CHICAGO (CBS) — Guns were drawn, even on small children, when Chicago officers raided a family’s home. Dave Savini is investigating why this happened and how this family will never be the same.
“One guy said you better shut the F up if you know any better,” said Peter Mendez.
Peter was 9 when the trauma began. It was dinner time when Chicago police busted his front door open, invading his family’s home.
“Assault rifles, maybe like a few pistols,” Peter recalled.
His little brother Jack was by his side that night shaking with fear. Savini also spoke with Jack.
Savini: “They pointed a gun at your Dad and your Mom?”
Savini: “and then did they point a gun at your brother?”
Jack nodded yes.
Savini: “What was it like when that gun was pointed at you?”
Peter: “It was like my life just flashed before my eyes.”
Mom and Dad say cops screamed profanities at the family as they tore the house apart and ordered them all to the floor at gunpoint.
Savini: “You never thought a police officer would do that to you?”
“I could hear my babies screaming, ‘Don’t shoot my Dad. Don’t kill my Dad. Leave my Dad alone. What did my Dad do?'” said Peter’s father, Gilbert Mendez.
Peter’s dad Gilbert Mendez says his family did nothing wrong and what’s even worse the police had no right to even be there because they were raiding the wrong home and now the Mendez’s say police are trying to cover it up.
The CBS 2 investigators found officers from the 11th district used a search warrant filled with mistakes, even the judge’s printed name as required by police order is missing.
In fact, police tell CBS2 they don’t even have their own copy of the warrant or any record the warrant even exists.
“I think the Chicago Police Department needs to be held accountable. They came in and tore our home up. They tore our lives upside down, and we’ve never been the same,” said Hester Mendez.
She says police refused to show her the warrant but after an hour of searching she caught a glimpse of it and saw the two people actually named in the warrant lived in a different unit in that same apartment building.
“Even after I told them that they were in the wrong place and the people live upstairs, they still continued to search,” said Hester Mendez.
She also says they searched another 30 minutes after she informed them of the mistake for a total of an hour and half in their home. All the while the children were seeing their dad in handcuffs.
“The four or five people said to my Dad, get the f down get the f down we will shoot you,” Peter Mendez said.
Peter Mendez says he will never forget the emotional pain he suffered that night in November of 2017.
Savini: “Should a child ever have to go through that?”
Peter: “No sir”
“There was absolutely no need to point guns at children and absolutely no need to keep their father handcuffed in front of them after they knew they were in the wrong apartment,” said Al Hofeld Jr., the attorney for the Mendez family.
Hofeld is planning to sue the Chicago Police Department for what happened to the Mendez family.
“There is zero priority put on officers avoiding the unnecessary use of force when kids are around its just not even on the radar,” said Al Hofeld Jr.
In fact, the federal government in the 2017 U.S. Department of Justice investigation in to the Chicago Police Department said the CPD needs reform when it comes to the treatment of children.
“Two children that are scared shaking and screaming,” Hester Mendez said. “There is no threat there.”
She says the use of guns on her kids was excessive and now they are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
“They traumatized me and my brother,” said Peter.
Savini: “And when they left did anyone say they were sorry?”
“I even tried to shake their hands two of them just shrugged by,” added Peter Mendez.
Savini: “How did it make you feel when the officer wouldn’t even shake your hand?”
Peter: “I just felt that they were un-polite because I was just trying to be nice.”
Savini: “What are you thinking about now?”
Peter: “Just the saddest moment.”
Savini: “They really hurt you that day?”
Peter: “It made feel like the police weren’t what i thought they were.”
The raid occurred last November, but this story is still developing.
In another case, the CBS 2 Investigators obtained a video deposition of Davianna Simmons who testified Chicago cops raided her home.
Question: “How many police do you remember seeing inside your house?”
And she says the police pointed a gun at her too.
Question: “Did the — did the police point a gun at anybody else in your house that day?”
Answer: “They pointed a gun at me.”
Question: “They pointed a gun at you?”
The Simmons family sued the city, and recieved a $2.5 million settlement in June. Davianna was only 3 when the gun was drawn on her and she now suffers from PTSD.
Police say they still can’t find any record of the warrant, or post-warrant reports which they are mandated to complete…
But we confirmed there is a separate record at the state’s attorney’s office that includes the signature of the police Lieutenant who signed off on it.
In a statement the CPD said “We take these allegations very seriously. We strongly urge the family to contact the Bureau of Internal Affairs, COPA, or the Inspector General’s office.”