A Third Amendment violation isn’t something the typical American expects to see when they read the news. The legislation is a dusty one that forbids forcefully quartering soldiers in people’s homes during times of peace without the consent of the owner.
But according to a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Nevada (and reported by Courtroom News last week), the Henderson Police Department may have done just that.
Plaintiff Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell were arrested for refusing to allow the Henderson Police access to Anthony Mitchell’s home for the purpose of gaining a “tactical advantage” against Mitchell’s neighbor.
The complaint states that there was a domestic violence call coming from the neighbor’s home, and Officer Christopher Worley telephoned Mitchell to explain.
From the court documents: “Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence. Although Worley continued to insist that plaintiff should leave his residence, plaintiff clearly explained that he did not intend to leave his home or to allow police to occupy his home. Worley then ended the phone call.”
Worley was named in the Third Amendment lawsuit along with Officers David Cawthorn and Sgt. Michael Waller. The complaint continued stating that Cawthorn “outlined the defendants’ plan in his official report: ‘It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.'”
And according to the allegations, that’s exactly what the officers did, breaking in to Mitchell’s house and “addressing plaintiff as ‘asshole’,” shooting Mitchell and his pet dog Sam with “pepperball” rounds and making the arrest.
The full complaint is available at Scribd, and is definitely worth a look.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first report in the last week of police potentially overreaching their authority, as with the case of the Hawthorne, California, dog shooting, which was captured on video. Coincidentally, in that case, the owner said he suspected the shooting was in retaliation to a 2012 lawsuit he’d filed against the Hawthorne Police Department for the use of excessive force and false imprisonment.
As for the Third Amendment lawsuit, police haven’t issued any statements beyond the official report. Do you think the officers overstepped their authority?
[Image via ShutterStock]