Saturday, August 14, 2010

Abuse of power on Sirrett Street?

I get many messages from neighbors regarding things going on and sometimes I feel obligated to report them. It's not my intention to get people in trouble, only to try and act as a voice for the voiceless.

Neighbors of mine from Sirrett Street contacted me on an event that happened during the week that has them outraged. A Buffalo police detective was looking for a male suspect. I'm not sure what crime he had committed. When he wasn't at his home, the detective talked to another neighbor who said he saw the suspect talking to a longtime resident of the street (a woman named Dawn).

Dawn works, doesn't do drugs, and has never been accused of any criminal activity. Her mother is very nice and has been an active member of St. Agatha's church for a long time. The detective broke a screen door and entered her bathroom while she was not home. She (the detective) first told neighbors she heard noises, which gave her the right to enter the house. The neighbor then explained to the detective that the noises she heard may have been Dawn's cats. Later, the detective changed her story and told another neighbor that Dawn hadn't been seen in three days and they were simply concerned for her welfare.

The problem is they broke the screen door, left the house unlocked on the way out, and never apologized to Dawn. There are two sides to every story, but knowing Dawn, it seems to me that the police in this case didn't have probable cause to enter her house without a search warrant. The detective (who presumably lives in the suburbs) doesn't know the neighborhood. She probably just assumed Dawn was an accomplice to a criminal and never thought she was an upstanding member of the neighborhood. Now,we have an irate homeowner calling the news stations and her neighbors contacting yours truly. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. If the detective doesn't have a search warrant, does she have the right to barge into someone's home? Not if you ask me.

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