Police Abuse

What Third Amendment? SWAT Team Used Woman's Home During Stand-off at Neighbor's House, Didn't Tell Her in Advance

Don't call SWAT soldiers?


don't call them warriors!
Action News Jacksonville

A woman in Jacksonville Florida says a SWAT team commandeered her home while  dealing with a standoff with a neighbor. She says she police came to her house to tell her she couldn't be there, but didn't tell her they would be using the home. Via Action News Jacksonville:

[Deborah] Franz said it all started shortly after overhearing a fight at her neighbor's house across the street Sunday. A short time later, the SWAT team swarmed her neighborhood.

"The cop goes 'You all need to leave, you can't be in your house,'" said Franz.

That happened around 1 p.m. About six hours later, deputies cleared the scene and she went back home. But something was off when she walked through the door.

"I stopped, I froze because I realized somebody had messed with my TV," said Franz.

Franz said her blinds were opened, her Xbox and TV were disconnected, and a drape over her bedroom window was thrown on the floor.

At first she thought it was a burglar but then realized nothing was missing.

That's when she realized it must have been police who invaded her home, and says a phone call to the sheriff's office confirmed it. No biggie, say the experts. Via Action News Jax again:

Wyllie Hodges, who now heads First Coast Crime Stoppers, is a 34-year law enforcement veteran, and he said it doesn't surprise him.

"A SWAT call out is just not a normal police call out. It's just different and the circumstances are mandated or dictated by the situation as it progresses," said Hodges.

Could the Third Amendment apply? SWAT teams aren't soldiers just yet. Maybe you can't say you live in an authoritarian country until the ruling party is sending you to a gulag. The Third Amendment has been invoked in a similar-ish case in Nevada, where police invaded and occupied the Mitchell home while responding to a domestic violence report at a neighbor's house. In Franz's case, she wasn't even afforded the opportunity to attempt to prevent police from taking over her home. She says all she wants is an apology. The sheriff's department would only say that the incident would get the "same scrutiny" for "best practices" all their tactics and operations constantly get.

The only Supreme Court decision relevant to the Third Amendment was Engblom v. Carey, which involved the quartering of national guardsmen in prison employee housing during a prison guard strike. The court ruled the Third Amendment extended to the National Guard as soldiers, and that tenancy was a sufficient condition for the prohibition of quartering to apply. Nevertheless, when the case was returned to a district court, it decided in the favor of the defendants, citing the qualified immunity enjoyed by government employees.