James and Sheila Slaughter said that when they answered the door of their home in San Luis, Ariz., on a July afternoon last year, they were surprised to find five armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers strapped into bulky bulletproof vests accusing them of harboring an illegal immigrant.
“Is this ‘Candid Camera’?” Mrs. Slaughter recalled asking.
That irritated the lead officer, her husband said Tuesday. “He said: ‘No, it isn’t “Candid Camera.” You need to step back into the middle of the room.’ ”
The couple said they complied, and the officers prepared to search their home. Mr. Slaughter, a six-foot, 285-pound former Marine, said he then told them, “Look fellas, do you guys realize that I’m a U.S. Customs K-9 officer at the San Luis land port?”
“The lead officer’s eyes got about as big and round as silver dollars, and the three guys who were standing just inside the door went straight outside,” said Mr. Slaughter, 51, who with a Labrador retriever, Whitey, searches cars at the Mexican border for narcotics. “They left without saying a word. They knew they messed up.”...
Mr. Slaughter, whose family lives on East 26th Street, said he learned later that the illegal immigrant sought by the officers lived on East 26th Place. He recognized the immigrant’s name from junk mail that accidentally came to the Slaughter home.
The officers, Mr. Slaughter said, should have checked the name on property records, “or they could have watched me walk out of my house every day wearing my uniform.”
“They bullied their way into my house — the same organization that I work for, doing 16-hour shifts,” Mr. Slaughter said. “I bleed red, white and blue. I serve my country, and then they do this to me?”
The Slaughters are suing each of the five officers for $500,000.