Police are human beings; they make mistakes.
Sometimes errors are harmless. But when they involve forcing entry into the wrong house on a drug aid, it's a serious issue.
Raids that can lead to drug possession or trafficking charges should be thoroughly investigated. Last month, however, law enforcement officers bashed down the door of an elderly man's home in the Finger Lakes district of Upstate New York - only to discover that they had the wrong house.
The officers barged into the home of Fred Skinner, 76, of Auburn, as he was having breakfast. They had guns drawn and handcuffs out.
After telling Skinner not to move and hurriedly searching the premises for about five minutes, the officers realized they had the wrong house. They had broken down the wrong door.
One officer tried to sooth Skinner's by giving him the phone number for the police department. The Auburn police chief, Gary Gionnotta, later apologized to Skinner's son. Gionnotta said that such incidents have occurred only a few times in his 16 years as a police officer.
That is hardly an excuse, however, and Gionnatta admitted as much in a media interview. "We're just like everyone else, we're human, we make mistakes too," he told the Huffington Post. "When we make a mistake, we try to make it right as best we can."
The police department did offer reimbursement in the amount of $1,250 for the cost of the door broken in the erroneous drug raid. But clearly more care should be taken before barging into someone's home.
Source: "Cops Raid Wrong Home: Drug Bust Wasn't Intended for Fred Skinner, 76-Year-Old New York Man," Steven Hoffer, Huffington Post, 3-29-12