Couple Refuses To Allow Police To Enter Home Without Warrant . . . Police Kick Down Door and Taser Couple

This video shows a confrontation between a couple in Cotati, California and police after the police were called to investigate a domestic violence complaint.  The couple tells the police that they were simply yelling in an argument and refused to allow the police to enter without a warrant.  The police respond by kicking down the door and tasering the couple.


In defense of the police, it is not clear if they can actually see the couple, particularly the wife. In a case of possible domestic abuse, police need to see the occupants to ensure that someone is not being or has been beaten. If the police were to simply leave based on verbal responses, there could be a victim found later who was unable to break free or seek help. I can understand the reluctance of the police to leave the scene without a visual on the couple. However, they could have sought a telephonic warrant.

Despite the compelling concern over the safety of occupants, there remains the question of whether the police can break down the door based on what they have been told and more importantly whether tasering was necessary simply because the couple was refusing to lay on the ground.

Police can enter a home without a warrant under “exigent circumstances” where there is a reasonable belief that there is an immediate need to protect their lives or the lives of others. Here the couple both respond to the police and demand a warrant as a precondition for entry. There is no allegation of a report of actual violence as opposed to yelling. The police are clearly suggesting that the suspicious conduct led them to be concerned for the safety of the couple, particularly the woman.

The police demand to know why the couple will not come out, though citizens are allowed to remain in their homes absent a lawful demand to exit the home. The woman is tased first and then the man. I fail to see the reasonable basis for the taser. They are clearly not obeying commands but they do not appear to be threatening the officers. As we have discussed before, tasers appear to be used increasingly in response to citizens who simply do not follow the orders of police.

What do you think about the entry and force shown in this video?

137 thoughts on “Couple Refuses To Allow Police To Enter Home Without Warrant . . . Police Kick Down Door and Taser Couple

  1. Unfortunately….. Under the current laws in many states….. This is the way it’s going to go…..

  2. Disturbing – they tazed her first and they are supposedly there to ensure her safety. They could clearly see both people and had absolutely no reason to enter the home. I hope the cops who decided to do this go to jail.

  3. Had a similar experience once with the ex minus the taser, the cops were barred entry absent a warrant and the cops left once they saw both of us were physically fine (other than she was drunk).

    That was pre-9/11 police state though.

    As AY notes, the jackboots think they can do anything they want without consequence now.

  4. QUOTE “Despite the compelling concern over the safety of occupants”

    Don’t look like they are concerned about the “safety” of anyone in the house.
    Tasers have killed over 200 people using them like that.

    These cops need to be sued, & re-trained….you don’t use tasers unless there is a PHYSICAL THREAT to a officer or another person…this is CLEARLY not the case here!!

  5. Police officers are using Tasers with increasing frequency. Some departments that had a Taser problem equipped their officers with Taser cams to the tune of about $400 per camera. In those departments, Taser use has dropped to virtually zero.

    In Russia, almost every car now has a dashcam because of insurance requirements. More and more homes and places of business have security cameras. This story is a good reason to have them. Such cameras are getting smaller. I know a guy who has a miniature camera in every smoke detector in his house and garage.

  6. Were the cops acting out concern for the woman’s safety or because they were being balked?

    I suspect that many police actions are motivated by ego and then “justified” later.

  7. While I am glad they did not simply walk away without checking on the well being of the them both, it simply doesn’t work that they can taser people indiscriminately. They should not be allowed to harm those they supposedly are there to protect.

  8. Having forced entry, and seeing the occupants weren’t bruised, the police could have backed out the way they came in and, had they any lingering concerns at that point, requested a search warrant. I think it’s probably a good 4A case.

  9. Well now … where was their firearm? My goodness, a home invasion/castle doctrine and government tyranny all rolled up into one NRA dream package. So, I repeat, where was their firearm?

  10. Suzie:
    Where did you read that they were there to protect the woman?
    I read it was a call for a domestic violence dispute.

    Also, a lawsuit should be file asap, and charge among other things an unlawful assault by the officers via taser.

    Tasers should not get a pass as a non-lethal weapon. Even if they are, it is still an assault.

  11. So does that mean I can shoot cops who enter my home unlawfully and will cause me harm (guns and tasers)? That is a very grey area to me as one is protecting life and home while the other is breaking and entering. LEOs are lucky they didn’t get shot

  12. Gary T – The default setting for cops responded to a DV is that she’s the victim. In this case, she ended up fulfilling their fantasy, albeit by their own hand.

    I smell litigation…

  13. I hope this is a very expensive door for the police. As for the tasering, that just seems to be totally rediculous. They deserve to be sued and the person who tasered the victim (the woman) should be fired.

  14. The taser was an overreaction. However, what the caller who reported abuse said is critical. The cops do need to see and talk w/ the occupants. How do they not know the possible abused person is not bleeding and terrified of the abuser. These are the toughest calls. If the cops just said, “OK, have a nice day,” that would have been equally wrong. The guy w/ the camera was an a$$hole. The cops needed to see the occupants. Again, the taser was wrong.

  15. “They are clearly not obeying commands…”

    THAT is their sin. Daring to disobey the commands of a cop; how dare they?! Contempt of cop is at the root of soooo many of these abusive cases. Too many of these cops are out of control; and with very little repercussions it’s not surprising. Authority corrupts.

  16. They can probably get a good jury in California. Officers acting under collor of state law assault and battery with a deadly weapon in violation of 42 United States Code section 1983. Sue the municipality and the superior officers. Punitive damages against the cops on scene, their superiors and the Chief. Can not get puns vs. the muni. Attorneys fees at a high hourly rate. I would expect a rounded down figure of $1.5 million if you can find a lwayer out there who has skills beyond divorces and bankruptcy.

  17. A taser is a deadly weapon because it is known to kill. The Law Enforcement Offender can not justify using it because of what the manufacturer claims. Experience in the past, published on the national news shows that tasers kill– early and often. When litigating the federal civil rights suit depose the Chief of Police along with his wife. When the Chief says that tasers are hamrless (have the video camera going) state that you are going to taser his wife to show that he is correct. When he objects get him to espouse reasons (no pun intended). Bring the taser to the trial and do an in court demonstration. Subpoena in the manufacturer– President of Taser US would be good and offer to tase him in front of the jury. Bring in the splintered door to trial as an exhibit. Everyone on the jury will have a front door of their own. Argue in closing argument, as you hold up the pieces of the door, that all that stands between you (point at the jury) and death by taser is a slim door. ” I suggest you buy a steel one if you live in the same town as these thugs who are truly Law Enforcement Offenders. Send a message to Leos everywhere and award a large punitive damage award here.”

  18. I sed how the police are required to assure no one is being injured and assure that no one inside is in need of medical attention. Still, I think they went a little far and the tasing seems to be extreme. Of course no action will be taken against the officers as you know it will be investigated in-house and be found within the policy of the department. Of course.

  19. One wrong leads to two wrongs = all wrong and all of it unnecessary.
    A call of possible domestic abuse occurring.
    (Does anyone really need the data repeated here on severe injuries and even deaths as a result of domestic abuse? Or does anyone fail to remember the uproar and severe and justifiable complaints about police failures to respond appropriately to domestic dispute calls and the changes that were put into place to try to ensure (at least improve the chances that) women (mainly) did not continue to get the crap beat out of them or killed because of an inadequate police response.

    It seems the police did have a reasonable suspicion (responding to a call like they would of say a bank robbery or hostage situation or a fight) and a corresponding duty to investigate. And when they arrived at the home they had a duty to investigate to see if domestic abuse had occurred or was occurring which include being able to view clearly and closely both of the parties to look for signs of assault (injury). From where they were outside the house it seems they reasonable they could not really do this nor could they assess the situation with any degree of confidence.

    The people in the house clearly acted in a way that impeded the police officers’ ability to investigate and therefore obstructed the officers in the lawful performance of their duty.

    I believe it was correct for the officers to force entry when they were refused voluntary entry.

    I believe it was correct and lawful for the officers to take control of the situation in the house involving securing all parties to ensure not only their own safety, but also the safety of either possible victim, man and woman.

    Who has not seen the “cops” type videos of further assault/injury being inflicted on a victim by the aggressor even while the police were there because both had not been “neutralized,” preferable by being handcuffed and separated while the police conducted their investigation.

