A family in San Joaquin County, California is demanding answers from the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office after their home was raided during a fireworks investigation.
Nicole McCurdy, an owner of the home, said, “Over the PA, they were saying, ‘Come out with your hands up with no weapons.’ I want to know why they had to use them, why they had to point their guns at me and my children. I would have answered the door.”
These types of law enforcement tactics are typical in situations where there’s an anticipated violent reaction, but the residents didn’t believe they were doing anything wrong.
McCurdy said that her family puts on a Fourth of July fireworks show along with a celebration and purchased their fireworks the same as they have in past years. McCurdy said the family purchased Safe and Sane Fireworks, which are legal to purchase in the state of California. Safe and Sane Fireworks don’t fly or explode, which makes them compliant with federal and state laws.
In McCurdy’s area, Ripon, California, the Safe and Sane Fireworks can legally be used from June 28 to July 6 and must include the State Fire Marshal’s Safe and Sane Seal.
McCurdy said, “For the last three years, we’ve gotten the fireworks from the same place, online, same types of foundations and none of the big ones.”
The sheriff’s office released a statement saying, “The search warrant stemmed from an ongoing investigation of an illegal fireworks operation that was connected to the home. Deputies had to take necessary precautions due to knowledge of criminal history and firearms in the home.”
Michael Schirmer, McCurdy’s husband, had to watch the incident over a ring doorbell camera. Schirmer recalled the agony he felt watching, and said, “You can’t help them. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch. And every time I see it, it kills me.”
Obviously, if these were hardened criminals that the sheriff’s office was dealing with then Schirmer shouldn’t have been surprised, but that wasn’t the case at all. At the time law enforcement executed the search warrant, McCurdy’s 3-year-old and 16-year-old daughters were at the home with her.
Schirmer continued, “ I think there could have been a much easier approach. I think they used far too many resources. They could have just knocked on the door and came right in.”
Typically law enforcement response has to meet a threshold of risk. Previous criminal charges, known presence of firearms, and other factors are considered before law enforcement responds to a location to execute a search warrant. The sheriff’s office said that it “conducts thorough reviews to ensure that policies, laws, and procedures were followed.”