Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a case from Colorado, wherein 2015, police officers in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village surrounded, and then proceeded to destroy, a home in which a shoplifting suspect had barricaded himself.

The specifics of the case:

In 2015, an armed shoplifter fleeing the police broke into the home (apparently at random) and refused to come out. After taking gunfire from the shoplifter, the police resorted to more strenuous means of attack, including explosives, high-caliber ammunition, and a battering ram mounted on a tank-like vehicle called a BearCat. The fugitive was apprehended, but the home was totaled.

The Institute for Justice represented the homeowners, who sought compensation from the city government for destroying their home. A federal appeals court ruled:

…that as long as the government uses its “police power” to destroy property, it cannot be required to provide compensation for that property under the U.S. Constitution’s Takings Clause.

One of the plaintiffs said:

“This whole affair has quite simply totally destroyed our lives,” said Leo Lech. “My son’s family was very literally thrown out into the street with the clothes on their back, offered $5,000, and told to ‘go deal with it.’”

As Reason Magazine’s Billy Binion wrote:

Why does apprehending a petty thief necessitate grenades and armored vehicles? There was a rather plain violation of the homeowners’ constitutional rights. And there was—and is—the lack of accountability, which the Lechs no longer have hope of seeing rectified.

Image Credit: Joe Ravi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons