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Denver Woman Sues Over Fruitless SWAT Raid Based on Find My App

When a SWAT team showed up in front of her house in January and demanded over a loudspeaker that anyone in the home should come out with their hands up, Ruby Johnson was watching television in a bathrobe, bonnet and slippers. The SWAT team and Denver police officers had arrived at Johnson’s home in an armored vehicle with a German shepherd. Officers, some in tactical gear with rifles, used a battering ram on the rear garage door of Johnson’s home and also caused damage inside the house. Officers searched for stolen goods while Johnson, 77, waited in a police vehicle. After several hours, the police left. Their search was fruitless, reports the New York Times.

In a lawsuit filed last week, Johnson, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker who lives alone, says that a detective, Gary Staab, sought the warrant based on inaccurate information from the Find My app. The mobile application, which helps track down missing or lost Apple products, such as iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, led him to believe that stolen goods were inside her home, the suit says. Mark Silverstein, a lawyer for Johnson and the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said on Monday that Staab, the sole defendant in the suit, should not have applied for the warrant. “The detective did not have the facts needed to justify a search,” Silverstein said. “His supervisor should have vetoed it. The district attorney should not have greenlighted it. The judge should not have approved it, and the SWAT team should have stayed home.”

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