3am Reminder or 4th Amendment Violation?
Terrence Brown - MN C.H.A.N.G.E
June 21, 2008
Troy Molde was woken up by Lakeville police in Minnesota at 3 am. on Thursday. Lakeville police stopped in front of his residence when they noticed the garage door was open. The officers rang the doorbell and knocked on the front door but when this didn't work they felt that this was just cause to enter his garage and investigate further. According to the Pioneer Press, the officers told Molde his garage door was open, the TV was on, keys to his truck were left in the ignition and the door to his house was ajar. Police said the intrusion was justified because the officers' initial door knocks went unanswered. Police went inside to check if anything was wrong, Sgt. Jim Puncochar said.
The day after the incident Troy spoke about his ordeal on the Chris Baker radio show. He talks about what he did prior to the incident "...my car was in my garage with my keys in the ignition but I've always done that so I don't lose my key. Normally I shut my garage but I just happened to forget to shut it that night." He also disputes the some of the claims made by police and media "...the article says that the door was ajar, it wasn't, it has a spring on it so it wouldn't stay ajar and so the door was closed." He goes on to say "...they actually came out again last night for damage control and the Sargent said that the story was they looked in the window and saw a child sleeping on the floor which wasn't the case. It was never mentioned when they were there and it was a hardwood floor ...when the sergeant came out last time he apologized, well not really apologized but he said heres our story it kind of pissed me off when the story changed."
Troy feels that his constitutional rights were violated and under the fourth amendment which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures he may be right. The police retort that they were there to prevent a crime. The mainstream media has been covering this story since it broke but at the same time they've spinning it with the "what if" scenarios verses the basic questions they should be asking. Is it constitutional for a officer to walk into my home without probable cause? Do I have rights and were they violated? Police officers swore an oath to uphold the constitution and at what point does prevention become violation.
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