    All that notwithstanding, it does seem from the video shown that it is not clear why the two had to be tased rather than cuffed. It is possible they were tased simply for yapping like couple of a**holes and a refusal to shut the f**k up which rather than for behavior and a refusal to comply with a lawful police order which, absent actual threatening behavior is wrong.

    Although loud persistent yapping at the officers at close range might actually impede the officers in performing their lawful duty to investigate.

    That’s where cuffing, inspection for injuries, and questioning separately would probably be the next appropriate step.

    Followed by arrest for obstruction if one or both continued to impede the on-scene investigation.

    The tasing seemed to be wrong based on the video, but not the rest of it.

    What should have happened is that the couple really should have opened the door, allowed the officers to view them clearly, respond to reasonable questions aimed at determining if anyone was being subjected to domestic violence, in other words that everyone was safe, and they would have resolved the situation reasonably, honorably and safely.

    Too bad.

    I’m with the police on this, except, based at least on what I cold see, the tase.

  20. MCJ:

    The invocation of one’s 4A rights does not constitute grounds for law enforcement to infer criminal activity, nor the existence of exigent circumstances justifying a forced intrusion into the home in the absence of a search warrant. You’re making this way harder than it has to be, and you’re also squandering the 4A’s requirement that the cops’ suspicions be vetted by a co-equal branch of government (i.e., the judiciary) before intrusion into the home–which the 4A considers sacred.

  21. Had the cops left & someone ended up beaten to death a lot of the same people screaming about police state would be screaming about careless/indifferent cops. They certainly didn’t help but the escalation started with the home owners.

    We have put the police into a can’t win situation where even when they are wrong they are unwilling to admit it of try to correct it because they will be wrong the next time when they do what you wanted them to do in this case.

    I don’t like this outcome but it is the logical result of demanding evidence that there is no domestic violence happening. If you don’t like this outcome then demand laws that prevent it . . . but be aware that unless you have some genius here to fore unknown solution you will be putting humans at risk of additional violence from their SO

  22. “Had the cops left & someone ended up beaten to death a lot of the same people screaming about police state would be screaming about careless/indifferent cops.”

    Not really. Their duty ended once they saw both parties, neither were hurt and neither expressed a desire to press charges. It’s not against the law to argue – even loudly – with your SO. If the situation got out of hand later? That is filed under the category of “things happen” so long as the cops had previously followed proper verification procedures.

    “I don’t like this outcome but it is the logical result of demanding evidence that there is no domestic violence happening.”

    The cops spoke to both parties before being denied entry without a warrant, Frankly. At that point, they should have left and filed an incident report, not break in and commit battery by taser and violate the couple’s rights.

    Bad cops are bad cops. These guys screwed up royally.

  23. We need to follow this up and see if the tasered homeowners find a lawyer that knows his way to the library and can look up the large volumes of “How To Sue” under Section 1983. That may be difficult in California as i hear hat most lawyers did not like Con Law 101 and dont know nuthin bout birthin babies when it comes to civil rights litigation.

  24. Every home in that town ought to have a trap door just inside the front door. When the igPays come in, hit the button and put them in the basement with the alligators.

  25. Improper training is the problem of many city police and sheriff personnel. The people must stay vigilant of abuse of power. The same in our ADMINISTRATION and many public employees.

  26. It is always better to comply with the police, ask them questions politely, and if there is an issue, respectfully tell them that you will not resist them, but that you are invoking your rights. Complying “under protest” is always better…as soon as you give the cops any resistance, they will usually act swiftly and aggressively…and they will usually be cleared as following “department policy”.

    The couple could was in the wrong for not complying to the police request to make sure they are alright…it is obvious that the cops were having trouble seeing through the screen door.

    The cops were wrong by tasing the individuals, and honestly, they should be charged with assault and battery. I have no problem with cops checking out a domestic violence situation to their satisfaction (and immediately leaving once it is shown that there has been no crime committed); however, I have no tolerance for blatant use of force without justification. If there were more consequences for cops when they go overboard on force, then this would stop occuring so much.

    This is the opinion of someone who has respects professional police officers who do their job, but also believes in the rights of citizens.

  27. “It is always better to comply with the police”

    No. It’s not. That’s the opinion of someone trained in the legalities surrounding the 4th and 5th Amendments.

  28. These cops violated the law by busting the door down and invading their home. Since they didn’t have a warrant, they needed a reasonable belief of an immediate need to protect the lives of others. A report only of shouting inside a house plus both the husband and wife telling cops that everyone is okay does not meet the required standard. It’s disgraceful that anyone calling themselves a civil libertarian would excuse this violent government home invasion. The tazing appears to be for nothing other than asserting their rights and not obeying the cops, but it’s possible they did something not shown on video so I’ll reserve judgment on that.

  29. “If you don’t like this outcome then demand laws that prevent it . . . .”

    There already is such a law. Here’s its text: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

  30. “What do you think about the entry and force shown in this video?”

    It’s not the least bit surprising to see a street gang violate people’s homes to commit crimes. The problem is, there is next to no legal recourse for taking action against such criminals as they are “protected” by a corrupt “legal system”.

  31. With the limited information I have, the video and the article in the Press Democrat, this is what I see.

    There is no evidence to suggest the woman was tased. The newspaper article did not mention this and the video does not show this happening. The first taser deployment was to the man. That is clear, the woman was still standing being held by one of the officers. She did scream as the man was tased. The taser darts did not fully contact him as evidenced by the rapid ticking sound. It is possible another taser was deployed by another officer against the man but it is not conclusive to me at this point. After the initial taser deployment it seems that another jolt or another deployment incapacitates the man as evidenced by the vocalizations he is making.

    A neighbor made the 911 call to report a loud argument between two and a woman crying. There was also another adult in the home along with a child somewhere inside and a child in the back yard.

    It is a frequent event where a DV call is made and one of the two persons is in distress and is coerced into obeying the directions of the primary aggressor. It is also a frequent, though slightly lesser, event for one of the persons to defend the other after much abuse. It is also common for DV suspects to attempt to prevent the police from coming in. It is common for DV suspects and, although rarely, DV victoms to assault law enforcement officers in the course of a DV investigation, especially when they are aggressive verbally and non-compliant with orders. It is uncommon, though it does happen, there are unknown third persons who are victims in the house that the officers or 911 dispatch does not know about.

    As for the legal issues. Most states have enacted DV laws that make the state the victim of the crime and not just the injured party. The reason for this is, as described in the preceeding paragraph, the victim often does not press charges for various reasons and then, even during the same day, the assault happens again. I have worked LE before and after this change, the law is necessary due to the nature of domestic violence victimization. Here the state takes interest in the exigency of verifying that there was no DV. Exigent circumstances are likely to have been present, for one there was no verfication to the officers that the child inside was not injured. Also, the officers do not know if the woman or someone else is being coerced by one of the actors, the officers do not know if the actors are possessing weapons that are readily available to the suspects and can be used on victims or other officers.

    Also, some might say “well the two said there was no DV and therefore the police should have left.” You have to understand the mindseat of the DV suspect. They usually lie about the welfare of the other party. Also, there could be other suspects / aggressors in the room. The courts allow a protective sweep of the house once inside to see if there are hidden suspects and to ascertain if there are no victims.

    For the telephonic search warrant. Know that it often takes half an hour for a telephonic search warrant to be issued. If there is a wounded victim inside that person has to wait for help and that wait might be too long. Plus, in that amount of time what can happen to the victim at the hands of the suspect? THis is not just a case of a fugative hiding alone in his house. There could be injured people. How are the police to know if this was the case or not, especially given the hostility of this person.

    Also know that a significant number maybe even half of DV calls are reported as the result of others hearing violence or arguing. Violence is often coupled with aggressive yelling and crying by one of the victims. Also a significant number of LEO deaths occur during DV calls.

    Also, there is no information in the press report or the video of what the man was doing prior to the tasing. He could have been making furative movements and he could have been tring to grab the woman. The news report indicates he was moving toward the officer. I would consider his moves to be bordering on aggression. Everyone really needs to review the investigation case file to have a better understanding on whether it was proper or not.

    In my view, from the limited info I have, the police were justified in entering the dwelling as permitted by state law. The tasing, there is not sufficient information to make a conclusion. I would lean toward it will be called excusable, personally I would not have deployed the taser at that time but many officers would have.

