Nearly a dozen members of a police SWAT team in western Colorado punched a hole in the front door and invaded a family's home with guns drawn, demanding that an 11-year-old boy who had had an accidental fall accompany them to the hospital, on the order of Garfield County Magistrate Lain Leoniak.
The boy's parents and siblings were thrown to the floor at gunpoint and the parents were handcuffed in the weekend assault, and the boy's father told WND it was all because a paramedic was upset the family preferred to care for their son themselves.
The boy had apparently fallen and bumped his head. His father, who says he was a medic in Vietnam, says he examined the boy, determined he was fine, and saw no need to take him to the hospital. A paramedic called by neighbors forced his way into the home, then called police when the father refused to let the son go to thie hospital.
The police then sent social workers, who according to the Associated Press reported "a huge hematoma and a sluggish pupil." That night, they sent in the SWAT team.
As it turns out, the kid was fine. After the raid, a doctor examined him, and told him to drink some fluids and take a Tylenol.
I'm even more troubled by the explanation for the aggressive tactics:
The sheriff said the decision to use SWAT team force was justified because the father was a "self-proclaimed constitutionalist" and had made threats and "comments" over the years.
However, the sheriff declined to provide a single instance of the father's illegal behavior. "I can't tell you specifically," he said.
"He was refusing to provide medical care," the sheriff said.
However, the sheriff said if his own children were involved in an at-home accident, he would want to be the one to make decisions on their healthcare, as did Shiflett.
"I guess if that was one of my children, I would make that decision," the sheriff said.
But he said Shiflett was "rude and confrontational" when the paramedics arrived and entered his home without his permission.
Shiflett also home schools his kids. By the sheriff's own admission, then, the show of force was more about Shiflet's political beliefs and desire to be left alone than any real child neglect. "Constitutionalists," beware.