Raid Gone Wrong http://www.wten.com/global/story.asp?s=8641327 Updated: July 8, 2008 05:20 PM A Troy Police raid targets drug dealers - one problem though: the owner says they got the wrong house. It happened last Thursday at 396 First Street on the city's south end. The home was one of four raided in the early hours of July 3rd. But the people who live there say police were at the wrong house. And police sources close to this investigation tell NEWS10 what was supposed to be a huge multi-home drug bust, turned up very little. In fact, it may have turned an innocent woman's world upside down when the cops raided what appears to be the wrong house. NEWS10's Anya Tucker sat down with the woman whose house was raided, who says she is getting no answers from police. Anya has more on what she is saying, and how police are defending their actions. It was around 6 o'clock in the morning, the day before the 4th of July, that the fireworks seemed to be going off early - right inside of Ronita McColley's Troy apartment. "While I was going out of my bathroom, something came through my window and exploded, so I just stayed in my room," says McColley. "They came in and told me to get on the floor, 'this is a drug bust'. I was like, drugs?" McColley says the officers showed her a signed warrant giving them the right to forcefully enter her home. "They just gave me the paper and it was for cocaine and crack, and I was like, 'oh I hope you find it 'cause I don't do those things," McColley says. "Were you ever drug dealing?" Anya asks McColley. "I don't have a record - No! Never sold drugs, I always worked all my life," she says. McColley is a single mother who works as an aide to the disabled. She says she is grateful her 5-year-old daughter was not home that morning. But the worst part, according to sources involved in this raid: McColley was right, police had the wrong house, and no drugs. "Mostly their heads were down, they did not want to look at me," says McColley. "One person said sorry, and then they left." Police sources also tell us that four other homes were raided in Troy that morning, and all turned up nothing. To make matters worse, they tell us the information on the homes were based on tips from an informant, but that they were not followed up with surveillance or drug buys prior to the bust. "I mean if they did, they would know that they had the wrong house," McColley says. However, police are defending what seems to be a real 'bust' for local law enforcement. Anya spoke with Troy Police Sergeant David Dean Tuesday: * Sgt. Dean: "We did not hit the wrong house, we hit the house that the search warrant directed us to hit." * Anya: "But was that information that led up to that right?" * Sgt. Dean: "My bosses are going through this whole investigative process to make sure that we were as thorough as possible." * Anya: "What was the level of threat that you assessed prior to coming into the home?" * Sgt. Dean: "That there were weapons in the house, or that the drugs were stored in that manor." * Anya: "In this house, you found no drugs?" * Sgt. Dean: "We are not publicly speaking on that issue at this point." * Anya: "Do you think this will hurt your credibility?" * Sgt. Dean: "The last thing we want to do is enter an innocent person's home - it doesn't get us anywhere, and it doesn't hamper the drug trade." * Anya: "Will you be going back to clean-up the damage to the house?" * Sgt. Dean: "We just have to enter lawfully with our search warrant, that is our only obligation." * Anya: "And you can leave it in any state that you left it?" * Sgt. Dean: "Yes. We had probable cause that led us to believe there was drug activity." * Anya: "What exactly led you to believe that this was a drug house and that it was dangerous?" * Sgt. Dean: "We have also heard what you heard." (talking about what police sources told us, regarding a drug informant's information to police about the house) * Anya: "What will a review of all of this find?" * Sgt. Dean: "I am not really certain what this review will find. We are going to look to improve - those are questions we are asking ourselves." * Anya: "Did you make any (drug) buy?" * Sgt. Dean: "I can't comment on that specifically. That may come out later, and I am not certain in this case - but I can tell you it met the court's challenge that they would sign it. That is why we are doing an exhaustive review - if we didn't, we will let the public know." === Troy raid based on a faulty tip Police to interview informant after finding no illegal activity By KENNETH C. CROWE II, Staff writer First published: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 TROY -- Police were acting on a confidential informant's report when they raided a South Troy apartment, stunning a resident who was not involved in any illegal activity, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. District Attorney Richard McNally said the confidential informant who supplied the information that led to the 6 a.m raid Thursday at 396 First St. will be interviewed to determine why officers were misled. The raid was conducted by the Rensselaer County Drug Task Force based on information that drugs and weapons were in the home. "The checks and balances were in place. We checked and double-checked the information in this case. All the checks and double-checks were done. Unfortunately, it didn't work as planned," McNally said. He said police will debrief the confidential informant to try and pinpoint where things went wrong. The task force draws on police agencies within and outside the county. Troy police's Special Operations Section participated in the raid, which involved using a stun grenade when the no-knock search warrant was served, said Detective Sgt. David Dean, a department spokesman. The woman who lives in the apartment was restrained then released once officers realized there was nothing illegal at the residence, Dean said. She was not arrested. The woman could not be reached for comment. Normal procedure would have called for her to be handcuffed until officers ascertained what was happening at the scene. "We didn't hit the wrong house. That was the house we were legally allowed to enter," Dean said. The no-knock warrant and the stun grenade were used because it was believed that task force members could be confronted by armed people inside the first-floor apartment, Dean said. The department's Internal Affairs Unit is not involved in the review.