A Framingham couple claims police illegal entered their home last week and took their money and guns. There were no arrests after the search, however, Framingham police said criminal charges are being sought in the case.
FRAMINGHAM – A family is alleging that police violated their constitutional rights when they entered their home last week and threatened to kill one of the dogs in the house.
Antoinette Callahan and Ryan Fogarty, both of Framingham, claim police entered their home illegally on Aug. 7. A surveillance video of the couple’s interaction with plain-clothes police officers before and after they entered the house has gone viral on YouTube and Facebook.
“These police officers raided our home with no warrant in front of our children,” Callahan posted on a GoFundMe.com fundraising attempt. The family is trying to raise $10,000 for legal fees. As of Monday afternoon, they raised a little less than $600.
“They forced entry into our home and threatened to kill our pregnant dog! They committed an illegal search and seizure, took all of our savings and our legally owned guns, literally took the cash out of our pockets! Now we are (sic) need to hire a lawyer to fight for our constitutional rights! We are good hard working patriotic Americans and they have robbed us down to our last pennies. Any help is appreciated! Thank you and God Bless America,” reads the statement on the GoFundMe page.
The fundraiser was created Monday morning, a day after the YouTube channel HighImpactVlogs posted an edited version of the video captured on the couple’s security cameras. The date on the video footage reads 4:45 p.m. Aug. 7.
Neither Callahan nor Fogarty could be reached by the Daily News for comment on Monday.
The video is taken from two security cameras – one outside and one inside – at the couple’s Prior Drive home. The video begins with one officer explaining to Callahan that the officers were obtaining a search warrant for the home. He said it was part of an investigation into marijuana distribution.
Callahan tells the officers she will not allow them in until they acquire a search warrant. The officer said they were coming in to “secure” the residence, not to search it. Once in the home, two dogs began barking at the officers and one of the officers appears to either punch or nearly punch the dog and could be heard threatening the animal.
No one was arrested after the search, and it is not known if police recovered marijuana.
In a statement, police said they have applied for criminal charges.
“On August 7, 2019 members of Natick and Framingham Police assigned to the MetroWest Drug Task Force applied for a search warrant in connection with an ongoing investigation into a Prior Drive residence in Framingham,” reads a written statement from Framingham Police Department. “Probable cause was found to issue the search warrant and officers subsequently executed it at the home. Pursuant to the investigation police have applied for criminal charges and a hearing is scheduled. As this is an ongoing and active investigation no additional information can be released at this time.”
Police Chief Steven Trask would not say who would be charged nor would he say what the charges would be.
VIDEO: HighImpactVlog’s posting of the video. (Editor’s Note: There are claims made in the narration included in this video that the Daily News has not been able to substantiate.)
The video was posted with the instructions urging viewers to express their outrage at the actions of the police officers by calling the Framingham Police Department and leaving messages on the department’s Facebook page. Numerous people from all over the world have followed those instructions and have begun leaving one-star reviews on the department’s Facebook page, along with comments.
“Absolutely despicable behavior by those officers that entered that families (sic) home without a warrant. And to threaten to shoot a family pet in front of a child is deplorable! I hope this family sues you for such an appalling act,” reads a comment left by a Facebook user identified as Izel Couper, who says she lives in Queensland, Australia.
A second comment said, “Home invaders. Horrible behaviour (sic) from people that swore to uphold the constitution. im (sic) sure the whole department is corrupt.”
In a Facebook message posted at about 4:45 p.m. Monday, Framingham police responded to reader comments.
“We are aware of the video and the execution of a search warrant at that residence,” the Facebook post reads. “We will take the time necessary to fully investigate the incident, and speak with all persons involved.”
Comments came in at a pace of about one a minute in the 30 minutes after the police posted the message.
Explaining the law
The 12-minute video does not show the execution of the search warrant.
Defense lawyer Mark Helwig would not comment about the specifics of the case or the video. However, he did say there are times when police can enter a home prior to getting a warrant. Police cannot search the home, but they can stand by until the warrant is obtained.
“In most situations, you need a warrant,” said Helwig, whose office is in Sudbury. “The law does recognize a limited exception when they’re securing the premises while they’re applying for a warrant.”
According to a 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling, police do have a right to enter a home without a search warrant if they have specific information that leads them to believe evidence is going to be destroyed.
“We have not had occasion to consider whether the authority to secure a dwelling allows police officers to enter a dwelling and conduct a limited search in order to ascertain whether the dwelling is unoccupied,” according to the decision in the 2003 case of the state vs. Juan DeJesus. “We conclude that there is a fundamental difference between securing or controlling the perimeter of a dwelling from the outside and the entry and physical surveillance of a dwelling from the inside. We now hold that police officers who secure a dwelling while a warrant is being sought in order to prevent destruction or removal of evidence may not enter that dwelling, in the absence of specific information supporting an objectively reasonable belief that evidence will indeed be removed or destroyed unless preventative measures are taken.”
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or email@example.com. For up-to-date crime news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.