The drug agents who raided a man’s apartment and shot him didn’t knock before entering the home, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Julian Betton, 31, of Myrtle Beach was left paralyzed after the narcotics officers raided his apartment in April and shot him nine times.
Video from Betton’s home surveillance shows militarized agents barging into his apartment without knocking or announcing themselves, the lawsuit claims.
This contradicts claims made by officers who insist that they knocked on Betton’s door before entering.
Video obtained by The Sun News shows an officer forcing a neighbor to the ground before entering Betton’s home without knocking.
When Betton emerged from the bathroom, the lawsuit claims, he saw men with baseball caps turned backwards, and others who wore masks.
Betton admits he had a gun in his waistband but says he never pulled his gun on the agents. The officers shot Betton nine times, high-fiving each other afterward, witnesses claim.
“When I got there (to Betton’s apartment), it looked like South Central,” said Betton’s mother, Brenda Edwards, recalling her son’s bullet riddled apartment.
Neighbor Santos Garcia confirmed that the cops never knocked on Betton’s door.
“I’m 100 % sure they never announced themselves at all,” Garcia wrote in a statement obtained by The Sun Times.
“They rammed his door down, they entered, took two steps, about four of them went in there, all big rifles. I don’t know if the guy grabbed a gun or not, but it took two seconds for them to open fire.”
Betton claims the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
“This case is about protecting all of us against constitutional violations, corruption, the deprivation of one’s liberty and most importantly justice for Julian,” said Betton’s attorney, Jonny McCoy. “Julian is a sweet, kind hearted and positive spirited young man who had his ability to walk, use his bodily functions, and go without pain throughout his bullet riddled body on a daily basis taken away from him. We seek to rectify the wrongs committed and somehow begin to put Julian back together physically, mentally, psychologically and financially.”
Cops at first claimed Betton fired at them.
“Our officers came with a valid search warrant and arrest warrant,” Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said at the time, according to WMFB. “They went to serve the search warrant and the arrest warrant. There were shots fired.”
Also, an officer initially wrote in a statement that Betton fired his weapon, but later admitted in a handwritten edit that he “did not see a muzzle flash.”
Cops were later forced to admit that the claim about Betton firing his weapon was untrue.
These officers have also been unable to determine who knocked on the door, offering names of different agents, or just telling investigators that one of them knocked.
Cops raided Betton’s home over marijuana, a plant that is now legal to sell in some U.S. states. Cops seized eight ounces of the plant from Betton’s home and charged him with possession with intent to distribute.
Betton was also charged with three counts of presenting a firearm, one charge for each officer involved in the shooting.
Betton was left paralyzed from the waist down.