Womenz Magazine

Texas police chief is placed on leave following a raid that targeted wrong house and innocent teen

Galveston.gov

In a botched raid connected to a murder probe this month, officers broke into the wrong Texas house, resulting in the suspension of Galveston’s police chief, officials said. Police Chief Doug Balli was placed on a 10-day administrative leave Friday by City Manager Brian Maxwell in connection with an alleged “failure of communication regarding the January 22 search,” City Hall stated in a statement Monday.

Andre Mitchell, Assistant Police Chief, has been appointed acting chief. According to Nbcnews, SWAT officers entered a home in search of a 17-year-old kid accused of murdering Malik Dunn, 25, on January 20, according to officials. The wanted adolescent does not live at that address and was eventually cleared of any involvement in the slaying, according to officials.

“During the search, officers determined the suspect was not located in the residence,” City Hall said Monday. “Later, after performing the search, the department received new information contradicting the initial basis for the arrest.” Balli, the chief, could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon at any of the publicly listed phone lines.

Erika Rios, who lives in the searched home, told NBC station KPRC in Houston that she and her children were asleep when police arrived. “About 2 a.m., we were awakened by wooden pellets flying through our doors and sounds of the Galveston Police Department [saying], ‘Come out with your hands up,'” Rios told the station.

Chelsea Peralez, her daughter, said the whole experience left her shaken. “I was scared, screaming,” Peralez told KPRC. “I ended up going to my brother, asking what they were doing, and they continuously kept shooting the wooden pellets.” Rios was unavailable for comment on Monday. Tony Buzbee, the family’s attorney, said the family will speak publicly about the raid during a news conference on Wednesday.

The mayor and city manager claimed they first learned about the raid through news reports on Friday. As a result, they launched an “internal investigation to determine what communication failures delayed the notification to City Administration,” the City Hall statement said. While admitting that its relationship with Balli is “more often adversarial,” the union that represents Galveston police officers expressed support for the chief.

Balli would never “intentionally or knowingly allow an officer, specialized unit, or even a citizen to harm someone, or violate the law,” the union said in a statement. “If by chance there was a miscommunication issue, it will be uncovered and addressed in the investigation,” the statement continued. “Chief Balli would also never allow facts or actions to be hidden or concealed. Chief Balli is an upstanding citizen and leader who cares about the Island.”

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