Originally posted on: 2008-01-13
Original location: http://blog.chrisheath.us/2008/01/13/540/police-break-into-house-to-take-child-to-the-er/
A family home was the scene of an unannounced police raid because the authorities suspected that the parents had failed to provide proper medical care for their 11-year-old boy who suffered a head injury.
The elder Shiflett was a medic in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. With that experience, he is quite capable of assessing a whole host of injuries and properly monitoring an injured patient. He reported that Jon's eyes were not dilated, and that the child appeared to be okay except for some cuts, the bump on his head and a developing black eye.
In the meantime, however, someone (a nosy neighbor, perhaps) had called a rescue squad. They arrived at the Shiflett home and examined the boy. The boy's parents, however, refused transport to the hospital for treatment. According to Mr. Shiflett, it wasn't necessary. "I told them I didn't call for an ambulance. We're taking care of it," he said.
Rebuffed, the paramedics retreated from the house, and contacted social services who made a surprise visit to the Shiflett home the next day. Two caseworkers were allowed to look at the boy but Shiflett again refused to let them take the child. They vowed to return with a court order. And so they did.
This time, heavily armed law enforcement officials arrived and without warning forcibly entered the house. Mom Tina Shiflett said they were wearing masks, broke down the door with a battering ram, and pointed a gun at their 20-year-old daughter's head. Both parents and one daughter were handcuffed.
How could such an innocent American family suffer from such an apparently egregious abuse of power. What were police told about the situation that led to such an apparent overreaction? Well, here's one clue. A first responder from the ambulance service wrote in an affidavit that she and other responders believed the child needed medical attention, but that they had to leave the premises as they feared for their own safety because Mr. Shiflett was "verbally abusive." But Ross Talbott, the owner of the mobile home park where the injury occurred, said that never happened. Talbott was present when the paramedics were in the home and said it was the paramedics who were acting belligerent.
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