A team of heavily armed police, dressed in armor, ascended the front porch steps, broke the storm door and a front window, tossed in a flash grenade to stun the occupants, and showed a grandmother that the police department of Evansville, Indiana is not to be trifled with.
The TV crew that the police had called in to record their derring-do faithfully recorded the incident. The police department’s PR officer was not going to let this go to waste.
Problem: wrong house.
Stephanie Milan, age 18, said she that managed to remain calm because she knew her family hadn’t done anything wrong. The newspaper reporter offered this assessment: “Still, she was stunned and confused.” That’s what flash grenades do to people.
Police were executing a search warrant for computer equipment, which they said was used to make anonymous and specific online threats against police and their families on the website topix.com.
The perpetrator, whoever he was, probably used the girl’s Internet service connection. How? No one knows, especially Chief of Police Billy Bolin. “We have no way of being able to tell that.” The concerning Internet posts “definitely come back to that address.”
The family has resided at the address for 30 years.
Chief Bolin said that department records indicated relatives associated with the address had criminal histories.
You never know what a relative may do.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said Friday he spoke to Bolin about the incident and was satisfied that police were justified in forcibly entering the home.
The city will replace the storm door and window. It may even clean the carpet where the grenade went off. You never know.
Bolin said the SWAT team used its standard “knock and announce” procedure of knocking on the wall and repeating the words “police search warrant” three times before entering.
The police chief said the procedure doesn’t require officers to wait for a response.
“It’s designed to distract,” he said.
There is nothing like a stun grenade to distract a person who is watching TV. Especially the Food Channel.
Furthermore, the Chief knows that the media are pushy. Well, he’s not going to let that worry him.
When asked by the Courier & Press for access to the document that allowed them to force entry to the home, Bolin refused. He said it might contain information that would compromise their investigation. However, he said the document didn’t contain names of any suspects.
Call it “executive privilege.”