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March 27, 2019

4-Year-Old Boy's Birthday Party Is Ruined as Cops Smash Cake, Point Guns at Kids, Cuff Aunt

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What was supposed to be a fun birthday party for a toddler turned into a nightmare after more than a dozen Chicago police officers broke into a family home with guns drawn. The officers had a search warrant for a suspected drug-dealer that had moved out from that address five years earlier.

An outraged mother of two is suing the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Department with a civil lawsuit after they terrorized her children by raiding their home during her son’s 4th birthday party.

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According to the lawsuit, Stephanie Bures and her sister Kiqiana Jackson were celebrating Terrence Jackson Jr.’s birthday party with family and friends, when at least 17 officers launched a raid at their South Side home on February 10.  

THE RAID

One moment the kids were playing around, and the next, the door flew open and the officers, wearing plain clothes, entered the house with guns drawn and yelling expletives at the 15 adults reunited on the place. “Get your [expletive] hands up!” and “We are doing a [expletive] raid,” Bures recalls the men saying.

Police officers broke into the home, ruining a child's birthday party. | Source: WGN9

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Bures’ attorney, Al Hofeld Jr., explained that the officers had a search warrant that pointed out a 46-year-old suspect of dealing with ecstasy as the target. The man moved from that address five years earlier.

“A simple (database) search performed by my law firm revealed (the intended target’s) current address in 30 seconds,” Hofeld added.

Bures and her attorney, Al Hofeld Jr., in a press conference on Tuesday. | Source: ABC7Chicago

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Police officers tossed and destroyed the house, took doors out of its hinges, tore up open wall panels, flipped mattresses, threw a TV to the floor, doused the presents with hydrogen peroxide and poured vodka over clothes, according to the lawsuit.

THE CONSEQUENCES

T.J’s 7-year-old sister, Samari, said she believed the officers were going to shoot her, her brother and everyone at the party. The kids are scared, have nightmares and don’t want to leave their house, Bures explained.

“I was so worried about her or her brother getting shot by someone that’s supposed to protect and serve them. It’s terrifying,” Bures said through tears during a press conference.

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Kiqiana Jackson and Stephanie Bures speak at a press conference. | Source: Chicago Sun-Times

T.J’s chocolate fudge birthday cake ended up face down on the floor after the raid, and one of the officers put a birthday candle in the middle of it. “It was a cruel, dehumanizing joke that mocked and symbolized a 4-year-old’s ruined birthday party,” Al Hofeld said. 

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T.J's birthday was smashed on the floor. | Source: WGN9

Kiqiana Jackson, the children’s aunt, said she asked for the search warrant repeatedly, but the officers ignored her request. Instead, she was handcuffed after reaching out for her phone.

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Kiqiana Jackson asked for a search warrant and was handcuffed. | Source: ABC7Chicago

“I guess I asked for a search warrant one too many times, and [an officer] was like, "Arrest her.’ I reached for my phone and then I was tackled, I was handcuffed,” she explained.

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In the end, the officers left the place without making charges or finding the contraband items listed in their search warrant, which they placed on the dining table before their exit.

THE PATTERN

The suit alleges that the police officers’ “conduct toward plaintiffs was undertaken with willful and wanton disregard for the rights of others.”

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The case is Hofeld’s fourth against the city alleging officers used excessive force against children.

Last August, Chicago Police’s SWAT team broke into Ebony Tate’s home while she was sitting on a living room couch as her 4-year-old daughter napped beside her.

Ebony Tate and her mother, Cynthia Eason, were also victims of a wrong ride. | Source: CBS Chicago

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Multiple officers pointed assault rifles at Tate and her three other children while yelling at them to get out of the house. Even the kids’ grandmother Cynthia Eason, who was about to take a bath, was forced to leave the house in just a t-shirt and underwear.

Upon realizing they had the wrong house, officers left without an apology or explanations.

THE LACK OF REMORSE

The same happened to Peter Mendez’ family. A team of officers busted into his West Side apartment with handguns and assault rifles drawn on the family, terrifying their two sons and handcuffing Peter on the floor.

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Chicago Police Department headquarters. | Source: CBS Chicago

After searching for a while, they finally handed over the search warrant. Peter’s wife realized the persons they were looking for lived in the apartment upstairs.

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All of the families involved in these raids agree on one thing: the officers were unnecessarily rude, left with no apologies, and never took responsibility for all the damages, both material and psychological, they left on their haste.

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