Column: R.I.P. Third Amendment

I’ve long observed that every single one of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights has at one time been ignored, abused or trammeled — except the Third, which prohibits housing soldiers in private homes.

Now the Third appears to have been stomped on, as reported in this week’s column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Nevada a month ago, Henderson resident Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell accuse the Henderson and North Las Vegas police of commandeering their two homes, which are across the street from each other, to use as staging posts during an hours-long standoff with a domestic violence suspect holed up in a nearby home.

The suit claims a “deprivation of rights, privileges, and immunities secured to Plaintiffs under the Third, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”

Home of Anthony Mitchell. (R-J photo)

According to the lawsuit, in 2011, Henderson police responded to a domestic violence call. At 10:45 a.m., an officer contacted Anthony Mitchell by phone and told him the police needed to occupy his home to gain a “tactical advantage.”

Mitchell said he did not want to get involved and did not want police in his home.

An hour later officers commanded him to open the door. Police smashed in his door with a metal ram shot him and his dog with “pepperball” rounds, which release a pepper spray.

Meanwhile, police had asked Anthony’s father Michael to accompany them to a command center a quarter of a mile away, but then refused to allow him to return home.

Hours into the standoff, police banged on Michael and Linda Mitchell’s back door. Linda Mitchell opened the door refused to allow them entry. One officer seized her by the arm, and other officers entered her home.

Both Michael and Anthony Mitchell were arrested and held for at least nine hours. All charges have been dismissed. Charges against the holed-up domestic violence suspect have been dismissed, too.

Rest in peace, Third Amendment, beside the other nine.

Read the entire column at the Ely or Elko sites.

The lawsuit: Mitchells v. Henderson Police et al

7 comments on “Column: R.I.P. Third Amendment

  1. Wendy Ellis says:

    I am shocked, but in these times, not surprised. These cops behaved worse than the baboons in South Africa! Am I really the first person to comment on this? I read the entire column, as well as the lawsuit link.

  2. Steve says:

    It’s not over yet.

    The lawsuit, while it should not have come to this, will determine what type of outrage we should express. Also us locals began following it from the day it made news.

    With the numbers of Swat involved and the questions about whether the people in those homes were taking actual steps to help the suspect, with all the judgement’s sealed things are a bit muddy right now. If not invisible.

    1 If the police were wrong then it is most likely institutional.

    2 If the neighbors were part and parcel involved in aiding a suspect then the police were correct, if possibly wrong in the methods used.

    There is one thing clear in this, lack of transparency in government is hurting our impression of government.

  3. […] that one went South when the Henderson cops commandeered two homes to use as staging posts during an hours-long standoff with a domestic violence suspect holed up in […]

  4. […] the Third is also suspect as I reported here. The courts have since ruled that cops are not soldiers. They sure look alike and are armed […]

  5. […] the Third is also suspect as I reported here. The courts have since ruled that cops are not soldiers. They sure look alike and are armed […]

  6. […] the Third is also suspect as I reported here. The courts have since ruled that cops are not soldiers. They sure look alike and are armed […]

  7. […] the Third is also suspect as I reported here. The courts have since ruled that cops are not soldiers. They sure look alike and are armed […]

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