  32. You are absolutely right but we must also have checks and balances. Research, research, RESEARCH!

  33. Ah yes, excuse the perps and blame the victims — says Mr. Voice of
    Reason (sic).
    D.S. — was your LE experience in China, Roosia, or N.Korea?
    You sound like your kind of attitude would be welcome in LE of any of ’em.

  34. It looked like cookie-cutter police work to me. Obviously the occupants were stressed and then were being talked to in a demanding way with no attempt to diffuse the situation. Aren’t police trained to minimize, if possible, a potentially dicey situation anymore? How about a bit of conversational foreplay on the occupants, long enough to let the occupants calm down a little and gather their wits. What happened to that as a tactic? So many of the videos I see show police escalating a situation without any attempt to ‘reset’ it to a less stressful level, no humanity allowed in play prior to intrusive and violent acts. This action was escalated by the police way to fast. And I agree that tazers need to be taken away from the police- they’re too easy for them to use for mere compliance.

  35. So police arrive to a residence to investigate a report of loud voices/ argument. All is good so far. They make inquiry and are advised that there is no problem, no DV. They persist and are confronted with a polite assertion of a constitutional right to not have their home invaded absent a warrant supported by probable cause. They at this time have no, as in zero objective evidence that there is someone seriously injured or in need of their help. There is no DV exception to the fourth amendment. Without objective evidence of exigency, there is no right to continue the investigation by kicking in the door. Exigency requires imminent risk of injury or ongoing crime, and once again requires, objective evidence. There simply isn’t any presented here.

    All the parade of horribles that one like Darren can speculate or imagine might possibly be the case, do not constitute the required objective evidence prerequisite to a warrantless entry based upon exigent circumstances. Darren’s neighbor might not like him. Neighbor hears loud voices that he characterizes as a DV argument to a 911 operator. Units are dispatched. Darren declines to admit the dutifully investigating police sans warrant. Because their is no objective rreasonable basis to believe that someone needs rescue, is seriously injured or has been the victim of a crime, there is no lawful basis for police to break in to satisfy their curiousity.

    Based on what the police had knowledge of in this case, any neutral detached magistrate doing his or her job would decline to authorize a search warrant. If per chance the magistrate was operating way below the curve and was in the habit of rubber stamping police warrant requests no matter how thinly supported, I suspect that the occupants of this particular residence would have opened the door and let the police in.

    The simple fact is that in this case, three police showed up and collectively they didn’t like being told that some Constitution thingy was an impediment to their curiousity being satisfied and their authority being asserted. What is particularly disturbing is that the first officer with Taser has an officer behind him with what appears to be a Glock at the ready. Guess Mr. and Mrs. should be grateful that they only got Tased. As for the issue of DV’s being hazardous calls for police, that is certainly true. In this situation, where police are breaking down the door without lawful authority and coming in with Tazers and sidearms deployed, some citizens may feel that police have a malicious intent to assault, injure and possibly kill them. Seems to me that the risk to the police of a bad ending was greatly increased by the police conduct in this case. We are all lucky that that didn’t happen in this case. I suspect that there is an increasing perception among a broader spectrum of the general public that the police are contemptuous of a citizens constitutional liberty. One of the main reasons for this has to be the frequency with which the public is exposed to the video capture of police exhibiting that contempt.

  36. Pete, at one time in my city (St. Louis) domestic calls were such a low priority that the police didn’t even bother to show up! Those were some ugly times and do not speak well of our society. Cleveland needs to investigate the matter of police/911 response thoroughly and if there is some lingering cultural inattention to domestic or missing person calls (even if it’s just procedural inadequacy) it needs to be addressed. I will be waiting to see what follow-up comes out of Cleveland.

  37. I thought that tasers were supposed to replace guns so that shooting someone would not be fatal. It should be illegal for the police to use them when it would be illegal to use a gun.

  38. Darren Smith:

    “. . . Here the state takes interest in the exigency of verifying that there was no DV. Exigent circumstances are likely to have been present, for one there was no verfication to the officers that the child inside was not injured. Also, the officers do not know if the woman or someone else is being coerced by one of the actors, the officers do not know if the actors are possessing weapons that are readily available to the suspects and can be used on victims or other officers . . . ”

    You have assumed, without citing a shred of evidence, that exigent circumstances existed. How is it reasonable for police to assume, based on a neighbor’s report of the people next door yelling at one another, that a crime is being committed (DV or otherwise)? And who (besides you) mentioned weapons? The neighbors? The residents? Who heard a gun shot? As I read your lengthy post, I didn’t see an answer to any of these questions. Perhaps it’s because you can’t provide one.

    It’s apparent that you empathize with law enforcement, which is all well and good. But on the other hand, you demonstrate no empathy whatsoever for these residents inside their own home, who were violently assaulted after requesting that the state respect their 4A rights. Do you accept the notion that 4A rights applicable to the home are fundamental, hence the warrant requirement? I ask, because your post indicates exactly the opposite.

    You also don’t address the defense of qualified immunity which would have been available to these officers had they not entered the home, and one of the occupants later sued for injuries that might have been prevented had the police intervened in a more intrusive fashion. Neither of the occupants of the home would have a constitutional right to further intervention by police who only arrived on the scene because of a neighbor’s complaints of yelling, and who saw no evidence of physical injury, and who were told by the adult residents of the home to not enter without a search warrant.

    Which leads me to my final point: what you’re really arguing for here is a means of shielding the police against potential litigation, at the cost of eviscerating the 4A’s warrant requirement. But rights are not fundamental if they can be cast aside every time a state actor decides s/he shouldn’t have to face the risk of a lawsuit.

  39. Tell it to the 771 police officers murdered in the ten year period 1999-2009. Tell it to their widows and kids. Fourteen percent of those officers were killed responding to domestic violence calls.

    During that time period, 89 of the calls resulted in at least one officer death. In fact, of those 89 calls that turned out to be fatal for the police, 106 officers were murdered. 51 percent of officer deaths occurred before first contact. In other words, half the officer fatalities were the result of ambush as they arrived at the scene of the DV call.

    About 4,000 women die each year of domestic violence. 75% of those deaths occurred when the woman tried to leave the abusive partner or spouse.

    Responding to a domestic violence dispute is the single most risky response for service an officer makes. Another forty percent of officer deaths occurred within two minutes of first contact with persons at the scene of the domestic violence call.

    Now, knowing that if you are the first responder, and are at highest risk of being murdered in the first two minutes of contact with the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence, how does that affect your decision making process? You only get one chance to get it right, and you have seconds, not minutes or hours. There is no time for reflection. A wrong decision may result in death of yourself, your backup, the victim of violence, or all of the above.

  40. Sorry, Darren and OS.

    Regardless of any danger inherent in a DV call, once both parties object and demand a warrant for entry as they clearly did on this recording, then the cops are in the wrong. There is no evidence of exigent circumstance. This was jackbooted thuggery because the cops didn’t like that the alleged suspects – and that is what they were at that point – knew and exercised their Constitutional rights. They were obviously concerned about it the man clearly announces both that he is recording and why. Plain and simple. The couple has a good case against the officer both on a 1983 complaint, vandalism and battery. You could even argue B&E if the battery meets the local standard for felony battery which is likely considering they used a taser.

    Quite frankly I’m appalled either of you would defend these criminals with badges having seen the recording.

  41. OS: Nice job. I confess it never occurred to me that someone could respond to my post without addressing a single point that I made, but you have proven otherwise.

    You seem convinced the cops could not simply have left, but you never say why. Also, I get the sense you can’t envision a scenario in which the police would have to respect the 4A rights of the homeowners. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

    We obviously need police. But for 226 years we have also needed (I thought) a bill of rights, to protect us against the illegitimate use of police force.

    Do you really believe there are classes of government actors within whose ranks not a single criminal is to be found? Which classes would they be? The police? If so, what’s your evidence for this? And if you agree that criminals are to be found scattered throughout law enforcement, what then do you say to their victims, after they’ve suffered severe injury that would not have occurred but for the abuse of state-sanctioned authority?

  42. rsmatesic,
    I was not responding to your comment, or anyone else’s. I made several observations specific to no one in particular.

