'Outrageous': Judges slam FBI for not breaking down rich suspect's front door to preserve 'aesthetics'
FBI agent (AFP)

On Thursday, Mark Joseph Stern of Slate reported that a three-judge panel for the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia slammed the FBI's decision not to break down a door of a wealthy suspect for whom they knew that forced entry was necessary — instead going out of their way to enter through the back door.

The FBI's stated reason for this? The suspect lived in an "affluent neighborhood" — and the agents did not want to do anything to interfere with the "aesthetics" of his community."

Judge Patricia Millett excoriated the decision as "outrageous behavior by the FBI." Judge Robert Wilkins agreed, adding, "I was a public defender here for 10 years. I can't tell you how many times my clients had their front doors bashed in ... I don't remember a single time where any agent or police officer was worried about the aesthetics of what their house would look like."

In general, forced entry by police has come under greater scrutiny in recent years, particularly so-called "no-knock warrants" common in drug raids, where officers can kick in the door and begin searching the home without announcing their presence or requesting voluntary admittance. These raids have often ended in deaths of innocent people, most notably the death of medical worker Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

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