HOMESTEAD, FL — EXCLUSIVE — A Florida couple was traumatized after a dozen heavily armed SWAT agents crashed through their front door, flash-banged their cat, aimed rifles at them and searched their home without explanation.
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The raid took place in the pre-dawn hours of June 10th, 2014. At approximately 6:16 a.m., Kari Edwards and her live-in boyfriend were intruded upon by men dressed in full SWAT gear and wielding rifles. After smashing down the couple’s front door, agents tossed concussion grenades and proceeded into the home.
“They busted in like I was a terrorist or something,” said Ms. Edwards.
“[An officer] demanded that I drop the towel I was covering my naked body with,” Ms. Edwards said, “before snatching it off me physically and throwing me to the ground.”
“While I lay naked, I was cuffed so tightly I could not feel my hands. For no reason, at gunpoint,” Edwards said. “[Agents] refused to cover me, no matter how many times I asked.”
Ms. Edwards said her boyfriend told her that an agent holding an assault rifle to her back was gawking at her exposed body. “Eying me up and down like I was eye candy,” she said.
The house was equipped with a surveillance system, which captured video of the agents from a couple different angles. Here is the first angle of the exterior of the property:
“I have never been in any trouble before,” Ms. Edwards told Police State USA. “Haven’t even had a traffic ticket in over ten years.”
In fact, she said she used to work for the Department of Homeland Security, but became disabled from an on-the-job injury in 2006. She identified the raid as a DHS operation.
“I know I saw ‘ICE’ on one shirt and my boyfriend saw ‘Gang Task Force’ on another,” she told Police State USA. “Someone’s just said, ‘Special Agent.’”
Edwards requested to see the agents’ identification but was not obliged. One officer pointed to his uniform that read ‘POLICE’ and allegedly said, “Isn’t this enough ID for you?”
“When I told him that I could buy that [uniform] up in Miami, he called me ‘retarded’ and ‘f***ing stupid,’” Edwards recalled.
Edwards said that the SWAT team threw a flashbang at her cat, Dusty. She says that Dusty normally had a friendly personality and greets everyone, but now is “fearful and hard of hearing.”
When agents discovered that they were being recorded by home surveillance cameras, they forcefully twisted the cameras, saying that they “can’t be recorded.”
In the below clip, a flashbang was detected and an agent is seen spotting the camera and jarring it so it faced a wall.
“My boyfriend, who is asthmatic, started having trouble breathing from the lingering smoke created by the flashbang grenade, and asked for his inhaler. The agent said, ‘Do I need to call paramedics?’ My boyfriend said, ‘No, I just need my inhaler, can someone to get it for me?’ Again he was answered with the paramedic offer,” Edwards said. Finally another officer gave him his inhaler.
The agents “trashed the house,” and reportedly smashed some clear glass shower doors and broke a vintage statue.
Ms. Edwards said a warrant was finally given to them after 2 hours. She said it lists her address and was signed by Jonathan Goodman, a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The warrant says the agents were authorized to look for computers & electronic media.
Curiously, Ms. Edwards said the agents ignored most of the electronics in the home. “They didn’t take any and didn’t even look at most of it,” she said. “We have a lot [of electronics] because my boyfriend fixes up broken computers to resell.”
“I still don’t know why,” Ms. Edwards told Police State USA. “I called the judge’s chambers today and the secretary said he or someone else would get back to me.”
UPDATE: Police State USA has been in contact with Ms. Edwards and she still has not received any explanation and has been stuck with the repair bills.
“At almost 4 weeks, I still have no answer, excuse, apology or any other contact,” she said on July 5th.
She provided Police State USA with a copy of the warrant (home address redacted).
The warrant mentions two attachments. “Attachment B” was a physical description of the house and directions for how to find it, Ms. Edwards said. Police did not provide her with “Attachment A”.