Boise police broke down the front door of a North End apartment early Thursday morning and threw in a flash-bang device, but it turned out officers were not where they were supposed to be.
The management of the apartment complex distributed a letter to residents calling the incident “a horrendous mistake” by police responding to an incorrect address. After being contacted by the Statesman on Thursday evening and Friday, Boise police issued a statement confirming the mistake.
“This error is rare and certainly regrettable,” said Eugene Smith, deputy chief of operations for the Boise Police Department. “Officers apologized to the apartment occupants and quickly began to do all they could to make it right, including paying for repairs and securing the apartment.
“The incident is being carefully reviewed to find out just what happened and be sure we’re doing all we can to prevent it happening in the future.”
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Residents of the Parkhill Apartments at North 15th Street and Hill Road were awakened about 2:30 a.m. by “what sounded like a gunshot,” said Harrison Wheeler, adding that a neighbor next door to the raided apartment later explained what the alarming sound was.
Wheeler said he looked outside to see flashing police lights, a SWAT-style vehicle and considerable commotion across the parking lot.
“We saw people in handcuffs, then out of handcuffs, being questioned,” he said. “It was an interesting way to wake up.”
Boise police reported that officers were serving a search warrant following “an ongoing investigation into numerous neighborhood complaints about suspected drug dealing and thefts.”
“During the course of the investigation, a possible suspect and several associates, including those with a criminal history of drugs, firearms and violence toward officers, were identified,” police said in the statement. “An address believed connected to the suspected criminal activity was also identified. The address was confirmed by several sources. However, after making entry into the apartment officers quickly realized the address was incorrect.
“The two people inside the apartment were understandably startled, yet very cooperative and after the situation was explained by officers appeared to understand. Officers offered to provide hotel accommodations to the two occupants. They declined and were able to make other arrangements.
“An officer stayed posted at the apartment throughout the night to keep it secure. Officers immediately contacted property managers to begin repair on the minor damage done upon entry at department expense.”
Here is the text of the letter Parkhill residents found in their doors Thursday morning . A Parklane Management Co. representative said it was distributed to reassure residents that the complex is safe.
Early this morning Boise City Police Department arrived at the complex, and unfortunately had the incorrect address. Boise City Police is distraught by this horrendous mistake and is doing everything they can to rectify the situation.
“The tenants closest to the incident were most affected by the noise & commotion that was caused when entering the apartment, and understandably I am sure most of you were nervous, scared and or upset. Please know Parklane Management & Boise City Police Department will continue to work together to keep Parkhill a safe community.”
Information on whether police went on to serve a warrant in the case at a different address was not available Friday night. Police said the criminal investigation that sparked the raid is ongoing, so details of that case cannot be released at this time.