© Court exhibit /Federal court filings The aftermath of the Greenwood Village Police Department’s 20-hour standoff with an armed shoplifting suspect at the Lech residence (Exhibit from Lech v. City of Greenwood Village)
Projectiles were still lodged in the walls. Glass and wooden paneling crumbled on the ground below the gaping holes, and inside, the family’s belongings and furniture appeared thrashed in a heap of insulation and drywall. Leo Lech, who rented the home to his son, thought it looked like al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s compound after the raid that killed him.
But now it was just a neighborhood crime scene, the suburban home where an armed Walmart shoplifting suspect randomly barricaded himself after fleeing the store on a June afternoon in 2015. For 19 hours, the suspect holed up in a bathroom as a SWAT team fired gas munition and 40-millimeter rounds through the windows, drove an armored vehicle through the doors, tossed flash-bang grenades inside and used explosives to blow out the walls. Got to use all those toys some how right?
The suspect was captured alive, but the home was utterly destroyed, eventually condemned to be demolished by the City of Greenwood Village.
That left Leo Lech’s son, John Lech — who lived there with his girlfriend and her 9-year-old son — without a home. The city refused to compensate the Lech family for their losses but offered $5,000 in temporary rental assistance and for the insurance deductible. That was might nice of them wasn’t it?
Now, after the Leches sued, a federal appeals court has decided what else the city owes the Lech family for destroying their house more than four years ago: nothing.
The Lechs had sued under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which guarantees citizens compensation if their property is seized by the government for public use. But the court said that Greenwood Village was acting within its “police power” when it damaged the house, which the court said doesn’t qualify as a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment. The court acknowledged that this may seem “unfair,” but when police have to protect the public, they can’t be “burdened with the condition” that they compensate whoever is damaged by their actions along the way.
“It just goes to show that they can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, ‘See you later. Deal with it,’ ” Leo Lech said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday. “What happened to us should never happen in this country, ever.”
You really have to read the entire thing to believe it.
I‘m thinking these Top. Men. should get some more government funding, Maybe an APC, an MRAP and a Blackhawk would really get things going int he neighborhood.