COLUMBIA, Md. — A Columbia couple filed a $5 million lawsuit Monday against the Howard County Police Department stemming from a raid at their home in 2008.
Lisa and Kevin Henderson accused the county’s SWAT team of excessive force and malicious prosecution after they raided the couple’s home in January 2008.
“I hear the door opening, and my husband says, ‘Who’s walking in my door and not announcing themselves?’ So, he’s looking, and all of a sudden we see red beams and flashing lights on myself and friend sitting on the couch,” said Lisa Henderson.
The couple said they’re still rattled by the raid on their townhouse.
“I kneeled down and put my hands behind me. Someone grabbed me and handcuffed me. My husband was screaming. I was saying, ‘Please don’t hurt him. He’s disabled.’ And I still didn’t know it was police,” Lisa Henderson told 11 News.
The couple’s attorney said the police had the wrong house.
According to court papers, the Howard County police SWAT team entered the home unannounced through the front door, which was unlocked. When Grunt the family dog started barking, court documents indicated one of the officers enticed the dog to coming running and shot him point blank.
“I lost my best friend. He helped me when I needed him to help without being told or trained,” said Kevin Henderson.
The couple said when Kevin Henderson tried to explain to police he was disabled and unable to move quickly, they responded by stepping on his feet and legs. He told the officers he couldn’t put his arms behind his back because of surgery he had on his left shoulder, but they cuffed him anyway.
Kevin and Lisa Henderson
Lisa Henderson said police pointed a gun to her face and threatened to blow her head off, then picked her up by her shirt and pushed her into a chair so hard that she bit the inside of her mouth.
“I’m a taxpayer in this county. I don’t have a criminal record. I’ve never even had a parking ticket, so why are you treating me like I am a criminal?” Lisa Henderson questioned.
Police said they found five small jars of marijuana, a pipe and grinder on a visitor to the Henderson’s home. The guest admitted he owned the material and was arrested and tried on possession charges.
After the Hendersons filed a formal complaint, Howard County police charged them with drug possession.
“When my clients complained, they charged them and they were exonerated by a judge,” Bell said.
The Hendersons filed the lawsuit in federal court on Monday. A trial date is expected by next spring.
A Howard County police representative said the department has not been officially notified of the lawsuit.