A Chicago family is taking the city’s police department to court after they say officers raided the wrong home while executing a search warrant for a dope-dealing suspect, ruining a 4-year-old’s birthday party in the process.
The civil rights suit, filed in federal court Tuesday, accuses at least 17 officers of storming the family’s South Side home on Feb. 10, during which they toppled the toddler’s birthday cake to the floor while completely trashing the place, local station ABC 7 reports.
The Bures family was in the middle of celebrating Terrance Jackson Jr.’s birthday when the frightening raid occurred. The child’s mother, Stephanie Bures, and aunt Kiqiana Jackson accuse officers of terrorizing party-goers, saying they pointed their guns at young Terrance and his seven-year-old sister Samari during the incident.
A tearful Bures said the experience has left the children traumatized and that they are now distrustful of police.
“I was so worried about (Samari) or her brother getting shot by someone that’s supposed to protect and serve them,” she said during a press conference. “It’s terrifying.”
What’s worse, it turns out the officers’ warrant was for a suspect who hadn’t lived at that residence for five years.
“Instead of having his family sing happy birthday to him four-year-old TJ had police officer curse and insult him and his family,” the family’s attorney Al Hofeld added.
In their excessive force case against the city of Chicago and police, the two women claim officers barged into their South Side home where 15 people, including four children, were present, and yelled, “Get your f—–g hands up! ‘We’re doing a f—–g raid!'”
Officers proceeded to snatch a door off its hinges, flip mattresses, and open wall panels — in addition to breaking the family’s big-screen TV and dousing little Terrance’s gifts with hydrogen peroxide, the complaint alleges. After knocking the boy’s chocolate birthday cake to the ground, family members said an officer stuck a number 4 candle in its center.
“It was a cruel, dehumanizing joke that mocked and symbolized a 4-year-old’s ruined birthday party,” Hofeld said.
Bures and Jackson said they repeatedly asked officers to see the search warrant during the raid, but were denied. The women also accused officers of using their hoodies or other clothing to hide their badges and refused to give the family their names.
“I reached for my phone and then I was tackled…I was handcuffed,” Jackson told WGN 9 of the incident.
In the end, no one was arrested or charges in the raid. The family’s attorney added that none of the contraband listed in the warrant was found at the residence.
The Chicago Police Department hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit.
Watch more in the video below.