Monday, April 13, 2009

Four Million Dollars

I happened across this NY Times article about a customs officer whose house was raided by customs officers looking for an illegal immigrant. The story alone doesn't convey enough information as to why a lawsuit would be in order. The officers were allowed in, there's no mention of any searching going on but the plaintiffs were effectually seized. The officers left once they realized they had the wrong house.

Note that this is a Bivens Action which allows individuals to sue federal agents for violating the Fourth Amendment. In this case the Slaughters want $500,000 from each defendant. There are one named and seven unnamed defendants. Mr & Mrs Slaughter claim "Plaintiff Jimmy Slaughter suffered great humiliation, embarrassment and mental suffering as a result of Defendants', and each of them, unlawful conduct." and "Plaintiff Sheila Slaughter has suffered from high blood pressure and fibromyalga [sic], and a result of Defendants, and each of them, unlawful conduct, was placed into the Intensive Care Unit into an area hospital for several days as her health condition spiraled out of control."

So I looked at the filing and here is Mr Slaughter's statement.

To Whom It May Concern, My name is Jimmy R. Slaughter. I am a K-9
handler for CBP at San Luis, AZ. POE. This is my story.

On July 24th 2008 at approximately 1730 hrs. I was at home with my wife when the door bell rang. I opened the door and noticed approximately 7 uniformed Ice agents with vest and guns standing at my door. I could only see 3 unmarked cars in front of my house. I said what's up fellas? Not having a clue as to what was happening. The lead agent stated "We have received information that "GUADALUPE UOLLA" is residing at this residence. I opened the screen door to look at the paperwork and five agents entered my house. My wife asked me what was happening, thinking this was a joke. The agents then told my wife to stand in the center of "OUR" living room; we were in the middle of folding laundry during my day off. Not once did anyone say they had a WARRANT. One of the agents stated that they needed to search my house and my wife told him that we were in the middle of doing laundry and he stated that they weren't going to open any drawers. This was when I stated that I was a K-9 Handler at the Port of Entry. All of the agents stopped in their tracks looking at each other and the lead agent said YOU ARE? I could tell they were confused and I asked to look at their file on the subject they were after. I then told them that we were the only people that have owned our property. We purchased the house brand new in 1998 after retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps. I also told them that we have reported to the post office that we have been receiving this ladies mail for about 5 years, but nothing had ever been done. We continued to bundle it up and return it to the post office. The lead agent gave me the A file showing the address as 7476 East 26th street which is my address. I instructed them to go to 7476 EAST 26th place. They left. At 0730 the next day I informed my Port Director what had taken place and that I was really pissed off about what had occurred the day before. We just had an officer arrested for smuggling so I figured he should know ASAP. Around 1300 hrs I returned from training and the Port Director informed me that he had spoken to the Supervisor in charge of this lEA group. His Name is Neil Baker (928) 344-0088 ext 372. I called and spoke to Mr. Baker about the "Keystone Cops" giving me a visit. He him- hawed around stating that they tracked this woman to my address through the mail. I asked him how they tracked her to me if all her mail was returned and he said "I'M NOT SURE, DON'T HAVE THE REPORT" Is this the agency which protects our country? It was clearly obvious to me he really didn't care that my reputation had been tarnished. This occurred at 5:30 PM while everyone is home from work and children are playing in the street. Perception is everything. Now my neighbors are wondering or believe I am just another "DIRTY COP"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank god my kids were at football practice. I have served my country proudly for 23 years in the Marine Corps and 6 years as a Customs K-9 handler. I bleed Red White and Blue. Now you may say it was just a foul up on the address, which is true. But it didn't embarrass our scare your family. It did mine. I'll end with this. Mr. Baker stated that he would send a form letter to my house so I could show all my neighbors that it was a mistake. I don't really think he gives a shit. Maybe he would understand if I had CNN Contact him for an interview on his incompetent unit at his home.

(Note: I removed his home and work phone numbers.)

From the tenor of his statement I can't help but wonder if there would be a lawsuit for $4,000,000 had the agents said, "Dude, you've just been pranked!"

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