SWAT simply had bad information
Case: CRUZ v. CITY OF NORTH LAS VEGAS (D.Nev. 9-29-2011)
On February 4, 2008, the North Las Vegas Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (“SWAT”) executed a search warrant procured by Detective Paul Freeman. The warrant was executed at 6:30 a.m. The SWAT team entered the house violently, believing it contained three armed, adult males wanted in alleged armed robberies. SWAT used an explosive device to destroy the front door and entered the house in a military style assault. Instead of encountering the wanted armed robbers, SWAT encountered the [Plaintiffs] and their three young children, ages 8, 5, and 3. [One of the Plaintiffs] was tackled to the floor, had his arms and hands restrained and was dragged out of the house in front of his wife and children. The rest of the family was soon taken outside with [the first Plaintiff], though not as violently. SWAT then conducted an extensive search of the residence, but failed to find the firearms and stolen property described in the search warrant. SWAT simply had bad information.
Decision: Police are not liable. Plaintiff has not plead a Constitutional violation.
Comment: I thought the law was that a search warrant and/or its execution may be a section 1983-cognized Constitutional violation if the warrant is obviously invalid (notwithstanding the fact that a magistrate was persuaded to sign it). On the other hand, this opinion seems to suggest that there is no civil remedy for a bad search warrant no matter how bad it is.