Family Wants LAPD to Repair Home After Battering Ram Used in Search: Attorney

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The LAPD is facing criticism from a South LA family after officers used a battering ram to enter their home while serving a warrant on their 18-year-old grandson. Ted Chen reports from South LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (Published Friday, Aug 29, 2014)

    An elderly South Los Angeles couple is demanding that the Los Angeles Police Department fix up their home after they say it was damaged by a battering ram during a raid last Friday.

    The incident started when detectives at LAPD's West LA Division traced blood left at a March burglary as belonging to 18-year-old Deshawn Johnson and raided his family home last Friday.

    The home belongs to Warren Johnson, Deshawn's grandfather, and his wife. Deshawn's twin brother also lives in the home.

    Johnson and his wife were not home at the time, but surveillance video inside the home captured much of what happened.

    Police broke down the front door with guns drawn. Both Deshawn and his twin brother were taken outside of the house. It was what happened after that the Johnsons said went too far.

    "They didn't look for nothing in here. They just tore it up because they had a search warrant," Warren Johnson said.

    LAPD used a metal ram to break through three more doors at the house. During the search their home received structural damage and video cameras inside were “tampered with,” according to the Johnson's attorney Nana Gyamfi.

    Responding officers were apparently trying to find a cell phone, computer and speaker box they believed Deshawn had in his possession. He was taken into custody and later released, Gyamfi said.

    Police said they found a cell phone stolen during the burglary they were investigating.

    Gyamfi alleged that officers moved and covered up the home’s surveillance camera during the search. In the video, officers could be seen "just hanging out," Gyamfi said.

    Gyamfi said the Johnsons believe they were racially profiled and plan to file a claim with the city. They are demanding the house be repaired and that LAPD review its policy for executing search warrants.

    An LAPD official, however, said the officers were doing their job. She said they were searching the home of a documented gang member and needed to check the house for their safety. 

    "We needed to see if there were other suspects or other gang members inside. We also had a search warrant to search for evidence of the burglary," said Capt. Evangelyn Nathan of LAPD's West LA Division.

    Nathan added that other family members told officers Deshawn had been stealing from his grandparents, and that officers asked the other family members present at the time of the raid if they were in possession of keys so that officers would not have to break down doors.

    She said officers do not want to damage property.

    Deshawn Johnson has been charged with burglary and is free on bail.

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