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Boston to pay Brighton family $500,000 to settle suit over way police with a 'no knock' warrant smashed into their apartment and detained them and one of their children by mistake

Update, 1/15: Judge Indira Talwani approved the settlement.

A Faneuil Street couple today formally signed off on a settlement in their suit against Boston and several BPD officers who smashed their door down with a battering ram in the middle of the night and then cuffed them and their 15-year-old daughter as their other two children - 4 and 5 - watched, in a raid that was supposed to be aimed at somebody who lived in the apartment next door.

The deal, reached last week, but filed today in US District Court in Boston, still needs a judge's approval. In the proposed settlement, Boston said it "expressly denies any wrongdoing" or any "alleged unlawful conduct" and that it agreed to the settlement only because the amount is less than it would cost to go to trial.

It's the second public-safety court settlement Boston has agreed to this week. WBZreports the city reached a $3.2-millon settlement with a woman firefighter who charged she had been harassed and sexually assaulted on the job.

In the Faneuil Street case, Jean and Regis Verlande and their three children were asleep at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2018 when drug detectives, armed with a "no knock" warrant allowing them to bust in without announcing themselves, smashed down their door - rather than the door of the apartment their warrant was meant for.

According to a summary of the case in a ruling by Judge Indira Talwani last year, about a dozen drug-unit cops then swarmed into the apartment:

The officers forcibly entered the Regis's home in spite of the fact that their front door was conspicuously marked with their apartment number, which differed from the apartment number listed on the warrant.

Once inside, the officers first encountered Verlande Regis after she leapt from her bed upon hearing the sound of the door being broken down. The officers pointed their weapons at Verlande Regis, pushed her to the ground, and handcuffed her. While she was laying on the floor, several officers stepped on her and injured her hand. The officers then encountered Jean Regis as he lay in bed. An officer pointed his weapon at Jean Regis, ordered him out of bed, and handcuffed him with his arms behind his back. Because the Regis's four- and five-year-old children had been sleeping inside their parents' bedroom, the children witnessed their parents being restrained and handcuffed.

The officers also encountered the Regis's 15-year-old daughter. When M attempted to open her bedroom door, she was shoved back into her room by an officer's shield. An officer also aimed his weapon at M, ordered her to the floor, and handcuffed her with her arms behind her back.

Although none of the Regis family members matched the description of the intended target set forth in the search warrant, and none of the occupants resisted during the officers' intrusion into their home, the officers kept Jean Regis, Verlande Regis, and M handcuffed and lying on the floor for approximately 20 minutes. One of the officers then told the family and the other officers that they had entered the wrong apartment.

Talwani's ruling was to reject city's request to have the case thrown out because of a principle that holds cities harmless for the actions of its employees. Talwani said that cities can be sued for failing to properly train their employees and that the Regises had made a substantial enough case of that to go to a jury. For example, Talwani said, they provided proof BPD never trained its officers to double check apartment numbers or addresses before busting down somebody's door, or to check occupants' names with those on their warrants.

If approved by a judge, Boston would issue five checks for $100,000 apiece for the parents and their children.

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Comments

How hard is it to read an apartment number?
Do you know which number they don't get wrong? How many phony details they pull in per week

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Surely the city knew they f*ucked up and likely offered something to the family. If I was mayor, I would have showed up at their door (once it was repaired), offered my sincere apologies, and offered to pay their rent for the next 20 years.

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I've lived in and visited apartment buildings which didn't have numbers marking the doors. I guess the assumption was that the residents knew which units were theirs and there wasn't any reason to mark things for visitors?

I have no idea if that was the case here, but that still doesn't excuse them from taking extra care when knocking down someone's door.

Let's not muddy the waters in the interest of helping abusive cops:

The officers forcibly entered the Regis's home in spite of the fact that their front door was conspicuously marked with their apartment number, which differed from the apartment number listed on the warrant.

Reading is fundamental

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this is public housing. old school buildings. this was a pretty big fuck up.

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The officers forcibly entered the Regis's home in spite of the fact that their front door was conspicuously marked with their apartment number

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No excuse then.

If they're not competent to do their job, then they need to be shown the door or busted down to patrolman.

