On May 10, police in Cotati, Calif., received a domestic violence call — an alleged complaint that evidently didn’t come from either of the people inside the home — and converged on the residence. There were four of them.
There was a child playing in the front yard. The homeowners informed police their other child was with them in the home.
The cops knocked on the door then announced they were there because they received a domestic violence call. The husband and wife both reply, without opening the door, that there hadn’t been any violence — simply an argument “with yelling.” That assertion would jibe with the circumstances: There was the happy child out front, who didn’t appear traumatized by whatever had recently transpired.
As the police persisted in their demand to be allowed access, the homeowners became alarmed and began recording everything, at first while speaking to police through the window, then later at much closer range. The homeowner reiterates that there hadn’t been any domestic violence, that there had simply been an argument.
On the video, what appears to be the alpha cop tells the family, still from outside the home, that they’re coming in if someone doesn’t open the door.
Another cop asks the couple why they won’t come out.
“Because we don’t live in a police state, sir — martial law has not been established in this country,” came the reply.
Agitated cops typically don’t walk away from someone’s front door once their blood is hot — whether they have a right to be there or not — without extracting a cathartic pound of flesh. What cop can be expected to abide a citizen who stands his legal ground, to perceive a citizen’s conscientious and well-informed acquittal of his own rights as anything but mockery and sass?
Not these ones.
Despite the fact that the police had no warrant and had no probable cause to enter, the police ordered the couple to go ahead and get down on the ground and put their hands in the “cuff me” position behind them, because “we’re gonna kick in the door.”
And that’s what they did. The couple hadn’t gotten on the ground and they didn’t have their hands behind their backs; nor did they offer any physical resistance — even though their home had just been illegally invaded by armed strangers hiding behind dark sunglasses and a badge. The cops used a Tazer on the wife first, then used a Tazer on the husband.
That’s when the video gets shaky, before ending abruptly.
Cotati Police Chief Michael Parish said a criminal investigation is ongoing, though he didn’t say whether his own thugs were the subjects of the investigation. He also said there would be an “administrative review” of the cops’ adherence to policy and procedure.