Nine years ago, two women, 42-year-old Caroline Burley and her 61-year-old mother Geraldine Burley, were the victims of a violent police raid in Washington D.C., as reported by the Washington Post. In search of narcotics, the raid was part of “Operation Eight Mile,” which was a three-day-long effort by federal, state, and local police agencies to bust homes along the Burley’s road for drugs. None of the raids proved worthy of the incredible man-power, expense, and terror unleashed upon the citizens. Few narcotics were found and hundreds of people’s civil rights had been violated.
The Burleys had guns pointed at their faces, been screamed at, thrown against furniture and to the ground, and then been stepped on by the booted agents. When the dust was cleared that late night in 2007, none of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents or police officers gave the women their names. Their faces had been hidden underneath masks and their badge identities undisclosed. In the years that ensued, the women have tried, failed, and tried again to find justice. Each time their civil rights lawsuit has been shut down because the identities of those masked agents has never been found.
The Identity of Individual Officers Must be Known to File a Civil Rights Lawsuit
Because the officers never revealed their identity, and in fact had supplied a false team name to the women at the time of the raid, their efforts to expose those individuals has fallen short. When they filed their first lawsuit, the Burleys were given the names of the agents who participated. Originally, those DEA agents denied violating any civil rights but did not deny participating in that particular raid. However, later during the lawsuit depositions, those same officers denied being present in that raid, claiming that they had been part of the team that had raided another house.
The DEA claimed that because the original Team 6 had been divided in two, the half of the team that had been deposed was not at the Burley’s home. The DEA said that the original list of names they supplied was an error. But, when the second half was deposed, each of those officers also denied being present in the raid on the Burley’s home, claiming that they were at another raid at the time. The Burley’s lawsuit failed, as did the first and second appeals on the grounds that the officers’ identities could never be found. The plaintiffs were required to identify the officers who assaulted them and violated their civil rights, yet the DEA covered up their identities, in addition to the agent's’ efforts themselves to do so, and essentially lied about who was at the raid. This shows a massive failure in justice within the justice department. Raids are inherently violent, messy, and dishonest.
The dishonesty often, unfortunately, continues in the aftermath to cover up what actually happened. Police violence usually goes by unnoticed, evidenced in the fact that in the last 15 years and 702 Chicago police shootings, not one police officer has seen criminal civil rights charges brought against them, according to the Chicago Tribune. If you have had your civil rights violated, contact the experienced Chicago civil rights attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906.