My sister and her husband are the loving parents of 6 beautiful, well-behaved, well-disciplined children whose ages range from 2 to 17. They are all boys except for the eldest. They are home-schooled and excel at their studies and are involved in many outside activities
My sister’s children were terrorized by the local police and I hope to get some advice from any legal-eagles who can shed some light on the situation.
On December 5, it snowed and sister and her husband took their daughter to an audition (performing arts) at a college she hopes to attend. The school is some 2 hours away from their home and it was an all-day affair. They left their 15 year old son to care for his brothers and arranged for my mother and another friend to periodically check on the boys throughout the day.
That night, as is their family custom on many a Saturday night, the boys had stripped their beds of pillows and blankets and were cozily settled on the living room floor watching a movie.
They live in a nice neighborhood (50 miles outside of Philadelphia – near Coatesville, PA) of larger homes with big backyards which are not divided with fencing. Only a few neighbors have little children. On this night someone vandalized some mailboxes in the area and footprints were evident leading from the street and though the yards, between the houses. There were also many other footprints in the driveway and front yard since the kids had been out playing in the snow.
The boys were last checked on at 8:20 by the friend. Then at 9:20 the boys were interrupted by loud banging on the door and the local police stormed into their home. Being questioned, my 15 yo nephew explained that no, his parents were not home and that their grandmother and a friend had been stopping by through the day. There were 3 policemen whose 2 patrol cars were in front of the house. The one officer ( Stormtrooper) accused my nephew of the crime of vandalizing the mailboxes. He ordered all the little ones into a bedroom and kept big-brother in the living room where ordered him to remove one of his shoes. The cop examined the suede sneaker and found it to be dry (though he was thought to have just made footprints though snow.) The other two officers posted themselves outside the house with their canine companion.
The friend who’d been checking them had a feeling and called at the same time the cops were banging on the door. Nephew told her that cops were there. She asked to speak to the cop. He told her about the accusation. She explained that she had left the kids only an hour before and said that the police had no right to be in the home and asked him to leave. Stormtrooper said that he would not. She said that she’d be right over and was told not to come since, as she was not in the home when they arrived, she would not be allowed to enter. She called my sister and my sister asked her to keep her cool – my sister had visions of her children being taken away.
Friend did go over and was not allowed to enter. She was told that she was "destroying the footprint evidence" in the yard and that if she didn’t leave Stormtrooper would be forced to cordon off the "crime scene." The other two officers seemed to want nothing to do with Stormtrooper’s lunatic operation.
Sister and spouse were on their way home by then (at about 10 pm) and phoned to check on the situation and let them know they were on the way. The 15 yo answered the phone and my sister could tell that he was upset. She then heard a voice ordering him to hang up the phone, which he did. Sister called right back and told him that he’d better not hang up on her again and asked to speak to the cop. Stormtrooper then took the phone and spoke to my alarmed sister, telling her about the vandalism and that her son was prime suspect.
Sister became livid. She demanded that the cop leave her home immediately and he hung up on her. She called back and, more rationally, tried to reason with the cop who was anything but reasonable. He said that he wanted to question the 15 yo but could not without his parents present and he said that he would wait. The cop then stood in the room with the 15 yo for about two hours until the parents got home. He told the boy that he wouldn’t "get away with it." Nephew said he didn’t know what the cop was talking about and that he hadn’t done anything. Nephew also explained that, along with other neighbors’ cars, their car had been vandalized (reported incidents) and told the cop that whoever vandalized their car had not seen the yogurt that had been left in it and got the yogurt all over the inside of their car. Stormtrooper said that nephew had probably done that to mislead his parents.(Imagine, he couldn’t "question" the boy but he could terrorize him with wild accusation.)
The little ones were petrified. They were ordered to stay in a bedroom with no pillows or blankets and were even afraid to go to the bathroom. The11 yo later said that he’d covered the baby (2 yo) with his own body because the baby was cold.
The cops questioned no one else. The footprints of the alleged perpetrators led from between the houses’ yards directly to the home behind sister’s. That family includes four teenagers who’d been found guilty of vandalism in the past. (They had paint-balled area homes.)
Questioning their neighbors the next day, they found a woman who told them that she’d seen four kids sitting in her car the previous night and they ran away when confronted by her. The woman called the police and reported this – just before the mailbox vandalism.
At the police station the next day, the police chief apologized profusely. He also indicated that the Stormtrooper cop in question was "tenacious" and, as he has no children, didn’t realize that he shouldn’t have separated little kids from their brother and forced them to stay in a room all by themselves.
No one else was ever questioned. Stormtrooper didn’t even try to question my nephew after his parents had arrived. The idiot said things like, "Maam, I was concerned because your 2 year old and 5 year old were still up at 9:30 at night!?! and other shit such as that – which, of course infuriated my sister
When they spoke to the police chief the next day to file a complaint, he told them that he would get back in touch with them to let them know what was happening. He never called.
Sister and husband documented the footprint evidence on film as well as the violated mailboxes... six of them – done with a baseball bat apparently, some knocked off their posts, some just dented.... Innocent little kids terrorized over about $80 worth of damage.
My sister and her husband have sought legal advice only to be told that police misconduct is difficult to prove. They were told that bringing a case would cost upwards of $25,000.
My sister is honestly afraid of this rogue cop and what he might do to other children. They have 2 years to file a lawsuit but, of course, could never afford such cost. Surely there should be some accountability somewhere along the line.