On March 17, police officers with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in Pensacola, Florida were recorded illegally entering a home without a warrant. In the video, the victim of this crime repeatedly requested that officers not enter his home without a warrant. Ignoring his requests, police then entered his home to harass, manhandle, and eventually arrest him for “resisting arrest without violence.” The recording, which you can view here, was shared over 1,500 times on social media eventually catching the attention of the local news outlets, prompting the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to issue a statement that an internal investigation would be conducted.
Community members were upset by the news. In response to the video, nearby resident Raymond Pierce said, “It didn’t seem like there was a reason for [the cops] to come in at all… Everybody should be treated equally, not just off appearances.”
Another concerned citizen, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed her dismay over the illegal entry, stating “[the man they arrested] said that you have to have a warrant to come into my house. And if you listened to the response from the sheriff, he said [the cops] can come in your home if there’s some kind of domestic violence, or there’s somebody being threatened, or if somebody’s life is in danger. In this situation, nobody’s life was in danger, and I felt like yes they need a warrant, they should not have come into his house.”
She went on to share her own experiences with local police, explaining, “This actually has happened to me in my home. I had a cop come to the wrong apartment, barge into my home. Because somebody stole a car… and [it] scared the mess out of my daughter. I also know that the cops was harassing people in the neighborhood and they were doing illegal stops. There are cops that are known to be bullies.”
Raymond Pierce, who resides in the Brownsville neighborhood where incident in question was taped, shared a similar story: “I was getting out of the car to go into inside the house and [the cops] stopped me and was like ‘What are you doing here?’ I was like I’m going into the house, I live here. He was like ‘Ae you sure you live here?’ I was like yeah, I’m sure I live here. He was like ‘well, can I see some ID?’ I gave him the ID, he did the whole running of the ID and eventually let me go but I got stopped right in front of my own house.”
The wrongfully arrested man featured in the video is collecting donations for legal fees so that he can pursue a lawsuit. As he explains on his GoFundMe page, which can be found here, “This happens in far too many communities far too often and sadly a lot of times there is no footage to shed light on such heinous acts of corruption carried out by the very people we employ to protect us. As I work at a hospital this incident could ruin my career rendering me unable to ever find employment in the medical field again… I plan to take aim at this corruption head on. I was unjustly manhandled and hauled away to jail just five minutes after being awakened by an angry deputy. Without shoes without a shirt without contact lenses or glasses and in front of my children and nephew.”
A resident of the community and former police officer spoke with Liberation News. He chose not to watch the video, explaining “I already know what happens. I am a Black man in America… Everyday we’re getting killed by the police. Why do I got to see that?”
When asked what he felt could be done about the actions of the ECSO, he stated “We need law enforcement to be trained properly. Okay, my sister is a cop in Chicago. I have not talked to her in 10 years… You know why? You know why I told her I don’t talk to her? ‘You joined a system- I was in there before you- that you never can change.’ She told me, ‘I am trying to make it better.’ You’re not going to make it better, it’s already corrupt, it’s corrupt. It’s the system. It’s gotta be changed from the root. Radical.”