Galveston, Texas’ police chief has been placed on administrative leave as the city investigates a botched SWAT operation that caused an estimated $5,000 in property damage to an innocent family’s home. Police later withheld details of the raid, and city officials learned of it days later after local news reports, Houston Chronicle.
Galveston seems to have ample reason to be embarrassed. On January 22, police raided the home of Erika Rios and her family at 2 a.m. The SWAT team’s warrant was for Cameron Vargas, a 17-year-old homicide suspect who met with the Rios family that night but did not live with them and left their home before the police raid.
“My kids and I were sleeping at home,” Rios said said. “About 2 a.m., we woke up to the sound of wood pellets flying through our door and the Galveston Police Department. [saying] ‘Put your hands up and come out.’ footage The teenagers are shown – Rios’ two children and a friend were said to be present – walking through the house with arms raised. Other footage shows officers dragging a woman, apparently Rios, outside the front door. She claimed that the police handcuffed her and her son.
on facebook postTony Buzbee, one of Rios’ lawyers, complained that police continued to destroy property “even after they knew [had] made a mistake” and told Rios’ daughter that they were looking for “guns and drugs.” Moreover, he said, police conducted the raid despite knowing Vargas’ “true whereabouts” (an allegation that the Galveston Municipal Police Association competitionReported by Galveston County The daily newswhich provided extensive coverage as the story unfolded).
Galveston Police Chief Doug Bali was placed on leave for failure to report the raid. “The incident is under investigation, but I didn’t know what happened until I read the article in the paper,” Mayor Craig Brown said. City officials said Monday that the county sheriff’s office will also investigate the incident.
There is City Manager Brian Maxwell stated The city will pay Rios for the damage to his home, but a mere reimbursement appears to fall short of what his family owes.
“We want to replace the windows, fix their doors. We want to fix their fences, fix the wiring and fix their water,” Buzby said. said on wednesday. “You fixed all the things you needlessly destroyed, and we want you to pay the medical bills they need for glass in their legs and knees.”
Buzby said the city needs to act by Friday. “We expect from someone [the city] To solve this problem, “he said. “We’ll wait, but we won’t wait too long.” Neither Rios’ lawyer nor the city had made any further statements on the matter as of Friday afternoon.
Vargas, meanwhile, had his complaints Abandoned after few days of campaign.
Cities, police departments and unions routinely try to protect offending officers and strict Citizen victims. Galveston, police union fast supported you dance