Texas grandmother, autistic man held at gunpoint in wrong-door police raid

Barbara Thomas (Source: KPRC)
Barbara Thomas (Source: KPRC)
Barbara Thomas (Source: KPRC)

HOUSTON, TX — A woman and her disabled son were held at gunpoint when police breached their security door and raided their home looking for narcotics.  They found none, since they were raiding the wrong address.

Houston grandmother Barbara Thomas says that she thought she was going to die when armed men ripped past her burglar bars and aimed guns at her and her autistic son earlier in 2014.

“They told me to get down,” Thomas said to KPRC. “There were guns everywhere. I mean, the long guns with lights on them. I was crying hysterically.”

Thomas says that she and her son were forced to crouch in the living room as the intruders threatened them and demanded drugs.  Of course, they were no ordinary drug-seeking intruders.  They were sent by the Houston Police Department.

“I know at least three (officers) were right there because they had guns directly at me and my son, and the rest I know were going through the house.”

“They had guns directly at me and my son…There were guns everywhere. I mean, the long guns with lights on them. I was crying hysterically.”

The cops’ hatred for personal freedoms was only surpassed by their incompetence.  After allegedly tearing through bedrooms, the kitchen, and closets looking for contraband, police finally realized that they were terrorizing the wrong family.

Police were attempting to raid Apartment 5818, but negligently raided Apartment 5816 instead — even though the numbers are clearly marked above the door, on the mailbox, and even painted on the garbage can.

Thomas said that they left without so much as an apology for the incursion.

The grandmother suffered numerous damages to her property because of the incident.  Her outside lighting was smashed to pieces, a mirror was broken, her door was damaged, items were knocked off of the walls, and several other items were damaged.   Thomas showed broken glass and a broken picture frame to a news crew.

In an interesting disparity, police are attempting to deny that the raid happened.  The HPD spokesperson went on record claiming that the police never even entered the home, despite the damage inside Thomas’ home and her detailed account.  The official story is that police came to the wrong door, then “apologized and left.”

The two versions of the story are irreconcilable.  Thomas has confidently stayed with her account and has filed a claim against the department.

“I mean, I thought they were going to kill us,” she said. “I’m very nervous. (It’s) very scary, thinking my life could have ended.”

She wants an apology and — remarkably — for police to return to her home and show her confused son that they are actually the good guys.

The common element between this story and many other injustices and botched raids is the prohibition laws that enable them all to happen.  The Drug War presents a broad invitation for police to needlessly intrude on the lives of citizens and utilize aggressive, dangerous tactics.  Click to read more stories of Wrong-Address Raids.

See the interview with Barbara Thomas via KPRC below:

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