Thursday, June 9, 2011
Questions surround feds' raid of Stockton home
STOCKTON, CA - A federal education official Wednesday morning offered little information as to why federal agents raided a Stockton man's home Tuesday.
DOCUMENT: Search Warrant
The resident, Kenneth Wright, does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe why what he thought was a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 in the morning.
"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said.
As Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts, he said the officers barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
"He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there," Wright said.
According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children, ages 3, 7, and 11, and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.
"They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids," Wright said.
As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for - Wright's estranged wife - was not there.
Wright said he later went to Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston and Stockton Police Department, but learned the city of Stockton had nothing to do with the search warrant.
U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton confirmed for News10 Wednesday morning federal agents with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), not local S.W.A.T., served the search warrant. Hamilton would not say specifically why the raid took place except that it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Hamilton said the search was not related to student loans in default as reported in the local media.
OIG is a semi-independent branch of the education department that executes warrants for criminal offenses such as student aid fraud, embezzlement of federal aid and bribery, according to Hamilton. The agency serves 30 to 35 search warrants a year.
"They busted down my door for this," Wright said. "It wasn't even me."
The Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car just for a police presence when carrying out the search warrant.
Police officers did not participate in breaking Wright's door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.
"All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door," Wright said.