What can police do and not do when they visit your home?
It’s a conversation many are having after Wichita police intentionally turned and blocked a camera on Sunday night.
“Due to safety concerns, one of the officers turned the camera away from where officers were standing on the porch,” explains officer Charley Davidson.
“It is an invasion of your privacy,” says Defense Attorney Dan Monnat.
In a report filed following the incident, one of the responding officers says they turned the camera to gain tactical advantage, adding “hopes that the occupants inside the residence would not see that it was the police there and open the door.”
“In our policy, we can do what we need to stay safe,” says officer Davidson. “This was a violent, known offender.”
Of course, safety is a top priority for police, but Monnat says what this officer did, violated the homeowners rights.
“Police officers can’t go on your porch and do to your private property what would inspire most of us to, well, call the police.”
Without a warrant, Monnat thinks this was a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. The right of the people against unreasonable searches and seizures.
He says the amendment serves two purposes, to protect your rights, and the officers’.
“Officer safety is always a concern. It is a concern that the Fourth Amendment takes care of. It requires them to do what is reasonable. Obtain a warrant. If they are going to do more than an invitee, or social visitor is entitled to do. Come on the porch.”
Police say they are going to do an internal investigation of the incident which includes the body camera footage from that night.