Cops in New York City are accused of wrongly breaking into a local man's home this month, holding him at gunpoint, then stealing $2,000 from a jacket.
The May 9 incident was a result of a raid in which the police officers were given faulty information, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.
"They didn't tell me what they were looking for or why they were here," said Alisaleh Moshad Ali, 50, the Yemeni immigrant whose house was broken into. "They just told me to get on the floor."
The police later apologized, after finding that they were at the wrong address. However, Ali and his wife, Leslie, 30, have not received any explanation for the $2,000 Ali says went missing from his jacket, which was in a closet.
Police argue Ali left the house for 30 minutes after the incident, leaving someone else the opportunity to steal the money since the door was reportedly broken.
The Daily News reported the police department has been receiving an increased number of complaints involving raids on the wrong homes.
As this Metafilter post points out, that's six botched raids in the last five weeks. That we know of.
Last September, civil rights attorney Joel Berger and I wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal about how New York City officials have reneged on their promises to reform the way drug raids are executed after the 2003 wrong-door raid that resulted in the death of 57-year-old Alberta Spruill. Looks like they've not only not learned much, but the problem is getting worse. There are some pretty striking similarities between Spruill's death and that of Kathryn Johnston. I hope Atlanta learns better than New York. I have my doubts.
Meanwhile, the family of Sal Culosi tells me that the Justice Department has found no criminal civil rights violations in the SWAT shooting of the 37-year old Virginia optometrist, who was under investigation for gambling on football with friends. While I understand the finding, it's still frustrating when combined with the fact that no state criminal charges will be filed, either. If a non-police citizen of Virginia pointed a loaded weapon at a fellow citizen which resulted in an accidental discharge and death, he'd almost certainly face charges, at least of some sort of criminal negligence. This police officer got a short suspension, and will keep his job.
The Culosi family is moving forward with a civil suit.