Shocking SWAT raid captured on helmet cam raises questions (Video)

Shocking SWAT raid captured on helmet cam raises questions (Video)

A terrifying helmet cam video, released to the public Wednesday, depicts a SWAT team executing a search warrant on the home of a 68-year-old woman and her 18-year-old adopted daughter.

The video is raising questions of privacy, reasonable force and police due diligence. They had the wrong place.

The raid of Louise Milan and daughter Stephanie Milan’s Evansville, Ind. home was accompanied by the sound of shattering glass and multiple flash-bang grenades. It was all due to the Milan’s non-password protected Internet router, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

A lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court at Evansville last year by the homeowner, naming the city, its police department, Police Chief Billy Bolin and “unknown officer of the Evansville Police Department and SWAT team” as defendants:

“On June 21, 2012, the Evansville Police Department and officers of the EPD and its SWAT team executed a search warrant for computer devices and raided Milan’s residence with a local television news crew in tow to memorialize the raid,” the complaint reads.

Mother and daughter were the only people present during the daytime raid. The complaint continues:

The officers smashed Milan’s window and storm door and threw in two flash-bang grenades that created property damage in addition to the destroyed window and storm door. The officers used flash-bang grenades despite the fact that [there] were no threatening suspects visible. Milan and her daughter were ordered on to the floor at gunpoint, handcuffed and paraded in front of their neighbors into police vehicles. Both were detained and questioned by the officers.

The raid was prompted by a series of threatening posts directed at police chief Bolin. The officers left the Milan residence with the family’s computers and cell phones. An examination of there items revealed their innocence. A neighbor had tapped into their non-secure router to send the threats.

Did the police use excessive force? Kyle Biesecker, attorney for Milan, says yes, given that they weren’t there to arrest anyone; their function was solely to collect evidence.

“We’re talking about a search warrant, not an arrest warrant,” he said.

Did the police use due diligence to make sure they had the right people and place? Arguably not. Shortly after the Milan’s innocence was discovered, authorities found the real culprit. The Courier & Press reported:

The FBI later arrested Derrick Murray, a suspected local gang leader who lived nearby in his mother’s house. He admitted in federal court he used his smartphone to connect to the wireless Internet router in Milan’s house and post the threats. Access to the router connection was not protected by a password.

Finally there’s the privacy issue. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to be a privacy guarantee by protecting Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures.

But wireless devices like smart phones, tablets and computers using wireless routers are all-too-often an open invitation for the government to intrude. Add social media to the mix and we’re practically giving away any privacy rights we once had.

Watch the video of the raid.

Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz is a recovering Michigan trial lawyer and former research vessel deck officer. He has written extensively for BizPac Review.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.