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Pepper Spray for Dad

November 3, 2009 permalink

Wendy McElroy has posted the story of a father's encounter with child protectors in the state of Washington. Protecting his children entailed spraying his face twice with pepper spray and charging him with several crimes.

The redactions are all by Wendy McElroy. Bangor Washington is the site of a US Navy base. LCPO is navy jargon for Leading Chief Petty Officer and NCIS is Naval Criminal Investigative Service.



PLEASE READ: A father accused

on Thursday 25 October 2007, by Falsely Accused Father

At the author's request, all identifying information is missing from the following account. I applaud the author for sharing what must be an excruciatingly painful story because I think the injustice he experienced is happening right now in homes across North America.

On Oct 23, at about 1345, I received a phone call from a NCIS agent who wanted to conduct a search of my home, and discuss allegations of child abuse and neglect with me. I told him that I did not want my home searched without a warrant, but that I would be happy to meet with him elsewhere, and discuss these allegations. He did not tell me anything about what the allegations were, who made them or any other information.

I next received a phone call from LT Axxxxx, and I told him that I had been contacted by the NCIS agent, but that I had no idea what was going on. Lt Axxxxx filled me in, saying that the school had made a report of child neglect against me. I do not remember if I told LT Axxxxx my situation about having my house searched. After this phone call, I went home and typed up a memo stating to the school, that effective immediately, my children were being withdrawn. I told my children that a situation had come up where I didn’t trust the school anymore. The children were upset, and I decided to let them get something from the school book fair when I dropped off the letter. While the kids were deciding what to get, I got another phone call from the NCIS person. I went into an unoccupied room, so that others would not hear what was going on. I re-iterated my position, told him my reasons, and listened to him. When it became apparent that he was not going to listen to my reasonable request, that they have some type of search warrant, I hung up on him. This was to preclude an already ugly situation from getting any uglier. I was already very upset at what I saw as an upcoming search of my home without a warrant, without exigent circumstances, and with the cooperation of police agencies who should know better. What I did not foresee was how this would end.

I went home, and my children and I started our daily chores, folding some laundry and other household chores that needed doing. After about an hour, I received a knock on the door. I opened it to find my departmental LCPO standing there. He and I talked for a few minutes, and I made my position clear. After this, the NCIS person showed up, along with about half a dozen other people. At this time, I made my point clear, to everyone present, that they were engaging in a search without probable cause, exigent circumstances and no search warrant. This went back and forth several times, with them trying to force their way into my home. I tried to tell them that what they were doing was wrong, was against a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (which Washington State does fall under) that stated there was a need for them to have a proper search warrant. The case in question is Calabretta v. Floyd, 189 F.3d 808 (1999). I will mention at this point and time that there was, and still is, no evidence that my children were in imminent danger or threat. However, no one was interested or even cared that what they were doing was illegal. I shut the door, and walked away to preclude further attacks. I also did it to give myself some breathing space and to calm down a bit.

I went to the door and tried again, to explain that all I wanted was for them to have a proper and legal search warrant. Again, they refused to listen. Again I went inside to cool off, and not get myself into a situation that I would regret.

This process went on for about half an hour, until I finally broke down. Note that even though they entered my home, and searched it, I only gave consent because I feared being arrested and having my children taken away. Well, guess what happened next?

Once they were done searching my home, we waited for a few minutes, while I was working on calming myself down and telling my kids that it’s going to be alright.

The next thing I knew, there were two uniformed policemen at the door, requesting that I step outside. I refused to, and started to shut the door. They shoved their arms and legs in, preventing the door from shutting. I started screaming again to leave me alone, but they wouldn’t. Instead, I got pepper-sprayed in the face twice. I then ran upstairs, to get away from the police. I ran into my daughters’ bedroom, where she was crying and upset. I held her, telling her it was going to be all right when the policemen burst in and sprayed me right in the face again with pepper spray. They then roughed me down to the floor, causing a nosebleed (unless the multiple sprayings caused it), where I was handcuffed and dragged outside without any shoes on. I was made to wait outside, publicly, while the CPS workers took my kids. I told my children several times that I loved them, and that I wanted them to be good. After about 10-15 minutes, a fire truck with paramedics showed up, and I was able to get my eyes rinsed out. I still had to wait outside, in the public, only now in clothes that were soaking wet.

However, once the police officers realized that I wasn’t going to hurt myself or others, that I was fairly calm, they started relaxing. An offer was made by my departmental LCPO to get me some shoes, but I refused at the time thinking that I would be incarcerated, where my shoes would then be taken away (because of shoelaces). Eventually, I was taken to a police SUV, where I waited until we got to Bangor. I found out then that I was going to be charged with failure to obey a law enforcement officer and failure to ???? (please excuse the brief mental lapse; it’s 3:15 AM, and I have been up since 6:00 AM yesterday; plus all the stress and adrenaline has caused me to momentarily forget the other charge against me. I will correct when I can see the paperwork again, but it was something similar).

I noticed that after most of the CPS and NCIS fools had gone, the cops loosened up a lot .

My departmental LCPO went through my house, securing power and ensuring the doors were locked; he also brought a pair of shoes. I was eventually released to my command, where I started working on this letter and other equally important tasks.

Source: Wendy McElroy