In July of last year, Vicki Baker, 75, was excited to move on to the next chapter of her life in Montana by selling her home she owned for 12 years in McKinney, Texas. That sale would never take place on schedule, however, because the day before she was supposed to close, a SWAT team destroyed it.
After destroying her home, Baker was told by local government that she was on the hook for the $50,000 bill to repair it. After fighting for a year, however, she may finally see some justice after a federal court ruled this month that Baker can sue for damages and get back some of the money it took her to undo the destruction caused by the cops.
“The court recognized that the city of McKinney is not exempt from the Constitution,” said Institute for Justice Attorney Jeffrey Redfern. “This is the first step towards Vicki getting her due, but it’s a big one. The government must compensate individuals when it deliberately destroys their property.”
“At the motion to dismiss stage, it would be imprudent to foreclose Baker’s ability to recover based on the shaky reasoning recited in non-binding cases from other circuits—especially when both the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court have alluded that a taking could result from destructive police power,” United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Judge Amos Mazzant III wrote in the decision to throw out the city’s motion to dismiss the case.