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Kansas family terrorized by officers files federal suit

A Kansas couple that was subject to an unwarranted raid on their home in 2012 has now filed a federal lawsuit in connection with the incident. The family, hailing from Leawood, Kansas, alleges that the Johnson County Sheriff's Office caused them serious emotional distress when they conducted a SWAT-style home raid in search of marijuana. No one in the home was arrested or accused of drug possession, and it does not appear that any state or federal drug crime was committed.

The family is seeking $7 million in total damages after the traumatic incident. The couple and their two children were reportedly restrained under armed guard while authorities searched their home during an early-morning surprise raid. The family had been added to watch lists because they purchased hydroponic gardening equipment. They were simply attempting to grow an indoor garden that would be sustainable through the harsh Kansas winters. In addition, deputies found vegetable material in the family's trash; initially, that was thought to be marijuana, but it just turned out to be loose tea.

The victims say their lives have been forever changed because of the traumatic raid, which has caused emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment. The sheriff's office is accused of violating the family's constitutional rights, as there was no concrete evidence that they had been growing marijuana.

Even though the victims say they support the efforts of law enforcement in general, they argue that the local officers should be better educated about such intrusive techniques. The SWAT-style raid was not appropriate for this scenario, especially considering that there were kids in the home.

Police officers do not have the right to simply barge into citizens' homes at random because they purchased gardening supplies. These victims deserve restitution for the anxiety and emotional impact caused by this intense experience. Officers should know that their responsibility includes upholding the law and protecting innocent people, not terrorizing families who simply want to grow an indoor garden.


Source: 
www.kansascity.com, "Leawood couple files lawsuit filed over mistaken marijuana raid" Tony Rizzo, Nov. 13, 2013

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