Court rules city doesn't have to pay family for destroying home during manhunt

Court rules city doesn't have to pay family for destroying home during manhunt
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A panel of federal appeals court judges has ruled that a Colorado city does not have to reimburse a man after it destroyed his suburban Denver home during a police raid after a suspect holed up inside the house.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously ruled that the city of Greenwood Village, Colo., is not required to pay back homeowners for damages inflicted to their property during law enforcement actions.


Leo Lech, the home's owner, says he is considering taking the case to the Supreme Court. He originally sued the city on behalf of his son, who lived in the home with his girlfriend and her young son; all were left homeless after the police raid in 2015.

SWAT teams attempting to capture a man who had stolen several shirts from a Walmart in a neighboring town broke down the doors and walls of the Leches' home after the suspect, Robert Jonathan Seacat, invaded the home. The young son, who was home alone, left the residence while Seacat remained holed up inside with a gun.

Seacat was sentenced in April 2018 to 100 years in prison following numerous charges.

The damage to the house was so extensive that it was later condemned for demolition by city officials, yet neither the police force nor the city was found liable for the damages.

“They proceed to destroy the house — room by room, by room, by room,” Lech told the Post. “This is one guy with a handgun. This guy was sleeping. This guy was eating. This guy was just hanging out in this house. I mean, they proceeded to blow up the entire house.”

Police officials defended their actions in 2015 shortly after the incident, stating at the time that "sometimes" property is damaged or destroyed during law enforcement actions.

“My mission is to get that individual out unharmed and make sure my team and everyone else around including the community goes home unharmed,” Greenwood Village police chief Dustin Varney said in 2015, according to NBC news affiliate KUSA. “Sometimes that means property gets damaged, and I am sorry for that.”