Kids traumatized after SWAT team ransacks wrong home

The Kalamazoo SWAT Team (Source: Tyler Tjomsland / Kalamazoo Gazette)
The Kalamazoo SWAT Team (Source: Tyler Tjomsland / Kalamazoo Gazette)
The Kalamazoo SWAT Team (Source: Tyler Tjomsland / Kalamazoo Gazette)

KALAMAZOO, MI — A family was terrorized and accosted when a masked paramilitary outfit unexpectedly broke through their back door.  Frightened children hid in a closet as the masked invaders spent hours tearing apart all the possessions in the home.  The family assumed they were being attacked by robbers, but it turned out to be a SWAT team sent from the local “Department of Public Safety.”

The incident happened on May 1st, and has been the source of continued nightmares for the two children who experienced it, ages 7 and 8.

It began as the family was jolted to attention by the sound of their rear entrance being breached.  The door was splintered as the men kicked it in.

“I thought it was somebody either trying to rob us, or hurt us,” said homeowner Jeremy Handley to WWMT.

Jeremy and his wife, Becky, were forced to the floor by masked agents at gunpoint.  They were handcuffed and searched.

The Handley children, Aurora and Brenden, ran for cover in their bedroom closet.  The men began ransacking the house.

Becky Handley demonstrates how she was forced to the ground at gunpoint.  (Source: Newschannel 3 WWMT)
Becky Handley demonstrates how she was forced to the ground at gunpoint. (Source: Newschannel 3 WWMT)

It was soon evident that the men were no ordinary home invaders.  They were SWAT agents from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS).

They searched “every drawer, every cabinet, every piece of paper,” said Mr. Handley to WWMT.

The intensive 3-hour search eventually led them to find the terrified children, and they were brought out and forced to watch as their parents lay helplessly bound, face-down on the floor.

Finally, hours later, the police had found nothing they came for.  They apparently were looking for a man that had rented the property over a year before they had even moved in.  The intended target was suspected of possessing substances without government permission.

The Handley children hid in a closet from the masked raiders who broke into their home.  (Source: Newschannel 3 WWMT)
The Handley children hid in a closet from the masked raiders who broke into their home. (Source: Newschannel 3 WWMT)

Despite the sheepish apology from the inept department, the family’s experience with the police state will leave a lasting impression on all involved.

The children say the incident has made them “sad and scared,” and they are suffering from recurring nightmares of armed men entering their home.

Their father says they may need therapy to get over their fear of the police.

There are no shortage of stories of families being terrorized, broken apart, and violated in the name of the War on Drugs — by far the biggest target of militarized SWAT teams in the police state.   The Handleys have discovered, as many others have before them, that a family doesn’t have to partake in contraband substances to have their lives rocked by the aggressive police trying to stop people from getting high.   It is imperative that we call for an end to the Drug War.

Click to read more stories of Wrong-Address Raids.

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Kalamazoo SWAT arriving in an armored truck.  File photo.  (Souce: KDPS)
Kalamazoo SWAT arriving in an armored truck. File photo. (Souce: KDPS)

Accountability CheckAlert_HandBlinking

Call for an end to the use of no-knock raids, and an armistice in the Drug War.  Call for the firing of all those responsible for botching the operation — there is no excuse for raiding an innocent family.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS)  (Michigan)
Phone:  (269) 337-8994
Email:  Contact KDPS
Facebook:  Link


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