SWAT Team Raided House Of Man Who Was Already In Jail; Family Can Sue For 'Faulty Warrant,' Court Rules

In 2006, a SWAT team barged into a California home in search of a suspect who was already serving a two-year sentence for receiving stolen property. Now, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the family who was present at the time of the raid can sue over the incident.

Police entered the home of Hope and Javier Bravo, Sr. in April of 2006 in search of the couple's son, Javier Bravo, Jr., who was suspected of storing weapons used in a 2006 drive-by shooting, Courthouse News Service reports. Officials obtained a search warrant to enter Bravo's last-known residence, but failed to recognize the affidavit stated Bravo had been behind bars for the last six months.

The official ruling from the Ninth Circuit court stated the family could sue the detective responsible for issuing what it called the "faulty warrant."

"Without sufficient proof that Bravo Jr. resided in the home, the SWAT team had no probable cause to serve the warrant," Courthouse News Service reported.

Upon entering the home at 5:30 a.m., police found Bravo's parents and their 8-year-old grandchild, who ran into the bathroom with his grandmother, Hope. An officer kicked the door open, pointed a gun and and instructed Hope and the child to lie on their stomachs, according to the court document in case of Bravo v. City of Santa Maria.

It was only after Hope showed them a letter her son had sent from jail that the SWAT team realized Bravo wasn't in the home. The Santa Maria Police Department subsequently searched the house and seized additional letters and photos.

Neither Hope, Javier Sr., nor the child were ever struck, handcuffed or touched by police, according to the document.

Hope Bravo and Javier Bravo Sr., along with their minor granddaughter E.B. (collectively "the Bravos"), appeal the adverse summary judgment grant in their 42 U.S.C. 1983 action arising out of the nighttime SWAT team search of their home for weapons suspected of being used in a drive-by shooting and stored in the Bravo home by their son, Javier Bravo Jr. ("Javier Jr."). The Bravos allege their Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the issuance and execution of a search warrant whose application failed to disclose that Javier Jr. was at that time, and for over six months had been, incarcerated in the California prison system and therefore not only was not present in the Bravo home, but more- over could not have been involved in the shooting or the storage of weapons used in it. Because the Bravos presented sufficient evidence establishing a genuine issue as to whether Santa Maria Police Department ("SMPD") Detective Louis Tanore's ("Tanore") omission of this material fact was intentional or reckless, as opposed to merely negligent, we reverse the summary judgment grant in his favor and remand.

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