Owner of House Burned-down In Drug Raid Wants Public
Recently a fire ignited during a drug raid reduced Myria Major's rental
property to a charred concrete shell filled with soggy rubbish.
When she stepped inside Wednesday, Major looked beyond the rubble to her
"I came here quite often as a little girl, almost every weekend, on
holidays and on school vacations," she said.
Major returned last week from her new home in Michigan to survey the damage
and demand an apology. "I want Goliath Davis, the chief of police, and ...
Mayor [Rick] Baker to come here to the black community and give a public
Major said the officers who raided her tenants' residence June 12 should
never have used the distraction device police call a "flash- bang."
The flash-bang started the fire.
Police say they dropped the device down a stairwell during the raid to
protect officersas the suspects fled to the building's first floor.
The device immediately set fire to soundproofing material lining the walls
of a music studio in the home.
Police spokesman Rick Stelljes said Wednesday: "It's very unfortunate the
fire occurred. We didn't go out there with the intention of setting the
house on fire."
Major's attorney, Bradley Wood, does not dispute that the fire was
accidental but said police were negligent in their use of the device.
"Just the logic of using such a device in this type of situation seems
suspect to us," Wood said.
Wood has filed a claim against the city and said he wants replacement value
for the home. The Pinellas County property appraiser lists its market value
Cathy Bernoskie, the claims supervisor for the city's risk management
department, said she cannot discuss pending cases.
One of the tenants who was not named in the search warrant, Christopher
Crosdale, also has filed a claim.
Crosdale's attorney, Tom Wadley, said the value of Crosdale's recording
equipment and recorded music "could be upwards of $100,000."
Police said confidential informants repeatedly bought marijuana from
tenants at the house.
Police said they couldn't make any arrests after the raid because evidence,
if there was any, went up in smoke.
Major called the destruction of the inherited home that belonged to her
family for 40 years a disgrace.
"I feel that my aunt is actually turning over in her grave because of this
situation. I really feel sad."
Check out the original story
Drug Raid Sets House On Fire (6-14-01)
Section: Florida/Metro page 2
Author: Mark Douglas of WFLA, News Channel 8
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/raids.htm (Drug Raids)