“I told them I was afraid and do not shoot me, and one officer screamed at me to put my hands above my head… That’s when I heard the shot.”
HEMPSTEAD, NY — An innocent woman hid in a closet when armed strangers unexpectedly broke into her apartment. While cowering in fear, she was discovered by one of the intruders — actually a police officer raiding the wrong address — who promptly shot her in the chest after opening the closet door.
A Flawed Warrant
The botched raid was part of a joint narcotics investigation by the Nassau County Police Force Bureau of Special Operations (BSO), the Town of Hempstead Police Department, and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
When officers had reason to suspect that someone was in possession of arbitrarily banned substances, a search warrant was signed by a New York judge, authorizing police to break down the suspect’s door at any time they felt appropriate without warning. The no-knock warrant was “justified by the possibility that evidence would be destroyed,” according to official documents.
The warrant left off a crucial fact. The target address was a residential property that contained 2 separate apartments. The downstairs and upstairs of the property were separated, and contained completely unrelated tenants. However, the warrant broadly (and negligently) granted police the authorization to search the entire premises without distinction — even though it included the home of a woman not suspected of any crime….