Louisville family held at gunpoint in botched marijuana raid SWAT settles lawsuit for $460,000 | In depth

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville couple and their three children were paid $460,000 by the city to settle a lawsuit in 2019 alleging that 14 Louisville Metro Police SWAT officers erred while raiding their home, breaking down the front door, using explosive devices and holding the family at gunpoint.

The home-owning couple, Ashlea Burr and Mario Daugherty – a local artist whose work has been featured at the Kentucky Derby Museum and in local news – were paid $60,000 while their three children each received more than $133,000. $, according to the settlement reached earlier this month.

“The family is relieved that the city has resolved this matter, recognized its importance and helped end the traumatic event,” said their attorney, Josh Rose.

The funds for the children will be placed in a restricted account where the money withdrawn must be approved by the court and used for the education and support of the children, according to the February 2 agreement, obtained through a request for records. open.

The agreement says the city does not admit wrongdoing and both parties have agreed to “avoid the expense and uncertainty of continued litigation” in a “contested claim.”

Police, including five officers later implicated in the Breonna Taylor case, carried out the October 2018 raid because a detective, Joseph Tapp, claimed he smelled marijuana coming from outside the house on West Chestnut Street on several occasions and that he believed someone was growing and selling marijuana inside. according to a search warrant.

Rose said officers were acting on a police tip given months before Burr and Daugherty even moved into the house.

And the lawsuit filed against the city and several officers claimed there was no probable cause for a raid, that the search warrant included false information, and that police misconduct created a situation that “would have very easily could have resulted in the death of a parent or child for no good reason.

In fact, a man and woman named in the search warrant affidavit and described as growing and selling marijuana do not live at the home — information that could easily have been discovered by police, according to the suit.

The couple first believed they were being robbed on October 26, 2018, when officers broke down the front door, forced Daugherty to the ground and held the others at gunpoint.

One of the children, 14, tried to run to her grandmother’s nearby house when police pulled out their guns and forced her to lie down outside in the rain, according to the lawsuit.

The teenager can be heard sobbing on body camera video of the incident.

Police continued to point assault rifles at the family “even after it became clear the residence was a family home – not a drug dealer’s hideout,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also questions the use of force by the SWAT team.

“It is totally unreasonable to execute a warrant that vaguely mentions someone who might be smoking marijuana in a residence with a 14-officer SWAT team, explosive devices, forced entry and assault rifles, especially when ‘no investigation was conducted to determine who lived in the residence,’ the suit says.

Five of the officers – Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Mike Nobles, Joshua Jaynes, and Mike Campbell – were later involved in planning or raiding Breonna Taylor’s home on March 13, 2020, in which Taylor was killed.

Hankison is currently on trial for wanton endangerment after shooting at a nearby apartment during Taylor’s raid.

The lawsuit argued that the department had a custom of searching predominantly African American homes in predominantly Black neighborhoods “without probable cause” and in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.

The family said the department should have made changes after their home was raided, which could have prevented Taylor’s death.

“What happened to us, it should have stopped then,” Burr told WDRB News in June 2020. “They should have come forward and made some changes then, and Breonna’s life could have be spared.”

Since Taylor’s raid, police have effectively stopped pushing their way inside homes to execute search warrants, according to an investigation by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

The story, published in August, revealed that police had made just four forced entries linked to search warrants in the previous 14 months. This is compared to 67 such raids in the seven months preceding the Taylor raid.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the policing and practices of the LMPD, including whether the department conducts unconstitutional stops, searches, and seizures while on patrol and when executing search warrants in private homes.

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