NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake has ordered an investigation into the department’s execution of a search warrant at the home of an innocent family.
He also decommissioned three officers on Wednesday while the investigation is ongoing and adjusted the approval requirements for search warrants.
Officers at 6:05 a.m. Tuesday used a battering ram to knock in the door at the Edgehill home of a mother and her two children. MNPD has released body camera footage of the incident.
The subject of the search warrant was a 16-year-old who did not live at the home and hadn’t for at least four months.
“We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward,” Drake said in a statement released by the department.
Drake called the actions of the officers “unacceptable” and said “shortcuts were taken” when determining if the juvenile suspect lived at the home. No surveillance was done, he said.
He said it wasn’t reasonable of the officers to give the family such little time to answer the door, especially since police were only in search of evidence related to property crimes and no violent suspects.
“That’s not what our police department stands for,” Drake said. “This is on the Metro Nashville Police Department. We can do better, and we will be better. … This will never happen again.”
Drake said the department was in contact with the family and would assist them in whatever they needed going forward.
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Investigation, department changes
The investigation will be conducted by the Office of Professional Accountability.
Two supervisors and one officer at the West Precinct were decommissioned, which means their policing powers were suspended. They were Lieutenant Harrison Dooley, Sergeant Jeff Brown and Officer Michael Richardson.
Drake ordered that going forward, applications for search warrants must be approved by deputy chiefs of police rather than an employee’s supervisor. The department also plans to review its search warrant processes and provide updated training.
Drake shared that he was in contact with the Community Oversight Board over the incident and invited them to investigate.
“This mother and her children should not have been subjected to this type of behavior,” he said. “We deeply regret this incident. From the bottom of my heart … this is not what we stand for.”
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Drake says body cameras are useful
Drake, who is interim police chief after former Chief Steve Anderson stepped down, said that the body camera footage showing the incident was helpful for the forthcoming investigation.
The chief spoke of the importance of the body camera footage in this incident. He said his department was able to immediately review it and watch what unfolded.
“It’s very important,” he said. “I view it as crucial.”
Drake said body cameras were important to show both when the department was in the right or wrong, such as this incident.
“The body camera footage is pertinent to this investigation, and it’s going to be pertinent moving forward.”
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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville police knock in innocent family’s door with battering ram