SAN DIEGO (CN) - DEA agents invited the media to watch them blow up a Hells Angels clubhouse, though they knew they could have opened it with a key, the landlord claims in court.
Maurice Peter Eunice sued the United States of America in Federal Court, claiming DEA agents and police needlessly blew up his building in El Cajon to show off for the media.
The publicity-hungry agents never even asked him for a key, Eunice says.
Eunice had leased the building, formerly a taco shop, to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. He claims the only one inside the house when the DEA blew it up was a frightened 3-year old dog called Molly, whom the agents let run onto a busy street after the explosions.
"They called Mr. Eunice after the explosions to let him know to come to the property and served him with a copy of the warrant," Eunice says in his complaint.
Eunice, an expatriate Englishman, calls himself an "avid motorcycle collector and enthusiast," and says he owns several properties on El Cajon Boulevard, including the former taco shop.
The DEA took the media with them when they blew up the building on Aug. 2, 2011, and brought along El Cajon and La Mesa police, Eunice says in the complaint.
The DEA had a warrant. But Eunice claims the DEA "knew there was no reason to blow up" the clubhouse, and "acted out of malice to intimidate" him and to "show their authority" in front of cameras.
"These agents held animus and ill will toward members of the Hells Angels. They wanted to punish, deter and intimidate Mr. Eunice who leased his properties to the Hells Angels to use as their clubhouse," the complaint states.
In addition to structural damage, the explosions burst a water line, Eunice says.
After bombing it, agents entered the clubhouse, shattered windows and threw photographs, presumably of club members, onto the floor, "stepping on the faces of the people depicted in the photographs," the complaint states.
"When Mr. Eunice arrived on his properties, he was met with six to nine law enforcement officers around the perimeter. Two officers carrying AR-15s [semi-automatic rifles] and other law enforcement officials kept him outside for approximately thirty to forty minutes as they continued their destruction inside the properties," the complaint states.
Eunice says agents handed him a copy of a search warrant for some Hells Angels and told him that he would have to pay for the repairs.
Eunice claims that he filed a complaint against the United States and police officers in June 2011, but dismissed the case because his Federal Tort Claims Act claims were premature.
He seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, trespass to land, private nuisance, and violation of his civil rights under California's Bane Act.
He is represented by Eugene Iredale, with Iredale & Yoo.
The DEA could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours on Friday.
Video of the raid was still online this morning.
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