The Metro Nashville Police Department has decommissioned three officers and apologized to a family for breaking into the wrong house while executing a search warrant looking for a teenager suspected of vehicle burglaries, CBS News reported.
Officers broke down the door of a home where a mother lives with her two children just after 6 a.m. Tuesday, without confirming that the teenager they were looking for even lived at that apartment. The information they used to get that address was nearly two years old, and the current residents had only been in the apartment for four months.
“There appears to have been a lack of confirming through other means, including surveillance or checking with human sources, that the 16-year-old lived there,” interim Chief John Drake said. “We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward.”
Body camera footage shows the officers attempting to get in with a key, but the door’s lock had been changed. After police bang on the door, the woman is heard responding to them questioning what is happening. The officers yell for her to back away from the door as they continue attempting to break it down.
“The problem we have is the urgency,” Drake said during a news conference at which the footage was played for reporters. “What was the urgency to get inside once you knocked? Why couldn’t we have given them more time to respond at 6:05 a.m.? A no-knock is exactly what it says there’s no knock you breach the door you go in and you catch someone totally unexpected. They did knock. They did to a degree make an announcement but it was not acceptable at all.”
Officers Jeff Brown, Harrison Dooley, and Michael Richardson were decommissioned as a result of the mistake. In the Metro Nashville Police Department, decommissioning is a “nonpunitive administrative action that temporarily takes away an officer’s policing authority,” according to the Tennessean. Most decommissioned officers are eventually reinstated.
“I’m greatly disturbed by the video you just viewed. In all candor, this shouldn’t have happened,” Drake said. “This mother and her children should not have been subjected to this type of behavior by our police department.”
Drake announced the suspension of all search warrants unless they’re approved by a deputy chief, and plans to implement training for crime suppression units to go over surveillance tactics and search warrants.