Iowa Chief Defends Raid With Battering Ram Seeking Stolen Items


Ankeny, Iowa’s police chief is defending the controversial search of an east Des Moines home for items allegedly bought with a stolen credit card, saying factors including the possible presence of drugs and a weapon made the officers' level of protection and force necessary, the Des Moines Register reports. Chief Gary Mikulec announced a total of 14 felony charges and seven misdemeanor charges against six people tied to the credit card theft and the search. The case is prompting national questions over whether the officers, wearing body armor and carrying rifles, employed excessive force when they used a battering ram to force open a side door into the house. Radley Balko writes in the Washington Post, “When critics (like me) warn about the dangers of police militarization, this is what we're talking about.”

Peter Berger, the family's attorney, said he's looking into whether officers overstepped legal boundaries to determine the family's legal options. Mikulec said police had to consider that people inside the house might be watching on outdoor surveillance cameras as they approached. “I worry less about violent history as I do about the fact that people on methamphetamine are not real predictable. Our intelligence told us they possibly had drugs and they had access to weapons,” he said of the Jan. 30 search. Justin Ross, 24, who lives in the house, has been highly critical of how the search warrant was executed. He was in the bathroom when police entered the house. According to a search warrant, Ross possessed a semi-automatic pistol with a full magazine, red folding knife and 1.7 grams of methamphetamine.

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