Grounds for excessive force charges in antiquity raids

A Federal Judge has ruled that the family of Dr. James Redd may pursue allegations that a federal law enforcement agent used excessive force during the 2009 antiquities raids in Blanding.
Daniel Love, a law enforcement agent for the Bureau of Land Management, conducted the investigation and the raids.
In an early morning raid on June 10, 2009, Dr. Redd was arrested, along with dozens of other area residents. They faced various charges related to the sale of ancient artifacts.
Dozens of armed federal agents participated in the raids and the subsequent interrogation of the residents.
Dr. Redd committed suicide the day after the raids. His family charged in federal court that the agents conducting the raids violated Redd’s Constitutional rights with five separate claims.
Federal Judge Robert Shelby dismissed four of the claims, but ruled that the family could move forward in the excessive force claims against Love.
In the ruling, Jenkins wrote:
“Trafficking in stolen Native American artifacts and theft of tribal property are issues of such importance that Congress has specifically criminalized the behavior.
“Yet, the single felony charge against Dr. Redd, and the alleged facts underlying the charge, compel the conclusion that in the overall scheme of federal criminal conduct, the crime with which Dr. Redd was charged is of comparatively low severity.
“For example, in contrast to massive drug-trafficking conspiracies, kidnapping, murder, and child sex offenses, the crime Dr. Redd was accused of committing was nonviolent and posed no immediate threat to anyone.
“Nothing about the Native American artifact trafficking charge at issue could objectively cause anyone to believe that Dr. Redd had the disposition to engage in a violent standoff with officers.
“Nothing about the alleged facts underlying the charge would suggest to a reasonable officer that 80 to 140 heavily armed agents in flak jackets were necessary to subdue and arrest Dr. Redd, an aged community physician who had served the Blanding area for over 30 years.
“Second, nothing about the alleged circumstances here suggest that Dr. Redd posed an immediate threat to the safety of law enforcement officers or others at the time Agent Love decided to execute the warrant.
“As noted, Dr. Redd was a respected doctor in the community with no known history of violence. Nothing in the record suggests agents believed Dr. Redd was engaged in criminal activity when the warrant was executed in the early morning hours of June 10, 2009.
“And while Dr. Redd arrived at his home shortly after agents began the raid, he was returning only from a morning visit to his clinic—not from any alleged criminal activity…
“Finally, there is no evidence at all that Dr. Redd or anyone at his home resisted arrest in any way during the execution of the warrant. At a minimum, it was unreasonable on the facts alleged in the Complaint for Agent Love to call more agents to Dr. Redd’s home after he and his family were already sequestered, and posed no danger to anyone.
“Viewing Dr. Redd’s alleged facts as true… the court must conclude that he has sufficiently alleged facts that support a claim against Agent Love for violation of his Fourth Amendment protection from the use of excessive force.”

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