No-Knock Raid on Wrong House Terrifies 76-Year-Old Man


Fred Skinner was eating a piece of toast when police from three different agencies burst through his front door with guns drawn, put the 76-year-old in handcuffs, and began ransacking his house in search of drugs. Minutes later, one of the officers noticed a piece of mail on Skinner's table. The name on it didn't match the name for the suspected drug dealer the officers were after. The officers asked Skinner if the name on the mail was his. When Skinner said yes, the officer shouted "Wrong house," and the entire raid team headed out the way they'd come, without apologizing or explaining themselves. They were, according to a department spokesperson, in too much of a rush to get next door, where their suspect was supposedly located.

The Finger Lakes Drug Task Force that conducted the raid is made up of three different departments—The  Cayuga County Sheriff's Office, the Auburn Police Department, and the Rochester Police Department—meaning the cops screwed up in triplicate. Yet nearly two weeks after the March 13 raid, when the Citizen Local News got wind of the story, the police were still refusing to admit they'd made a mistake:

Once they left, Skinner called Barbara Bailey, his neighbor across the street. Bailey saw five or six patrol cars at the house next door to Skinner's and went out to them.

She asked who they were and what they were doing; they told her they were conducting a drug raid from Rochester, she said.

"I said, 'What about Fred Skinner's house?'" Bailey said. "And he shrugged like he wasn't telling me a damn thing."

The officers left without an apology or information about how Skinner might get reimbursed for the damage.

No one involved would specify the purpose of the raid or say why the officers broke into the wrong house.

Department spokesman Stephen Scott declined to comment but said there is an investigation into the incident.

"We haven't determined there was a mistake yet; the investigation is still ongoing," he said.

The cops eventually forked over $1,250 to fix the front and porch doors after Skinner's son got involved. Why not beforehand? Possibly because the elder Skinner wasn't in a position to make much noise. He lives alone, sleeps with an oxygen tank, has memory problems and a pacemaker, can't hear well, can't make it up and down stairs, and is recovering from a stroke. 

And it wasn't until two local TV stations got involved that police publicly admitted they screwed up. 

"It was a mistake," Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta told WSYR-TV. "We're no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else. We try to make sure our information is as current and as reliable as possible. Once in a while we get it wrong. When we get it wrong, we make it right." 

NEXT: Listen to the Complete Audio of This Morning's Supreme Court Hearing on ObamaCare's Severability

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. he’s got sum nerve being 76.
    where’s the dog anyway?
    old peeps & women w/o kids got them lil yap dogs who beg for caps!
    effing seniors…

    1. …is a long trail of tears, 10,000 years old.

      1. Thinks the Cherokees live in her attic.

        1. We demand perfection from the humans!*


          *Present company exempted

          1. Has a trail of tears, to her bathroom.

            1. I hear paleolithic people have lots of free time play the videogames they chipped from flint and imbedded in each other’s skulls. MicroFlint? Inside: “bah-bum-bah-bum!”

        2. A Cherokee-Crow lives in my house, but she’s 100% okay with agriculture and the city-state.

          She has far more of a right to be in the U.S. than Ms Stack, who apparently snuck in on some kind of green-card visa scam.

  2. “It was a mistake,” Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta told WSYR-TV. “We’re no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else.”

    Except normally when other people make mistakes, innocents don’t harassed, injured, or killed.

    We try to make sure our information is as current and as reliable as possible.

    But not too hard, because really, who cares when there are no repercussions.

    Once in a while we get it wrong. When we get it wrong, we make it right.”

    After being publicly humiliated and called out by citizens and press.

    1. Police should not be allowed to make such simple mistakes.

      Police need to be modern day Knights, held to the highest possible standards.

      It cannot be just a job, which it seems to be.

      1. For the love of money [POLIS’ privation property values] is the root of all evil [POLICe brutality.]

        That’s the way the poli roll.

        1. Is sure the police are following her because they want to steal the acorns in her front yard.

          1. D-

            1. Thinks libertarians have installed microphones in her lawn.

      2. You’re not a regular here. So I’m curious, do you have some sort of google alert set up for these types of stories? Is there some sort of police-apologist’s guild?

