The housekeeping police 

The Colorado Springs Police Department has a policy on executing knock-and-announce and no-knock warrants. But, written policy and witness accounts sometimes differ dramatically. Following are excerpts of the police's policy followed by witness accounts of what occurred at Juanita McClinton's home during the June 16 raid.

"Police officers may search a place or person and seize evidence following a judge's issuance of a signed search warrant relating facts sufficient to:

Identify or describe, as nearly as may be, the person or property to be searched for, seized, or inspected; AND

Identify or describe, as nearly as may be, the premises, person, place or thing to be searched; AND

Establish probable cause for the issuance of the warrant, by showing there is good reason to believe that the person or property to be searched for, seized or inspected is located at, in or upon the premises, person, place or thing to be searched."

Other than Cmile Sackey, the warrant did not identify anyone who they searched, including Harry Singleton, who reported that cops asked him where he had gotten the wad of cash in his pocket. He told them he had just gotten his paycheck cashed and they returned his money. Police also did not identify Adrian McClinton, Morgan McClinton, Deon Gooden or Chris Smith* -- a friend of the family who arrived at the house while the police were there -- as individuals who were targeted as part of their search.

"A knock-and-announce search can escalate into a no-knock warrant if officers have probable cause to believe that:

Evidence subject to seizure is about to be destroyed or disposed of; OR

The lives or safety of the officers or other persons are in jeopardy; OR

A party to be arrested is attempting to escape.

However, in the case supplement following the execution of the warrant, the officer must describe in specific written detail the probable cause that led him/her to believe that one or more of the above circumstances was occurring or was about to occur."

Five of the 17 police officers involved filed reports after the raid. None of those reports detailed circumstances that led them to believe the cops were in jeopardy, evidence was about to be destroyed or anyone was trying to escape. All four police reports detail the evidence that was seized and placed into evidence, however none described what occurred during the two and a half hours they were at the house, nor did they include witness or neighbor's statements. However, in his report, CSPD Det. Mike Happ offered the following observation: "The interior of the residence was filthy. There were piles of garbage and clothes throughout the house. The carpet and floor looked as if it had not been swept or vacuumed for an extended period of time." While the condition of the house that day may have violated officer Happ's sensibilities, it does not represent a violation of any law.

"Scope of search: After having made entry, officers should take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to protect themselves. They may control the movements of persons found inside the premises and may frisk them for weapons. Persons found within the premises may not be searched for evidence described in the warrant unless those persons are specifically named in the warrant."

All of the men inside the house were searched, identified and their names run through the police computer database before they were released. Chris Smith*, who arrived at the house while the police were still there, was detailed, questioned, his bag searched and his name run through the police database before he was released.

The only person who was specifically named in the warrant was Camile Sackey.

"A floor may be pulled up, or a wall torn down, or a garden dug up, if officers have a reasonable belief that the evidence sought under the warrant has been concealed in such a place. That belief should be detailed in the affidavit for the search warrant."

The affidavit did not specify any suspected place where drugs might be concealed in the house.

"The search may extend to all places within the premises where the evidence or the person sought could logically be concealed. Such places may include personal property found on the premises described, such as duffel bags, suitcases and automobiles. Officers are under no obligation to begin or end the search at any particular place within the premises."

The cops searched the house but, inexplicably, did not search the garage or the shed.

"Intensity of search: The search warrant is not a license to destroy or harass individuals."

Morgan McClinton reported an officer kicked him in the head, stood on his fingers, and threatened to shoot him. All three teenagers reported being the targets of insult and verbal abuse.

Officers initially wouldn't tell Juanita McClinton why they were raiding her house.

Chris Smith*, who had been staying at the house as a guest, said that after he was detained, an officer told him to look for a new place to live, because they had already contacted the landlord and they were being evicted.

* Smith feared retribution if his real name were used. The Independent agreed not to identify him, as he is not targeted in the police investigation.


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