City Pays Resident $50,000 for Police Break In

City Pays Resident $50,000 for Police Break In

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The city has paid $50,000 to settle a suit by a resident who was arrested by police who broke into his home following a complaint of a loud party.

The city also must pay the man's legal fees.

The settlement came after U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball ruled last December that Officer Michael Hardin violated the rights of David Andrew Callaway when he broke into the man's home in January 2001.

Police were called to the home on Jan. 7 to investigate reports of a loud party.

After knocking, ringing the doorbell several times and yelling and getting no response, officers tried to kick in the front door. They were unable to do so, but after several more warnings, police eventually kicked in the back door.

Once inside, police found two men in beds on different levels of the home. They arrested both men, and Callaway was later charged with disturbing the peace and obstruction of justice. Both charges were later dismissed. He filed the federal civil-rights lawsuit in December 2001.

Kimball said there are few exceptions in which police can enter a private residence without a warrant. Among them must be a determination that an emergency, or "exigent circumstances," exist, which, the judge said, was not the case here.

"If the refusal to answer a door were to be considered an exigent circumstance," Kimball wrote, "then police officers would always be assured entry into a residence without a warrant because either the suspect would consent, or if consent was refused, the police could use that refusal to justify their forced entry into the house.

"The alleged offense was a minor misdemeanor, which further bolsters this court's conclusion that no exigent circumstances were present to justify the warrantless entry and arrest," he said.

After Kimball determined Hardin was liable, the city attorney's office and Callaway's attorney entered into a mediation program to arrive at a settlement.

The settlement was paid Monday.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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