Chicago authorities falsely raided a four-year-old’s birthday party in search of a 46-year-old man suspected of possessing ecstasy, The Chicago Tribune reports. Officers reportedly used excessive force when raiding the home in the city’s Gresham neighborhood.
The incident occurred in February on the 7700 block of South Paulina Street. The child’s mother, Stephanie Bures, claims more than a dozen officers infiltrated the house and destroyed everything. There were reportedly 15 people in the home when the raid happened including four young children. At their attempt of finding the man they were looking for, they received the wrong address. Reportedly, the man lived at the residence five years ago.
The young boy’s seven-year-old sister was scared the police would shoot her, her little brother and others. “To hear her say that, to worry about her or her brother getting shot by someone that is supposed to protect and serve them, it’s terrifying,” Bures said at a recent press conference. “It’s horrible.”
According to the family’s attorney, Al Hofeld Jr., authorities ravaged the birthday party, smashed the cake, handcuffed some of the adults in front of the children (even if the adults reportedly cooperated with the police), and poured hydrogen peroxide on the child’s presents.
“It was a cruel, dehumanizing joke that mocked and symbolized a four-year-old’s ruined birthday party,” Hofeld said. The officers left without finding any illegal substances or arresting anyone. At the end of their tirade, the law enforcement officials placed their search warrant on top of a table, the suit states.
The lawsuit also states that the man they were looking for—Philip C. Baylis—has “no connection” to the address, The Washington Post reports. “He does not receive mail or store belongings there. He does not have a key. As a distant relative, he occasionally visits. He was not present at TJ’s birthday party on February 10, 2019, and had not been invited,” the lawsuit reads.
Because of the horrific incident, Bures says her son is scared of going to school and his sister wakes up shaking from nightmares.“She don’t know if they gonna attack her, shoot her or help her,” Bures said. “It shouldn’t be like that.”
The Chicago Police Department has a reputation for raiding the wrong homes. In June, the city settled a $2.5 million dollar lawsuit for raiding the wrong address, in which a three-year-old girl suffered from PTSD for having a gun pointed at her.