Eric Crinnian, a lawyer, heard a loud banging at his door Monday night, he was instantly alarmed since a neighbor’s house was robbed a few weeks ago, so he grabbed a crow-bar.
Crinnian said three police officers were outside his house.
“I open the door a little bit wider and he sees that I have something in my hand, so he pulls his gun, tells me to put down whatever I’ve got and then come out with my hands up, so I do,” Crinnian said.
They wanted to know where two guys were, and Crinnian later found out police believed they violated parole.
“I said, ‘I have no idea who you’re talking about I’ve never heard of these people before,’” he said.
To prove it, he said police asked to search his house, Crinnian refused multiple times. He said they needed a warrant.
Then he said one police officer started threatening him saying, “If we have to get a warrant, we’re going to come back when you’re not expecting it, we’re going to park in front of your house, where all your neighbors can see, we’re gonna bust in your door with a battering ram, we’re gonna shoot and kill your dogs, who are my family, and then we’re going to ransack your house looking for these people.”
Criminal justice professor John Hamilton contends that the police officers’ conduct here was probably legal, though “inappropriate.” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley argues that it was illegal, and that charges should be brought against the officers if Crinnian’s story is true. I would add that it is clearly unconstitutional for police officers (or other government officials) to use the threat of violence and destruction of property to coerce people into giving up their constitutional rights (in this case, Fourth Amendment rights).
Unfortunately, as Turley also notes, police in many jurisdictions all too often shoot dogs without justification. That doesn’t necessarily prove that Crinnian’s story is true. But it does give it a degree of credibility.