Five years after a California SWAT team raided the home of a man already imprisoned and pointed weapons at his loved ones, a Ninth Circuit panel will allow the family of Javier Bravo Jr. to sue the detective working the case.
The SWAT team in Santa Maria, California burst opened the door of Hope and Javier Bravo’s home in 2006 looking for their son over alleged connections with a drive-by shooting. Authorities were looking for the younger Bravo and believed he had hidden weapons involved in a 2006 drive-by shooting, but were unable to locate him after they stormed the house shortly after 5 a.m.
As luck would have it, Bravo was already behind bars. His incarceration was clearly listed on the search warrant obtained by Detective Louis Tanore, though authorities neglected to notice it before drawing weapons on the criminal’s family.
After pointing assault weapons at the 8-year-old grandson of the Bravos, the child ran off to the bathroom screaming. Hope Bravo then produced a letter penned by her son that was mailed from prison as to proof of his incarceration. As noted on the rap sheet attached to the warrant, Javier Jr. had been behind bars for six months already at the time of the raid.
At the time of the incident, a District Court judge ruled in favor of the authorities and argued that the fact that Javier Jr. was imprisoned at the time was irrelevant to the raid. Last Friday, however, a federal appeals court reversed the decision, allowing the family to go after the detective and others involved.
According to Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, the police “had no evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bravo or E.B. were involved in the April 21 shooting or that during a period in which Javier Junior was not residing in their home they would have assisted Tangas gang members in concealing evidence, and specifically in concealing evidence from the shooting.” Further, the judge went after the detective and charged that his “generalized statements in the affidavit that it is 'common' for families of gang members to assist other members of the gang are insufficient to support probable cause to search the Bravos' home.”