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Raid Of The Day: NYPD Mistakenly Busts In On Octogenerian Couple

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Note: The "Raid of the Day" features accounts of police raids I've found, researched, and reported while writing my forthcoming book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. It's due out in July, but you can pre-order it here.

On March 31, 2004, six officers toting riot shields and military-style weapons rapped on the door to the Brooklyn apartment of 84-year-old Martin Goldberg and his wife Leona, 82. When Goldberg opened the door, police stormed the apartment, pushing Mr. Goldberg aside and ordering him to the floor. “They charged in like an army,” Goldberg, a decorated World War II vet, told the New York Post.

“They knocked pictures off the wall.” The police had the wrong apartment. The investigation veered off course 10 days earlier, when an informant pointed police to one of two housing project buildings as the home of a drug dealer. The cops just stormed the wrong building. Shortly after the raid, Leona Goldberg was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat. “It was terrible. . . . It was the most frightening experience of my life. . . . I thought it was a terrorist attack,” Mrs. Goldberg told the Post.

An NYPD officer later told the paper, “Obviously, there was a breakdown in communication. These were relatively inexperienced officers, and they may have been less than vigilant.”

Source: Stew Padasso, "NYPD Raid Elderly Couple (wrong address)," April 3, 2004.

Filed by Radley Balko