Three officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department who were part of a botched raid at an apartment have been decommissioned, interim Police Chief John Drake said Wednesday. An investigation is underway after the officers gained entry into “the residence of an innocent family in Edgehill,” according to a press release.
“No innocent family in Nashville, anywhere, should be subjected to what the mother and her two children went through on Tuesday morning,” Chief Drake said. “They were awakened by a team of officers who banged on their door and ultimately knocked it in with a ram. It appears that the mother was not given the proper time to come to the door before it was breached.”
Body camera footage, which the police chief said “greatly disturbed” him, showed armed officers ramming the front door around 6:05 a.m. local time Tuesday. The mother can be heard in the bodycam video responding to police moments before officers force the door open. The police chief said the evidentiary search warrant was executed in connection to a string of vehicle burglaries and that officers were looking for a 16-year-old who was believed to be at that address.
“It also appears that the West Precinct did not exercise due diligence in confirming that the 16-year-old who was the subject of the search warrant even lived at that apartment,” Drake explained. “In light of this scenario, we will be conducting a review of our search warrant processes and provide whatever updated training is necessary to help ensure that Tuesday’s scenario is not repeated.”
CBS affiliate WTVF-TV said officers had keys to the apartment, but they didn’t work because the locks had been recently changed. The station said the family had been living at the residence for the past four months.
“There appears to have been a lack of confirming through other means, including surveillance or checking with human sources, that the 16-year-old lived there,” Drake added. “We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward.”
“I’m greatly disturbed by the video you just viewed. In all candor, this shouldn’t have happened. This mother and her children should not have been subjected to this type of behavior by our police department,” the chief added. Drake also criticized the officers for not allowing enough time for the family to answer the door.
“They did knock,” he said. “They did, to a degree, make an announcement but it was not acceptable at all.”
The chief said the police department regrets the officers’ actions and will continue to work with the family.
The officers who have had their police powers suspended were identified as Jeff Brown, Harrison Dooley and Michael Richardson. An officer of professional accountability will conduct an investigation into their actions, WTVF-TV noted.