Fort Worth, TX – Nelda Price was in her nightgown and her husband was in his pajamas when Fort Worth police officers smashed through their front door with guns drawn on March 11.
According to the lawsuit, the two 69-year-olds were not given any verbal warning before the police busted through their door into their home.
According to Nelda, she and her husband John were chatting in the dining room when a loud noise interrupted them. She said by the time they looked up, police officers had already broken through their iron gate and were storming through the front door with guns pointed at them. Without any questions, the officers yelled for the married couple to put their hands up and took the two outside for questioning.
As the police rummaged through her home, Nelda says one of the officers told her to put her hands together – as if she were praying – so he could restrain her with zip ties.
“I told him, ‘I am praying. Because I don’t understand why you’re here, and I don’t know what this is about,’” Nelda told the Guardian.
Nelda and her husband sat zip tied in their front yard for hours as about 20 or 30 policemen tore through their home, the suit says. The elderly couple sat out in the cold, still in their nightwear, as police ignored Nelda’s pleas for her husband’s medication – until his blood pressure spiked so high that they had to called an ambulance.
“Fort Worth Police refused to let the Prices go into their own house to change clothes or removed them from public on-looker and neighbors, therefore subjecting them to shame and embarrassment,” according to the complaint.
The suit claims that when the Prices were finally allowed to go back inside, their home was destroyed and a warrant was left on the table. According to the warrant, police had been looking for methamphetamines, narcotics trafficking and anything pertaining to narcotics trafficking organization. They found nothing.
“In the days and weeks that followed, both Mr. and Mrs. Price suffered from progressively increasing stress, anxiety, and anguish over their experience,” the complaint read. Their lawsuit seeks actual and punitive damages.
After the traumatizing incident, Nelda says she was too nervous to work for days.
“I actually felt violated,” Nelda said.
She says John got quiet and stopped acting like himself. He died of unknown causes in May.
“He was my protector,” Nelda said. “He took care of us.”
She still has no idea why here home was raided that night. The Fort Worth Police Department has yet to explain the reason for the raid, despite repeated media inquiries from multiple news organizations.
“What we’re really, really asking for, is that the city take a very hard look at what happened here, and be willing to begin a dialogue with Nelda, listen to her story, and use this incident as a training example,” said Kay Van Wey, the lawyer representing Nelda in her lawsuit against the city. “A way to figure out where their systems broke down, and fix them.”