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Officers sued for illegal entry in Arlington home

Pennsylvania authorities are under fire for unlawful conduct after they allegedly entered an Arlington family’s home after their son was pulled over in a traffic stop. The young man was forced to mount a criminal defense after he was pulled over in February 2012 for driving with a suspended license plate. That young man was then arrested for violating an order of protection that had been filed by the passenger in his vehicle. Authorities obtained a search warrant for the man’s home because they found a shotgun shell on the front seat of his vehicle. Believing that the shell violated the protection from abuse agreement, they sought a warrant to determine whether other firearms or ammunition were in the young man’s possession. However, the protection order never stipulated that the man was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, according to court documents. Even though the young man appeared to have recently moved out of his parent’s home, the police officers stormed that couple’s house anyway, breaking the rear door completely off the hinges and damaging property inside the residence. Information in news reports shows that one of the officers was involved in a high-profile 2010 abuse case, during which he was accused of beating a high school senior who was unarmed. The couple in this case is seeking compensation for medical costs and loss of income, along with attorneys’ fees and punitive damages. Further, the couple alleges that both their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated because of the illegal search and seizure. Criminal defendants have a right to be protected from overzealous police officers, which is why the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure. Even though this young man had not violated any law by having a shotgun shell in his vehicle, he was still subjected to an inappropriate response from the police officers. These rogue officers should be held accountable for their actions. Source:  www.post-gazette.com, “Pittsburgh police officers sued for unlawful entrance of Arlington home” Lexi Belculfine, Oct. 11, 2013

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