NASHVILLE, Tenn — Metro Nashville Police have decommissioned three officers after police executed a search warrant at an innocent family's home.
Don Aaron, spokesman for Metro Police, told WSMV, an affiliate of 10News, in an email that the search warrant was executed at Azaria Hines’ apartment in connection to evidence of vehicle burglaries by a 16-year-old seen on video carrying a gun.
Hines said police burst through the door with a battering ram, smashing the door frame and pointing guns at her naked form.
“I’m furious because they came up in here and woke up my kids with rifles,” Hines said.
At a press conference Wednesday, Chief John Drake ordered two supervisors and an officer at the West Precinct be decommissioned while the investigation continues. The three officers decommissioned are Lt. Harrison Dooley, a 12-year veteran, Sgt. Jeff Brown, a 21-year veteran and Officer Michael Richardson, a 5-year veteran.
A photo of Sgt. Brown was withheld due to his undercover work.
Also, Chief Drake ordered all applications for search warrants by an MNPD officer must be approved at the Deputy Chief of Police level, rather than the employee's component supervisors.
Chief Drake said the following at a press conference Wednesday:
"No innocent family in Nashville, anywhere, should be subjected to what the mother and her two children went through on Tuesday morning. They were awakened by a team of officers who banged on their door and ultimately knocked it in with a ram. It appears that the mother was not given the proper time to come to the door before it was breached. It also appears that the West Precinct did not exercise due diligence in confirming that the 16-year-old who was the subject of the search warrant even lived at that apartment. In light of this scenario, we will be conducting a review of our search warrant processes and provide whatever updated training is necessary to help ensure that Tuesday’s scenario is not repeated."
A query of a Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency database available to police showed that a 16-year-old lived at the apartment. The police department learned Tuesday the database had not been updated since November 2018.
MDHA will also no longer provide the information due to privacy laws.
The 16-year-old and his mother reportedly moved out of the apartment last summer, while the new family lived there for approximately four months.
“There appears to have been a lack of confirming through other means, including surveillance or checking with human sources, that the 16-year-old lived there,” Chief Drake said. “We have to be better than that, and I absolutely assure you, we will be moving forward.”
Midtown Hills Precinct Commander Dwayne Greene has met with the apartment's current resident and apologized to her on behalf of the police department.
Police will continue outreach to Hines and her children.