TGalveston, Texas’ police chief is on leave after a SWAT team raided the wrong house earlier this month in search of a teenager falsely accused of murder.
Chief Doug Balli was placed on 10-day administrative leave while an internal investigation was conducted with the City of Galveston also separately investigating the miscommunication that allowed the botched raid to occur, he reported Fox News.
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The news outlet said a family woke up in the middle of the night on January 22 to rubber bullets flying through their doors and windows. The Galveston Police SWAT team was right outside her door.
Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli
City of Galveston
With broken windows, a broken door, broken wiring and more than a dozen “flashbangs” fired, City Manager Brian Maxwell said the attack caused an estimated $5,000 in damage to the family’s home, he reported the Galveston County Daily News. “There was a major breakdown in communication and we want to find out why the city wasn’t aware,” Maxwell said.
The local outlet added that the SWAT team was searching for 17-year-old Cameron Vargas, who they believed was involved in the shooting death of 25-year-old Malik Dunn two days earlier.
But the officers were not at the home of Vargas, who later surrendered to authorities and the charges against him were dropped. They were at Erika Rios’ house. Rios told the Galveston County Daily News that her teenage son and daughter, as well as a friend, were injured in the attack and she herself was dragged from her home.
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Maxwell said he hoped to reinstate Balli as police chief before the end of the 10-day leave, but that would be determined by the length of the investigation.
Galveston is an island city south of Houston, home to about 50,000 people.