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Another NYPD Raid Leads to No Drugs; Terrorized Citizens Sue


May-June 1998

On May 1, New York narcotics police officers mistakenly raided the Brooklyn apartment of a family of four. After throwing a concussion grenade into the Shorter family apartment and keeping the family, including a mentally retarded girl whom they pulled from the shower, handcuffed for more than an hour, the officers found no drugs or weapons (Bob Herbert, "Another Day, Another Atrocity," New York Times, May 10, 1998; John Marzulli, "Cop Raid Targets Cry Foul," Daily News (New York), May 8, 1998, p.7).

A judge had issued search warrants for the Shorter apartment and another in the same building based on tips from an informant that the two residences contained drugs. The police search of the other apartment yielded a gun and a small amount of cocaine and marijuana. According to police, the informer had warned that armed guards kept a lookout in the Shorter apartment.

However officers only found a panic-stricken family of four that apparently had nothing to do with narcotics. Basil Shorter, the father, who immigrated from Jamaica, said that his initial reaction when he saw the officers break down his door with guns drawn was that the country was being invaded and that someone had come to kill his family. The Shorter family's lawyer, Harvey Weitz, said that the family plans to sue the police department for $200 million in damages (Michael Cooper, "Scared Family Says Police Raided the Wrong Home," New York Times, May 8, 1998, p. B1).

NYPD, Deputy Commissioner of Public Information - 1 Police Plaza, New York, NY 10038, Room 1320, Tel: (212) 374-6700, Fax: (212) 374-0265.

Attorney Harvey Weitz - 233 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10279, Tel: (212) 553-9000.