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TRI In The News

Legal Action on Horizon After Police 'Raid'

A Virginia man has been given the go-ahead to pursue action against the Charlottesville Police Department after being subjected to what an attorney describes as "a SWAT team raid."

After Benjamin Burruss, 58, had an argument with his wife, he asked his employer for time off to take a hunting trip and think things over. That's when his boss called police and asked officers to do a welfare check on Burruss. 

"The police surrounded his car, put a stinger device on his rear tires so if he moved it would blow out the tires," says John Whitehead, attorney and founder of The Rutherford Institute. "They surrounded it with armed officers and they talked to him."

Whitehead tells OneNewsNow that while Burruss was in the truck, he was afraid and would not open the door.

"They asked if he had a gun [and] he said yes but he showed it was an empty hunting rifle," the attorney says. He adds that members of the SWAT team later smashed through the truck window.

"On the video cam ... the officer who was talking with him [actually admitted that] they shouldn't be there, there was nothing wrong with this guy," Whitehead says. "They crashed through and did a SWAT team raid on him, they slammed him down, handcuffed him and took him to a mental hospital where he was found to be not mentally unstable."

According to Whitehead, Burruss was in the facility for 72 hours. The Rutherford Institute filed suit. In a recent court hearing, police asked that the case be dismissed. The federal judge said no, giving Burruss the opportunity to prove in court his rights were violated.