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Are police liable for unecessary damages?

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  • Are police liable for unecessary damages?

    Hello,

    My friend recently had his home searched. Luckily his wife was home so the officers didn't need to break the door down to get into the house for the search. During the search, the officers entered his garage which stored his extremely well taken care of classic vehicle. The car was always garage kept and rarely driven with a beautiful paint job. When my friend came back to his house he notice a huge scratch on his car. In California, are police legally allowed to vandalize another person's property when conducting a search? The search warrant authorized the officers to search 2 vehicles, but not the classic car.

    What can my friend do if anything to file a complaint and seek damages to his vehicle?

  • #2
    Prove it. How do you know the Police are the one's who made the scratch?
    "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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    • #3
      vandalize would imply that the police maliciously damaged the car on purpose when in all likelyhood it was either already scratched or was done accidentally. it's going to be hard for your friend to get anything done about it b/c they had a valid S/W and it's gonna be even harder for you to come into this forum and ask a question like this and expect any real advice.

      you are a 3rd party and referred to the cops "vandalizing" the car. go troll somewhere else.
      Perseverate In Pugna

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      • #4
        I love it when people don't respond to the question and throw their own opinions into the pie...future readers please only respond if you are going to talk about what liability police have if any.

        Sorry if I don't know all of the technical terms...but when I saw the scratch it looked like vandalism to me...If I "accidentally" scratched someones car like my friend's car was scratched I'm sure it would be considered vandalism. It was not a minor scratch but a long scratch. I know it wasn't their prior to the search as I was their previously and saw the vehicle...and it hadn't left the garage in months.

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        • #5
          I will say this. If I the affiant for a warrant, gets the warrant signed off on lets say for some contraband under the floor of your house. If the judge signs it, that floor will come up even if we have to use a backhoe. It sucks, but its the responsibility of the homeowner to be knowledgeable of not only what goes on in his or her house, but also what comes in it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by carmen82 View Post
            I love it when people don't respond to the question and throw their own opinions into the pie...future readers please only respond if you are going to talk about what liability police have if any.

            Sorry if I don't know all of the technical terms...but when I saw the scratch it looked like vandalism to me...If I "accidentally" scratched someones car like my friend's car was scratched I'm sure it would be considered vandalism. It was not a minor scratch but a long scratch. I know it wasn't their prior to the search as I was their previously and saw the vehicle...and it hadn't left the garage in months.
            Car is covered under the search warrant I'm sure even though you didn't state it was searched. No. Not liable for the scratch as you don't know how it was created. This wouldn't be the first situation where someone used the execution of a SW to claim damage to a very "valuable" object.
            sigpic

            I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by carmen82 View Post
              If I "accidentally" scratched someones car like my friend's car was scratched I'm sure it would be considered vandalism.
              Actually you just answered your own question as you said it was an accident. And I have had a sharp object in my bdu pants after a search warrant, standing next to one of the vehicles that we use and as I was standing to close to the car guess what happened when the vice officers pulled off? Loooong scratch along the car. Was that vandalism?

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              • #8
                Thanks for the information...so if damage is done accidentally by an officer...are they liable for the damage? Do police departments have insurance for these types of accidents?

                As a driving citizen I need to carry insurance to legally drive a vehicle in Califorinia...Should I cause my car to colide with another car or someone's property causing an "accident" my insurance gets involved...when police accidentally damage things not covered in a warrant would thier be any liability on their end?

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                • #9
                  You'd have to prove first that they did it. Yes, agencies carry insurance. Good luck with that.
                  sigpic

                  I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by carmen82 View Post
                    Thanks for the information...so if damage is done accidentally by an officer...are they liable for the damage? Do police departments have insurance for these types of accidents?
                    Depends on the circumstances. With what you described, probably not, because it was during execution of a search warrant and done accidently.

                    As a driving citizen I need to carry insurance to legally drive a vehicle in Califorinia...Should I cause my car to colide with another car or someone's property causing an "accident" my insurance gets involved...when police accidentally damage things not covered in a warrant would thier be any liability on their end?
                    Not the same. Comparing a car accident to your friend having something illegal in their house and it being searched by the police - and subsequent scratch on vehicle... just not the same.

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                    • #11
                      As others have posted, they would have to prove that it was caused by one of more of the officers.......

                      They can file a claim with the city/county for the damages......doesnt mean they will get paid though.......
                      The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

                      "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

                      "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by carmen82 View Post
                        I love it when people don't respond to the question and throw their own opinions into the pie...future readers please only respond if you are going to talk about what liability police have if any.

                        Sorry if I don't know all of the technical terms...but when I saw the scratch it looked like vandalism to me...If I "accidentally" scratched someones car like my friend's car was scratched I'm sure it would be considered vandalism. It was not a minor scratch but a long scratch. I know it wasn't their prior to the search as I was their previously and saw the vehicle...and it hadn't left the garage in months.
                        When you inquire on this forum, you don't get to dictate the terms under which your question is answered. Regarding the vehicle which was scratched. It would be neccessary to prove that the police were the ones who damaged the vehicle, either through intent or neglect. Most LE agencies are either self insured, or are insured through a commercial underwriter. A claim for damages could be filed. In the circumstances you mention, payment of such a claim would be extremely doubtful. Now, on the other hand, if you're fully bound and determined to claim that the police caused the damage, go ahead and do do so. But, be advised of two things. You, as a friend, and not the owner of the car, have no standing to file either a claim or a suit. Your friend can do either, but I don't think I'd hold my breath waiting for the check in the mail.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by carmen82
                          I love it when people don't respond to the question and throw their own opinions into the pie...
                          Yeah, and I love it when people play themselves as the victims of the big, bad police..... I wonder how many of "my friends" have had search warrants executed on their houses/cars etc.... hmmm, NONE. And your friend IS lucky that they didnt have to break down the door, because the police would not have been responsible for that EITHER.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LA DEP View Post
                            As others have posted, they would have to prove that it was caused by one of more of the officers.......

                            They can file a claim with the city/county for the damages......doesnt mean they will get paid though.......
                            Thats the route I would advise them for, Doubt they would pay, and even then it'd take a looong time

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                            • #15
                              Seems I remember some "victims" of search warrants making spurious claims of damage and theft after their cars/homes were searched. Always dropped their claim after being advised of false reporting statutes.

                              carmen82 no sympathy for you!

                              RKT
                              "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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