Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jun 2014
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Steve Visser
Page: B1
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Attorney: 2010 Raid Mirrors Botched One in Habersham County.

Injured Parties in Both Cases Were Not Targets.

Like the baby in Habersham County, a woman ended up in intensive care 
after Clayton County SWAT officers tossed a flash-bang grenade that 
she contends landed on her as she slept.

Treneshia Dukes, now 27, said in an ongoing federal lawsuit that 
police tossed the grenade through her bedroom window nearly four 
years ago when executing a "no-knock" search warrant. She spent three 
days in Grady Memorial Hospital's intensive care burn unit.

"She was then in a wheel chair for a long period of time," said the 
lawsuit in U.S. District Court against three Clayton police officers. 
"Dukes suffered severe, excruciating physical injuries."

Dukes' attorney Mario Williams told The Atlanta Journal Constitution 
Thursday that his client suffered third- and second-degree burns over 
her legs and torso. He said the raid in many ways mirrored the 
botched one in Habersham County last week. In both cases, he noted, 
the officers could have easily arrested their targets outside the 
home and returned to do a normal search for any weapons or drugs.

He said the use of flashbangs had become institutionalized in Clayton 
County, at least until the raid in 2010. The lawsuit revealed that 
flash-bang grenades were being routinely used in Clayton - more than 
200 in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williams said.

"It has just become, 'If SWAT goes out, we're using flash bangs,'" he 
said. "They think it is a toy."

It is not only the tactics and injuries that are similar to the raid 
that critically injured a 19month-old baby in Habersham County last 
week. So were other outcomes: the injured party was not the target of 
the raid and police found little drugs when they arrested the 
suspected drug dealer.

Dukes was not charged with any crime. The target of the 5:30 a.m. 
raid was her boyfriend Jason Deandre Ward, who was charged with 
possession of marijuana - an ounce or less -with intent to 
distribute, Xanax and possession of two pistols by a convicted felon.

Ward was sentenced to total of five years on the drug and weapon 
charges and paroled after eight months in 2011, according to court 
and prison records.

The Clayton officers deny that they threw the grenade through the 
bedroom window, contending that two grenades were tossed outside the 
Riverdale house and one was thrown inside from the front door after 
it was breached.

But Williams said that assertion didn't pass the smell test. The 
lawsuit accused officers of covering up the botched raid by not 
photographing the bedroom or the scorched blanket that had a hole 
burned in it from the grenade.

Williams said the lawsuit seeks punitive damages and unspecified 
compensation for medical bills and attorney fees.
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