A Black woman who was held with her husband at gunpoint during the execution of a no-knock warrant by Fort Worth police officers in March is suing the Texas city, accusing officers of excessive force.
The lawsuit, filed in Tarrant County Court by 69-year-old Nelda Price, claims she and her husband, John Price, who has since passed away, were subjected to an unlawful search.
At around 8 p.m. on March 11, Nelda and John Price were finishing dinner in their Texas home when officers “smashed in the doors to the residence and stormed into the house with guns drawn,” the lawsuit claims.
“Multiple officers of the Fort Worth Police pointed their guns at Mr. and Mrs. Price and shouted at them to get their hands in the air and commanded they walk toward them,” the complaint read.
The couple was given no verbal warning before police entered. Police placed the Prices, still wearing their night clothes, in zip cuffs in their front lawn as 20 to 30 officers conducted a search inside the home. Some officers guarded the couple outside while the search was completed.
When the couple was allowed to go back inside, their home was ransacked. A warrant on the table indicated that police were looking for methamphetamine and evidence related to narcotics trafficking.
Nothing was seized from the home.
“The Fort Worth Police had no reason to suspect that the Prices, who were relaxing in their home on a weekday evening, were involved in or engaged in any criminal activity, or posed any threat to the safety of the Fort Worth Police Officers or any other individual,” the lawsuit states.
Police questioned the couple about whether a Mexican boy had delivered packages to their home, and asked if they used any aliases. Officers didn’t respond to Nelda Price’s questions about why they were being detained.
The suit alleges that Mr. Price, also 69, was not allowed to take his prescribed blood pressure medication, even after he began to feel ill.
“At no point did any Fort Worth Police officers explain why Mr. and Mrs. Price were forced from their home at gunpoint or why it was necessary to detain Mr. and Mrs. Price in handcuffs even as Mr. Price was suffering a medical emergency,” the suit claims.
Only after an officer took Mr. Price’s blood pressure was a call for emergency medical help made.
Fort Worth Police did not respond to CNN’s request for comment regarding the lawsuit.
“We simply don’t know why the Fort Worth police department got things so terribly wrong. We only know that they did,” said Kay Van Wey, an attorney representing the Prices.
Mrs. Price said her husband became more quiet and began acting differently after the incident. He passed away in May of unknown causes.
“He was my protector,” Price told The Guardian. “He took care of us.” The couple had been married 50 years.