Victims of botched meth raid file suit
FRISCO ” Josh Brudwick and Kathryn Rhodes, the couple who were the target of a failed Summit County Drug Task Force raid last July, are asking the Sheriff’s Office and the Frisco Police Department for $300,000.
They’re making the demand despite the fact Sheriff John Minor, Undersheriff Derek Woodman and Frisco Police Chief Tom Wickman have all apologized to the couple and their respective parents for the botched raid.
The couple’s attorney, Tim Meinert, sent a letter to the three demanding payment ” $150,000 each to Rhodes and Brudwick ” by Jan. 31, 2005, or they would take the matter to court.
Meinert’s letter says police violated their civil rights and committed conspiracy, false arrest, kidnapping, assault and battery, false imprisonment, trespassing, slander, outrageous conduct and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress as their basis for the demand.
They cite economic losses since they both had to quit their jobs and move from the area while incurring moving expenses. They also underwent psychiatric and psychological treatments.
The couple’s troubles started in January, when someone ” the couple believes it was a resident upstairs ” told Frisco police that he smelled odd odors emanating from their Meadow Creek Villas condominium unit.
The complaint lead police to suspect the existence of a crystal meth lab producing the illegal amphetamine.
The manufacturing of crystal methamphetamine is a dangerous process that can cause deadly explosions.
Police responded to the couple’s condominium, where an officer conducted a quick search and left. In mid-July, police obtained a search warrant, waited until the couple left their condominium and apprehended them en route to a local restaurant.
There, Meinert wrote, they were handcuffed and escorted back to their condominium where officers “engaged in threatening, intimidating and harassing conduct” trying to get a confession from the couple.
In the meantime, the drug task force team members searched the condominium destroying two doors, a mirror, household items and strewing personal items throughout the unit.
They found nothing in the raid.
The couple has since moved to California, citing the overwhelming publicity in the case and their distrust of police.
Since their departure, they have received a letter from Minor, Wickman and Woodman apologizing for the inconvenience the task force caused that day.
The three also met with Brudwick’s parents, Bill and Adry, last month and gave them a letter of apology; they also held a conference call with Rhodes’ parents in Missouri to apologize.
Despite the apologies, police and sheriff officials still maintain they were justified in conducting the raid because meth labs are so dangerous, often blowing up entire buildings.
“We feel we reacted appropriately with the information we had,” Woodman said in October. “At the time we did it, we were confident in what we were looking for ” it couldn’t have been anything else. Under the exact same circumstances, would we do it again the exact same way? I can’t answer that. Conversely, if we had not done anything, and there was something there and the building blew up, I don’t have an answer for that, either. I feel everyone involved in it reacted appropriately.”
Minor declined to comment, referring calls to the county attorney’s office.
Wickman could not be reached for comment.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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