Chief: Tennessee officers broke down door of innocent family
Published 11:37 am Thursday, August 20, 2020
NASHVILLE (AP) — Three Tennessee police officers have been decommissioned after they broke down the door of an innocent family early Tuesday morning.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake ordered a full investigation of the incident by the department’s Office of Professional Accountability. He said the family should have been given more time to answer the door and officers did not exercise due diligence in confirming that the person they were looking for lived at the apartment.
“No innocent family in Nashville, anywhere, should be subjected to what the mother and her two children went through on Tuesday morning,” Drake said in a news release. “They were awakened by a team of officers who banged on their door and ultimately knocked it in with a ram.”
The officers had used a Nashville public housing agency database to find the home of a 16-year-old they were investigating, according to a news release from Nashville police. However, the database had not been updated since 2018 after the agency determined that providing housing information to the police violated privacy laws.
“There appears to have been a lack of confirming through other means, including surveillance or checking with human sources,” Drake said. “We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward.”
Drake also said the officers did not appear to give the woman who lived in the home sufficient time to come to the door before ramming it open at 6:05 a.m. Police were looking for evidence related to auto burglaries, according to a police spokesperson.
While the investigation takes place, Drake has suspended the police powers of Lt. Harrison Dooley, a 12-year veteran, Sgt. Jeff Brown, a 21-year veteran, and Officer Michael Richardson, a 5-year veteran. Drake also ordered that all applications for search warrants be approved by a deputy chief of police, rather than by the employee’s supervisors, in the future.
The local precinct commander met with the current resident of the apartment and apologized to her on behalf of the police department, according to the news release. Police will continue outreach to the woman and her children. Authorities did not release details about the race of the family.