Protected & Served VII

a group of people standing in front of a house: 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)

© 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.


  1. I don’t have a problem with the cops doing what they did. Considering that it was a violent felon who invaded the house, holed up in there, shot at the cops…?

    Did I mention that he’s a three-strikes-you’re-out guy, who got 100 years for this little spree? Over a shirt and some belts…?

    Yeah. Not feeling the cop-hate over this one.

    But… That said? I completely fail to comprehend why the authorities are resisting making this guy whole. Insurance ain’t covering this BS; no homeowners policy would. So, if the state, in all its majesty, determines that they needed to destroy this guy’s house as a necessary “public good” in order to get the criminal, why the hell are they not stepping up to the plate and making the homeowner whole? I could understand it if this was the home of the criminal that got destroyed in the course of taking him into custody, but this was about as close as you could get to “Joe Random”, and because of that, the community ought to be looking at this as part of the cost of law enforcement. It’s nuts–The criminal in this case clearly needed apprehension. They got his ass, and in so doing, destroyed the property of an innocent bystander with considerable gusto, perhaps even excessive gusto. They need to pay for this guy’s house and property, even if it means that they write it off as a training event.

    Whole thing is nuts. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that judge’s ruling. I don’t get how this isn’t a form of eminent domain, informally inflicted as it was.

  2. No one is safe while thin blue isis is roaming the streets…

    “We (Your Glorious Overlords)…reject the Lechs’ assertion that the police power does not encompass the state’s ability to seize property from an innocent owner,” Judge Nancy Moritz wrote in her decision affirming the 2018 ruling, insisting “the defendants’ actions benefited the public.”

    “The state should not be required to pay for property damages incurred in the act of keeping the public safe, lest the threat of hefty compensation stop them from performing their duties,” Moritz continued.

    Let that sink in…

    • That’s the song I’m singing. I’d like to support the police. But I’ve come to see that they will only protect and serve me and mine when our interests overlap. That’s fine, but “support the police” isn’t a thing I’ll do anymore. They can support themselves.

      • yeah,t he thing is for most of us, we can protect ourselves better than they can protect us because we are already “there” with a gun or something. They are more like janitors who will come document your crime scene after you are dead. or try to find your stolen car. if they have time from all the other millions of crimes. at some point we crossed some weird line when they stopped being peace officers and became a domestic military on a full time war footing. the being city police being the worst for this.
        Hell I worked for the police at one time. one of my best friends is a state trooper. two guys involved in this website are cops. But there are less of them ( the good guys) than there are the ones who see everyone not a cop as a shitbag or are just looking to get it on.

      • Especially the way their pensions are bankrupting several states and lots of cities in this country.

        As I pointed out to a retired cop recently, who was trying to lecture me about “how there would be times I really wanted a cop” I pointed out that:

        a) I’m better armed and much better trained than most cops,
        b) I like large guard dogs that don’t need training to go imagine that they smell drugs,
        c) I own more than enough land and a backhoe to clean up after myself,
        d) if there were no cops, there would be no inhibition on my part from solving criminal activity in a much cheaper (to the taxpayer) and more permanent manner, and
        e) therefore, what he was actually saying was that his real job was protecting the criminals from people like me, not me, the law-abiding taxpayer, from the criminals.

        He had no response to this.

        At some point, we taxpayers need to drop the bullshit flag on cops and other public “servants” who have turned their jobs into a racket.

  3. The job of the Police is to maintain public order.
    Period, full stop.
    With a disparity in wealth greater than that of Nicaragua ( The poverty rate in California is the same as Gambia’s) the 1033 program and the various Patriot acts are a necessity to maintain the status quo.
    Radley Balko’s “Rise of the Warrior Cop” is well worth a read…
    It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

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