Riviera Beach Cops Raid 89-Year-Old Woman's House for Drugs, Find Nothing, Leave Big Mess
Maybe somebody made a wrong turn?
Riviera Beach Police busted into a home by shooting out the front windows and throwing a flash-bang grenade before pointing a gun at the homeowner in search of drugs and money. But turns out, they got the wrong house.
And the woman whose house they broke into and held at gunpoint was 89 years old.
Don't worry -- it gets weirder.
WPTV first reported the incident this week. The raid happened back on December 18, when cops raided the home of Vera Thompson.
Nova Southeastern University Sharks Womens Basketball
TicketsSat., Dec. 10, 2:00pm
Nova Southeastern University Sharks Mens Basketball
TicketsSat., Dec. 10, 4:00pm
Florida Panthers v Vancouver Canucks
TicketsSat., Dec. 10, 7:00pm
UberTAILGATE: Hard Rock Stadium Dolphins vs. Cardinals
TicketsSun., Dec. 11, 12:00pm
"Oh, it was a show, honey! There was glass everywhere!" Thompson told WPTV's Katie LaGrone, adding: "I woke up; the guy is standing over me with a gun telling me, 'Where are the drugs and where is the money?' I said, 'What drugs and what money you talking about?'"
The only drugs Thompson had in the house were her prescription meds. The cops left through the door they broke down, leaving shards of glass all over a carpet covered with burns from the flash-bang grenade.
The police claim they did an investigation about one week before the raid and saw drug deals go down. But when WPTV requested incident reports, the documents were dated January 23, which was more than a month after the raid and two days after the news station started poking around. LaGrone also says the search warrant for the raid was never properly filed.
Despite his men busting into an 89-year-old woman's home and finding nothing, Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams is standing by the work of his deputies. He has, however, finally offered to fix the damage done to Thompson's house.
Watch the TV news report below:
Thompson's personality combined with the absurdity of the story lends a bit of humor to the situation. But police raids of homes of elderly people don't always end on such a lighthearted note. There are numerous stories of police raiding homes of elderly people -- and sometimes killing them. In 2006, an Atlanta Police officer shot and killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a botched drug raid. The officers conducted a no-knock raid, and Johnston, understandably believing her home was being raided by criminals, fired a pistol. The cops returned fire, killing Johnston with six bullets.
Investigators later found that the three cops not only falsified evidence to get a search warrant but they even planted a few pot plants in Thompson's basement to make it look like the 92-year-old was badder than she looked. Eventually, the FBI figured out the scheme, and the three officers pleaded guilty to federal charges of committing a conspiracy to violate Johnston's civil rights. Officer Jason Smith was sentenced to ten years in federal prison, Greg Junnier got six years, and Arthur Tesler got five years.
Johnston's family received a $4.9 million settlement from the city.
More recently, 80-year-old Eugene Mallory was shot to death when a Los Angeles County Sheriff SWAT team stormed the octogenarian's home in June 2013. The deputies believed Mallory's house was operating as a meth lab, so they raided it. Mallory was in bed when the SWAT team broke into his home and likely had no idea what was happening. When the deputies entered his room, they claim he pointed a .22 caliber pistol at them. He never got to fire a shot before getting pumped to death with six bullets. The pistol was still on the nightstand when Mallory died.
His wife is suing the L.A. County Sheriff's for wrongful death. The case is still pending.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Broward / Palm Beach, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.