Kids Traumatized, Have Nightmares After Cops Raid Wrong House

Cops give kids stuffed animals to make up for three hours of terror
Adan Salazar

May. 07, 2014

A Michigan SWAT team provided a small family fresh inspiration for nightmares after they broke down the door to the wrong home and turned the place upside down looking for drugs.

Police in Kalamazoo apologized for mistaking Jeremy Handley’s home for that of an armed drug dealer, and hoped giving his children stuffed animals would make up for the terror-filled night.

Handley, his wife Becky and his two children were home last Thursday when he heard sounds making him believe his home was being burglarized. His kids ran to hide in a closet, hoping the thieves wouldn’t find them.

“I thought it was somebody either trying to rob us, or hurt us,” Handley recounted to CBS affiliate WWMT.

He says police entered through the back door and ordered him and his wife to the floor, handcuffing and searching them.

“He had me sprawl out right here on the floor, and then he had me put my hands behind my back,” Handley said, pointing to the area in his home where police held him at gunpoint.

Handley’s kids were also ferreted out of the closet, claiming they "were staying quiet, because we thought they were bad guys coming in."

The Handleys were cuffed and interrogated for three hours, while police rummaged through their belongings looking for controlled substances, Federal Reserve notes and firearms. “Every drawer, every cabinet, every piece of paper,” Handley says of the SWAT team’s thorough search.

Police were apparently more thorough during their search, rather than prior. When all was said and done, they realized it was their mistake, as they were looking for the tenant who used to rent the Handley’s home about a year ago, a man by the name of Chum.

“Do you know this Chum guy?” police asked, to which Handley replied, "No, I would never recognize him if I were to see him in the street."

The whole menacing affair badly traumatized the Handley children, leaving them emotionally scarred and with recurring nightmares. “One dream was about Chum coming in our house with a gun, saying get on the ground,” Handley’s daughter told WWMT. “It made me sad and scared."

Police raids on wrong houses are occurring with such frequency that one wonders whether the raids are being carried out as a means of intimidating the public, or if their intelligence can really be so bad as to cause this many frequent mistakes.

Just last week, we highlighted a SWAT raid in Bakersfield, Cali., where police also battered down the door to the wrong house and ordered a half-naked young mother to the ground as she was about to jump in the shower. They stormed apartment "A," but were supposed to have been at "B."

Two days prior, we also reported on a raid that took place in Richmond, Virginia, in which police terrorized a 75-year-old grandmother, binding her hands with twist ties and telling her she was under arrest as they searched her home for drugs. In that case, police were supposed to be at apartment "E," but went to "G" instead.

Despite their traumatic scare, the Handleys are lucky no one got hurt.

Back in 2012, we exposed a bungled early morning SWAT raid on a wrong home in Billings, Montana, that left a 12-year-old girl badly burned by a flashbang grenade. "A simple knock on the door and I would've let them in," the girl's mother Jackie Fasching told the Billings Gazette.

(Image Source: Tyler Tjomsland / Kalamazoo Gazette)

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