Escondido Police Accused of Illegal Search and Entry - NBC 7 San Diego

Escondido Police Accused of Illegal Search and Entry



    Several Escondido police officers are under fire, accused of breaking the law they’re sworn to protect.

    “When they opened the door they were all standing with guns pointed at me. I went like this, 'Don't shoot,” Ken Maculan put his hands up as he relayed the story to NBC 7.

    The 63-year-old Escondido man says police were uninvited when they stormed into his Sonata subdivision home, dragging his friend out of the bathroom.

    Banging on his bathroom door, Maculan said “the cop came here. He was yelling at the guy 'Get out! Get out! Get out right now!'”

    Escondido Police Accused of Illegal Search

    [DGO] Escondido Police Accused of Illegal Search
    NBC 7's Omari Fleming reports on a lawsuit filed by an Escondido resident claiming police officers entered his home and searched for a burglary suspect without a warrant or permission.
    (Published Friday, April 11, 2014)

    Maculan has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Escondido.

    It claims after a large manhunt wrapped last May, four policemen illegally searched his Huckleberry Lane home without a warrant or permission.

    Officers were looking for a burglar and the jewelry he stole.

    Maculan says when he heard an officer pull back his shower curtain and go through his cabinets he stopped them.

    Escondido's Deputy City Attorney, Andrea Valasquez, confirmed the officers entered the home without a warrant.

    She told NBC 7, "They acted within the law because they were searching for the prime suspect in a nearby burglary. The search was lawful because there were exigent circumstances."

    “Their actions were unconstitutional, “ retorted Maculan’s attorney Laurence Haines. “There are lines the U.S. Supreme Court set saying that you don’t do these things Escondido police did."

    Valasquez says before searching Maculan's house a woman spotted his friend near a home that had been burglarized the week before. Turns out the woman later said it was a case of mistaken identity.

    A mistake that forced Maculan to witness what he called an indecent detainment.

    “He was handcuffed here,” Maculan said standing on his front lawn. "His pants down. I always trusted police, but I wouldn’t trust them now. “

    Maculan comes from a family of police officers.

    The city recently rejected an attempt to settle the case for $500,000.

    Haines says if the case is settled in the future he hopes he’ll be able to push the police department to retrain officers so this doesn’t happen again