PORTAGE — An attorney for the city of Portage, its police department and a number of officers is denying accusations posed in a local couple’s lawsuit alleging police raided their house a year ago and later discovered they were at the wrong address.
The 26-page response — filed Monday in federal court — pushes back against accusations made by the attorney for Jon Gronski and Stacey McFadden, the couple whose house in the 3300 block of Oakwood Street was raided by a SWAT team on April 13, 2015.
The response states the claims asserted against the defendants in the April 2016 lawsuit are “not actionable under federal or state law and are without merit, frivolous, malicious, and made in bad faith,” thereby subject to dismissal.
The filing also states the plaintiffs “did not suffer any actual injury or other damage” resulting from the defendants’ actions.
The initial suit seeking damages claims the couple was startled by loud banging on the front door on the day of the police raid.
Gronski reportedly looked out the window to find about 20 men wearing black uniforms and carrying assault weapons in their hands. According to the suit, uniformed men saw Gronski at the door through the window and yelled, “Open the (expletive) door, right (expletive) now!”
The suit accuses officers of pointing the weapons at Gronski, his then 4-year-old daughter, his dog and his live-in girlfriend McFadden.
The suit said the SWAT team searched the home, and did not present a warrant to the couple. At some point during the search, one of the SWAT team members allegedly said they must have the wrong address. All of those claims were denied in Monday’s court filing.
The lawsuit said the person who the SWAT team was looking for does not live at the address and was wanted for a nonviolent crime, and there was no need for the SWAT team to approach with their assault weapons drawn. The suit claims police used excessive force upon entering the home and did not allow them to leave during the search.
The defendants state in the filing that the couple is barred from recovering punitive damages, that defendants “acted in good faith” and were not “deliberately indifferent” to the plaintiffs’ rights.