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Family that endured SWAT-style raid over tomato plants may finally receive justice -- years later

(Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure, acknowledging the right to be secure in your person, house, papers, and effects. So when a poorly designed, conceived, and executed police operation puts your family behind the business end of a rifle, you should be allowed redress from your government.

Bob Harte and his wife Addie, former CIA agents, finally have their chance after a three-judge panel rendered a hundred page decision giving them a day in court. Police raided their Kansas City home at gunpoint on April 20, 2012, after poorly interpreting information gleaned during Operation Constant Gardener, which targets marijuana growers. Their case was initially dismissed in 2015, asserting that the officers had qualified immunity from their actions.

The Hartes, whose then-young children fear police to this day, were growing tomatoes in a hydroponic set up meant to show the kids how to grow things. The purchase of hydroponic growing equipment, plus the discovery of “wet glob vegetation” in the family’s trash, were the only evidence behind the warrant. The glob was Addie’s discarded tea leaves.

Carlos Lucero, one of the judges who sent the case back to district court, wrote, “The defendants in this case caused an unjustified governmental intrusion into the Hartes' home based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation, and a publicity stunt.”

On Thursday’s “Pure Opelka,” Mike Opelka said he supports the police, but for those very few that don’t do the job well, “The entire Constitution has to be the operating manual.”

To see more from Mike, visit his channel on TheBlaze and listen live to “Pure Opelka” weekdays 12-3 p.m. ET, “Pure Opelka Replay” weekdays 10-1 a.m. ET & “Pure Opelka” Saturdays 6–9 a.m. ET, only on TheBlaze Radio Network.

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