Albemarle PD raids wrong house, residents claim damaged property

Woman upset after home raided by police

ALBEMARLE, NC (WBTV) - A woman says she and her daughter were frightened when Albemarle Police busted down her door in an early-morning raid this past August.

Police executed a search warrant at Lyons' home at 7:00 a.m. on August 7, 2015. They were looking for Brandon Polk, a convicted drug dealer who was wanted on a warrant for violating his probation.

In an affidavit submitted by police to obtain the search warrant to raid Lyons' home, officers told a magistrate judge that a confidential informant had purchased drugs from Polk inside the home at Lyons' address just days earlier.

But Lyons had just moved into her new home the same week as the raid and the house had sat empty for moths before.

Armed with a search warrant, battering ram and assault rifles, police officers busted open Lyons' door as she and her daughter slept.

"They came in, they bust through my door, rushed in, had guns pointed at me and my daughter," she recalled. "First, when I heard the knock, I thought it was somebody breaking in."

Lyons said she does not know Brandon Polk. She also said she has never sold drugs and has never been in trouble with police, something a check of her criminal history confirms.

A search warrant shows officers did not seize anything during the raid. A statement issued by Albemarle Police Chief William Halliburton to On Your Side Investigates confirmed that officers determined Polk did not live at the residence after they busted down Lyons' door.

"The Albemarle Police Department executed the above mentioned search warrant," Halliburton said. "This search warrant was issued upon probable cause and executed in good faith by the officers involved. It became clear shortly after officers entered the residence that the occupant we were looking for had moved out and another had moved in."

But Lyons and Halliburton have different versions of what happened in the time between officers moved into the house and the time in which they determined Polk did not live at the address.

Lyons gave On Your Side Investigates pictures of damage she said officers caused inside her home: a broken mirror, a couch cushion ripped down the middle and busted blinds, in addition to the busted door from when officers forced their way in.

Halliburton said his officers did not damage the inside of Lyons' home. When presented with the pictures, he said Lyons caused the damage and took the photos after the raid to make it look as though police had caused the damage.

Halliburton did acknowledge that his officers damaged the door to Lyons' home when they busted it open.

Lyons said she did not file a complaint with the police department out of fear of retaliation. She turned to WBTV because she did not know what other options she had.

Charlotte Defense Attorney Tim Emry—who is not involved in this case—said he doesn't often see cases where police execute search warrants at the wrong address but when he does there is little those in Lyons' position can do.

"It's relatively easy to get a search warrant from a judge," Emry explained. "If the information that creates that warrant is bad information, then these things are going to happen."

"They generally say 'oh, sorry' and walk out the door and pretend like nothing ever happened."

That's what Lyons said happened in her case.

She moved out of the house shortly after the raid because, she said, she and her daughter were too traumatized to live there.

"I thought me and my baby, something about to happen to us. I was fearing for me and her," Lyons recalled.

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved.