A Nevada man is suing the city of Henderson and its police under the rarely-used Third Amendment, claiming that they unconstitutionally arrested him for obstruction of justice when he refused to let them commandeer his home.
Anthony Mitchell, a resident of a Las Vegas suburb, was arrested by Henderson Police in 2011 after he refused police requests to enter his home to "gain a tactical advantage" against the occupant of a neighboring house. The Third Amendment prohibits the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the homeowners' permission.
Mitchell says the violations began when police called him and told him they needed his home to respond to a nearby domestic violence call.
When Mitchell refused, police allegedly smashed open his front door with a metal ram, aimed guns at him, and shouted obscenities at him. According to his complaint, they forced him to lie down on his living room floor, and fired multiple "pepperball rounds" at him. Mitchell says that he was hit by at least of those three rounds. His dog Sam was also allegedly hit by the rounds and left outside in 100 degree weather with no food or shade for hours.
At this point, Mitchell, still lying on his own floor, was arrested for obstruction.
In the meantime, Mitchell alleges, as police searched his home and set up operational positions, they also went to his parents house (on the same street) and tricked his father, Michael into leaving that home. According to the complaint, police told Michael he was necessary for the negotiations nearby, and convinced him to leave and move to a police command center nearby. When it became apparent that the negotiations request was a ruse, Michael attempted to leave the police command center.
Police then arrested him for obstruction too, handcuffing him and placing him in the back of a marked police car. The suit alleges that approximately an hour later, police returned to the parents' house, where Mitchell's mother also refused police entry without a warrant. According to the suit, police forcibly pulled her out of the house and made her to walk to the command center with them. She does not appear to have been arrested.
Although Mitchell and his father were both charged with obstruction of justice and jailed, all criminal charges against them were dropped with prejudice.
In addition to Third Amendment violations, the Mitchells are suing for violations of the fourth and 14th Amendments, assault and battery, conspiracy, defamation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, negligence and emotional distress.