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Back to Police Shootings & Botched Raids home page

Maryland Family Alleges Gross Misconduct in 2008 SWAT Raid, Files Suit

A Columbia, Maryland couple filed suit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore Monday, July 27, "alleg[ing] assault, battery, state and federal constitutional violations and malicious prosecution" against Howard County and three of its officers, who mistakenly raided their home and apparently purposely killed their dog on January 18, 2008, as local news outlets WBAL ("Police SWAT Raid on Columbia House Leads to Suit") and the Maryland Daily Record report ("Family Sues Howard County over SWAT Raid, Dog Shooting"). The couple, Kevin and Lisa Henderson, are seeking $5 million in the "civil rights lawsuit."

Although the "suit says police had a warrant that indicated they suspected drug dealing or gang activity" on the Hendersons' premises, the raid's victims disagree. They "claim the visit from the county SWAT team was 'suspect' because a nearby house the police raided later that evening more closely matched the warrant's description, and contained marijuana, a pair of scales and large sums of money." However, as the Daily Record states, "Unlike the white woman who lived in that house [...], the Hendersons, who are black, were charged with drug possession - even though a visitor to their house confessed to owning the paraphernalia found on their coffee table and the marijuana found in [the visitor's own] jacket." The visitor was "immediately arrested," but "the Hendersons were charged only after Lisa Henderson called to complain about the raid," contends the attorney representing the family, Jimmy A. Bell. Neither of the printed reports discuss the nature of the charges police brought against the family.

Watch WBAL-TV's report on the story here.

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