They’re Watching You – Anonymous Internet Comments Lead To House Getting Raided

Posted on July 2, 2012

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Indiana (The Gaslamp Post) – Police in full tactical gear executed a search warrant on a home in search of computer equipment.  According to the Courier & Press, unspecified threats made on an online website against the Evansville Police Department led to armed SWAT officers trashing the home of innocent people.

A camera crew had been invited to film SWAT police executing an entry maneuver.

A 18-year-old female resident of the home was reportedly watching TV when officers broke a living room window and tossed in a “flashbang” grenade.  They identified themselves as police and stated they had a warrant before they broke through a screen door and invaded the home.

The house was reported to have been opened up due to the hot weather, so only the screen door had been closed at the time.  “The front door was open. It’s not like anyone was in there hiding,” said Ira Milan, the girl’s grandfather and owner of the property for many years. “To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive.”

After talking with the woman and her grandmother, police concluded that the threat was not made by anyone at the home, but was more likely someone from outside of the home using their internet  gateway connection.

Police however did confiscate the young woman’s laptop.

Police department spokesman Sgt. Jason Cullum said that various posts on the website topix.com had threatened the Evansville Police Department, and that may have put officers and their families at risk.

He says that the police were justified in responding the way that they did.  “We brought them out and talked to them,” Cullum said of the Milans.  “They were released at the scene.  Investigators felt they were not involved in the posting.”

“I think it was a show of force that they are not going to tolerate this,” said Ira Milan, “But what about the residents and what they have to tolerate?”

The city is paying to fix the door and window, but the family’s carpet remains damaged from the grenade.

The newspaper Courier & Press filed a freedom of information request the Friday before last.

(h/t:  Courier & Press)