Monday, February 19, 2018
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FBI Mistakenly Raids North Carolinian Cancer Patient's Home
On August 5, 2009, local news station WSOC-TV 9 in Charlotte, NC reported that the FBI "startled" east Charlotte resident Rosie Lee Bright, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, on August 4 "when federal agents burst into her apartment searching for suspects in a drug trafficking ring" ("FBI Storms Wrong Home in East Charlotte"). Bright reports repeatedly asking officers "What happened, what happened, and they said it was a drug bust." However, the "only drugs [Bright] had in [her] apartment [...] were to help with her breast cancer treatments."
Bright immediately recognized the raid as "a case of mistaken identity," but police remained unaware of their blunder until after they "ordered her to lie on the floor and handcuffed her." As the article states, "Agents later learned that the suspects they were looking for were actually in the apartment next door;" a raid on the correct apartment netted the arrests of "two men who [the FBI agents] said are part of a heroin trafficking ring that's been operating" in two North Carolina counties. An FBI spokesperson told the news outlet "that the mix-up appears to have been an honest mistake," and the agents "apologized and offered to pay any medical bills [Bright] might have because of the raid" upon learning of their mistake, the victim said.
Although these FBI agents, along with a growing number of their law enforcement colleagues, probably need to take a couple of courses in math (or number recognition) and geography (or apartment building navigation), they don't appear to need etiquette lessons. An apology - though called for - does not suffice when armed federal agents storm into an innocent person's home and force its resident - especially when she is currently going through treatment for breast cancer - to lie handcuffed on the ground because trained FBI employees couldn't correctly identify a number on an apartment door, the agents' at least acknowledged their mistake, recognized that their treatment of her was rough enough that the victim may have sustained injuries, and attempted to make up for their wrongdoing by compensating Bright for any damage they may have caused. It's a sad day in America when this has to be said, but at least the officers kept their weapons in their holsters this time.
Click on the article link above to watch a video interview with Bright courtesy of WSOC-TV 9.