Police in Nevada have apparently decided that domestic violence calls merit extreme measures, including violation of neighbors’ constitutional rights.
Police investigating a domestic violence call in Henderson, Nevada demanded that Anthony Mitchell vacate and make available his home for police use in the investigation.
When Anthony refused, officers stormed his house using a battering ram, shouted obscenities and pointed firearms at him, ordered him to the floor, shot him with pepperball rounds after he was down, and arrested him for obstruction.
“Although plaintiff Anthony Mitchell was lying motionless on the ground and posed no threat, officers, including Officer David Cawthorn, then fired multiple ‘pepperball’ rounds at plaintiff as he lay defenseless on the floor of his living room. Anthony Mitchell was struck at least three times by shots fired from close range, injuring him and causing him severe pain.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Officers then arrested him for obstructing a police officer, searched the house and moved furniture without his permission and set up a place in his home for a lookout, Mitchell says in the complaint.
Officers also unnecessarily shot his dog with pepperball rounds.
“Plaintiff Anthony Mitchell’s pet, a female dog named ‘Sam,’ was cowering in the corner when officers smashed through the front door. Although the terrified animal posed no threat to officers, they gratuitously shot it with one or more pepperball rounds. The panicked animal howled in fear and pain and fled from the residence. Sam was subsequently left trapped outside in a fenced alcove without access to water, food, or shelter from the sun for much of the day, while temperatures outside soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Officers also approached Mitchell’s parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell. Michael was asked to accompany officers to their ‘command center’ under the guise that the officers wanted his assistance in negotiating the surrender of the neighboring suspect, and then was arrested when he attempted to leave.
Officers entered the home of Michael and Linda Mitchell after being told by Linda that they could not do so without a warrant. They forcibly removed Linda from the home and searched it.
Anthony and Michael Mitchell were booked for obstructing an officer and jailed for 9 hours before being released on bail. All charges were dismissed with prejudice. None of the officers have faced discipline for their actions.
The Mitchell’s complaint includes assault and battery, and violation of the 3rd amendment, which prohibits forced quartering of soldiers in citizens’ homes during peace time, the 4th amendment’s prohibition of unlawful search and seizure, and the 14th amendment’s prohibition of the state from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Law enforcement training on the handling of domestic violence reports is funded and guided by directives laid out in the Violence Against Women act, with further funding included in the Obama administration’s stimulus bill, and even Obamacare. These guidelines include funding to encourage departments and counties to adopt mandatory arrest, prosecution, and sentencing policies.
Is this an extreme result of those policies, or have Nevada police gone beyond loose interpretation, and begun making it up as they go along?