The family of Laquisha Turner, a 17-year-old quadriplegic woman who died last week in Richmond, California, is blaming her death on an FBI drug raid of their home.
"When I opened the door I said, 'I have a disabled daughter…you guys are going to scare her, you can come in and search, do whatever you have to do,' but by this time they were coming in the side door shooting things," West said.
West believes the agents used tear gas during the raid on her house.
The agents were serving a for West's son, wanted on felony drug charges. The FBI declined to comment to ABC7, citing an ongoing investigation, but sources close to the raids said the agents used flash-bang gernades, not tear gas but admitted they do leave a cloud of smoke.
Turner was kept inside, breathing the air while waiting for paramedics while the raid went on.
"They kept telling her to get down on the ground and she kept telling them, 'I can't get down,'" West said.
The FBI was apparently looking for Turner's brother, who is wanted on felony drug charges. Oddly, Turner was paralyzed after being shot two years ago in a drive-by targeted at her boyfriend. That shooting led to retaliatory shootings that precipitated the series of FBI raids last month. Prosecutors may now charge her assailants with murder.
It's too early to say if Turner's death was directly attributable to the raid. Her family is awaiting the results of an autopsy. And it's difficult to muster much outrage over the more severe charges for the men who shot her two years ago. But regardless of whether the raid was a factor in her death, she was needlessly put through another horrifying experience. Once again we have police storming a house with guns and flashbangs to apprehend a drug offender. And once again, it looks like they didn't first bother to check to see who might be inside (if they knew Turner was inside and chose the paramilitary tactics anyway, all the worse). In this case, they at best terrified—and at worst may have killed—the very woman whose injury set off the reason for the raids in the first place.
This comes a couple of weeks after a drug raid in Pittsburgh that resulted in the first on-duty death of an FBI agent in more than a decade. Agent Samuel Hicks was shot and killed when Christina Korbe, the wife of suspect Robert Korbe, says she mistook the raiding FBI agents for armed robbers, and fired blindly down the stairs to her home. While Robert Korbe is a repeat drug offender, Christina had no prior record, and claims she was protecting her 10- and 4-year-old children, who were asleep upstairs during the 6 am raid. She called 911 shortly after shooting Hicks. She has been charged with criminal homicide.