Twice in one week, videos surfaced showing South Florida cops from two different agencies entering homes without search warrants or owner consent in search of suspects who did not live in the homes.
The first video shows a group of Broward County sheriff's deputies entering the home of Johnny Emmanuel while he was at work in search of his 25-year-old son who does not live at the home.
Emmanuel said he received a text message from his home security system on August 19 showing deputies entering his home from a side door that nobody ever uses.
Emmanuel's son is accused of assaulting a cop which is the excuse they will likely use to explain their disregard for the Constitution, as if that makes any difference.
Had it not been for his security video system, Emmanuel would have never known they had entered his home because they never bothered contacting him, much less served him a warrant.
According to the Miami New Times, which obtained the video:
Emmanuel says the cops left no note they'd been there, let alone copies of a search warrant. He says nobody called him to say cops had been there either. If it weren't for the security system, he says, he never would've known BSO deputies had entered his home and snooped around.
"I have two young children," he says. "Thank God they weren't home — they'd be traumatized for life. Someone could have been shot."
As it turns out, video and documents obtained by New Times show BSO had obtained what's known as a capias warrant to look for Emmanuel's 25-year-old son, Eric Reese, who at the time was wanted on charges of aggravated assault on an officer and fleeing arrest. But Reese did not live at Emmanuel's home. And, more important, a capias warrant — essentially an arrest warrant — in most cases does not allow officers to enter a home without the resident's consent. Officers typically need to have "reasonable suspicion" a suspect is inside a residence before they can bust in legally. Emmanuel doesn't believe the cops did.
BSO spokespeople did not immediately respond to a message from New Times yesterday. (After this story was published, the department said that its spokespeople were not in-office Monday in order to observe Veterans Day.) But Emmanuel says he's freaked out — even if the cops had a reasonable right to break into his house (which he doesn't believe they did), he's floored no one ever informed him they'd entered his house.
The second video was posted to Facebook Thursday showing an Opa-Locka police officer wearing a ski mask entering a man's home with his gun pointed. The man recording tells the cop he is not welcome in the home. The cop responds by slapping the phone out of his hands.
According to the Miami Herald:
Cellphone video footage of an Opa-locka police officer inside an apartment during the search for a suspected gunman has landed the cop in potential hot water and caused the police chief to make an unusual announcement.
In a rare press release, Opa-locka Police Chief James Dobson released the address of the Facebook link to the video and said the incident is being investigated internally by his department.
Dobson said the officer, who hasn’t been named, was searching last week for a man with a handgun who was suspected of “threatening” and demanding money from people in an apartment complex at 13875 NW 22nd Ave. Someone had called Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers and given a description of the suspect, Dobson said.
“The Opa-locka police department can not comment on the exact facts of an active investigation, but it takes any and all allegations of misconduct very seriously,” Dobson said. “Any allegation of police misconduct will be investigated immediately.”
Opa-Locka has long been one of the most corrupt municipalities in Miami-Dade County, which has no shortage of corrupt municipalities. Last year, the Miami New Times named it the most corrupt in the county.
The Opa-Locka Police Department also employs German Bosque better known as "Florida's worst cop," who was allowed to return to work last year despite a history of three arrests and six terminations.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office is also no stranger to corruption. Earlier this year, Scott Israel, who was ousted from his position as sheriff by the governor, showed interest in becoming Opa-Locka police chief.
According to the Miami Herald:
Former Sheriff Scott Israel has insisted that his removal from office was a naked power grab, and that he will be reinstated as Broward’s top lawman one way or another.
He’s also hedging his bets: In a power play of his own one county south, Israel has emerged as one commissioner’s favorite candidate for police chief in Opa-locka.
It’s a would-be marriage that links Broward’s most controversial politician with Miami-Dade’s most chaotic and dysfunctional city. And it has politicians and observers on both sides of the county line reaching for the popcorn.
The first video showing the Broward sheriff's deputies entering the home is not embeddable so it must be viewed here. The second video is posted above.