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Homeowner says SWAT came in her home without permission

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Updated: 2/04 8:17 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Deborah Franz feels violated. She claims the SWAT team went into her southside home without her permission during a standoff involving her neighbor Sunday afternoon.

Franz said it all started shortly after overhearing a fight at her neighbor's house across the street Sunday. A short time later, the SWAT team swarmed her neighborhood.

"The cop goes 'You all need to leave, you can't be in your house,'" said Franz.

That happened around 1 p.m. About six hours later, deputies cleared the scene and she went back home. But something was off when she walked through the door.

"I stopped, I froze because I realized somebody had messed with my TV," said Franz.

Franz said her blinds were opened, her Xbox and TV were disconnected, and a drape over her bedroom window was thrown on the floor.

At first she thought it was a burglar but then realized nothing was missing.

"They were the last people I saw, was the police, so I'm assuming it had to have been them," said Franz.

Franz said she called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to complain.

"He did call me back and he said 'Yeah Ms. Franz my men did come in your house,'" said Franz.

Wyllie Hodges, who now heads First Coast Crime Stoppers, is a 34-year law enforcement veteran, and he said it doesn't surprise him.

"A SWAT call out is just not a normal police call out. It's just different and the circumstances are mandated or dictated by the situation as it progresses," said Hodges.

While law enforcement generally needs a warrant to enter someone's home, criminal defense attorney Miguel Rosada Jr. said exceptions do exist.

Rosada said what is considered "reasonable" is not always clear.

"It seems they only entered into the home to gain a tactical advantage. I think if there's any violation that would probably be it," said Rosada. 

For Franz, it's a matter of principle.

"If you're going to come in my home and use my home, at least let me know or at least try to contact me," said Franz.

Franz wants an apology from the JSO.

According to Rosada, it would be difficult to bring forth a case because there were no damages but he said the JSO should have at least notified her.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office would not confirm to Action News if members of the SWAT team were in Franz's home. Instead we received a statement from Mike Williams, director of investigations and homeland security for the JSO:

"The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has been made aware, via the media, of concerns regarding the tactical approach utilized at the Feb. 2, 2014 SWAT call out on Glen Gardener Drive. We continuously review our tactics and operational procedures to ensure that the methods we use are both legally sound and in the best interest of the safety of our officers, the community, as well as any suspects, victims, or witnesses that may be present at any critical incident. This case will get the same scrutiny to ensure that we used best practices and it will be assessed to ensure that we followed all legal and ethical guidelines."


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Jeannine - 2/19/2014 1:07 PM
0 Votes
Gosh do we get our panties in a wad and get our feelings hurt about everything and anything now days. I think the homeowner said nothing was damaged just moved or unplugged. If my neighbor was doing something bad enough that SWAT had to be called out I first would be glad to be thankful to be evacuated from my home for fear of what my neighbor might be capable of doing and then I wouldn't expect a personal apology letter from our sheriff of the next to nothing things that happened while SWAT was in my home. I would be grateful that no one including and especially my family was harmed during this. I would also understand that the sheriff simply has way too much going on to send me a thank you note or apology letter or whatever this homeowner needed to get her panties back out of that wad. Grow up people, it ain't always all about you!!!

LeslieDonsen - 2/13/2014 6:37 PM
0 Votes
"Franz said her blinds were opened, her Xbox and TV were disconnected," WHY? Were they afraid what they were doing might have been viewed/recorded by the NSA?

dixxi - 2/10/2014 6:48 PM
0 Votes
I wouldnt mind them going in my house for a reason like that BUT they dont need to be disrespectful to our home or belongings and throw our shi.t on the floor. Atleast when it is all over go pick up the mess yall left.

Davea3466 - 2/10/2014 3:36 PM
0 Votes
“in the best interest of the safety of our officers, the community, as well as any suspects, victims, or witnesses" This is the problem; their priorities are exactly backwards.

REW7890 - 2/10/2014 1:12 AM
0 Votes
CRABCAKE: UR WRONG!! U "Assume" they cared in the first place. BAD ASSUMPTION!! And its one ALL OF U HAD BETTER UNDERSTAND - NOW!! They're not "pushing" anybody. THEY JUST DONT CARE!! DO U UNDERSTAND??? Govt is WAAAAY past "caring"... U & I & our 'antiquated beliefs' are TOTALLy UNIMPORTANT & IRRELEVANT to them now. Accordingly - its time we ALL face reality! Think for a MINUTE Im wrong? ... Try doing it to THEIR home!

free wary - 2/9/2014 7:41 PM
0 Votes
We the people need to read the constitution more and force our elected leaders and public servants to obey the plain text ORIGINAL AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND meaning. I don't care what some corrupt judge says. I would argue that the police are dressed and armed as infantry therefore they are soldiers. Now let's read the actual law: ( Amendment V No person shall be . . . .deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Tyendaga - 2/7/2014 1:16 PM
0 Votes
And this is the problem. We the People are the ones that control the Government through a contract we call the "Constitution". Our taxes pay their salary thereby they are employed by us, we the people. It is only through the lack of knowledge or will that allows these Unconstitutional acts to occur. It is up to us, we the people, to stand up and say, "No, this is a violation of my Constitutional rights." To violate the constitution is to violate a contract. If an employee and employer has a contract to pay for services rendered and one of the parties of the contract do not hold their end, they are in violation and can be sued and/or prosecuted. The Government is no different. If a law is passed that is unconstitutional, then that law becomes null and void. It is only by the knowledge of your rights and and standing up for them do we truly have a constitution. Failure to defend our rights will result in a true loss of rights.

viejo - 2/5/2014 10:24 PM
0 Votes
You know what? I've changed my mind. If they come to the door, screw it, let them in. We have no rights. We have no privacy. Police abuse of power is symptomatic all across the country. No point in fighting it.

viejo - 2/5/2014 9:33 PM
0 Votes
I'm afraid if SWAT knocks on my door and tells me I have to leave, I'll probably come back to the front door with a shotgun and refuse. Then, they'd have a second reason to violate rights.

crabcake - 2/5/2014 2:27 PM
0 Votes
These "officers" surely knew that what they were doing was unconstitutional and illegal, but just like little children they were trying to see how much they could get away with before they got their hands slapped. In my opinion, they should be slapped and kicked.
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