Chicago police broke through the door of a city apartment and pointed guns at three children and their mother in a raid that turned out to be the wrong home, a federal civil rights complaint filed Tuesday alleges.
According to the complaint, 11-year-old Jaden Field, 6-year-old Jeremy Harris and 4-year-old Justin Harris were doing homework and playing video games while their mother Jolanda Blassingame cooked dinner on Jan. 29, 2015. That’s when “plainclothes officers broke into the front and back doors of the apartment, threw flashbang grenades inside, hurled profanities and pointed assault rifles” at them, attorney Al Hofeld Jr. said.
“I really thought they was going to shoot one of the kids by mistake,” Blassingame, who runs a daycare in the area, said. “Because the guns were so close to them and to me.”
The person police were looking for, a man named Derec Hill, had not lived at the address for eight years and was already serving a 20-year prison sentence for a murder conviction 200 miles away at the time of the raid, the complaint states. The city said it could not comment on pending litigation.
The family had only lived in the apartment for two years and had no connection to the Hill, Hofeld said.
“It really terrified me,” said Blassingame. “But it terrified the kids the most.”
Blassingame said her children still suffer the psychological effects of the wrongful raid nearly five years later.
“How many innocent children of color have to be traumatized in wrong raids before the city realizes it’s too many?" Hofeld said. “Enough is enough.”