Texas police chief on leave after botched SWAT raid causes $5,000 in damage to family's home
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The police chief of Galveston, Texas has been placed on leave following a botched SWAT raid that trashed an innocent family's home, reported The Galveston County Daily News.

"Police Chief Doug Balli is on paid administrative leave for no more than 10 days after city leaders were blindsided with news about a SWAT raid that terrified a family and did an estimated $5,000 in damage to their home, City Manager Brian Maxwell said Saturday," reported Trace Harris. "Maxwell, Mayor Craig Brown and District Four Councilman Michael Bouvier, who represents residents in the area, were unaware the raid had occurred just before 2 a.m. Sunday morning in the 5300 block of Avenue O until a news article was published about it Friday."

According to the report, the SWAT team "shattered windows, bashed in a door, ripped out wiring and fired 15 'flashbangs,' causing more than $5,000 in damage."

Making matters worse, police did this at a house where they were searching for an alleged suspect who was not at the house and who had already been exonerated after police determined that a witness had made false accusations against him.

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City Manager Maxwell did not shy away from admitting that law enforcement officials made a major mistake in conducting the raid.

"There was a major breakdown in communication and we want to figure out why the city was not in the loop,” said Maxwell. “This decision was solely based on the lack of communication and not related to the raid. We need to figure out if the communication lapse was just a lack of oversight or whether there was intent, which I do not believe to be the case."

SWAT raids, intended for situations in which a suspect is armed and extremely dangerous, can themselves pose life-threatening risks for civilians when they are mistakenly targeted. This has sometimes been weaponized, leading to the practice of "swatting," where a fake emergency response situation is called in to police at the home of an innocent person in the hope SWAT officials will harm, or at least intimidate, the target.

Experts have been warning for decades that the increased reliance on SWAT teams has become a threat to public safety.