Texas officers are under fire after raiding the wrong Texas house in a botched bust related to a murder investigation.
The raid went wrong earlier this month in Galveston, and now the chief in charge has been placed on a 10-day administrative leave, officials said.
City Manager Brian Maxwell enforced the leave on Police Chief Doug Balli Friday for his role in the alleged “failure of communication regarding the January 22 search,” a statement from the City Hall read.
SWAT officers raided the Texas home in the search for a 17-year-old boy accused of killing 25-year-old Malik Dunn on Jan. 20, NBC News reported.
However, further investigation revealed that the teenager did not live at the home, and to make matters even worse, he was later cleared of any involvement in the crime in question.
“During the search, officers determined the suspect was not located in the residence,” a City Hall statement said Monday. “Later, after performing the search, the department received new information contradicting the initial basis for the arrest.”
Erika Rios lives at the house that was raided with her children. She says she and her children were asleep at the time officers arrived.
“About 2 a.m., we were awakened by wooden pellets flying through our doors and sounds of the Galveston Police Department (saying) ‘Come out with your hands up,'” Rios told NBC News affiliate KPRC Of Houston.
Her daughter, Chelsea Peralez, also stated: “I was scared, screaming,” Peralez told KPRC. “I ended up going to my brother, asking what they were doing, and they continuously kept shooting the wooden pellets.”
The Galveston mayor and city manager officials said they learned about the raid through news reports released on Friday.
They then launched an “internal investigation to determine what communication failures delayed the notification to City Administration,” the City Hall statement added.
The union that represents Galveston police officers said Chief Balli would never “intentionally or knowingly allow an officer, specialized unit, or even a citizen to harm someone, or violate the law,” in their statement. “If by chance there was a miscommunication issue, it will be uncovered and addressed in the investigation,” the statement continued.
“Chief Balli would also never allow facts or actions to be hidden or concealed. Chief Balli is an upstanding citizen and leader who cares about the Island.”