The Metro Nashville Police Department has launched an investigation after police raided the wrong house. In addition to the probe, three officers have been decommissioned for gaining entry into “the residence of an innocent family,” interim Police Chief John Drake said in a press release, per CBS News.
The armed officers are said to have rammed the front door around 7:05 a.m. ET on Tuesday at Azaria Hines' apartment. She told News 4 Nashville that she was asleep on the couch when police forced their way into the residence where she also lives with her 15-year-old cousin Kanani Hines and 3-year-old nephew Jaiden Hines, who are both in Hines' custody.
“No innocent family in Nashville, anywhere, should be subjected to what the mother and her two children went through on Tuesday morning,” Drake said. “They were awakened by a team of officers who banged on their door and ultimately knocked it in with a ram. It appears that the mother was not given the proper time to come to the door before it was breached.”
Azaria and Kanani also told the news outlet that the police came upstairs with their guns drawn. “I’m furious because they came up in here and woke up my kids with rifles,” Hines said.
The police chief said that he found body camera footage from the raid “greatly disturbing." In it, the mother attempted to answer the door right before police barreled through. Drake said that the police’s evidentiary search warrant was linked to a series of car burglaries and authorities were looking for a 16-year-old who they thought lived at the residence.
According to News 4, the police's information on the affordable-housing apartment complex where Hines lives has been outdated since 2018. That year, the city's Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency stopped providing current information on residents for privacy reasons. Hines' address was listed as the address for the 16-year-old.
“It also appears that the West Precinct did not exercise due diligence in confirming that the 16-year-old who was the subject of the search warrant even lived at that apartment,” Drake explained. “In light of this scenario, we will be conducting a review of our search warrant processes and provide whatever updated training is necessary to help ensure that Tuesday's scenario is not repeated.”
The officers reportedly had keys to the apartment, but those didn’t work because the locks had been changed. The current family moved into the home four months ago.
“There appears to have been a lack of confirming through other means, including surveillance or checking with human sources, that the 16-year-old lived there,” Drake continued. “We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward.”
“I'm greatly disturbed by the video you just viewed. In all candor, this shouldn't have happened. This mother and her children should not have been subjected to this type of behavior by our police department,” the chief added.
Drake chastised the officers for rushing to ram the door without giving the family the chance to answer. “They did knock,” he said. “They did, to a degree, make an announcement but it was not acceptable at all.”
He said that the police department regrets the incident and will keep working with the family. The officers who have been decommissioned have been identified as Jeff Brown, Harrison Dooley, and Michael Richardson.