Beltway Confidential

Police sued for ‘quartering soldiers’ at private home during operation

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Police Blotter,Analysis

Police officers in Nevada are now facing the business end of a lawsuit accusing them of violating the Third Amendment, which bans government from “quartering soldiers” in a private home without the owner’s consent, after allegedly forcing a man to allow them to use his house when responding to a domestic violence call at his neighbor’s house.

Law enforcement in Henderson, Nev., broke down the door of a man’s house after he refused to let them occupy it, according to the suit. ”Fearing for his life, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell dropped his phone and prostrated himself onto the floor of his living room, covering his face and hands,” according to the complaint, per Courthouse News. “Although plaintiff Anthony Mitchell was lying motionless on the ground and posed no threat, officers, including Officer David Cawthorn, then fired multiple ‘pepperball’ rounds at plaintiff as he lay defenseless on the floor of his living room. Anthony Mitchell was struck at least three times by shots fired from close range, injuring him and causing him severe pain.”

Mitchell was then arrested. “The most obvious obstacle to winning a Third Amendment claim here is that police arguably do not qualify as ‘soldiers,’ ” the Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin observes.

The Mitchells are seeking punitive damages for violations of the third, fourth and 14th Amendments, assault and battery, conspiracy, defamation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, negligence and emotional distress.

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