        1. Doesn’t sound like police apologia to me. He’s saying that police need to be held to very high standards because this kind of “mistake” is unacceptable.

          1. I’m a regular lurker. I’ve sporadically here posted here for years. The Leather Jacket even responded to me once. sigh…

            I don’t think oncogenesis was responding to my comment.

      3. AIX 4.2 is kind of old. Are you running it on a ThinkPad 850 or something?

        1. While I am a nerd of sorts I must confess the AIX connection is accidental.

          It is a concoction of Angstnine [nein]

          42 is, of course, the answer to life, the universe and everything.

      4. Higher standards, folks, higher standards.

      5. … a job that seems to attract thugs and bullies

    2. Except normally when other people make mistakes, innocents don’t harassed, injured, or killed.

      Yeah, what this guy said.

    3. And when we say “We make it right” we mean “We pay off our mistakes with other people’s money.”

      1. Perhaps this police officer has the power to raise dogs from the dead when they are shot to protect “officer safety”.

  3. Why can’t one of these stories end with most of the stormtroopers heads getting blown off by a 12 gauge?

      1. Well that’s a little better. Thank you. It would be a lot better if the guy who shot the jack booted thugs breaking into his house walked free instead of facing the death penelty though.

      2. Yeah. Except that the guy defending himself and his family winds up facing a death penalty because he should have known it was the police.

  4. OK, I agree pairing suspenders with a polo shirt is a pretty serious fashion crime, but a no-knock raid seems a bit excessive, no.

    1. Once you are over 70 you get a free pass on all fashion crimes.

      1. (Looking at watch) Almost safe… Almost there…

  5. You know, why do we allow no-knock raids? Surely evidence can be procured without such a dangerous and liberty-chilling method.

    1. Drug lords can flush their drugs! Terrorists can flush their fertilizer! Didn’t you ever see that commercial where the guy is flushing pounds of dog food?

      1. Terrorists can flush their fertilizer!


      2. Yeah, I’ve heard that before.

        Here’s an experiment: get a big bag of lawn clippings. Start the stop watch, and see how much of it you can get down the toilet in, say, 3 minutes. I’m willing to bet it’s not much more than a pound.

        1. Maybe even less with today’s “efficient” toilets that require multiple flushes to get everything down the drain.

      3. I can barely flush a my shit with the new water pressure standards these toilets are required to have nowadays.
        I’d like to see a drug dealer or terrorist try to flush their materials.

      4. Raw milk people can flush their gallons of raw milk. We definitely cannot allow that.

    2. Because pulling a suspect over on the way to work is not exciting enough.

      1. Hey, there’s always the chance of a high speed chase.

    3. Or, you know, require a higher standard of probable cause. If the cops don’t have video of the house and the people going in and out, then we can assume that they’re endangering people by being unprepared to execute a confrontational raid.

      1. Or, you know, require a higher standard of probable cause.

        Like knowing the real address where they’re supposed to raid and then actually going there?

    4. You mean actually showing some respect and common decency to the public they supposedly serve?


      Will you be here all week?

      1. You mean actually showing some respect and common decency to the public they supposedly serve?

        If you’re not cops, you’re little people.

  6. Remember when Brazil was a fantasy instead of a documentary?

    1. I only got around to watching Brazil like two years ago. So, no.

    2. Precisely. The biggest error of Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” isn’t the ubiquity, thuggery or oppressivness of the Central State, it’s the presumption that it is in the slightest bit competent in exercising its totalitarian activities.

      Terry Gilliam nailed the brutality and grimness of the Total State, but more importantly he got the stupidity, capriciousness and incompetence precisely right, too.

      1. That is an excellent point. Orwell was a socialist. And he still bought into the idea that “top men” could run things. So he totally missed how stupid and brutal a total state actually is.

        He also completely missed the human spirit and how it undermines and copes with such a situation.

        1. Well, remember that 1984 was intended as a dystopic tragedy, not as an book to uplift the human spirit.

          Also, look how long Europe was in the dark ages after the fall of Rome. It seems to me the ‘human spirit’ was kept down for a very long time.

