War on Drugs

Another Isolated Incident


Last June, police in St. Louis broke in to the home of an 86-year-old woman, deployed a "smoke bomb," and turned her place upside down in what looks to be a mistaken drug raid.  A clergyman from the woman's church has been trying to get an apology and compensation, but thus far has been rebuffed by city officials.

"We've been battling since June," Brown said. "The (police) board is for the birds, when it comes to citizens. I talked to one board member, but he was very insulting. They just closed the door in our face."

Valentine wants an apology from the department and compensation for the damage done to her psyche and home.

"She's scared, and when she hears loud noises outside she thinks it's the police coming in her house," Brown said.


"When they realized they'd been had, why didn't they just get everyone's information and write a report for a complaint number and take it to the City counselor, who could get the right department to pay for damages?" Broughton said.

Instead, Valentine and Brown said the officers threatened to the take the elderly lady's house when they left.

Police tore down Valentine's door, ripped up her walls, sliced open her mattress, and seized a safe containing stationery.  They found no drugs, made no arrests, and, three months later, have made no offer to compensate her for the damage done to her home.