SWAT

A SWAT Team Blew Up This Family's Home in Pursuit of a Suspect Who Wasn't Even There

Nor did the suspect live at the residence.

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A SWAT team this month rendered a residence in Charlotte, North Carolina, unlivable after firing pepper spray and tear gas into the house while in pursuit of a suspect who was not there.

Trey McClendon, 19, was later arrested without incident.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) sought McClendon on violent felony arrest warrants, according to a statement from Lt. Andy Harris. "SWAT was called to the scene to assist with his apprehension given McClendon's violent history," he said. "After several hours of attempting to communicate with Mr. McClendon were unsuccessful, officers attempted to enter the location to take McClendon into custody. Once officers gained access to the residence, they determined that McClendon was not present in the residence."

But the London family, who own the home, tell a different story. They claim they knew McClendon wasn't present at their house, and that they only gave officers permission to enter so that the officers could check for themselves without incident. "The keys were literally placed in their hands, and we don't understand why they decided to bring tanks out," Dominique Camm, the family's lawyer, said at a press conference on July 17.

McClendon does not live at the residence.

"The violent criminal history is just obscene," Rob Tufano of CMPD told the local NBC affiliate. "No officer is just going to walk in with a set of keys." 

Instead, on July 11, the CMPD team deployed the tear gas and pepper spray, as well as what neighbors described as flash bang grenades, a tank, snipers, and K-9 units, according to The Charlotte Observer. The result: significant structural damage, including several holes in the ceiling.

Police permitted the London family to return to the residence at 3:30 a.m. on the morning of July 12 when they realized they'd need to find another place to live. 

"They destroyed our family home, a place where we stayed, a place where we once called home and had family gatherings—a place that we can no longer call a home," Ebony London Gunter, whose mother lived at the house, said at the press conference. "This is the place that we come and gather, and so now it's like our sense of security, our sense of family has now been taken and shaken. And they did that for nothing. Like, at the end of the day, they walked away empty handed and they left us to deal with this."

CMPD says they offered "alternate living conditions" while the necessary repairs are made, but Camm countered that neither he nor the family had heard such an offer, according to The Observer. The city will reportedly pick up the bill.

Problems of police militarization certainly aren't new. Just last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a family whose home in Greenwood Village, Colorado, was destroyed by SWAT agents after they deployed tear gas, flash bang grenades, 40 mm rounds, breaching rams, and two Bearcat armored vehicles while attempting to apprehend a shoplifter who had no relationship to the family in question. The home was totaled. The city gave the family $5,000.

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  1. I thought this was yet another article about the Greenwood story at first. Big difference here is that the city has already agreed to pay the damages to the house.

    It’s still a really fucking stupid situation to spend 9 hours besieging an empty house. Seems like there was a step or two missing in this process.

    1. I especially love the complete shock the police rep reacted with at the thought of peacefully searching the premises.

      These police, the poor dears, clearly think assailants are waiting in the attic to drop down upon them as they search the closets.

      1. C’mon, we’ve all seen zombie movies before. We know they LOVE to hide in the closet.

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      2. Cops saw the last Rambo movie man. You can’t expect them to just walk into that.

        1. I was thinking more like Leon: The Professional, but yeah.

          1. The opening scene from the Matrix is always in their minds too.

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      3. ::shocked Pikachu face::
        “There ain’t nobody fucking here!”

      4. They train themselves to be cowards, so then they act like cowards.

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    3. “Mistakes were made.”

    4. “Big difference here is that the city has already agreed to pay the damages to the house.”

      Let wait and make sure they assess the damages at something reasonable before we celebrate government responsibility. After all, the Greenwood family was compensated, too… just pennies on the dollar.

    5. I can just see it now, a dozen cops outside with bullhorns yelling for Jimmy to come out for hours. Then they get out the battering rams, dogs, helicopters, etc and assault the house. No awareness at all that the guy isn’t even there.

  2. One big problem with cops-the biggest problem- is that cops are held to a lower standard than the general population.

    1. Something something leave it to the professionals something something…..

      I question anyone who says cops are professionals or that say we should wait for them.

  3. Cowards. Every last one of them are fucking cowards.

    1. “Come outside! Please!”

      -Nobody exits the house-

      “He’s resisting! Bring in the tank!”

      1. “This is not an assault! Do not fire at the tanks! This is not an assault! They are simply injecting a non-lethal chemical gas into your home! This is not an assault!”

  4. But at the end of the day, our heroes all went home, and that’s what really matters.

  5. I blame President Trump and Attorney General Barr.

    1. 2/10

      1. Agreed, he forgot to add in Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan.

    2. Before or after the house was blown up?

  6. A simple robot with a GoPro on it would have prevented all of this. They had the keys. Just allow the owners to open a door and let the robot in.

    I don’t know how much they cost, but for sure it would be cheaper than re-building the house.

    End of problem.

