Tennessee police officers suspended after executing warrant on wrong family

Mid-South

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsNation) — Three Tennessee police officers have had their police powers suspended and an investigation is pending after they broke down the door of an innocent family.

Metro Nashville Interim Police Chief John Drake ordered a full investigation of the incident by the department’s Office of Professional Accountability. He said the officers did not exercise due diligence in confirming the suspect they were looking for lived at the apartment. Also, the family should have been given more time to answer the door when the warrant was executed.

“No innocent family in Nashville, anywhere, should be subjected to what the mother and her two children went through on Tuesday morning,” Drake said in a news release. “They were awakened by a team of officers who banged on their door and ultimately knocked it in with a ram. It appears that the mother was not given the proper time to come to the door before it was breached.  It also appears that the West Precinct did not exercise due diligence in confirming that the 16-year-old who was the subject of the search warrant even lived at that apartment.”

The officers had used an outdated Nashville public housing agency database to find the home of the suspect they were investigating, according to NewsNation affiliate WKRN. The database had not been updated since 2018 after the agency determined that providing housing information to the police violated privacy laws. Police were looking for evidence related to auto burglaries, according to a police spokesperson.

“There appears to have been a lack of confirming through other means, including surveillance or checking with human sources,” Drake said. “We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward.”

Drake also said the officers did not appear to give the woman who lived in the home sufficient time to come to the door before ramming it open at 6:05 a.m.

The interim chief said Midtown Hills Precinct Commander Dwayne Greene has met with the current resident of the apartment, apologized to her on behalf of the police department, and will continue outreach to her and her children.

Chief Drake also ordered all applications for search warrants by a Metro officer be reviewed and approved at the Deputy Chief of Police level, rather than by the employee’s component supervisors. Meanwhile, a review is underway of search warrant procedure and updated police training will be assessed.

The raid comes amid a national discourse on policing after several high-profile killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In this case, the suspended officers are white and the family is Black.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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