  43. OS: Then please accept my apologies, and know that I welcome your response to my previous comments.

  44. OS,

    The facts in the story you linked to and the facts as presented in the present case are apples and oranges. Other than they involve domestic disputes, they could not be more different. “We did it for their safety” is not a good reason to violate someone’s Constitutional right and commit battery. As for the lack of law training? You’ve only made the case that field officers need more, not less.

    As for Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398 (2006), probable cause is not the test. It’s exigent circumstance. PC applies to vehicle searches. Police may enter a home without a warrant if they have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is or is about to be seriously injured: the emergency aid exception. Warrantless entry must plainly reasonable under the circumstances. In Brigham City, the Curt cited Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 393–394 (1978): “[W]arrants are generally required to search a person’s home or his person unless ‘the exigencies of the situation’ make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that the warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” … One exigency obviating the requirement of a warrant is the need to assist persons who are seriously injured or threatened with such injury. … Accordingly, law enforcement officers may enter a home without a warrant to render emergency assistance to an injured occupant or to protect an occupant from imminent injury. Mincey, supra, at 392; see also Georgia v. Randolph, 547.

    That is not so from what I saw on the recording. I saw cops threatening two citizens with a warrantless search with no exigent circumstance. I saw cops enraged by people not doing what they were told simply because the person making demands was wearing a badge. I saw two citizens standing up for their 4th and 5th Amendment rights being battered and their home broken in to.

    There is no proof here of injury or imminent injury and both parties expressed they did not want the police coming in without a warrant. Concern over warrantless entry and asserting their rights was even the reason stated on the recording for making the recording. No one was even asking for help.

    You know I’m not one of those guys who is mindlessly against the cops. These guys screwed up. They screwed up royally and on camera. They should face serious consequences for doing so.

  45. Here’s my take… Absent exigent circumstances a warrant is required…. Since prosecutors know this… In many states involving domestic violence they have had the rules rewritten to where they can arrest one or both parties at the scene…. Once that call is made…. In alot of states it’s game over….. They can enter the dwelling place….

    If they refuse to cooperate and a trial ensues…. Well the rules of evidence have been modified to all a cop to testify as not only what they saw…. But in contradiction to the hearsay rule what a party said even though they are in the courtroom…..

    This aberration of rights started about 15 years ago….. I agree with what’s been said here and I also speak from a practice point…..

    Excellent points OS….

  46. rsmatesic,
    In response to your observations. Of course there are bad officers. Just as there are bad (insert name of any profession or occupation).

    At the Academy, officers receive a week to two weeks of training on the law. They are taught basics; however, one thing that is pounded into them week after week, is the single call most likely to end in someone dying is the DV call. One also has to consider what the responding officer(s) knew. They got a call from dispatch to respond to a DV call–that’s all they know. Under the Brigham City decision, that is probable cause. They also know from training that it is common for the victim of domestic violence to tell them to go away. The Brown Deer case is a horrible example.

    This story comes from Pittsburgh just yesterday:

    Wade called 911 on New Year’s Eve saying she needed help, but when officers responded they were turned away at the door who said everything was fine.

    Wade was found shot to death soon after, and police said her boyfriend killed her before killing himself.

    Source: http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/officers-be-trained-better-deal-suspected-domestic/nXrpH/

    Darren is a retired career officer. He has had to knock on those doors and make the decision on what to do next. For him, it is not a theoretical exercise. Our former Sheriff had to kill three men in the line of duty during his long career. Every one of those incidents involved the perp pointing a shotgun at his chest at close range. The last incident was a domestic violence call shortly before he left office. The man suddenly wheeled around with a shotgun in his hands. The Sheriff and his backup fired at the same time before the suspect could get off a shot.

    You ask why the officers could not have simply left. The Brown Deer matter is one reason. The Pittsburgh and Cleveland cases are others. As a forensic psychologist who has worked on many domestic violence cases that ended in grievous harm or murder, it would be the height of irresponsibility for the officers to leave without checking out the location. Legal justification? Read the Brigham City decision, especially at 403.

    As for the Taser, as Darren pointed out, when an officer hears the “cricket clicking” sound, they know the Taser is not making contact and not working. That is the sound of the probes arcing harmlessly.

    Of course there are bad apples, but all most officers want is a quiet uneventful shift, so they can go home to their families at the end of the shift. Some don’t have that luxury. For an officer, the worst call of all is, “Ten double zero.”

    You said Darren had empathy for officers. So do I–unapologetically. She is 24.

  47. Gene:
    The more the guy talked, the more suspicion is aroused. Something is wrong in that house, and they are determined to get to the bottom of it. BTW, it is quite common for a wife beater to deny police entrance to the house.

    Remember Brown Deer and Pittsburgh.

  48. OS,

    I understand it is quite common for a wife beater to deny police entrance to the house. I also understand that innocent until proven guilty and that the cops are not the judiciary. I understand it is quite common for someone who has done nothing to deny entry as is their right under the 4th. The man and woman clearly sound upset, but that is not proof of anything and hardly suspicious given the cops are threatening to come in without a warrant despite both parties exercising their Constitutionally protected 4th Amendment right. I also understand the legal standard for warrantless entry and it is exigent circumstance which I also do not see.

    It’s not against the law to argue with your spouse. It’s not against the law to assert your rights.

    It is against the law to kick in someone’s door and taser someone absent exigent circumstance under color of authority.

    I would be suing the Hell out of the officers personally and the City of Cotati if they did this to me or a client.

  49. I also understand this is the first time we’ve ever come down on opposite sides of an issue, OS. I think the same can be said of Darren too although we may have disagreed on something in the past I’m not recalling at the moment. It’s quite exhilarating for a change. Much like those few occasions when me and mespo disagree. That now makes all of the GBs (except for that damnably reasonable Mike A.) that I’ve had a disagreement with. Feels like . . . balance has been restored to the universe.

    Except for that pesky Mike A. ;)

  50. Some people here – actually a LOT of people here seem unsure if most readers know that laws give LEO the legal right to enter anyone’s “castle” who isn’t sufficiently deferential to an officer with whom they have the misfortune of encountering —BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

  51. Well said Darren Smith – once again.

    A voice of common sense and logic.

    All could have been avoided if the couple had just opened the door and presented themselves and politely invited an officer in to see that everything was fine. So why would you not do this unless you had something suspicious to hide. Clearly the reaction of those inside the home raised suspicions that there was indeed a problem and perhaps even children in danger.

    The problem for the LE officers is that you are criticised if you act and are criticised if you do not. It is a no win situation for them. Keep damning these people as occurs on websites like this and elsewhere and the police will eventually say – stuff the public- who needs this hassle – from now on we will just walk away.

    It is fortunate that society still has people who are prepared on a daily basis to deal with the sewer trash of humanity and constantly put their own lives in danger. Wallys like Lexman and some others above should get out of their ivory towers and lounge chairs and join a LE officers shift for a couple of nights in the city and see what these guys have to contend with.

    I was once in a situation where the police arrived at our family home because a stupid report had been made by a member of the public that a missing person that was the subject of a very high profile custody dispute was possibly seen in my car during one of our family outings to the beach. The police had to follow up the lead and did so. We invited them into our home and sat them down and they did their duty checking out the lead and then politely left. If these low life stupid people in this case had done the same then there would be no issue here.

  52. Gene,
    You know as well as I do, if they sue, it will go nowhere. The best they might hope for is for the city to fix the door.

  53. Gene:

    Probble cause and exigent circumstances to allow entry are not necessairly of the same requirements to establish. Also, just because a citizen proclaims that he does not waive his fourth amendment rights, does not mean that he or she can cloak themselves in that to establish a blanket protection of those rights against circumstances that override those because of circumstances. If that was the case then there would be no exigent circumstance permitted in DV cases because it is frequently the case where suspects act as this man does. Also you have to look at reasonableness in the person. If the two persons in the video were acting normally and not shouting, argumentative, non-compliant and aggressive acting then the police might have had less reason to doubt that there were injured or distressed persons inside. But it is almost always the case when those who have assaulted others are just as aggressive, hostile and verbally escalating.

    We as armchair quarterbacks in this incident displayed in the video do not have the same facts as could have been available to those officers at the time, that is why I mentioned this. There could have been other items that the officers knew of at the time. Examples could have been past history in dealing with the person, the information that was not visible on camera or in the news article, the victim could have been been a victim to this man in the past. Statements could have been made to the poilce by others prior to the filming it is not available (or it could not have existed we don’t know). The officers also did not have the clairvoyance to know that there might have been an injured other person in the dwelling. The man filming stated that there was a child inside. We don’t know if the child could have been the victim of an assault by one of the actors and that is what caused the arguing and crying by the woman.