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...need to be shown the door...

Make sure it has the right number on it.

I don't want to pay for this.

Not because the Verlande family doesn't deserve the money, but because I didn't cause this.

Fire those cops. Fire the dispatch who sent them, and charge the pension fund.

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Cops are incredibly overpaid to begin with. Then they act like morons and cost us millions more. They should be embarrassed but of course they aren’t.

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Have you ever seen videos of fights in malls where you hear security going “I’m not getting paid enough for this” and let them fight? Well, we don’t need cops to be doing this as well in instances where they feel like their lives are on the line.

With that being said, i believe $500k is a disgrace and it should have been more paid to the family. Those who were responsible should be held accountable and a bigger apology to the family is needed . Also, before people start jumping in and accusing me of being too left or right, I agree police reform is needed to curb systematic racism in this country. I don’t believe defunding is the solution. And if you were to ask me the then what is the answer? I’ll say I don’t have one but I have opinion.

Really not all cops are bad or are racist. Just a few there who ruin it. And that’s why I believe reform is needed to purge those who are real “pigs” out of uniform.

Also, If people are mad, and start calling me names, please don’t call me Trump follower. Because actually, I’ll be offended. I’m so glad 7 more days and he’s out of office. Hopefully sooner with the impeachment. Better yet 25th amendment lol.

It's almost as if the civil servants we hire to "protect and serve" shouldn't be blow hards that have a mere 20 weeks of "vigorous" training.

Ensure they are fit to serve both mentally and physically. Do a deep dive background check; including all social media profiles to help root out the racists. Teach them that they are civil servants & not the Terminator that has carte blanche to do what they want. Mandatory therapy. No more militaristic training - we have an army for that. Break the blue line.

This is part of what defund the police means.

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Increase training from 20 weeks.
Increase background checks
Increase training regarding civil service vs Terminator
Pay for more therapy

I know you said no militaristic (?) training, but the Army is expressly prohibited from performing internal law enforcement in most cases, so that won't work.

These cops obviously f'd up. And I agree with most of your points. But I think you're really advocating for more police funding, not less.

It's almost as if the civil servants we hire to "protect and serve" shouldn't be blow hards that have a mere 20 weeks of "vigorous" training.

Ensure they are fit to serve both mentally and physically. Do a deep dive background check; including all social media profiles to help root out the racists. Teach them that they are civil servants & not the Terminator that has carte blanche to do what they want. Mandatory therapy. No more militaristic training - we have an army for that. Break the blue line.

This is part of what defund the police means.

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If you’re asking for more than 20 weeks of training and increased background checks, that will require more funding, not less.

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.... terrorizing innocent people, did the person or persons they were looking for wake up next door and quietly escape?

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And this is my question!

And this is my question!

Were the officers drug and alcohol tested after the incident?

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rip

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Unless its Pablo Escobar or an incredibly violent fugitive, there is almost no place for no knock warrants. Not only do they lead to situations like this, they are also incredibly dangerous to police. The cops here are very lucky that this family didn't have a gun. Any gun owner awakened at 430 am is going to be ready to shoot unless the police loudly identify themselves as such.

If a cop gets shot executing a no knock warrant on a legal gun owners, I can't say I feel bad for them.

No knock warrants = unreasonable search and seizure. Also, the dingleberry judges who sign off on these things usually live no where close to where these warrants are executed. The judge who signed off on this should have to contribute to the settlement or experience a no knock warrant for themselves

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Or is the working man out for half a million because G.I. Jackass can't read, let alone control their sick dominion fetish?

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Cities don't usually carry errors and omissions insurance for this. Gets paid out of the city budget.

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I like Willie Gross for mayor but the spotlight on police corruption will doom his run for Mayor.

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Half million only pays for the kids college education. What do the parents get? Is the apartment still livable?

The politically appointed Superintendent should be fired immediately. The bosses are responsible--Fire them.

...this will keep happening. Until we can make police personally accountable for gross errors resulting in harm like this, this will keep happening.

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You can call it a mistake or you can call it what is: xenophobic police action that is NEVER seen happening on Beacon Hill, Brattle St, Concord etc.

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