I'm referring to the Evansville PD, who I wrote about yesterday; made a SWAT raid that turned out to be an "Oopsie!" A little more on this: it seems they based their raid on the IP address involved in posting some threats, but apparently didn't investigate beyond that.
Ira Milan, whose house ended up targeted by the authorities, tells the Evansville Courier & Press that she thinks the author of the posts used her granddaughter’s Internet connection from an outside location. Police Chief Billy Bolin says it is much more cut and dry, though.
“We have no way of being able to tell that,” Bolin tells the Courier, adding that the messages “definitely come back to that address.”
It appears you also have no way of being able to prove THE ONE WHO MADE THE THREAT LIVES AT THE ADDRESS YOU DECIDED TO RAID. Which is kind of something you're supposed to do BEFORE you decide to throw grenades and break in to a house. Especially since there've been so many cases of people using someone else' wifi to access the 'net.
Police reps tell the Courier that they obtained a search warrant for computer equipment at Milan’s house so that they could collect whatever devices may have been used to make the anonymous posts. Responding to an inquiry from the paper, though, the Vanderburgh County Clerk’s Office was initially unable to locate a copy of the document; Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann also refused to comply with the request. When Bolin was asked by the media to materialize the warrant, he deferred their plea and insisted that producing the paper could compromise the investigation. What Bolin did have to say, however, was that the document did not contain the names of any suspects.
“We have an idea in our mind who it is, but we don’t have evidence yet,” Bolin explains to the Courier.
What The Effing Hell? "We have an idea, but no evidence" and a bloody easily-spoofed IP address is good enough to put on the ninja suits? AND call the local tv weenies to shoot video of your 'dynamic entry'? Really? And the prosecutor couldn't redact anything sensitive? Anymore, they pull something like this and 'can't show the warrant' makes me think they skipped some of those troublesome legal preliminaries that are supposed to be done before you do crap like this; something else for a lawyer to dig for, and the paper if they're worth the title 'reporters'.
Even still, the department says that the hunch was enough to throw two flash-bang stun grenades into the front window of Ira Milan’s home. The Courier Press reports that the front door was open at the time of the incident.
I hope the family gets a lawyer and sues the PD. I know, it'll be the common citizens paying any award, but just maybe "We're paying HOW MUCH because these idiots raided the wrong house?" might cause enough problems to cause the PD to decide "Sending a Message" isn't sufficient reason to put peoples' lives at risk.