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Kids ‘Traumatized’ After SWAT Team Gets it Wrong

A search warrant authorizing police to look for cocaine, drug money and weapons was for a man who had lived at the rental property about a year before.

Kalamazoo police had a warrant to search a rental property for cocaine, drug money and weapons, but the suspect in their investigation hadn't rented the property for about a year. (Screenshot: WWMT Channel 3)
Kalamazoo police had a warrant to search a rental property for cocaine, drug money and weapons, but the suspect in their investigation hadn't rented the property for about a year. (Screenshot: WWMT Channel 3)

Two children were left traumatized when a SWAT team looking for drugs busted through the back door with weapons drawn, handcuffed and searched their parents, and then admitted they had the wrong suspects after three hours of interrogation, a Kalamazoo couple said.

Police had a warrant to search for cocaine, drug money and weapons, but as it turned out, it was issued to a man known as “Chum” who had rented the house on Southwood Terrace about a year before, Jeremy and Becky Handley told WWMT, Channel 3.

When the SWAT team busted through the back door of the family’s home last Thursday, “I thought it was somebody either trying to rob us or hurt us,” Jeremy Handley said.

The couple’s frightened children – Aurora, 8, and Brenden, 7 – scrambled to a closet, where they hid until the police ordered them to sit in the bed.

“We were staying quiet, because we thought they were bad guys coming in,” Brenden told the TV station.

Before acknowledging the mistake, the SWAT team ransacked the home, emptying drawers and cabinets, and pored over the family’s papers and documents. The search revealed nothing out of the ordinary and police apologized after about three hours of interrogation, Becky Handley said.

The couple said that if police had done more complete research before conducting the raid, the whole thing could have been avoided. They want police to pay for a new door and for counseling for their children, who they say have been having nightmares since the raid.

Jeremy Handley said he wants his children to think of police as someone they should respect and go to for help without fear, but the incident has scarred them.

“It makes me sad and scared,” Aurora told the television station.

Kalamazoo police declined to comment when approached by WWMT, saying the investigation is ongoing.


RON Ostrodamus May 06, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Would be nice it the Patch named the community where the news originates immediately as we cannot tell if it was a local incident here in Royal Oak, or not. Stop with peppering our local Patch with what we can hear on the six oclock news.
Joseph Borrajo May 06, 2014 at 04:11 PM
Keystone cops. A comedy act not suitable for reality. P3
michelle May 07, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Same thing happened to friends of mine. They lived in an apartment and the guy they were looking for was a building over. The warrant had all of the right information and the address for the other building listed 5 times. Same thing, busted down the door, guns and masks, ransacked the place and then said oops.
Brad Jensen May 07, 2014 at 01:42 PM
Getting it wrong might be excusable. Getting it wrong and then not admitting you got it wrong until the hours later after the house had been ransacked is definitely not.

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