When Law Enforcement Goes Too Far

A few days ago I wrote about a Chicago police officer who told a photojournalist that his First Amendment rights could be revoked at any time.  In that article, I stated that I have always been supportive of law enforcement.  For the most part, I still remain supportive of law enforcement, which is why it pains me to write about another incident when members of law enforcement have gone too far.

Early in 2010, Linda Griego went through a nasty divorce and ended up having to get a restraining order against her ex-husband.  Around 6:30 in the morning of June 15, Linda was in the shower getting ready for work.  Her eight year old son, Colby was sound asleep in his room.

While in the shower, Linda heard loud knocking at her front door.  She tried to towel off as fast as she could, wrapped the towel around her and proceeded to look out the front window to see who it was.  She did not recognize the man at door when suddenly she heard loud knocking at her back door.  She peered out the back window and did not recognize this man either.  Her first thoughts were that it was her ex-husband and his friends come to make trouble.

Just then one of the men at the back door turned and Linda saw the word SWAT on the back of his shirt.  Realizing it wasn’t her ex, she yelled through the door that she had just gotten out of the shower and would be right there as soon as she got dressed.  She hurried to her bedroom, put on some clothes and went to the front door.

According to Linda, the second she started to open the door, one of the officers thrust the door open, hitting her with it.  They then pulled her out of the house, shoved her against the side of the house and handcuffed her.  All the time this was happening, she noticed that a number of the officers had their weapons drawn and aimed at her.

Fearing for her son, she told the officers that she needed to get back in the house to take care of her son.  Once they dragged her back inside, Linda was horrified to see her son standing there in his pajamas, surrounded by police with their weapons aimed at him.  She said that when she saw the distinctive red dots of laser targets on her son, she really panicked for his safety.

During this whole time, members of the Greeley Colorado police department and ATF officers kept calling her Angela, referring to Angela Hernandez-Nicholson.  Linda kept trying to tell them she wasn’t Angela, but it wasn’t until one of the officers dumped all of the contents of her purse out and looked at her ID, that they realized that she wasn’t Angela.  One of the officers remarked that she didn’t fit Angela’s description anyway since Angela was in her 50’s.  Then they verified that she was who she said she was and that they knew she had a restraining order against her ex-husband.  The last thing the officers said as they were leaving was they hoped she has a better day than she’s had so far.

According to Linda, none of the police or ATF agents apologized for the incident or did anything to help calm her son down who terrified by everything that happened.  After the incident was over, she found out that the police did not have a warrant to enter or search her home.  She has consequently filed a lawsuit against the Greeley Colorado police department and the ATF for illegally entering her home without a warrant.

Linda later explained to WND reporters that Angela had lived at the home at one time, but had moved out a year earlier.  The police had been to the home several times during that year looking for Angela.  Each time, Linda told them that she didn’t live there anymore but that it should be easy to find her since she lived in Section 8 government subsidized housing so they should have a record of her location.  She also told them that she had seen Angela at the local Wal-Mart on several occasions.

What concerns Linda the most about this whole incident is that her 8 year old son Colby is terrified of police.  Colby use to be a brave independent boy, but now is too frightened to sleep alone, so he sleeps with Linda.  The incident so traumatized the boy that one day they had pizza delivered and when the delivery boy knocked on the door, Colby went into instant panic.

Linda had always tried to teach Colby that police are there to help and protect them and that if they were ever in need, they could always turn to the police.  After this incident, she fears that Colby will never trust any police officers ever again, and rightfully so.

Like I said before, I’ve always been pro law enforcement, but in this case, I hope the judge throws the book at the local police and ATF for their unlawful actions and that they are made to pay heavily for the trauma they’ve caused to Colby and his mom.  If I were the judge, I would sentence every officer and ATF agent that took part in the raid, to at least 100 hours each of community service and that community service must be served helping and working with Linda and Colby.  Hopefully, Colby could then realize that the officers made a terrible mistake for which they are very sorry and that police really aren’t that bad.