A Nevada family’s lawsuit against police claims they stormed one man’s home to use it for a lookout site for a criminal investigation of a nearby residence, shot the owner and owner’s dog with pepperball rounds, and committed a slew of other Third Amendment offenses.
The little-known Third Amendment states that “no soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
It was added to the Bill of Rights in response to Britain’s habit of allowing soldiers to forcibly occupy the homes of American colonists.
Henderson, Nevada, police are accused of doing the same.
Courthouse News Service reported that Anthony Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell, have sued the City of Henderson, its police chief, Jutta Chambers, and several police officers in federal court. The plaintiffs say police asked permission to enter the younger Mr. Mitchell’s home to use as a stakeout for a nearby criminal investigation, and when they were denied, conspired to storm into the home anyway.
From the court documents: “As plaintiff Anthony Mitchell stood in shock, the officers aimed their weapons at Anthony Mitchell and shouted obscenities at him and ordered him to lie down on the floor. … Addressing plaintiff as [an expletive], officers … shouted conflicting orders. … Confused and terrified, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell remained curled on the floor of his living room, with his hands over his face and made no movement. Although plaintiff Anthony Mitchell was lying motionless on the ground and posed no threat, officers … then fired multiple ‘pepperball’ rounds at plaintiff as he lay defenseless. … [He] was struck at least three times by the shots.”
Mr. Mitchell also said in court documents that police shot his dog several times and drove her from the house.
“Officers then arrested him for obstructing a police officer, searched the house and moved furniture without his permission and set up a place in his home for a lookout,” the court documents said, Courthouse News Service reported.
The younger Mr. Mitchell said in his court filings that police treated his parents, who live next door, in a similar fashion. The court paperwork details more alleged egregious behaviors on the part of the police at length, and says that none of the law enforcement agents involved received any disciplinary action.
The plaintiffs are suing for punitive damages, alleging their Third, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were infringed. They are also accusing the police of assault and battery, conspiracy, defamation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, negligence and emotional distress, Courthouse News Service reported.