Couple Bewildered After Cops Destroy Their Home, Use it as a “Military Battleground”

Rebekah Kearn | Courthouse News Service

2017/03/13

FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – A married couple claim Fresno sheriff’s officers destroyed their house by using it as a training ground for a teargas-wielding SWAT team, 50 vehicles, two helicopters, a K-9 unit and a fire truck — because an unarmed homeless man had been found in their closet.

David and Gretchen Jessen sued Fresno County and the City of Clovis on March 8 in Fresno County Court.

They say the unconstitutional assault on their home was “excessive, unreasonable, violent, destructive … intrusive … unnecessary and unreasonable.”

The Jessens, who are farmers, say in their complaint that the sheriff and police used their house as a military battleground “because the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and/or Clovis Police Department had found, by accident, the perfect location to conduct a training exercise on a rural home, on a dead-end street, in rural Fresno County, where ‘civilians’ were not present, ‘civilians’ were not going to congregate, ‘civilians’ were not going to observe or interfere with the military training assault on the Jessens’ home and the situation posed no risk of injury to the officers.”

In the lengthy complaint, David Jessen says it all started on June 11, 2016, when sheriff’s officers called him and said his house may have been broken into.

He called his wife to tell her, then drove home and found four patrol cars in front of the house and officers scattered around the perimeter.

One held a bullhorn and was yelling “come out,” and “hands up.”

An officer told Jessen that a homeless man had broken into his house after construction workers had kicked him out of a vacant house nearby.

When asked if there were guns inside, Jessen said he had two unloaded shotguns and a loaded .357 magnum, all of them hidden so well that only he could find them.

The officer told Jessen the man had threatened to shoot anyone who came inside and asked him and his family, who had just arrived, to wait elsewhere.

After taking his family to a friend’s house 10 minutes away, Jessen drove back to unload some farm equipment and found law enforcement cars lining the road to his house for a quarter of a mile, plus two ambulances, a fire truck, and two helicopters circling above.

“Bewildered and baffled” at the show of force, Jessen says, he drove away and was passed by a SWAT vehicle and a crisis negotiation motor home heading toward his house.

Several hours later, deputies told him he could go back home. On the way there, Jessen counted at least 55 law enforcement vehicles.

After parking and walking to his house, a SWAT officer told him the “operation” was concluded, and a second officer handed him a card and said “‘we have insurance for this.’”

Jessen says he had no idea what the officers meant until he went inside and found his home destroyed. Officers had ripped out the wrought iron doors to their home office and laundry rooms, pulled the office wall off the foundation, teargased six rooms, flash-bombed two of them, shattered a sliding glass door, broken seven windows and destroyed more than 90 feet of fencing with a SWAT vehicle.

Continue to full article at Courthouse News Service. 

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5646 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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