Family accepts $500K settlement after Boston police mistakenly broke into their home using ‘no-knock’ warrant

Police allegedly handcuffed the couple and their teenage daughter in front of their two young children before realizing they were in the wrong apartment.

A Brighton family agreed to a $500,000 settlement earlier this month resulting from a November 2018 incident in which members of the Boston police entered their apartment in the middle of the night, handcuffed the couple and their teenage daughter in front of their two young children, and pointed guns at them before figuring out they had the wrong apartment.

The Regis family signed the settlement on Jan. 6, more than two years after the incident, and after the Boston police attempted to dismiss some of their claims, according to court documents posted online by Universal Hub.

With the family’s approval of the settlement, the document must be approved in court before payments will be made to the family, it says.

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Back on Nov. 27, 2018, the couple was living at 41 Faneuil St., Apt. 138 in Brighton with their three children, ages 15, 5, and 4, according to their complaint.

Around 4:30 a.m., officers arrived to allegedly conduct a raid on a nearby apartment using a “no-knock” warrant, the document says. Suddenly, a battering ram plowed through the family’s front door, a SWAT team behind it. Roughly 10 to 12 officers made their way in, and began searching the home.

When the mother heard the door being broken down, she got up, and an officer reportedly forced her to the floor and handcuffed her. “Several officers” stepped on her hand, injuring her, the complaint said.

Police then allegedly pointed a gun at the father, pushed him against a wall and also handcuffed him, according to the document. When their teenage daughter heard her mother scream, she went toward the bedroom, was shoved back to her room and a gun was pulled on her. Her hands were then handcuffed behind her back even though she told them she was just 15, according to the complaint.

The two youngest children had been sleeping in their parents’ bed when everything happened, and witnessed the ordeal, according to the complaint.

After about 20 minutes, one of the officers told the rest of the law enforcement team that they were actually in the wrong apartment, the complaint says. It also notes that the family had given their names to police, and the names didn’t match those on the warrant, and their physical descriptions didn’t match either.

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“As a result of the defendants’ actions, the plaintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer injury and harm,” the complaint said. “The plaintiffs have suffered substantial emotional trauma from this incident.”

During the raid, an officer also allegedly said in front of the young children that the kids would end up in foster care, the complaint says. The mother has missed work, and the father feels like he can’t protect his family, the complaint alleges. Their teenage daughter has also missed school due to the incident.

“[The young children] continue to ask their parents if the police are coming to get them and if their parents are ‘bad guys,’ and frequently hide under the bed ‘from the police,’” the complaint says. “Since the incident, [the 5-year-old] has suffered from nightmares, and his parents have noticed behavioral problems that manifested themselves after this incident.”

In its attempt to dismiss some of the counts in the complaint, the city notes that officers were looking for “a suspected fentanyl dealer with a history of illegal weapons possession.” The document notes that after searching the correct apartment around 5 a.m., officers found “drug-selling paraphernalia.” 

Limits on no-knock warrants were put in place through the new police reform bill, signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Dec. 31. Under the new law, these can only be used when there’s a threat to police’s safety, and when there aren’t people over 65 or children in the home, with some exceptions. The warrants need to be issued by a judge.

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