    Now lets take a look at what could have happened if those officers pulled back and went the telephonic search warrant route. The actors, or suspect could have easily repositioned themselves to another part of the house, grabbed a weapon and then used it on the police or the others within the house. It would certainly not be outside the norm for one of the actors to then focus their aggression on another person and blame them for the police being called and then exact revenge against this person. I have seen this happen many times where one gets angered at LE being called and then subsequently assaults either the victim or a person who they blamed called the police.

    Now place all this into the officers at the scene at the time they are there. In this situation the officers have to balance the needs of the victim, their own safety, and years of training, experience, the information they have, the unknowns that are possible, and all the legal ramnifications of what could happen and they have to make the decision right then and there with almost no opportunity for retraction of their actions. That is what they face.

    I know some contributors here have mentiontioned the possibility of a section 1983 action against these officers. Again, I don’t have all the information and only what you all have here. But, I belive this would be a difficult case for the plaintiffs. And I more certainly don’t belive a criminal action would prevail against these officers for burglary or assault. Despite that what might be said might be emotive or shocking, in light of the commonality of these type of situations it is not as the courts put it “shocking to the conscious” in my view, in light of other DV situation for which me, Chuck and others have pointed out. For burglary and asault where would be the intent to commit a crime on the persons? The officers were acting under the authority of their DV statute and case law which would authorize an entry into the dwelling, especially in the light most favorable to the defendants (in this cause it would be the officers)

    I think you will agree if there was some form of visible injury to either party the entry would be golden. So what would have been a good practice that you would suggest the police do otherwise? Go back to the squad car and call the warrant in and risk something bad happening? I suppose it could be done where the police had the women here go to another room and talk to the police separately than with the man and through a window find out what is going on. But what would have happened if the actors did not comply with this and ran into another room, where the child could have been or did something crazy. We won’t know if that would have worked or not because the events unfolded as they did.

  54. I have a weak heart at 82 with bad pulse, irregular. If I get tazed I will die. I know I have to go one day but I don’t want to go that way and neither does my dear wife. See you ALL on the other side one day soon.

  55. ” If the two persons in the video were acting normally and not shouting, argumentative, non-compliant and aggressive acting then the police might have had less reason to doubt that there were injured or distressed persons inside. But it is almost always the case when those who have assaulted others are just as aggressive, hostile and verbally escalating.”

    Some people start to lose their composure when threatened.

    “Now lets take a look at what could have happened if those officers pulled back and went the telephonic search warrant route. The actors, or suspect could have easily repositioned themselves to another part of the house, grabbed a weapon and then used it on the police or the others within the house. It would certainly not be outside the norm for one of the actors to then focus their aggression on another person and blame them for the police being called and then exact revenge against this person. I have seen this happen many times where one gets angered at LE being called and then subsequently assaults either the victim or a person who they blamed called the police.”

    Supposition is not evidence of exigency. Just as likely, they could have gotten a warrant and the couple would have complied their legal rights satisfied. “Could have” is a weak argument.

    “Now place all this into the officers at the scene at the time they are there. In this situation the officers have to balance the needs of the victim, their own safety, and years of training, experience, the information they have, the unknowns that are possible, and all the legal ramnifications of what could happen and they have to make the decision right then and there with almost no opportunity for retraction of their actions. That is what they face.”

    And sometimes, they decide wrong.

    “I more certainly don’t belive a criminal action would prevail against these officers for burglary or assault.”

    As stipulated, B&E would require more information and be a stretch. Battery? Not so much.

    “For burglary and asault where would be the intent to commit a crime on the persons? The officers were acting under the authority of their DV statute and case law which would authorize an entry into the dwelling, especially in the light most favorable to the defendants (in this cause it would be the officers)”

    Entry under exigent circumstance. If that requirement isn’t met, the entry is illegal. At that point, you can argue intent all you like but the battery is manifest in actus reus if said battery meets local felony battery requirements.

    “I know some contributors here have mentiontioned the possibility of a section 1983 action against these officers. Again, I don’t have all the information and only what you all have here. But, I belive this would be a difficult case for the plaintiffs.”

    42 USC § 1983 reads in relevant part:

    “Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. ”

    These people were denied their 4th Amendment rights by officers who acted without exigent circumstance to effect a warrantless entry after specific refusal of a demanded warrantless entry. Sounds like that subjected them to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws – specifically the 4th Amendment – to me. I’d be willing to let a judge opine on it.

    “I think you will agree if there was some form of visible injury to either party the entry would be golden.”

    Yes. Because that would be under the definition of exigency found in the case law.

    The rest is more supposition. No exigency, i.e. an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is or is about to be seriously injured: the emergency aid exception (which is the same imminent danger standard as in CA per People v. Duncan, 42 Cal.3rd 91, 97 (1986)), means a warrant is required. There is simply no evidence of exigency in what we have here.

    I say let the courts sort it out.

  56. OS,

    Unless the officers can prove exigency, I know no such thing. I do know how to file for a change of venue though.

  57. Poorly handled. When police respond to a domestic violence call, it is essential that they be able to speak to each party separately, particularly the victim. The husband clearly did not want that to happen, so he denied entry. I would have sought a telephone warrant at that point. And if the wife was truly not in fear and simply made the call to embarrass her husband, she could also be charged. However, simply breaking down the door and tasering the occupants makes absolutely no sense.

  58. Ooo. I get a chance to disagree with Mike A. Joy!

    Even if it’s on a single point. “The husband clearly did not want that to happen, so he denied entry.” Do we, in fact, know this? Did she come to the door and have her say without interference from the husband? A matter for discovery as the recording only starts once entry is being denied and both express that they do not want entry without warrant.

    The rest, I agree with (as usual).

  59. Gene H.:

    I’ll concede that we don’t have enough information to reach hard conclusions about much of this, but this is almost a classic response once the police arrive on a domestic violence call. The only way to honestly evaluate the situation is by interviewing each party, an impossibility unless they either emerge or permit entry. Responding to this sort of event is costly. Either someone is lying out of fear or the call was improperly made. An investigation is needed either way, and that can’t be conducted by talking through the door. So, see, it looks like we didn’t really disagree on even a single point. Sorry.

  60. OS: I read your response, which I believe can be summed up as follows: because we live in a dangerous world where civilians from time to time assault and kill one another, and moreover assault and kill cops, who don’t have the luxury of sitting at a keyboard weighing the pros and cons of any number of hypothetical situations, and have to instead make quick life or death decisions, we should just let the cop decide what’s best when it comes to 4A protections, even if the cop’s decision making turns out to be unreasonable.

    If I have fairly characterized your argument, then you couldn’t be more wrong. And there’s a vast body of case law that says you’re wrong.

    Moreover, despite that you have now weighed in on this issue half a dozen times, you never seem to grasp the import of several elements in this story that distinguish it from the incidents and case law you have cited. For example, in this case it was NOT the potential victim of a potential DV who called 911. It was a neighbor, i.e., a third party. I didn’t see any information indicating the police were somehow prevented from interviewing the neighbor–did you? So, what exactly did the neighbor report to 911, besides having heard yelling from the house next door? For more than a decade my married neighbors screamed at one another, but never once did I see either one of them bruised from an assault.

    Again, while it’s clear you want the people reading your comments to understand the importance of protecting the health and safety of police and civilians, you have yet to demonstrate one iota of concern for fundamental 4A rights, not to mention the injuries inflicted on civilians by the “bad apples” whom you acknowledge work in law enforcement. The approach you favor would bestow upon even these bad apples the discretion to use their guns, tasers, and battering rams at will.

  61. D.S.
    I’m not sure what your defending with that UN statement.
    Please clarify.

    I was only pointing out how some LEO’s look at tasers and the UN decision. Not that far off from what you quipped. They ranted their screeds in defense of using tasers, even aggressively.

    Not trying to pick fights, just curious about the UN comment you made. Thinking about it, if one group or organization should always be judged by the bad they’ve done, name one organization that doesn’t escape being branded evil because of the actions of one or a few? The USA? HA! The Catholic Church? HA! Lawyers? HA! Want me to continue?

  62. “All could have been avoided if the couple had just opened the door and presented themselves and politely invited an officer in to see that everything was fine. So why would you not do this unless you had something suspicious to hide.”

    This is the constant refrain of the security state–if you have nothing to hide then you won’t mind the government looking into your private affairs. It has always been used by authoritarian states to justify their spying into their citizens affairs.

    “Clearly the reaction of those inside the home raised suspicions that there was indeed a problem and perhaps even children in danger.”

    This is a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose argument. If you assert your privacy rights then you must be a criminal!

    “The problem for the LE officers is that you are criticised if you act and are criticised if you do not. It is a no win situation for them. Keep damning these people as occurs on websites like this and elsewhere and the police will eventually say – stuff the public- who needs this hassle – from now on we will just walk away.”

    This is really not that difficult. The cops’ jobs are not to do whatever receives the least criticism. Their job is to follow the law. And if, in the future the cops decide not to break into someone’s home without a warrant on nothing other than a neighbor’s statement of hearing loud arguing, then so much the better.

  63. Police were called for a domestic violence issue. Some one was heard inside that home being beaten and screaming from a neighbor. That’s all the police knew. WHAT IF there was a person in another room on the edge of death from a beating they just took. The police HAVE TO ENTER this house. They were called. If the occupants have nothing to hide, they should let them enter. Based on the information from the call, and the fact they are not letting the police in, they are hiding something so the people no cooperating must be subdued with non lethal force.

    So.. what if there is a person near death in the other room and police walk away? Answer that one.

  64. What if Bigfoot was hiding in the garage?
    What if stewed prunes tasted a lot more like applesauce than rhubarb does?
    What if supposition carried more weight than the legal standard of objective evidence of exigent circumstance?

    Ooo. “What if” is fun. I could play that all day.

  65. “Some one was heard inside that home BEING BEATEN and screaming from a neighbor.” (emphasis added)

    No, you’re wrong. There’s nothing anywhere that says a neighbor heard someone being beaten in that house. You’re just making stuff up now!

  66. @ Max-1 – The police are lucky the home owner didn’t have a gun.

    That’s the dumbest thing ever. What do you think would happen if the police responded to a domestic violence call and the homeowner pulled a gun? The police won’t lose that battle. Not a chance. If you take your gun an inch out of your gun cabinet when the cops come knocking, you’re an idiot.

    Question still remains, what if there was someone in that house being subdued, seriously injured or on the brink of death and the police just walked away.

  67. Was just outside working on my boat listening to a talk radio show. They played the 911 call then played the audio from this video. They got them both from the web somewhere. Police had every damn right to enter that house.

    Love how people will bash away only knowing one side of the story. A lawsuit will go absolutely nowhere, guaranteed. I don’t sit on the internet looking at useless crap. Back to the boat.

  68. I searched for a link and could not find the 911 call. There’s nothing about anyone being beaten in any of the news stories I’ve seen. Forgive me if I’m not persuaded by your anonymous say so.

  69. What James said. When the police get a 10-16 call (domestic disturbance/violence), they have no idea what they are walking into. No matter what was told to the dispatcher, the message over the air is going to be something like, “Unit XXX, 10-16 at 123 Anystreet. Respond Code Three. Any other units in the area respond for backup.”

    The first, and preferred, option is to request access to the premises in order to investigate the complaint or reason for the call. If that is done, they will look around, see that everything is OK, fill out their call report form, and leave. If it turns out to be a case of domestic violence or abuse, somebody will go to jail.

    If they request access and the resident inside starts screaming or yelling at them, they have no idea what is going on. Mental case? Wife beater? Somebody dead or injured? What? If the occupant continues to resist, one thing is sure to happen. The police WILL enter, one way or the other.

    Why? Take a look at powerful advocacy groups such as National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Women Against Violence (WAV), National Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and National Electronic Network on Violence Against Women. Then there is the Violence Against Women Act which was just reauthorized earlier this year. Every law enforcement agency–and officer–knows these groups are looking over their shoulder. For a long time, law enforcement turned a blind eye to domestic abuse. That changed in the mid-1990s. Law enforcement agencies were put under the spotlight for not doing anything about it, not arresting abusers, and generally ignoring domestic violence. That still happens way too much, but as Darren said, when laws were passed allowing the state to step in as the “victim” it took the power to sabotage investigations away from the abuser, as well as the victim who has second thoughts and recants out of fear, or perhaps the Stockholm Syndrome.

    I said before and I will say it again. Officers are on the front line for stopping abuse and violence against women. It is not a classroom assignment on legal theories of the intricacies of the Fourth Amendment. The officer has seconds to decide what to do. Take it to the bank. The officers WILL COME IN. Try to push, hit or shove an officer and you will be Tazed or sprayed. Make a move toward anything looking like a weapon…..lets put it this way….don’t. Let the lawyers sort out the details later.

    I am very sensitive to the problem. Here is a story from one of our local news outlets.
    http://www.tricities.com/news/article_266fcd42-e648-5b23-9e8a-059a810aed6d.html

  70. I still believe it would be worthwhile to have all the information that was available to the police before a definitive position is taken as to whether or not the police’s actions were justified.

  71. OS, Superb. There’s no time for longwinded pontifications on the street. Some just don’t get it. C’est la vie. I’ve had dogs sent @ me and I’ve been shot @ twice. The great Sugar Ray Robinson said when and opponent bragged that he had a plan to beat Ray in the next bout..”Yeah, everbodys got a plan, until they get hit.”

  72. Darren: Not to pile on, but unless I’ve misread your last post as indicating an evolution of sorts in your position, I think it’s important to pause and consider what may have just happened here. In your prior posts, you seemed comfortable assuming away the evidence that might demonstrate the absence of exigent circumstances (without which the forced entry would violate the 4A). Implicit in your argument was that, like you, the police could be trusted to have respected the citizen’s fundamental constitutional rights when deciding whether to force entry. Now, following some back and forth, you endorse withholding judgment until “all the information” is out in the open. And I think that’s a perfect illustration of why we have the warrant requirement in the first place: in the absence of exigent circumstances, hasty decisions are often wrong, and can lead to horrible results.

  73. Wow, well it’s disturbing that popular opinion is so disturbed that officers with the right and obligation to enter on a domestic dispute call would make sure everything’s under control instead of just leaving the scene and trusting what someone says. I’m glad our system is not so naive. When individuals do not understand that they must be in compliance with the officers procedure in this situation when repeatedly told to open the door and submit down, the officers must either taser or possibly wrestle them, because they have already shown that they will resist the officers commands. Tasering is less risky for the INNOCENT officers to gain control of the situation and individuals as it puts the individuals in a limp state rather than risking how the shook up individuals might fight back when touched by the officers.

  74. Wow, well it’s disturbing that some think the legal standard for warrantless entry and the 4th Amendment is disposable at the whim of the police.

    There is no evidence of exigent circumstances here.

    The officers broke the law as defined by the relevant case law absent evidence to the contrary.

  75. Officers don’t need a warrant to enter on a domestic dispute call, and I’m glad the law doesn’t require one. It’s not a whim as you call it.

  76. Cite your source.

    Under California law, the standard is objective reasonableness of injury or imminent injury (the exigent circumstances exception) under People v. Duncan, 42 Cal.3rd 91, 97 (1986).

    It just being a DV call isn’t prime facie permission to enter without warrant.

    You still need exigent circumstances.

  77. Cite your reasoning.

    I think it’s completely reasonable and just to classify this domestic dispute as exigent circumstances. The video shows a husband and wife still clearly emotional from their recent fight and are now embarrassed that the police have been called. The husband leads as the couple redirects their unresolved emotion unfairly towards the police and feintly claims rights are being violated. Police who are responsible for responding to the ‘domestic disturbance call’, clearly make multiple attempts at communicating from outside the residence. Unable to assess people’s welfare (including children) inside the house and receiving no cooperation from the husband the police choose to force entry into the residence. Once inside uncooperative behavior continues and ultimately the wife is tasered. I will not come back to see your response as the reasoning here only considers the point of view that the police should’ve held onto that there was no one in danger, which is naive in this situation. In all actuality the police did what they should’ve.

  78. I cited my reasoning: the law and the standards therein.

    “I think it’s completely reasonable and just to classify this domestic dispute as exigent circumstances.”

    Based upon what? Raised tones of voice that could just as easily be attributable to the stress of police harassment?

