A SWAT team raided a family home in Arizona looking for a 2-year-old with a fever, breaking down the door with guns at the ready in security footage that has raised concern with a local lawmaker.
Authorities took three children, aged 2, 4, and 6, during the raid on Feb. 25, according to local reports and have yet to return home.
The raid was triggered when Sarah Beck and Brooks Bryce brought their feverish 2-year-old son to a naturopath, reported the Arizona Family.
The boy’s temperature was 105. The doctor advised them to head to the ER citing concerns over meningitis when they disclosed that the child was unvaccinated. But, according to the parents, his fever soon broke, dropping to 102 in the car on the way home.
— azcentral (@azcentral) March 27, 2019
But the doctor learned they had not gone to the ER and he called Children’s Services, who contacted Chandler police.
The mother and father refused to allow officers onto the property, talking with them on the phone and trying to convince them that the boy’s temperature had dropped to 100 degrees.
Armed with a court order granting temporary custody to DCS, and unable to verify the condition of the child, the SWAT team smashed their way in.
The incident occurred in Chandler, a city to the southwest of Phoenix.
State Rep. Kelly Townsend was instrumental in passing legislation that required Children’s Services to get a search warrant before removing children in nonemergency situations. After seeing footage of the raid, she’s now concerned about how the law is being applied.
“It was not the intent (of the law) that the level of force after obtaining a warrant was to bring in a SWAT team,” Townsend told the Arizona Republic. “The imagery is horrifying. What has our country become that we can tear down the doorway of a family who has a child with a high fever that disagrees with their doctor?”
“What about parents’ rights to decide what’s best for their child?” Townsend said. “Parents felt the child was fine. Next thing we know, the Gestapo is at their door.”
“The doctor chose to use DCS to remove the child, and DCS chose to use the police, and the police chose to use the SWAT team,” she told KGO-TV. “That is not the country that I recognize.”
The child actually had an upper respiratory infection and not meningitis like the doctor had feared, according to Townsend.
State Representative Kelly Townsend says she's troubled by video that shows Chandler police officers with guns drawn, forcing their way into a family's home.
“All because of a fever. A fever! It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Nicholas Boca, the family’s attorney told ABC15. “That type of kicking your door in, with guns drawn … it should be reserved for violent criminals.”
The DCS has declined to comment in media reports on the case, saying it would be in violation of privacy laws.
According to Arizona Family, a police report described the home as cluttered and messy, and “difficult to walk in the rooms.” with stains in the children’s bedrooms. The children told police they had vomited several times in their beds.
Police also said, “A shotgun was lying next to the bed, against the wall, and was not locked or secured.”
Police Break Down Door of Arizona Family at 1 AM to Medically Kidnap 3 Children Because Parents Refused to Take Child to…
But Bryce dismissed the reports, according to Arizona Family. “The clutter was laundry on our couch,” he said.
He said the shotgun was inert. “It does not work.”
He claims that he didn’t hear the police stating that they had a warrant for removal because they were sleeping in the back bedrooms with their sick children.
“I know people have the right not to let the police into their home,” he told the Republic. “But if the caseworker had called me or knocked, and shown me their warrant, I would’ve let them in.”
Bryce told The Republic on March 15 that DCS had placed their three children with his parents.
“We get to see them again,” he said. “Thank God.”