For Immediate Release
April 5, 2016
Contact: Keenan Austin
Grosso Introduces the Search Warrant Execution Accountability Act of 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C.--At today's D.C. Council Legislative Meeting, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced legislation to strengthen the District of Columbia's search warrant requirements and to require the District of Columbia to pay reasonable expenses to a property owner whose property is damaged or destroyed in a police search when the search is executed on the wrong property.
"While I understand and recognize that officers, when executing a search warrant, may on occasion damage property in order to effectively perform their duties; I cannot turn a blind eye to the fact our residents are negatively impacted when the police carelessly execute search warrants at the wrong address," said Grosso.
"Many people in minority communities have, for good reason, become afraid of interacting with the police and when an unassuming resident is subjected to a police raid that was not executed on the appropriate property, it certainly does not instill confidence in police practices and further frightens our residents. As a government, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard and implementing this legislation will ensure that our residents have a clear course of action when they have faced an injustice."
Grosso's legislation proposes to:
- Strengthen the requirements related to an application for a search warrant by ensuring that when a request is made for a search warrant to be executed at any hour of the day or night, the standard is based on a preponderance of the evidence, not the current probable cause standard.
- Requires that when an application for a search warrant is made to search the purported residence of a suspect in an ongoing police investigation, the Court must be satisfied that the police have done their due diligence to determine that the suspect owns the premises or is likely to reside there.
- Establishes a claims process to enable eligible property owners to receive the reasonable expenses required to replace property or restore property to the condition it was in prior to a search, if the execution of the search warrant resulted in damage or destruction to the property and MPD executed the search warrant on the wrong premises.
- Defines "wrong premises" for the purpose of this act.