SAN BRUNO, CA — An innocent family was terrorized when masked, gun-wielding police officers performed a surprise pre-dawn raid on their home. One woman was flung into the front yard unclothed and a 93-year-old grandmother was so badly traumatized that she had to be hospitalized.
The intrusion resulted when the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force performed a sloppy investigation of a man suspected of wearing “gang colors” and getting high without government permission.
The raid team managed to strike the address listed on the warrant, but — as we have often seen — the warrant itself contained false information. The error stemmed from the fact that the listed address was a building comprised of 3 separate living units, two of which had nothing to do with the investigation. The warrant made no distinction, exposing completely unrelated parties to an unsolicited helping of law and order.
The San Mateo Daily Journal describes the incident as described in the lawsuit:
At 6:30 a.m. July 2, Lisa Yeager was dressed only in a bra and panties while dressing for work when the masked officers arrived with assault rifles, according to the suit that states she opened the door and was thrown into a wall with such force she lost control of her bladder.
Yeager was dragged from the home onto the front lawn where her dog had relieved himself and was restrained half naked in urine-soaked underwear for more than 15 minutes “for the whole world to see,” the suit stated.
Yeager’s adult son, Jesse, was similarly manhandled and ordered to “crawl on his knees in the dog feces to join his half-naked mother in clear view of the onlooking neighbors,” the suit states.
Elizabeth Batchelor, Yeager’s grandmother, finally begged the officers to cover her.
Once allowed back in the house after officers determined they were not in the Uribe residence, Yeager showed her bruised body and was told by an officer that “a little bit of ice and it will be OK,” the suit stated.
A lawsuit filed by the family alleges that the 2013 raid was caused by Deputy Sheriff/Special Agent Mike Kinsella’s false assertions that it was the correct residence.
While the officers who performed the intrusion will enjoy the benefit of legal immunity for their mistake, an objective look at the incident would only characterize it as an act of gross negligence on the part of everyone involved. It is obvious that a pathetically low amount of investigative work was put forth for the entire team to miss the fact that they were about to raid a multi-unit apartment building.
The county’s callous disregard for the rights and dignity of innocent civilians could not be better expressed than through the words chosen by San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers.
“It’s always unfortunate when innocents are present when a warrant is executed, but it happens,” said Beiers, on behalf of the county and the Sheriff’s Office. “The nature of the activity is that sometimes innocent people are present and inconvenienced.”
It is evident that the county has no plans to back away from aggressive police raids or the freedom-destroying Drug War anytime soon. If a few innocent people have to suffer unfortunate inconveniences, well, that’s apparently too bad.
San Mateo County Counsel
Phone: (650) 363-4250
San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers
Phone: (650) 363-4775