A simple “sorry” won’t do for a Pennsylvania family that is suing the FBI over a March 3 raid that they say violated their constitutional rights.
Gary Adams of Bellevue, PA filed suit on Tuesday against a dozen federal agents that stormed his house in a drug raid earlier this year. Adams’ attorney said in a statement that the feds "battered down the door to his home and, armed with assault rifles, stormed into his house … in a misguided attempt to serve an arrest warrant on a person who was not related to or who had ever resided with."
The FBI claims they were looking for Sondra Hunter, a former occupant of the riverside home just outside of Pittsburgh. Adams says that agents had an arrest warrant for Ms. Hunter, but lacked a search warrant to enter the premises.
In the suit filed Wednesday, Adams alleges that the raid violated both his family’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful search and seizure and their Fifth Amendment right to due process.
12 officers entered the Adams home and allegedly aimed guns at a packed household. Grandmother Denise Adams was home when the FBI barged in and says she fell to the floor.
“They had all these red dots everywhere … on the floor, on my face, on my chest. I was scared I was going to get shot,” she said at a press conference this week.
Gary Adams says the family was never offered an apology and no one offered to pay for damages to their home. Now the family is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
“Sorry is not going to get it. I'm just truly glad I didn't have a weapon because they never identified themselves to me,” Gary Adams says.
"They had guns on my wife, my babies."
Their granddaughter Byra Adams says she was told to go outside, despite it being a cold, winter’s day in their Pennsylvania neighborhood. She says she told agents, “I don’t have any clothes on. I can’t go outside,” yet was still forced to lie down on the sidewalk outside of the home. There she worried about how her mentally challenged brother would respond inside the home.
“He was in the basement and they were going down there to get him and I didn’t know if he was going to react.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that neither the US Attorney's Office nor the FBI have issued a comment in response to the lawsuit.