the Sandusky Register.
Collins was immediately handcuffed face down on the floor.
“They searched my whole house, pulled stuff out of my closet, broke a couple knick knacks” he said. Deputies shattered the screen on his tablet and broke a ceramic decoration belonging to his deceased son. Collins repeatedly told the officers they were raiding the wrong house, but his words fell on deaf ears.
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“But they kept saying, ‘This is a drug house,’ and ‘You shouldn’t be in a drug house then’” Collins said.
Then, two deputies who knew Collins from school recognized that he was not the man pictured in the warrant. You would think the raid would be called off at that point right? Wrong. Collins says six deputies continued searching through his house for 20 more minutes after realizing their mistake.
Suddenly, one deputy told Collins he was under arrest and started reading him his rights. Minutes later, the deputy apologized and uncuffed him. The deputies then left just as quickly as they came.
“Then they just left like it was nothing,” Collins said.
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Deputies proceeded to search his neighbor’s home and arrested two of the home’s residents for drug trafficking.
Though it seems that the deputies made a mistake and raided the wrong home, they refuse to own up to the mistake. Huron County Sheriff’s Capt. Ted Patrick claims his deputies raided the correct home and the neighboring arrests were pure coincidence.
“We finished a search warrant at 114 1/2 Benedict Ave. Our next move then was to check on an individual who may have a warrant in close proximity,” Patrick said. “When we executed the warrant we became aware of warrants for an individual in close proximity, which was next door.”
Perhaps just as frustrating as Patrick’s answer is the local judicial branch’s decision to seal all information on the raid. Not only did Huron County Judge Timothy Cardwell place a gag order on the original warrant, but he also placed a gag order on his gag order for the warrant. The move effectively seals the public from obtaining any meaningful information about why Collins home was raided.
Police forces across America have carried out at least 292 botched raids since 1995. This number includes raids in which the wrong home was entered.