          BTW: I get a laugh out of your posting name. Remind me not to accept any mail you are personally delivering while I am in my bath. 😉

          1. Don’t let any attractive women visit you in the bath, with an important message.

            And Europe wasn’t so dark in the dark ages. But North Korea on the other hand…

            1. Best David painting ever.


  7. “We’re no different than anyone else.


    We make mistakes just like everybody else.

    My mistakes don’t endanger anyone’s lives, but OK, moving on…

    We try to make sure our information is as current and as reliable as possible.

    “Hey Bob, does the address on this house we’re currently standing outside match the address on our rubber stamped warrant?”

    “Uhhh, derrr, herp de dum te teedley too.”

    “Close enough”

    Once in a while we get it wrong. When we get it wrong, we make it right.”

    As long as nobody was killed in the process, sure. (since lives can’t be replaced like doors.)

    1. It would be possible for my “mistakes” to endanger people’s lives.

      If I were to make mistakes like that, I would generally end up doing time.

      1. But you aren’t one of THE PRIVILEDGED.

  8. The real mistake on the fuzz’s part was that somebody forgot to bring the bag to plant in the guy’s house.

    And I’d be willing to bet that if they’d completed the ransacking, they could have found SOMETHING to charge the old man with.

    1. they could have found SOMETHING to charge the old man with.

      That toast he was eating was not in compliance with his state sanctioned diabetes diet-plan.

      1. Barack won’t let you just go on with your life, especially if you’re some addled white-ass cracker.

        1. someone call us?

          1. My peeps!

        2. He has every right to; after all, he’s paying your Medicare bills.

          (I kind of miss the honesty of a society where the king holds title to all land and everyone else merely leases it.)

    2. So, why are these prescription drugs in this PillADAY organizer instead of the government approved and label bottle?

  9. “It was a mistake,” Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta told WSYR-TV. “We’re no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else. We try to make sure our information is as current and as reliable as possible. Once in a while we get it wrong. When we get it wrong, we make it right.

    You can bring back the dead?

    1. Did the cops in the Corey Mayes case make it right?

    2. Once in a while we get it wrong. When we get it wrong, we make it right.

      Yeah…I’m sure this always happens!

      I seem to recall reading that “if proper procedure was followed” they won’t even fix a broken down door!

      Hey Dunph…are you the only cop who knows how to read the house numbers in a standard US address?

  10. Off topic: Seattle Times suggests that Bales snapped and killed those 17 Afghan civilians because of deregulation.

    Perilous web of mortgage debt ensnarled Army sergeant, wife
    Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, and his wife took out several high-interest home loans in an attempt to stabilize their family’s finances.

    1. The family’s Seattle attorneys have repeatedly downplayed the financial stresses Bales and his wife were facing. They have said they doubt that money problems a half a world away could have played any role in the massacre that unfolded March 11 in a remote village in a Kandahar province

      Hmm, everyone’s got a big “but” Mrs. Bales, what’s your big “but”?

      But it was up to Karilyn Bales to juggle two young children and the household finances while her husband was deployed to Iraq and later in Afghanistan. Like many Americans, the couple had dug themselves into a sizable hole, records show.

      1. It is such an obvious justification, his attorneys don’t want to bring it up in court. All facts must fit into an approved narrative!!!

    2. Does he also drain the tub in order to fill it and refrigerate food in order to cook it?

    3. Why don’t people swallow their pride, get a nice rental apartment, and file chapter 7?

  11. . “We’re no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else.

    We are just never held accountable for them.

    Got it.

  12. “””””We’re no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else.””

    Except when I make a mistake and kick down the wrong door, I go to jail and also get personally sued.

    While the cops on the other hand run the jails and if they get sued and lose the taxpayer gets the bill.

    All they need is a law that if they break into a house without a warrant they are charged with breaking and entering and they get personally sued. I bet that will get them to check those house numbers a little closer.

    Also ending the War on Some Drugs would also help a lot.

