Boston, MA– Last November, Boston police officers burst through the door of a Brighton apartment in a public housing complex in search of a suspect. Holding the residents at gunpoint at 4:30 a.m., they handcuffed parents Jean and Verlande Regis, along with their 15-year-old daughter, on the ground. The Regis family was kept in handcuffs for 20 minutes, while the family’s two younger children (ages 4 and 5) looked on.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, but most devastatingly for the Regis family, the search warrant the police had obtained was for a different apartment. There was no legal basis for entering the Regises home and terrifying the whole family.
The lawsuit details the events as follows: "The [SWAT] team was given instructions to enter the first apartment on the right when entering the floor. The Regis family's apartment, however, was the first apartment on the left ... Police officials later admitted that there was no lawful basis for the entry into the Regis home."
Now the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Regis family. Patch reports that the family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, alongside a request that the police department review their processes to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again to another innocent family.
The Regises say that the children have experienced trauma following the incident. The kids now “hide from the police” under the bed, Patch reports.
In a statement to Boston 25 News, ACLU attorneys said: “Police failed to take appropriate steps to avoid entering the wrong house, violated the family’s rights, and caused great emotional harm. Police are sworn to keep the peace and public safety, not to violently bang down the wrong door and assault innocent residents of Boston."
Photo via Flickr by TenderBranson