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Woman, 78, Wins $3.76M In Suit Over Wrongful SWAT Team Search

A 78-year-old woman who sued two police officers after her home was wrongly searched by a SWAT team looking for a stolen truck has won a $3.76 million jury verdict under a new Colorado law that allows people to sue police over violations of state constitutional rights, the Associated Press reports. A Denver jury in favor of Ruby Johnson late Friday and the verdict was announced Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which helped represent her. The lawsuit alleged that police got a search warrant for the home after the owner of a stolen truck, which had four semi-automatic handguns, a rifle, a revolver, two drones, $4,000 cash and an iPhone inside, tracked the phone to Johnson’s home using the Find My app, and passed that information on to police.


Johnson, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker and grandmother, had just gotten out of the shower on Jan. 4, 2022, when she heard a command over a bullhorn for anyone inside to exit with their hands up. Wearing a bathrobe, she opened her front door to see an armored personnel carrier parked on her front lawn, police vehicles along her street and men in full military-style gear carrying rifles and a police dog. Detective Gary Staab had wrongly obtained the warrant to search Johnson’s home because he did not point out that the app’s information is not precise and provides only a general location where a phone could be, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit was brought under 2020 police reform law and is the first significant case to go to trial, the ACLU of Colorado said. State lawmakers created a right to sue individual police officers for state constitutional violations in state court. Previously, people alleging police misconduct could only file lawsuits in federal court

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