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Family sues city after cops allegedly burst into West Side home without warrant

A man was arrested Jan. 11 after crashing a stolen vehicle in Austin.
Sun-Times file photo

A family is suing the city and a group of Chicago Police officers who allegedly broke down the doors of their West Side apartment last year and performed an unwarranted search while holding them at gunpoint.

About 6 a.m. on March 23, 2017, Ashanti and Romell Franklin and their two children were sleeping in their second-floor apartment when officers started banging on their front door, according to the suit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.

After seeing the officers standing on the front porch, Ashanti Franklin told them they had the wrong house, the suit claims. An officer then told her they were looking for a male and ordered her to open the door, warning that they would “bust it down” if she didn’t follow their instructions.

Ashanti Franklin asked the officers if they had a warrant, and one of them replied that he did, according to the suit. When she asked to see it, one of the officers allegedly said he was “going to kick the door in” if she didn’t open it immediately.

Ashanti Franklin alerted her sleeping husband to the situation, and he walked out of their bedroom as the officers were battering their two front doors, the suit claims. The officers walked into their home with their guns drawn and ordered the couple to “get the f*** out of the way!”

“Put your f****** hands up,” the men allegedly screamed.

The couple and their daughter, Ariana, were held at gunpoint while three of the four officers searched their apartment, according to the suit. During that time, the Franklins’ 12-year-old son was still sleeping in his bedroom.

When Ashanti Franklin told the officers they were walking toward his bedroom, one of the officers threatened to shoot her, the suit claims. The officers then pointed their guns at her son when he left his bedroom.

At one point, Romell Franklin asked the officers for their names and badge numbers, as well as the warrant they claimed to have, according to the suit.

“Shut the f*** up, bro,” one of the officers allegedly responded.

The officers ultimately left the apartment without providing their names, badge numbers or a warrant, according to the suit.

In addition, the suit alleges that officers have continued to harass Romell Franklin by appearing at his home, making disrespectful remarks toward him and following his vehicle.

The eight-count suit seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department does not comment on pending litigation. A representative for the city’s law department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday morning.