People typically set up surveillance cameras around their house to catch criminals on tape. But one Des Moines, Iowa family is thankful their surveillance cameras were able to record the actions of a different group of people: the police.
Sally Prince and Justin Ross were sitting in their home last Thursday when a battering ram suddenly crashed through their door. A crew of armed police officers followed. The Ankeny police were executing a search warrant looking for someone they suspected bought property using stolen credit cards.
If you ask Ankeny Police officials, they’ll say they knocked before entering the family’s home. But surveillance cameras at the house show this wasn’t the case.
The police are seen on film immediately knocking the family’s door down with a battering ram without knocking. An officer then yanked down one of the family’s security cameras mounted outside the house. Another officer covered a camera in the family’s basement with a blanket.
Justin Ross, the person listed in the search warrant, was in the bathroom when the police barged into his home. He is an honorably discharged Army veteran and legally carries a handgun on him. When he first heard a kick on his bathroom door, he drew his gun. Before a second kick, the officers identified themselves as the police. He quickly holstered his gun and sat down with his hands on his lap.
But, Ross pointed out, things would have turned out very differently if the police had kicked down the bathroom door on their first attempt.
“I would have been standing there with my weapon drawn pointed at the doorway, and they probably would have shot me,” he said.
No one was arrested in connection with the warrant. Two people staying at the home were arrested on unrelated charges.
Having your home broken into is a traumatizing experience – whether the act is done by police or criminals. The Ankeny Police Department’s raid has left Sally Prince terrified in her own home.
“I’ve been so traumatized. I don’t sleep at night,” she said. “Every time somebody knocks on the door, every time somebody’s here, I have to wonder, ‘Are they coming back?’” he said. “Have they found a reason they want to arrest me?”
Ross insists that if the police had only knocked first instead of ramming in, he would have let them search the house.
Here’s the surveillance footage of the raid: