We have been discussing the increased powers claimed by police in searching homes without warrants under claims of exigent circumstances or hot pursuit, including the right to search an entire area of a city. Sarasota Florida resident Louise Goldsberry came face to face with these powers recently after eating dinner. The nurse was at her kitchen sink when she looked out the window facing a man in a hunting vest pointing a gun in her face. She dropped to the floor and started screaming and then thing got really bad. (The picture on the right is of a different “knock and announce” raid by the Marshals and local police).
Goldsberry crawled into her bedroom and retrieved her gun. She has a permit for the .38 caliber revolver. She and her boyfriend then heard a man screaming at the front door. The man was, according to the couple, screaming profanities and saying that he was police. They did not believe him given his dress and his vulgar language. When her boyfriend asked for identification, they say the men simply screamed “We’re the f—- police; open the f—- door!” The couple staying huddled on the floor in fear as an unidentified man pushed through the door. A man screamed at her to “Drop the f—- gun or I’ll f—- shoot you.” The couple was pulled outside, handcuffed, and left for about 30 minutes. Men poured into the apartment. They then took off the handcuffs and left.
Police later explained that the man at the door was Matt Wiggins of the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive division and the police were searching for a suspect, Kyle Riley. They received a tip that he was somewhere inside the apartment complex. Based on that tip, they proceeded to raid the apartment complex. They had no reason to believe that he was in Goldsberry’s apartment. When asked why the raid on the apartment given the lack of information on his whereabouts, Wiggins is quoted as saying “Nobody in the other units reacted that way.”
So, police can show up in what looks like a hunting vest at a kitchen window and point a gun into the face of a woman. If she screams and crawls away, that is sufficient to bust into the apartment, drag the occupants outside, and handcuff them in public. Wiggins also said that she admits that she knew that they were the police when Goldsberry has denied she knew who the man was at the window or at their door. Wiggins is also quoted as saying that, since she was not simply shot for pointing a gun at an officer, “She sure shouldn’t be going to the press.”
By the way, suspect, Kyle Riley, was arrested hours later in another part of Sarasota.
In his insistence that there really is nothing to report or see in his story, Marshal Wiggins by the way should not be confused with Chief Wiggum:
Source: Herald Tribune