Homeowner Sues Police After Pursuit Of Shoplifter Leaves Him With No Home To Own

from the not-too-far-away-from-'knock-and-talk'-meaning-'phone-call-and-missl dept

The War on Shoplifters.

This is what was left of Leo Lech's home after the Greenwood Village police were done with it. Lech had done nothing wrong. In fact, he wasn't even home. By the point the local PD had decided to turn a standoff with a suspect into a one-house reenactment of the Battle of Fallujah, the only person inside was Robert Jonathan Seacat -- originally wanted for nothing more than shoplifting.

This was all fully justified, according to the police chief, because Seacat had opened fire on police officers during the standoff.

According to Lech's lawsuit, those shots -- five of them, nine hours into the standoff -- by Seacat were met by tear gas, flash bangs, and "72 chemical bombs." Sure, it turns out Seacat had a backpack (and lower intestine) full of drugs, but the police didn't know that when they began their assault. Of course, the complete destruction of an unrelated family's house was considered copacetic because no one died.

“I made the right call because we’re standing here instead of standing over a casket,” said Greenwood Village Police Cmdr. Dustin Varney.

After Seacat fired five shots through the floor at the SWAT team, the decision was made to "vent" the home so interior areas could be more easily viewed by police officers.

When it was all said and done, the PD had gotten their man, along with his drugs, weapons and five casings from bullets fired at officers. Lech was given back his house by officers who severely misrepresented the condition of the residence.

After the SWAT team arrested Seacat amid the rubble, police told the Lechs they could go home, but there was "some damage."

Lech was also given a check for $5,000, the "assistance" of a reluctant insurance company, the city's demand that he also build a new holding pond while rebuilding his house, and the assurances of the local PD that this destruction was not only necessary, but the best case scenario.

Things then got worse, according to Lech's lawsuit.

The Lechs suffered nausea for weeks from trying to rescue items from the rubble, and property inspectors sent there wore "full hazmat gear."

The Lechs had to move to another county. Leo Lech had to take a new job at a lower salary. The boy, D.Z., had to transfer schools and enter therapy.

All of this began with Seacat stealing two belts and a shirt from Wal-Mart. Twenty-four hours later he was in custody and a family was without their home or belongings. Lech is seeking recovery of costs sustained so far, along with additional damages for emotional distress, civil rights violations, trespass, and "taking without compensation."

The police continue to insist this couldn't have been handled any other way, but arrests of armed, barricaded suspects happen all the time without having to completely destroy the building surrounding them. What happened to Lech's house appears to be the end result of a PD with lots of surplus military gear and an excuse to use it. They rolled up in a BearCat and deployed a robot, rams, and explosives to turn Leo Lech's house into a literal shell of itself. And then they walked away from the total destruction patting themselves on the back for taking the suspect alive.

Filed Under: greenwood village, leo lech, police

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Bruceybruce, 10 Jun 2016 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re:LEO

    Current day law enforcement is actually unconstitutional.The constitution never intended that there be an armed authoritarian entity like the modern day militarized police state ruling over We the People.
    Other points to ponder.
    1.Driving is a right under the constitution ( from which the rule of laws are applied to a society)driving is not a privilege bequeathed to you by the criminal state in which you reside.Therefore your payment of monies to the state to
    Possess a valid drivers license on your persons when you drive is a violation by the state of your constitutional right to move freely about your town,city or the whole country for that matter.
    2.Registration of your personal vehicle to the state is another constitutional violation by the state or federal govts.
    3.Having to acquire auto insurance is another.
    4.Being ticketed for speeding is another.Speed limit signs only apply to commercial drivers and vehicles involved in interstate or intrastate commerce not the general driving public.
    5.All the above apply to commercial operators only not the general driving public.
    6.Research and know what your rights are concerning driving without a license,insurance,registration and even plates for that matter are a civil rights violation.
    7.I don't portend to know everything about these listed examples but do your homework concerning your civil rights freedoms and liberties.You will be arrested for violating their (law enforcements,local,state and federal criminal laws) like driving without a license or insurance whatever the case may be.Eventually when stopped by Leo and with proper documentation,Leo will see a person who knows their rights under the correct law and not their brainwashed criminal law and will have no choice but to send you on your way.
    Traditions are blinding,I did the same as my parents and they did the same as their parents not knowing their civil rights and just doing what the govt. told them to do without question,you gotta pay for this,you gotta pay for that
    You gotta pay for these and you gotta pay for them.Its criminal taxation of We the People by the minority in power over us and it needs to stop.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.