A Minneapolis family is outraged that members of the SWAT team that mistakenly raided their house and fired upon them last December have been awarded medals for their bravery under fire.Terrorize an innocent family? Here's a medal! Call it the U.S. government's way of covering up incompetence by simply calling it valor.
Vang Khang and his family had the fright of a lifetime when they believed their home was being invaded by burglars, or worse. It was actually a SWAT team, conducting a high-risk search warrant -- on the wrong house.
Acting on tips from a gang informant, police forced their way into the North Minneapolis home in the early morning of December 16 and traded fire with a terrified Khang, police said.
On Monday, Police chief Tim Dolan awarded all eight SWAT team members medals for "bravery in action under fire," police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia told ABCNews.com.
Based on information given from the unnamed former gang member, police had successfully raided three other houses earlier that evening, resulting in multiple arrests of gang members and the discovery of illegal drugs and weapons, Garcia said.
According to Garcia, the informant claimed to have lived in the final residence, Khang's home, with many high-level gang members.
"We had the right house and right address -- according to what the informant told us -- but it's unclear why she gave that address, since the family had no ties whatsoever to the gang," Garcia explained.
According to Heffelfinger, the Laotian family has owned and lived in the house for four years and had no knowledge of the female police informant. "Ironically, the house is located across the street from a police precinct," Heffelfinger said, "so, if [the SWAT team] had simply asked the precinct, they would have learned the family was not gang bangers."
"They were acting in good faith on a warrant that was properly drawn up, based off of what appeared to be good information," Garcia said. "Their bravery under fire should not be negated [because of the misinformation]."
Case in point: President Bush awarding former CIA director George Tenet a "Presidential Medal of Freedom" for his part in selling an illegal war of aggression to the American public.
At least in the case of the Minnesota family, no one died as a result of the police's actions. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Bush or Tenet.