Just when it seemed the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights couldn’t possibly be in any greater peril of extinction, now the Third Amendment seems to be a candidate for inclusion on the endangered list.
A man and his family from suburban Las Vegas have sued local police for violation of their rights as guaranteed by the Third Amendment to the Constitution.
The Third Amendment reads: "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."
The tale told by Anthony Mitchell of how he and his family were robbed of these rights is compelling and cautionary.
Mitchell was sitting at home in Henderson, Nevada, on the morning of July 10, 2011, when the phone rang. Officer Christopher Worley of the Henderson Police Department was calling Mitchell to tell him that the police were going to take over his house. In order to gain “tactical advantage” over Mitchell’s next door neighbor, Officer Worley reportedly explained, police were going to set up shop in Mitchell’s house.
There was no asking if Mitchell would mind such a surrender of his home. The officer was informing Mitchell that they would be commandeering his house. In his legal complaint against the Henderson Police Department, Mitchell claims that he didn’t want to get involved with the police department’s operation against his neighbor and accordingly refused to let police occupy his home.
Not surprisingly, Mitchell’s refusal didn’t sit well with law enforcement. Again, according to Mitchell’s complaint, Officer David Cawthorn of the Henderson Police Department, one of the members of the force who were named as defendants in Mitchell’s lawsuit, “outlined the defendants' plan in his official report: 'It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.'”
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