    I’m still willing to let a judge and/or jury decide on that.

    As for not coming back? Whatever. My reasoning is based on a lack of objective reasonableness sufficient for the exigent circumstances exception to kick in: the legal standard for permissible warrantless entry. Your “reasoning” is based on “cops are always right” mentality apparently.

    Sorry. That’s not how reality works. Cops make mistakes and unless they can produce evidence of exigency, they face trouble in court based on the evidence here.

  79. Sounds like a good way to harass someone you don’t like, simply call in an argument and vengeance shall be yours. Especially, if they live alone and there is no second party to be seen.

    Unfortunately this is apparently not an isolated incident and is generally a local type abuse that few ever hear about collectively.

    What would stop a bunch of less than ethical cops from going around the corner and anonymously calling in a bogus dispute just so they could claim grounds for forcibly entering any residence without a warrant?

    What’s next, harassing or arresting people simply on “See something, say something” anonymous hearsay?

    Didn’t our ancestors fight a revolution over these same form of tyrannical acts?

  80. OK Hicks wrote:

    “Sounds like a good way to harass someone you don’t like, simply call in an argument and vengeance shall be yours.”
    ~+~
    This happens more than many people realize, though it isn’t just to get the police to enter someone’s dwelling, it is yes, to exact revenge by getting the police to exact some form of contact or enforcement.

    If the other party was actually guilty of a crime, it is one issue but typically this manifested itself as a neighborhood dispute where the offended party would exaggerate or in some cases lie. This should be dismissed upon an open minded investigation by the authorities. The other which is much more insidious involves some nefarious type calling Child Protective Service and making up some cock and bull story about a parent doing inappropriate things.

    If CPS is not in their lazy mode (when they do nothing) they will often yank the child away just as they start the investigation demanding the parent prove they did nothing wrong. This forces the parent into an expensive legal situation and an emotionally troubling time for the child and the parents. It might not be the case in every state, but the CPS I know is one of the worst state agencies around. And, yes, I am biased.

  81. Darren,

    Suffice it to say…. When you have CPS yanking out kids fom homes based upon mere allegations…. You have trouble brewing…. But then sometimes its so necessary that someone must do something….. But, too often its a subjective standard that is used and a few cases are dismissed….

    But from my experience…. It’s based on making legit a system based upon a form of corruption…. There are adoption incentivies….. As well as placement incentivies….. It’s the big fish feeding the little fish…..

  82. I appreciate the police for putting their lives on the line. However, I do often believe some tend to abuse their power. Many comments suggest that the only 2 choices were to leave or break the door down. Unless there is reason to believe that someone was in immediate danger, they should have phoned for a warrant. The couple, however should have complied & at least go outside to speak with the police if they did not wish to have the police in their homes. We have a reasonable responsibility to respect the law & the law has a reasonable responsibility to respect our rights! The entry & tasing appear to be unwarranted, unless there are circumstances not fully elucidated in the video.

  83. The cops were called to this house. They didn’t just show up to kick a door in. They now have to visually see everyone is OK. That’s their job. If you were beaten and your husband was standing there telling you to tell them it was OK, wouldn’t you want the cops to come in and free you? They obviously cannot see through the windows. Why didn’t these idiots let them in? Just more morons looking for a law suit. The cops would have came in, seen everything is OK and left. That’s their job. Most of the people seem to want the cops to defend them on their own terms rather than what the police have to do in certain cirucumstances. Yes officer. Protect me. But if I’m yelling at you through one way glass to go away please do so on my word that everything I am telling you is true. Who knows that another Amanda Berry may be behind those closed doors but yea, you cops just go away on my word. No wonder so many people in this country still think Obama is doing a great job.

  84. I am an attorney that actually sues police officers for this sort of thing. Sadly, one must be very careful in initiating such suits, and mindful of the fact that police officers are given all sorts of “outs” to avoid civil liability for their testosterone crazed reactions to being told “No!” They are protected by theories like qualified immunity federally and official immunity in most states. But action must still be taken against them for such abuses, even if it proves unsuccessful. I have read most of the posts here and am particularly mindful of those that appear to know a little about the law and want to justify the actions of the police. I cannot. And those that attempt to do so forget several factors which appear to be present in this case. Most notably, that a police officer cannot just enter YOUR HOME without a warrant unless they are aware of imminent danger to someone in the home. It hasn’t (yet) been extended to the mere possibility of imminent danger. Courts do continue to expand this “awareness” of imminent danger to include things like actually observing (through a window) someone getting attacked by another person. But, as far as I am aware, this awareness does not yet extend to the police being allowed to enter a home without a warrant merely to investigate whether any sort of domestic assault occurred, especially after the fact. If that were so, the police would be allowed to enter a home at any time without a warrant to investigate the possibility of any crime, something that (so far) is not permitted.

    I am seeking opinion and comment regarding a similar incident that occurred in Missouri. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx37C77ImDQ)
    In that case, which was recorded on the officers belt-cam, an officer was knocking on doors at 10 PM to find out who owned an illegally parked vehicle. When he happened on the right owner and demanded his license, he was told “no” quite clearly (albeit not very pleasantly). The officer went into the home and immediately tasered the man. I have been completely unable to justify the officer’s actions, although I have given him the benefit of every doubt I can think of. I would like to know what others think. Comment at http://www.samtrapp.com

    Basically, I believe that an officer should at least ATTEMPT to keep hostility to a minimum. After all, they are supposed to be the good guys, right? If that is the case (it often isn’t), what is wrong with requiring a police officer to (at a bare minimum) take a deep breath and make an attempt to convince people that they should comply with whatever command was given prior to resorting to the taser?

    I am personally extremely concerned about the continual expansion of “discretion” to use force to include circumstances that are really nothing more than incidents of “contempt of cop.” People are getting killed in some such incidents and I cannot believe we just ignore them.

    I will not.

  85. To those arguing that the police have the right to smash in doors and invade people’s homes and assault innocent people without a warrant because police work is dangerous, I say “if they can’t stand the heat, let them stay out of the kitchen.” My work is dangerous too–doesn’t give me the right to smash people’s doors down and beat them up for no apparentl reason other than ego issues.

  86. The mili-second they step foot into my home with weapons drawn they will be tried and judged as criminals, my guns being the judge.

  87. […]  Internet.  Posted 16th May 2013.  Retrieved 11th July 2013.  Source Address:  http://jonathanturley.org/2013/05/16/couple-refuses-to-allow-police-to-enter-home-without-warrant-po… 8. The Retrosoldier.  ”Cotati California is a brutal police state”.  YouTube […]

  88. Darren and Os have either of you ever read the blog ‘Behind the blue wall” if not maybe you should. its a blog dedicated to DV committed by Leos. and its pages are full top to bottom.
    I’m sure you both have noticed that these days when cops get called in for minor offenses such as the above case. somehow it always manages to escalate and its escalated by the police. not the people calling them. and it doesnt matter how you may try to dress up their actions. Leos have lost their mind. and im sure that was the intent with lowering the standards they need leos who dont care about anything or ones but themselves. the ones who dont and wont mind killing as many people as possible in the advent of the new corporation which is installing as we debate the behaviors of leos today vs our rights and freedoms.

    We are going to be pushed into ww3 because its the only way “they” feel their one world corporation can be instilled/stalled. and the cops have no reason not to break the laws they swore to uphold. they are not the ones who get hit in their pockets. we are.

  89. I worked as a policeman only for four months, I was fired, or terminated because I would not charge people with crimes, it was because I would not take orders to arrest people just to meet a federal quota so that the federal dollars could keep coming, I was told by the police chief, that I should even consider making false charges just to meet the quota. I refused and was fired a week later.

  90. I would had shot the police officers and claim self defense people should start thinking like me or they will become cowards in a police state.

  91. I would think that soon there will be vigilante forces forming to protect the citizens from the police. people like that couple will call them, they will come and tase and tie up the police or kill them if they’re uncooperative with the citizen vigilantes. I guess they’ll go too far. 80 is too low a number for the iq of a guy with a gun and a police car, but that’s now an average number thanks to the industrial poisoning of americans by the people who expect to be among the last few million americans

  92. I would have shotgunned their heads off as they entered. I would most likely have died in the act, however knowing I killed half of them would have left me dying with great satisfaction. No one enters my home without a warrant or justifiable means. Not even cops.