    Sanjosemike (no longer in CA)

    1. Yeah, what fun is there in that?

      1. For sure. Does the robot explode or something?

        1. You can put a remote-controlled bomb on them if you really want to.

          1. If you let cops but a bomb on a search robot, they won’t be able to help themselves, they’ll end up detonating it.

    2. Or a K-9. Use a thermal camera if they have it. Not that many places to hide in a house.

      I wonder if this is payback to the house resident who hung out with McClendon, for not assisting in his apprehension?

      1. Uh, the homeowner was there. He also said nobody was in the house. If they were really that terrified, they didn’t need a robot. Just ask the homeowner to take a cell phone and video conference them in. A few “look over here” type instructions and you are good to go.

        Alternately, if you have 25 officers on the scene, just use the keys and enter quietly and peacefully but in overwhelming force. They could have put 5 guys in every room, for crying out loud. I don’t care how violent the history is, that’s not how you check out the home of a “known associate”. There is zero chance that this one is in the police training manual.

        1. Of course it’s not in the manual. No one reads the manual, because if they did they’d realize it was just 300 photocopies of a flier for a “The Police” concert stapled together.

        2. We don’t have enough facts here. Depending on what the fugitive had said and done before, it might be reasonable to call out the SWAT team if they thought he was barricaded in the home, he was armed, unwilling to be arrested, and eager to shoot it out. All of which might be true, depending on what additional information the cops had.

          Clearing a structure of a fugitive like that, is pretty damned dangerous, and may cost the cops some people. It has in the past. Digging out a guy that will everything in his power to not go back to jail, including shooting cops and anyone else, is incredibly dangerous and won’t be done without a really big mess. All sending ’25 cops’ into the structure is going to do is get the first two or three shot. Sure, the follow on guys are going to colander the guy, and house, and neighbors’ houses…but they’d like to avoid getting their people shot too.

          But that’s a fairly unlikely chain of hypothetical facts. My guess is still that the cops thought he was there, based on the neighbor’s tip. They also thought that one of the residents of the home knew how to get in touch with the guy, but wouldn’t. Or wouldn’t help the cops with any questions about the guy’s whereabouts. “Oh, so he ain’t here, you say. Well where do you think he is?” And so on.

          Not helping, pissed the cops off, and they went all urban renewal with their search. Instead of asking themselves first, ‘Why do we think this guy’s still here?’ ‘Because the neighbors saw him walk him a few hours ago, and his buddy’s being a dick to us,’ isn’t a good enough answer. Or trying something a little more intermediate to find the guy in there—like sending in a dog or a robot, or breaking out the thermal camera if that’ll work—than demolishing the place.

          Plus, we’re getting the plaintiff’s lawyer’s story of what happened. Which may or may not be true, but will definitely be biased towards their client. As it should be.

          1. Where on earth does “handed us the keys and gave us permission to enter” equate to “being a dick to the police”? I’d say we have a fair number of facts that all point in the same direction. The police, once again, took the least defensible set of actions. I am a huge supporter of police and don’t particularly want to live in a society where there aren’t laws and enforcement, but these stories point out that flip side, that giving this power to a group of society sometimes results in abuses. Asking that the abuses be recognized and used for future improvement is not unreasonable.

            1. Read closer. I am guessing that the cops asked the friend of the fugitive—the one who lives at that house, the guy the fugitive hangs out there with—for help in contacting the fugitive, and that the friend blew them off. Which pissed the cops off enough to make this as destructive a search as possible.

              Again. If I was running things, I’d send a dog in. Or a robot. Or some other means of clearing the structure that didn’t involve breaching charges or my guys having to stick their heads somewhere they might get shot.

              I think the cops were way wrong here, even if they thought they were chasing the reincarnation of Chris Dorner. I’m just giving my best guess for why the cops showed their ass on this one as much as they did.

              1. “Which pissed the cops off enough to make this as destructive a search as possible.”

                You are probably correct. However, any cop who would react like that shouldn’t be a cop in the first place.

            2. that giving this power to a group of society always results in abuses.

              FTFY

    3. “robot with a GoPro” — can’t spare any of those; those are only for spying on *innocent* civilians.

      1. This same thing happened in my town, minus the destroyed house. They shut down a street. Brought in swat and an mrap and yelled at the house for several hours. Eventually they tried to send a robot in and it got tangled in the curtains. After ten hours or so, turns out the guy just wasnt home.

        1. “After ten hours or so, turns out the guy just wasnt home.”

          Yep. That happens a lot. ‘Airtight perimeters’ aren’t. And while your witness might’ve seen 5he guy walk in, they’re not on a stakeout. They’re probably gonna miss the guy walking out. Or going out the back. Or down an alley. Etc…

          1. “Yep. That happens a lot. ‘Airtight perimeters’ aren’t.”

            And even if they are, it won’t matter if the suspect isn’t home when the perimeter is established.

  7. As long as the union is still collecting their dues, it’s all in the line of duty.

    1. the only way to stop events like this is to kill the cops that cause it

      1. Judging by your name, you’re aware of what happened at Masada right?

    2. …and approved by the Methodist Board of Temperance and Public Morals.

