In May 2012, Pennsylvania police blasted holes in Michelle Thompson’s, using battering rams, a large armored vehicle and tear gas all to find her estranged husband, Gerald. However, Gerald wasn’t home, Michelle consented to a search and her home was destroyed. Now she’s suing state police for financial compensation.
According to PennLive.com:
Thompson claims…she had readily agreed to allow officers to enter the home and look for Gerry.
She even left the front door open. And she contends that police should have realized that Gerry - who was being sought on solicitation to perjury, obstruction of law and witness intimidation charges - wasn't at the house because his lawyer, Roger Laguna, had told them that her husband was in Maryland.
Laguna, a former police officer, said Wednesday that he's still appalled by what happened. It was just gratuitous, unnecessary destruction, he said.
"As a cop I participated in many searches. I've kicked many doors open," he said. "But that was nothing like this."
The state attorney general’s office is taking on the lawsuit, and Dennis Fisher, an office spokesman, declined to comment on the case. The state police also have a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Even though Thompson consented to a search of her home, the police acted in "a melodramatic and exaggerated manner as though they were conducting a military attack against an armed an entrenched enemy," the suit states.
Thompson claims officers called her a liar when she told them her husband wasn’t home and threatened to arrest her for obstruction of justice. She claimed she "tried in vain to calm down (the officers) so that they would stop pointing their guns at her and her child, lest they shoot someone intentionally or by accident."
Even with the massive damage, no one was injured during the raid, a stark contrast from the case of Rogelio Serrato, a California man killed in a SWAT raid in Jan. 2011. His family members will receive $2.6 million in damages from Monterey County.