Police are being scrutinized for a raid they conducted in Ankeny, Iowa, during which they destroyed the exterior cameras on the house they were entering, broke down several doors, and left the occupants in mortal terror — all over alleged credit-card fraud.
One of the inhabitants, Justin Ross, had his gun with him when police conducted the raid. When police broke down the front door as entered the home, Ross quickly — but not immediately — realized that it was the police. He told The Des Moines Register that he was glad he realized in time, or else he may have been shot.
Police destroyed the exterior cameras on the house before entering. Contrary to later statements made by a police representative, the officers did not announce themselves before entering — qualifying this as a “no-knock” raid.
The four inhabitants were captured, handcuffed and forced to sit for three hours before police showed them a warrant. They were investigating suspected credit card fraud. No evidence was found to suggest any of the inhabitants had committed that crime, though two people were arrest on suspicion of committing other crimes: probation violation and drug possession.
Civil liberties experts have criticized the police department’s decision to conduct a no-knock, military style raid on the premises.
“To come in with that much firepower and in that particular way is just an invitation to a terrible, tragic accident, which fortunately didn’t occur in what appears to be a credit card case,” said Drake University law professor Mark Kende.
The Washington Post’s Radley Balko noted that police cited Ross’s permit to carry a weapon as one of their reasons for conducting such a raid. That explanation should alarm gun owners, he wrote.
“It was Ross’s decision to get a government-issue permit [to carry a weapon] that the police say justified the raid,” he wrote. “It would mean that if you’re a gun owner, the police could cite that fact in and of itself as justification for them to violently tear down your door, rush your house with guns and point those guns at your family — even if their warrant is for a nonviolent crime, even if it’s for a white collar crime, even if you’ve dutifully registered your gun with the government.”