  13. I can enter your house any time I want for any reason that I want, because I can.

    I can take your house and sell it to anyone that I want for any reason that I want so long as it increases my tax revenue, because I can.

    I can make you buy any shit that I want from any seller that I want for any reason that I want, because I can.

    I own your ass, because I own your ass.

    1. Don’t forget that I can disappear your ass for any reason that I want, because I can.

      1. Is that what happened to John?

        1. Is obsessed with someone named John.

          1. Is that what happened to John?

            I broke his brain.

            1. Thinks she is the only one who ever created an alias.

              1. But somehow knowing who she is makes it imminently easier to just ignore her.

                1. Just knows everyone is talking about her.

                  1. Am I a genius or what?

                    1. Imagines all of the things people say about her. And hates them for it.

                    2. I don’t know what “psychological projection” means.

                    3. My real fake name is sarcasmic.

            2. Preparation H might make me go away. Charlotte too!

    2. I am not Mary Stack.

      1. Yes you are, because I said so.

      2. Yes, I’m a dick.

  14. This sort of professional misconduct is worse than Zimmerman’s. How about some official ire Mr. Holder, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. and Ms. MSM, for LEO misconduct?

    1. If the old man had been black they might give a shit.

    2. How is shooting a big, athletic guy who jumps you from behind, pins you down and beats the crap out of you, and won’t stop, misconduct of any kind?

    3. You must be looking at the picture of Skinner on a greyscale computer monitor! On a color monitor you would see that he’s a white guy.

  15. Why not just pay the man for the damage and avoid humiliation and censure? Wouldn’t that have been easier?

    1. Because if you can’t say “fuck you that is why”, what is the point of being a cop?

    2. Decreases the beer and titties fund.

    3. And admit fault? Puh-leeze!

      One of the first rules of being an officer is to never, repeat NEVER admit to making a poor decision.

      You can always stand behind what you did with the knowledge that your superiors will back you up.

      That’s what power is all about.

      1. One of the first rules of being an officer anarcho-libertarian is to never, repeat NEVER admit to making a poor decision.

        1. Just knows that the guy who failed her on her driver’s test was a libertarian working for the CIA.

          1. My real fake name is sarcasmic.

    4. You’ll be happy to know that, while there is no fault on the part of the police department, there will be training to address this issue. Free pizza!

  16. “There’s class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning”

    “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.” – Billionaire Warren Buffett, in a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 15.

    There has been class warfare going on,” Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”

  17. What’s the point in having paramilitary tools and training if you can’t destroy property and instill terror in the very public you supposedly serve?

    Come on!

    1. Seriously! I know busting out windows gives me a chubby.


    1. He didn’t have a pit bull in his house, so he obviously flushed all the coke and got rid of the dog. Drug lord for sure. Why didn’t the figure that out?

      1. The cops, too.

      2. Congress must act now to put an end to this societal wrong, and require every household to have a beloved pet dog that can be shot by our stormtroopers as a consolation prize when no drugs are uncovered.

    2. So far I can claim “Nothing else happened” and “This is like the worst chat room ever” as successful memes on H&R. I’d like to thank all the little Wartys for helping to make this dream become a reality.

      You like me. You really like me!

    3. As the originator of that meme (“Nothing else happened”) as well as the popular “This is like the worst chat room ever“, I’d like to thank all the little Wartys for helping to make the dream become a reality.

      You like me. You really like me!

      1. Is really lonely and wants people to pay attention to her, even though she hates them.

      2. I’m sorry, I don’t get “and nothing else happened.” would someone please explain?

        1. A while back a cop apologist/troll started posting news articles about incidents that the police didn’t fuck up royally. Invariably, he’d end the stories with AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED.

          So whenever there’s a nut punch story about cops, people add AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED as a way to mock the cop apologist.

          1. Thanks for the explanation.

  19. In a related story, several medals were handed to various members of the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, the Auburn Police Department, and the Rochester Police Department recently. No promotions were offerd, however, due to no dogs being killed.

  20. Were the police tipped off by a Spike Lee tweet? You really need to double check those.

  21. If you’re going to initiate violence against a citizen, at least be professional enough to check your fucking facts first.

