NODAWAY COUNTY, Mo. – A homeschooling family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after they say their home was illegally searched by the sheriff’s department.
According to the HSLDA, “child protective services (CPS) caseworker had been inside the home several days earlier to investigate a report of a messy house and had returned for a follow-up visit.”
When they declined to let her in, the CPS worker summoned the sheriff.
They, too, sought to get in the house but they didn’t have a court order and Hagan declined their request.
Then, according to HSLDA:
As Jason turned to go back inside, Glidden sprayed him with pepper spray—first at the back of his head and then directly in his face. Glidden also sprayed Laura, who fell to the floor. Glidden then turned to Jason, who was still standing, and shot him in the back with his Taser. As Jason fell, Laura closed the front door. Glidden triggered the Taser three more times through the closed door.
Sheriff White joined Glidden on the front porch. Together they forced open the door and found Laura and Jason lying on the floor. Glidden sprayed Laura in the face a second time while White sprayed Jason and tried to turn him over onto his stomach.
Laura shouted to the officers that Jason had been taken to the emergency room earlier in the week for chest pains. White nevertheless continued attempting to turn Jason over and sprayed him a third time when he was unsuccessful. The officers also sprayed the Hagans’ dog with chemical agent and threatened to shoot it if it didn’t stop barking.
Finally, the officers handcuffed and arrested Laura and Jason and charged them with resisting arrest and child endangerment.
All of this took place in front of the Hagans’ three young children, who were then taken to the emergency room to be evaluated for exposure to pepper spray.
This all took place on September 30, 2011.
Because of the warrantless search, the judge dismissed the case against the Hagans.
“The State has not offered sufficient, if indeed any, evidence of an exception that would justify a warrantless entry,” the judge wrote in his ruling, according to the home school group.
The HSLDA filed suit in federal court on November 14, 2014, alleging White and Glidden violated the Hagans’ Fourth Amendment rights.
“All too often, law enforcement officers and child-welfare workers act as if the Fourth Amendment does not apply to CPS investigations. They are wrong. The Fourth Amendment is a legal shield that protects people from exactly the kind of mistreatment the Hagans endured,” the organization writes.