EDENWALD — A group of police officers with a warrant to search a Bronx apartment for drugs raided the wrong home, handcuffed an innocent husband and wife and then joked how they battered a door off its hinges when they stormed in, a new lawsuit charges.
The cops apparently intended to search a public housing apartment at 4040 Laconia Ave. in Edenwald, but goofed and barged into a home at 4044 Laconia Ave., where Omar Rodriguez and Yajaira Laureano live with their four young children, according to the lawsuit.
Rodriguez, a carpenter, and Laureano, a stay-at-home mom, are suing the city and the police department in Bronx Civil Supreme Court, accusing cops of violating their civil rights by wrecking their pad and hauling their entire family to the local precinct station house.
While in the station house, the parents were strip-searched for drugs, the lawsuit says. When cops let the family go after five hours in custody, they never gave an apology — or paid to fix the broken door, according to the lawsuit.
On Feb. 26 at about 8 p.m. more than 20 cops swarmed into the family’s home after a battering ram broke down the door, the lawsuit says.
Officers allegedly threw Rodriguez and Laureano to the ground, handcuffed them and repeatedly shouted, “Where are the drugs?” as the four children screamed and cried.
Rodriguez and his wife insisted to cops that they didn’t have any drugs, but the officers searched the apartment for an hour, overturning furniture and smashing personal belongings until they came up empty, the lawsuit says.
While they inspected the apartment, some of the officers said they might have the wrong apartment, and that they intended to raid 4040 Laconia Ave., according to the lawsuit.
“However, even the stated belief that they had terrorized an innocent family failed to deter the officers from continuing their violations of the [family’s] civil rights,” the lawsuit says.
During the search, the cops also joked to each other “how the apartment door had flown off its hinges because of the battering ram’s effect,” the lawsuit says.
Eventually, police took the family to the 47th Precinct station house, where they allegedly jailed and strip-searched Rodriguez and Laureano. Despite the parents’ pleas to have family pick up their kids, officers placed the children in interrogation rooms, the lawsuit says.
After five hours, cops told the family they were free, but didn’t offer an explanation or provide transportation home, according to the lawsuit.
Rodriguez declined to discuss the lawsuit.
The city Law Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“We will review these claims when we receive a formal copy of the lawsuit,” an agency spokeswoman said.