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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
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That’s Illegal, Homeowner Tells Idaho Cops

BOISE (CN) - A woman told a policeman he couldn't enter her home without a warrant, but he did it anyway, put her in a hammerlock, stuck a knee in her back and told her guests, "See, this is what happens when you don't cooperate with the police," the woman claims in Federal Court.

Melissa Miller sued the City of Post Falls and its police chief, her alleged assailant Officer Neil Uhrig, and six other officers, in Federal Court.

Miller says she was asleep on Dec. 10, 2011 when she was awakened at about 11:30 p.m. by her 9-year-old daughter, who told her two police officers were coming.

Miller claims she was walking downstairs when Uhrig opened the front door and stuck his foot inside to hold the door open.

"Plaintiff continued down to the front door, at which point officer Uhrig told her that he was 'going to search her house,'" Miller says in the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff, who was standing in the doorway at this point, immediately said to officer Uhrig, 'No you are not.'"

But Uhrig pushed his way inside, twisted her arm up behind her back and pushed her onto the coach and floor, with his knee in her back, Miller says. Her family and friends watched as he handcuffed her and said, "See, this is what happens when you don't cooperate with the police," according to the complaint.

Uhrig was looking for a runaway child. Miller says her family told him the girl had been there, but had left about 15 minutes ago.

Uhrig drew his weapon and searched the rest of the house, including a separate, attached apartment. He identified two marijuana "grows," one in the attached apartment and one in another part of Miller's home, according to the complaint.

Miller says the plants were not hers.

The evidence was thrown out at an Oct. 12, 2012 suppression hearing, according to the lawsuit. Miller said the judge found that Uhrig and co-defendant Post Falls police officers made a warrantless entry into the home and that "none of the well-delineated exceptions to the warrant requirement ... of the Constitution of the State of Idaho (or the Fourth Amendment to the constitution of the United States) are applicable to the facts in this case." (Parentheses in complaint.)

Miller claims she suffers trauma from the illegal search, physical injuries and medical expenses.

She seeks damages for excessive force and unconstitutional search and seizure.

She is represented by Larry Kuznets, with Powell Kuznets & Parker, in Spokane, Wash.

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