The Constitution says that no man shall be forced to partake in an “unreasonable search and seizure”, but what does this mean today, where through court rulings and laws the idea has been reduced to practically define “unreasonable” as “whatever” the government wants at that time and without any standards at all.
Recently a man’s house was broken into by a criminal on the run while he was away. The police tracked him down and the incident turned into a standoff where the police fired constant munitions into the home, utterly devastating it, and then while the criminal later surrendered, the police said that they will not pay for the damage incurred, and the courts sided with the police.
Projectiles were still lodged in the walls. Glass and wooden paneling crumbled on the ground below the gaping holes, and inside, the family’s belongings and furniture appeared thrashed in a heap of insulation and drywall. Leo Lech, who rented the home to his son, thought it looked like al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s compound after the raid that killed him.
But now it was just a neighborhood crime scene, the suburban home where an armed Walmart shoplifting suspect randomly barricaded himself after fleeing the store on a June afternoon in 2015. For 19 hours, the suspect holed up in a bathroom as a SWAT team fired gas munition and 40-millimeter rounds through the windows, drove an armored vehicle through the doors, tossed flash-bang grenades inside and used explosives to blow out the walls.
The suspect was captured alive, but the home was utterly destroyed, eventually condemned to be demolished by the City of Greenwood Village.
That left Leo Lech’s son, John Lech — who lived there with his girlfriend and her 9-year-old son — without a home. The city refused to compensate the Lech family for their losses but offered $5,000 in temporary rental assistance and for the insurance deductible.
Now, after the Leches sued, a federal appeals court has decided what else the city owes the Lech family for destroying their house more than four years ago: nothing.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously ruled that the city is not required to compensate the Lech family for their lost home because it was destroyed by police while they were trying to enforce the law, rather than taken by eminent domain.
The Lechs had sued under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which guarantees citizens compensation if their property is seized by the government for public use. But the court said that Greenwood Village was acting within its “police power” when it damaged the house, which the court said doesn’t qualify as a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment. The court acknowledged that this may seem “unfair,” but when police have to protect the public, they can’t be “burdened with the condition” that they compensate whoever is damaged by their actions along the way.
Leo Lech said he is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. Police must be forced to draw the line at some point, he said — preferably before a house is wholly gutted — and be held accountable if innocent bystanders lose everything as a result of the actions of law enforcement. (source)
While there is frequently talk about “civil rights” by congressional representatives, the fact is that civil rights have continued to consistently decline for many years to the point that it is arguable there are not so much “rights”, as rather positions of support by the government for policy objectives that are supported and others that are smashed. If it is considered politically advantageous, then it will be supported, but if it involves actually helping one’s rights or society, it tends to be attacked.
There is much that can be said about this situation. However, one only needs to ask, if your house was completely destroyed by another person, even if it was for a good reason, would you think it proper for that person to at least help you to rebuild it?
Certainly the governments will make sure that they force people to “compensate” them for “crimes” that they believe they are “owed” monies for, and they will enforce this with the law. But in this case, while it was a “standoff,” the excessive destruction and then the refusal to pay anything is not at all what would be demanded of the common man, but rather the opposite, for he would be “thanked” for helping stop the criminal, but likely would then be arrested for property damage and forced to pay the costs of repair.
This is not an issue of “bad police”, but rather bad principle.
It is important to have police, but if there exists continually changing standards of conduct for the citizenry versus the “enforcement” of law, then it does not take long for a society to start to resemble something of a dictatorship, where rights are on paper, but do not exist at all in practice.