Civil Liberties

Town Appeals Decision to Allow Lawsuit Over Deadly SWAT Raid to Move Forward

The officer's own testimony already exonerated him after all


A lawyer representing both one of the five towns involved in a SWAT raid that left alleged drug user Gonzalo Guizan dead as well as the officer who killed Guizan has appealed a decision by a district court judge to allow a lawsuit on Guizan's behalf to move forward.  Though initial reports indicated a tip came in about the presence of drugs in the raided home as well as a gun, the lawsuit claims no gun was included in the tip. The Connecticut Post, which reported on the latest development, provides details:

Guizan had been watching television in the home with Terebesi, when the 21-member police team, armed with automatic weapons, broke down the door and threw flash grenades inside.

The lawsuit states that then Easton Police Chief John Solomon and present chief James Candee made the decision to call in SWERT after an exotic dancer who had earlier been at the home told them she saw Terebesi and Guizan take "something" out of a small tin, place it in two small glass smoking pipes and smoke it. She never told officers there were weapons in the home, the suit states.

Five towns sent officers to respond to allegations of drug use by a stripper by sending a SWAT team in. More than four years later, the federal lawsuit's still making its way through the system. In a 2010 piece on the death of non-violent drug users in the war on drugs, Radley Balko noted an attorney general's report exonerated the officer, largely (entirely, even) on the officer's own testimony. More recent Balko on the case.