CA6: No knock entry at 4 am stated claim for unreasonable execution of SW

Plaintiffs adequately allege a claim for unreasonable execution of a search warrant. The officers executed a search warrant at 4 am without knocking or announcing, and shot the lock off the door. Greer v. City of Highland Park, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 5330 (6th Cir. Mar. 2, 2018):

Officers executing a search warrant must knock and announce that they are seeking entry into a home and then wait a reasonable amount of time before entering. United States v. Spikes, 158 F.3d 913, 925-26 (6th Cir. 1998). Although the potential presence of drugs “lessens the length of time law enforcement must ordinarily wait outside before entering a residence,” it does not justify abandonment of the knock-and-announce rule. Id. at 926. Furthermore, when officers execute a warrant at night, “the length of time the officers should wait increases.” Id. at 927.

Here, the Greers allege that the officers did not knock or announce but instead immediately blew down their front door with a shotgun. Although the officers were searching for controlled substances, the potential presence of drugs merely lessened the amount of time they should have waited before entering; it did not vitiate the requirement of knocking and announcing their presence. Id. at 926. Moreover, the Greers claim that the officers executed the warrant at approximately 4:00 a.m., when they had “reason to believe that a prompt response from the homeowner would be unlikely.” Id. at 927. Thus, the Greers have sufficiently alleged a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights pursuant to the knock-and-announce rule.

Furthermore, the Greers claim that the officers failed to present the warrant when asked. One primary purpose of a search warrant is to demonstrate that the agents have been granted authorization to search. See Camara v. Mun. Court, 387 U.S. 523, 530-33 (1967). This purpose cannot be served if executing officers withhold presentation of the warrant despite repeated requests to see it. The decision to withhold the search warrant, therefore, is “a relevant factor in determining the reasonableness of a search.” Baranski v. Fifteen Unknown Agents of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, 452 F.3d 433, 443 (6th Cir. 2006). Here, the Greers’ allegation that the officers refused to show them the search warrant further supports their claim that the officers executed the search warrant in an unreasonable manner.

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