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Police conduct militarized raid on wrong home, explode bomb near 2-year-old, burning him and causing shrapnel damage


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(NaturalNews) On the night of April 2, 2014, in Oxnard, California, Jose Salinas, his wife Paulina and their three young children were awakened by a commotion just outside of their condominium. When Jose pulled back the curtains of the bedroom to see what was happening, there was a police officer pointing a gun at his face.

At that point, the police broke the front windows of the Salinas residence and threw in three smoke bombs. The officers then burst through the front door, guns in hand, and shouted, "Get down and put your hands to your head!"

Jose and Paulina were handcuffed at gunpoint and shoved to their knees while two of their children, a ten-year-old girl and six-year-old boy, were pushed into a corner of the room.

When the officers began to make their way to the bedrooms, the mother and older children told them that there was a two-year-old inside one of the rooms. Ignoring them, the police advised them to cover their ears and tossed a smoke bomb into the room, where two-year-old Justin Salinas stood near the door.

The smoke bomb exploded, causing burns and shrapnel cuts to Justin's foot.

Although the "no-knock" raid on the home was apparently a complete screw-up on the part of the police -- the suspect they were looking for had moved out four months prior, before the Salinas family moved in -- the cops held them captive for four hours.

On November 17, the Salinas family filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the Oxnard Police Department and the City of Oxnard, seeking damages for "assault, battery, trespass, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress," according to Courthouse News Service.

A police press release from April said that the raid was part of a "multi-location search warrant operation" in which several law enforcement agencies were involved in rounding up suspected gang members.

The press release mentioned that a two-year-old had sustained minor injuries during the raid but made no mention regarding whether it was a case of mistaken identity.

But records show that one of the suspects in the case, Frank Ruiz, had previously lived in the home.

The lawsuit states:

The incident left each member of the Salinas family physically and emotionally shaken, traumatized and in constant fear for their safety. They now feel that their home is a dangerous place to live and are scared to death and rattled by any noise they hear at night.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the Salinas family by Ron Bamieh, of Ventura law firm Bamieh & Erickson, also says that Justin is now "afraid of the dark and of people in general" and that the other two children "suffer recurring nightmares, and are terrified of sleeping alone."

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Each year, police conduct some 80,000 no-knock raids throughout the country. Too often, innocent citizens are targeted by mistake, and in some cases they are being injured or even killed.

In a similar case which occurred in Georgia in May, a 19-month-old boy was severely burned when officers threw a flash-bang grenade into his bedroom during a raid. In this incident, too, the suspect was not present and no guns or drugs were found in the house.

Another case in Georgia eight years ago involved the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman in a situation where police raided the wrong home.

The over-militarization of police forces and overuse of SWAT team tactics has become a serious problem in America. And in far too many cases, innocent people have become the victims of violence and brutality on the part of the police.

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