  8. Was it a mostly peaceful search warrant?

  9. “The keys were literally placed in their hands, and we don’t understand why they decided to bring tanks out,”

    If you owned a tank like the police have, you’d understand why they did it.

    1. Exactly. If I had a tank, I’d drive that fucker down to the 7/11 every day to get a lotto ticket.

      1. Yes, but would you try to drive it through the 7/11?

  10. Problems of police militarization certainly aren’t new. Just last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a family whose home in Greenwood Village, Colorado, was destroyed by SWAT agents … The home was totaled. The city gave the family $5,000.

    Greenwood Village? They’re gonna need about 100X that amount.

    1. Need? What’s need got to do with it. Their case is over. Done. They have received all they are going to receive. Tough tittie, buckeroo. A quarter million in damages is irrelevant. They have sovereign immunity!

  11. See this is an issue reason should talk about. Ending militarization of the police. Instead reason conflates policing actual lawbreakers like the non peaceful non protestor criminals In Portland and Seattle with issues like this one.

    I want the cops to arrest the violent Marxist shitheads causing issues in major cities. That is not police abuse that is maintaining law and order.

    1. It is not “law and order” if the police violate the law themselves, which we have seen many examples of during the protests.

        1. They clearly have been violating the laws of physics. They managed to reverse time, violate cause and effect… all manner of violations of the laws of nature.

      1. Citations other than the Twitter feeds of the mob? I’d love to see actual examples? So far what I’ve seen is violent mobs setting buildings on fire and then ambushing the police that come out of them; dragging people out of cars when they attempted to get out of the rioters area; shooting at motorists who likewise were attempting to leave; etc. Step up and give us actual evidence.

        1. yeah, pretty much.

          This whole “we have seen many examples of during the protests.” BS is pervasive. I’m all for criticizing leo overstepping, but all I have seen during the last 2 months of riots is excessive restraint, to the point that they should be responding more forcibly.

          launching fireworks (i.e. explosives) and blinding lasers at people and leos is not protected ‘speech’. Frankly, the videos I’ve seen of the green lasers in Portland were shocking. The power was enough to wash out the video image on reflection from the leo’s faceshield. The restraint has been excessive.

    2. Law? Kristallnacht laws? Racial eugenics laws? Prohibition laws? Laws creating imaginary victimless crimes? Laws that violate the rights of individuals? Laws–not against violence–but against trade and production?

  12. That’s what they get for cooperating with cops. Never, ever, ever have anything to do with cops.

    1. Seems like their cooperation was immaterial. Police just really, really wanted to use their cool toys and have a dynamic entry moment.

      My favorite part of the whole story was the part where the “dangerous, violent suspect” was arrested two days later without incident.

      1. pretty much. These events serve as ‘real world training’ and justified as necessary when these opportunities present themselves.

        Note that this wasn’t even an active event. This was trying to follow up on an arrest warrant, which they turned into their own ‘shoot-house’ for fun.

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  13. “they only gave officers permission to enter so that the officers could check for themselves without incident.” See? Special kind of stupid, evolution in action. Qualified immunity, case closed.

  14. Absolute fucktard police.

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  15. Barney Fife was the best case. It’s an insult to his writers’ and Don Knotts’ memories to compare real cops to him, rather than the other way around.

    “Very nearly everything the state does is either vicious or foolish, which is why the state so often appears as a cudgel wielded by clowns.” ~ Aaron Ross Powell

    1. which is why the state so often appears as a cudgel wielded by evil demonic sad clowns.

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  17. CMPD says they offered “alternate living conditions” while the necessary repairs are made, but Camm countered that neither he nor the family had heard such an offer…

    That offer came with handcuffs.

    1. 3 hots and a cot. What more could you ask for?

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  19. The mayor and most of the city council of Charlotte are Democrats. Guess they haven’t heard the new party line, that police aren’t supposed to go after criminals any more.

  20. “…tear gas, flash bang grenades, 40 mm rounds, breaching rams, and two Bearcat armored vehicles while attempting to apprehend a shoplifter”

    Now THAT is a proportional response; what did they steal, a nuclear device?

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  22. When will people learn that the police are not your friend and if you hand over your keys to your house or car the police will trash it?

    1. Fourth Tuesday after the 7th of Never?

  23. What I want to know is what Trey McClendon supposedly did that warranted that kind of operation. Did he mastermind 9/11?

    1. My guess is the felonies were drug related. The “violent” part came in because he was armed during such deals with a LeatherMan multitool or maybe even a Swiss Army knife.

      I just saw where the Dems overwhelmingly voted AGAINST legalizing pot. So I guess legalizing all drugs is even an even more remote consideration. Not that I’m surprised—when has any politician who is not libertarian willingly given up some power rather then increased it?

  24. If the situation is going to require weapons, the training is there to do so without such damage.
    But incomplete from the story here is how the fugitive was connected to the household, ask. Also, on what investigative process and information was this contact with the household made?
    Fact: if you have any association with a known dangerous criminal fugitive, like a murderer or rapist, you should help police to get them arrested safely.

  25. Now this is what you can call a really bad day

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