  22. Sometimes I have to wonder if these wrong door raids are really an “accident”. How hard is it to check the address of the house against the warrent?

    By raiding the wrong house first they got to essentially search 2 houses for the price of one. Plus they got to scare the crap out of an old fart who couldn’t have defended himself even if he wanted to. That’s just win-win. Two houses for one, and they got to get there intimidation boners on twice in one day.

    1. I’m sure it is an accident. I mean, they’re so intoxicated with excitement and adrenaline that they’re acting purely on reflex and training.
      Their minds are in a fog.
      In a state like that it’s easy to pull up to the right spot on the street, gear up, then go to the wrong house.

      1. Blood rushing south like that causes all of us to do stupid things.

    2. Nah. They are just that stupid.

  23. “We haven’t determined there was a mistake yet”

    That shouldn’t be too fucking hard.
    You break down the wrong person’s door? That’s a mistake.

    1. If it didn’t go into the report then it didn’t happen.

  24. “We’re no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else.”

    Yeah, except you can legally carry and pull a gun on someone. That’s open for a dangerous mistake.

    1. Yeah, that line makes me want to throw up. If “anyone else” had done what they did they’d be getting anally penetrated in Cell Block D right now.

  25. I fail to see the problem. The reconstruction of Mr. Skinner’s door will add thousands of dollars to the economy, courtesy of the multiplier effect. If we don’t see evidence of job growth yet, it’s because the police haven’t been destroying enough doors.

    1. And windows, don’t forget how important breaking windows is to a economy.

  26. Someone breaks down my door- sombody is going to be shot. I don’t care who they say they are maybe I die may one or two of them go to meet God.

  27. Correct the records? You must be kidding and ruin the chance to get into the wrong place and just see what’s up there.

    I mean its a twofer.

    I’ve seen them notified three times, “Look asshole moved.” Still they’d show up like clockwork every time and say, Oooopsie, our bad”. Then do it again.

  28. When police break into a house, and they don’t have a warrant or probable cause, it is not just a mistake, it is a felony. With the warrant, or probable cause, the uniforms are no longer relevant to the legal scenario, it is if any gang with guns drawn entered your home. When a district attorney is not willing to prosecute such a violation of law, that not just a lack of personal/professional integrity, that is called political corruption.

  29. Sometimes, ordinary people sometimes make hurtful mistakes. And then, we get charged for the damage — maybe even manslaughter. (Think “traffic accidents”)

    Government officials get some immunity from this process. But that immunity is supposed to protect them in from nit-picking. If that immunity gets used in abusive cases, something has gone wrong.

    Ideally, in a democratic society, when something goes wrong like this the officials responsible lose some of their authority.

    In a non-democratic society, something similar happens, but it’s typically delayed until either (a) things are so bad that people are willing to trade their lives to take down the people in power or (b) someone with more firepower takes control.

    It’s not really clear yet, where we are in this spectrum, but we do not seem to be functioning as a well informed democratic society.

  30. Interesting, no apology. The cops think they are better than us. So be it, then they are not ALLOWED to make mistakes. They wanna be superior? Prove it!

    What if this poor guy had a heart attack during the raid? What will the pigs tell his brothers, sisters, and children? Ooops, sorry, we screwed up? They should be charged at the very least with manslaughter. What about stress? Did the wankers pay for stress? Did they do anything but repair the door? An American citizen does have the right to shoot and kill any invader into his house if not properly identified, oh, and btw, any idiot can mimic a cop’s uniform. Seen a movie recently?

    I am sick of this police state mentality we are becoming.

  31. OH and btw, he’s NOT black so count Obama and the rest of the “do-good” gang out. I wonder what would have happened if he were black?

  32. Britain Deserves Better

  33. This is the biggest mistake since Men at Work made a video dressed in nut huggers.

  34. he is a lucky man. he could of been killed. i’m so glad he didn’t have a golf club or baseball bat near him because they might have shot him, just like what has happened many times before to an innocent citizens raided by the wrong address swat teams!

  35. At least they didn’t shoot him. Did the cops have a warrant?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.