Family's illegal search claim is dismissed
Susan and Kevin Stricker called "911" when they feared their son was suffering from a drug overdose. Protocol for the Township resulted in a police response to "secure the scene" for EMS personnel. The Strickers didn't expect a police response and Susan asked the responding Sergeant to leave the home. After noting that the 20-year old was sitting at a table and appeared pale, the Sergeant left the home. In the interim, he and other officers discussed prior heroin issues involving the young man and his brothers.
The Strickers then refused police re-entry into the house. Susan explained that she was a nurse and that in her opinion her son no longer needed emergency assistance. At the officers' request, the young man was brought to the window where they could assess his appearance, however, he refused to leave the home. Police then forced their way into the home, handcuffed the Strickers and searched the entire home--including breaking down the daughter's bedroom door. The son was charged with heroin use and the parents were charged with resisting and obstructing police. They responded with a civil lawsuit alleging a violation of their civil rights and an illegal search of the home.
The Court dismissed the parents' civil rights claim, holding that police had probable cause for their actions and that Township policies involving "securing the scene" for EMS and investigating potential drug overdoses were reasonable.