Texas police destroyed a most cancers survivor’s home. A brand new authorized maneuver might drive town to pay

The SWAT group smashed Vicki Baker’s brand-new fence, shot dozens of tear fuel canisters by way of the partitions, home windows and roof, and used what Baker describes as a “bomb” to blow off the storage door. The objective, police later instructed her, was to create confusion and to shock their goal.

However Baker was not the suspect in a criminal offense and in reality was greater than 1,000 miles away when police destroyed her house in McKinney, Texas. Now the 78-year-old most cancers survivor is on the heart of a landmark federal courtroom ruling ordering town of McKinney to pay practically $60,000 in damages for destroying her home whereas pursuing a fugitive.

A SWAT team destroyed Vicki Baker's McKinney, Texas home in July 2020. Despite a federal jury ruling the city owes her nearly $60,000, Baker hasn't received a dime yet.

A SWAT group destroyed Vicki Baker’s McKinney, Texas house in July 2020. Regardless of a federal jury ruling town owes her practically $60,000, Baker hasn’t obtained a dime but. (Courtesy Institute for Justice)


Baker had packed up a portion of her belongings and moved to Montana in summer season 2020 for her retirement. The sale of her McKinney home was virtually closing.

However on July 25, whereas Baker was in Montana, a handyman she had employed two years beforehand took refuge in her house after kidnapping a teen lady. Baker’s daughter fled the home and referred to as 911 whereas Wesley Little remained inside with the teenager and a backpack filled with weapons, Baker mentioned.

Police swarmed the house. Little ultimately launched the 15-year-old lady, however refused to give up, telling police he wouldn’t come out alive.

So a SWAT group moved in, unleashing a barrage of tear fuel explosions from all instructions.

“What I used to be instructed is the rationale they did a whole lot of that was to result in confusion to the perpetrator inside,” Baker instructed Alokito Mymensingh 24. “They name it shock and awe.”

“Whereas they had been doing all of this injury to my home, [Little] apparently killed himself,” she continued.

Each window had to get replaced. Doorways had been smashed and tear fuel canisters had punched holes within the drywall.

A federal jury awarded Baker $59,656.59 in damages, but the City of McKinney appealed the decision, so she still hasn't received a penny.

A federal jury awarded Baker $59,656.59 in damages, however the Metropolis of McKinney appealed the choice, so she nonetheless hasn’t obtained a penny. (Courtesy Institute for Justice)


“A hazmat group threw the whole lot out,” Baker mentioned. “They’d two big containers in entrance of my home and each had been crammed.”

Furnishings, garments, Baker’s highschool yearbooks, her mom’s doll assortment and antiques all needed to be thrown away as a result of they had been so saturated with tear fuel, she mentioned.

The tear fuel and explosions left her daughter’s Chihuahua blind, deaf and sick. The canine ultimately needed to be put down.

The customer backed out. The injury totaled no less than $50,000. 

Baker’s insurance coverage firm refused to cowl the majority of the injury as a result of her coverage — like most — excludes injury attributable to the federal government.

Baker tried to file a property injury declare with town, however officers refused to pay, citing certified immunity, a doctrine typically used to protect police and different authorities companies from being sued for violating folks’s rights or destroying property throughout the course of their work.

“‘We have by no means paid a declare like this,'” Baker remembers a metropolis worker telling her. “‘You will not get a dime.’ These had been her actual phrases.”



She mentioned she laid on the sofa crying for days.

“I used to be pressured into semi-retirement, largely retirement, when the most cancers got here,” she mentioned. “My home was not bought. I could not repay this property.”

When the Institute for Justice took Baker’s case, lawyer Jeffrey Redfern tried to keep away from immunity fully.

“It is an excellent factor that the police received this man off the road, and no person’s disputing that,” Redfern mentioned. “It is nearly who has to bear the price of that.”

He argued police seized Baker’s property below the Takings Clause, identical to with eminent area when the federal government would possibly seize somebody’s house to construct a highway or different infrastructure. Redfern mentioned town had a proper to take the house, however that Baker should be compensated.

A federal decide agreed, and a jury awarded Baker $59,656.59 in damages.

However because the metropolis of McKinney appealed that call, Baker nonetheless hasn’t seen a dime. The town maintains that destruction of personal property by way of police operations can not represent a Fifth Modification violation.

The case will probably be argued earlier than the fifth Circuit Court docket of Appeals in early June. If the Appeals courtroom sides with Baker, it’s going to create a cut up resolution with the tenth Circuit in Colorado, which beforehand dominated a neighborhood police division didn’t should compensate a person whose home was destroyed throughout a gun battle between officers and a shoplifting suspect.

“That raises the chances of a Supreme Court docket evaluate,” Redfern mentioned.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Baker's case sometime in June, according to Redfern.

The fifth Circuit Court docket of Appeals will hear Baker’s case someday in June, in line with Redfern. (Courtesy Institute for Justice)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE Alokito Mymensingh 24 Alokito Mymensingh 24P

Nobody is aware of precisely what number of harmless residents have their property broken or destroyed by police every year, however Redfern mentioned he hears about massive scale injury “each few months.”

Baker hopes her case will assist others.

“I really feel we are going to win this factor,” she mentioned. “I really feel God is on our aspect.”

Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.

Peter Johnson