A couple in their 80s say the LAPD trashed their house while serving a search warrant, but police say officers did what they had to do in a potentially dangerous situation.
Warren Johnson, 81, says police officers smashed in almost all his doors in his house with a handheld battering ram a week ago when they came to arrest his 18-year-old grandson, DeShawn Johnson, a gang member suspected in a West LA knock-knock burglary, and search for the electronics they believe he stole.
A week after the search warrant was served, padlocks hung off hinges and door frames were cracked from floor to ceiling. Johnson said he and his wife secure each door with a padlock because they can’t take their belongings with them when they go out of town.
“They decided that they would tear everything up because they couldn’t get what they wanted,” Johnson said.
The Johnsons want the LAPD to clean up after themselves.
“We know that this is the type of behavior that is typical of what happens in black and brown communities in Los Angeles,” the Johnsons’ attorney, Nana Gyamfi, said.
West Los Angeles police Captain Evangeline Nathan says officers were just doing their duty in clearing the residence.
“I admit, we damaged some doors,” Nathan said. “We did not trash his residence. We did not break windows.”
The Johnsons’ security video showed officers coming into closets and bedrooms and pushing cameras up or out of view to stop them from capturing the officers’ actions. Nathan said that was because officers did not know where the video was being fed, and they did not want suspects to know they were coming.
“This had nothing to do with where you live, it had absolutely nothing to do with race, it had to do with DeShawn committing crimes,” Nathan said.