A family man is threatening to sue British police after an estimated 50 armed, masked cops barged into his home wrongly believing he was a looter.
Delroy Gardner, 31, said he was lying in bed watching TV with his wife Leonie Reece, at around 2.00 am on August 17 when the front and back doors of their home in Harlesden, north London, were kicked in and around 50 cops stormed in, pointing guns in their faces.
He said the stampede of cops and police dogs not only woke his three-year-old son, at whom he claims an officer pointed a gun, but sent his wife into an asthma attack, for which they had to call an ambulance.
“It was like something out of a horror movie. The police were all wearing masks and all you could see was their eyes,” Gardener sid.
“I thought they were armed robbers when they busted in because they were wearing plain clothes. It’s only when they took me outside that I saw police in uniform. The whole thing was extremely terrifying.
“I’m just glad that my wife and I were not sleeping- otherwise one of us might of ended up having a heart attack. It’s like a tornado hit our home.”
The couple, who have three children, said they will be seeking legal advice over what happened.
Gardner’s wife, Leonie, 25, recalled: “I was so fearful I struggled to breathe. My three-year-old son was running up and down confused and wouldn’t go out the door because they were shouting and pointing the gun at him. I reassured him that that it would be okay because he was really scared. My (three) kids were running around crying in fear and I had to be taken away in an ambulance.”
Gardner, a youth worker, said during the raid, his hands and wrists were also left swollen after police officers handcuffed him.
The officers also trashed his garden shed that the couple use to store the children’s bikes, Gardner said.
Gardner was later released without charge, but said he and his family were left traumatised.
Gardner said. “The police patronised me later like nothing happened by saying ‘have a nice day’. They claimed that they had an anonymous tip-off that I was a looter with firearms, but how did the person who made the allegations come to this conclusion?
” People are basically being victimised based on other people’s accusations. My grievance is, if they did this without evidence and just on hear say, no one is safe in their house. This could happen to anyone,” he said.
Leonie added: “It’s horrible that my kids have had to go through this when both their parents are law-abiding citizens who have never been in any trouble with the police.”
In a statement, the Met police confirmed they raided the address but told The Voice its officers acted on “intelligence regarding the address” and were carrying out “a search warrant in connection with theft and firearms offences.”
“Police have a responsibility to act on information, which is received regarding criminal activity. An appropriate number of officers forced entry to the address and five occupants were found, including three children.
“Officers gave the occupants a copy of the warrant and ‘notice to the occupier’ which explains the legal powers under which entry had been forced and the rights and entitlements of the occupants along with the reasons for police attendance. Police carried out a search of the address and found no evidence firearms or stolen goods,” the statement said.
The Met said a door and lock were damaged as cops forced their way into the home but appeared to suggest police were unlikely to pay any compensation.
The statement said officers “completed a ‘damage to property form’ and gave clear guidance to the occupants on how they can be fixed via the Housing Association and local authority.”
It added: “Where police are in possession of a warrant and entry is gained lawfully, the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) are not obliged to reinstate the property damaged even if nobody is arrested or property seized. Unless there is evidence that the police have been negligent in their actions it is not the policy to pay compensation. The MPS does not settle claims received from a landlord whose tenant has been the subject of a warrant or investigation.”