    “Sorry kids, your father isn’t coming home tonight because he was an idiot and kicked the door down of a man waiting on the other side with a gun who blew his head off. When you grow up don’t be as stupid as your father.”

    Being a cop doesn’t give you the right to kick peoples doors down for no reason without repercussions.

  93. A police officer responding to domestic abuse MUST ensure nobody was beaten.The cops cant leave until they see no visible injury. The man was tased because he refused to get on the ground. So the officers have probable cause to kick down the door. They cant just leave, and you dont want to wait for permission to enter because of a warrent because he can be beating her as they speak. Its like saying you cant pull me over even though i went 30mph over the speed limit.

  94. Why is it not mandatiory for police to be on record while on duty.. There should be somekind of recording or camera of there action just based of the sole thing that they have been caught lying.. It shouldn’t make a difference if one or all of them lie. It should not be acceptable.. I think its just a way of making things easier for themselves and unfortunately I don’t see why I should give up my rights so its easier for him.. No one comes to my job and is like oh don;’t worry about cleaning dishes tonight They look clean enough to use tomorrow… I think America should look into this.. They shouldn’t be allowed Privacy.. What privacy do we have at work… They can go through your work computer if they so please…. I don’t believce cops should have sooo much power.. Come on NY lets fix this!!!

  95. Thank you sam and especially gene! Its because of people like you that there is still a small hope for our country. Half of us still value liberty.

    Keep up the good work! We are all counting on your vigilance. I will be here too fighting for freedom! You are not alone in your fight! Always remember that. We are many.

  96. I think the cops kicking in my door would have see the barrel of a shotgun with orders telling them to get the hell out of my house and off my property! America is turning into a damn police state where the rights of the citizens no longer exist. Di the call come from someone with in the home? No so there for the police do not have probable cause to enter the home let alone kick in the door and taze them. The call came from a neighbor would over heard yelling. Unless they saw a violent act and reported that the police should have no reason to enter the home. Police have taken it to far to many times. Just yesterday on US 301 in Fayetteville I was next to two State Troopers Racing each other and cutting up laughing while they were doing it. Do you think I called it in with their location and car number? HELL YES I DID. Do you think a damn thing happened? Hell no!

  97. OK,we have many opinions on this subject but I have yet to see, or hear, the result. It has been 6 months; what’s happening ?

  98. someone brought up:
    BRIGHAM CITY, UTAH v. STUART et al.

    this case has nothing to do with this case… this is why:

    “In this case we consider whether police may enter a home without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury.”

    clearly this just routes back to the main arguement which is that the woman and the man were clearly not injured and were in no imminent danger of becoming injured.

  99. The Bible says police will be the new thugs.
    —————–
    Really – it says the authorities carry the sword for a reason. Given that a number of police officers in both the USA and UK are Christians, this seems a very strange claim – I know some strange people in the USA think that law enforcement officers are some kind of agents of evil.

  100. dumb

    i think the residents would have been completely within their rights it they had shot the police dead.
    —————
    only if you don’t know the meaning of the words ‘proportionate’,, ‘reasonable’ etc

  101. Jesus

    I would have shotgunned their heads off as they entered. I would most likely have died in the act, however knowing I killed half of them would have left me dying with great satisfaction.
    ———
    As a Christian working in LE in the UK, I think its rather sad that with your sign in name you think that killing other people gives satisfaction – isn’t that what Islamic suicide bombers think when they kill your and my country’s soldiers

  102. ConLawDog

    A taser is a deadly weapon because it is known to kill. The Law Enforcement Offender can not justify using it because of what the manufacturer claims. …. Send a message to Leos everywhere and award a large punitive damage award here.”
    ————–
    not sure if your objection here is to Tasers at all – even when used against criminals or just their use in these circs. A baton can kill in the wrong circs as can pepper spray. I don’t advocate willy nilly use of tasers but there are clearly violent people in situations where shooting the person with a lead bullet is not correct but where they need to be controlled to be arrested

  103. I was on the receiving end of police brutality, and I went downstairs to let them in……
    After screaming at me, beating me, smashing my head in the wall, falsifying charges, taking me to jail half-naked, procuring some extra charges, and not discovering one shred of evidence of domestic abuse……(I wasn’t charged with any domestic crime), I spent several thousand dollars undoing the damage. Days later, I was black and blue, sore, and pissed.

    It took seven years to finally resolve the incident. The cop who did the principal beating got promoted, and in the resulting civil action the city’s attorney managed to get the charges dismissed on a technically….. despite taking it all the way to the state supreme court. (Even in the official transcript, they sound like the heroes and I’m a criminal and a liar).

    ….he could’ve simply had a conversation, but he never bothered to ask. My wife begged and pleaded with them to stop beating me, said you’ve made a mistake, over and over again. They tried to play good cop bad cop, and bullied her in another room. Even my placid, easy-going lab, who loves people growled at them.

    They acted like Nazi Storm Troopers, never said one polite word…… just charged in swinging…….

    I have no sympathy for this behavior, will never again, knowingly help the police, and believe they are out of control……
    (a good female friend of mine, was sitting in her car in the park, with her kids, when the cops showed up, surrounded the car and pointed guns at an 8 and 11 year-old!)

    I am waiting for the day I am expected to be a good citizen…..

    At 3 am I was asleep in my bed, by 4:30 am, I was in a jail cell with 30 other people….. I was refused medical attention, despite several requests……

    the Cop….. he got promoted all the way up to Major…… till he got caught screwing another Cop’s wife in his squad car and his office….. they still didn’t fire him….. apparently this had been going on for two years…….

    They don’t give a shit if you’re polite, compliant in taking your beating, quote your constitutional rights…… in fact, if you fight back they just up the ante with the SWAT team……

    I asked my attorney, if I had refused to let them in, what would’ve happened….. he shrugged, and said, “I don’t know”, I honestly don’t know……

    After the beating and subsequent acquittal of the cops who took delight in beating a homeless man…… it’s amazing to me people aren’t taking the law into their own hands…… they will and should get what they deserve……

    I hope it never happens to you

  104. People asked if there was followup of this story. There was. The jury hung 6:6. Source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140128/articles/140129552

    I read the whole thread, and while I personally fully side with Gene H’s arguments, the problem is that all this clever discussion, with precedents, legal definitions, etc etc., might be relevant for the appellate court, but not for the street cops. The fact that very large part of commenters side with the cops (and if you check the discussion at the link I cited above, as well as many other publications of this story, you will find that it’s in fact the majority), and find that the mere theoretical possibility of the violence, not supported by anything, qualifies as exigency (“what if there’s dying victim in that room right now? we must help him!”), it means that this is “grey area”, and, absent very clear precedents*, whenever there was any report of anything at all, the cops can do anything they want, and get away with it. And if so, powerful incentives come into play, in the form of womens’ lobbies that demand from the police to curb domestic violence.

    *) In fact, the precedents do exist, but apparently not enough.

    http://fourthamendment.com/blog/index.php?blog=1&title=co_domestic_violence_call_is_exigency_no&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    “Defendant argues — and we agree — “there is no ‘domestic violence’ exception to the Fourth Amendment.” See United States v. Black, 482 F.3d 1035, 1040 (9th Cir. 2007) (“we have stopped short of holding that ‘domestic abuse cases create a per se exigent need for warrantless entry'”) (quoting Brooks, 367 F.3d at 1136); United States v. Davis, 290 F.3d 1239, 1244 (10th Cir. 2002) (declining to “grant[] unfettered permission to officers to enter homes, based only upon a general assumption domestic calls are always dangerous”)

  105. Us as Americans need to start standing up. WE need to tell the law what’s right and wrong. WE need to set the bar and draw the line. They are supposed to serve and protect, it’s getting worse and worse.. Now is the time WE go to the board meetings, protest, and make change…

  106. I wonder if the couple would have even be so concerned about the police coming in if this situation weren’t so common in the first place. This video makes me feel like a fool, like i have been lied to by the people supposed to be teaching and protecting us. These a**h*les need to learn how to have an adult conversation instead of simply imposing their will by any means necessary. We are not the enemy of the police! We are their fellow countrymen, neighbors, relative and friends and sometimes when we are weak and insecure we yell at our spouses. If your not human enough to understand these elements and keep the situation from escalating, then you simply shouldn’t be a cop.

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