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A firefighter sued Montgomery County police Wednesday, asserting that tactical officers terrorized his family in 2019 by conducting a botched and wrongly targeted no-knock raid into their home at 4:30 in the morning.


During the raid, according to the lawsuit, an officer stuck the barrel of his rifle into the chest of the Montgomery County firefighter, Hernan Palma, restrained his wife, Lilian, to the point she feared her dialysis catheter would be ripped out and handcuffed their 13-year-old daughter, who was forced to lie on the ground.

The target of their investigation at the time was sleeping in a separate residence in the basement, an apartment the Palmas rented out that had its own outside entrance. The Palmas were upstairs where they lived when police slammed through their front door on Sept. 13, 2019.

“It was poorly thought out, poorly investigated and poorly executed,” said Joseph Caleb, an attorney for the Palmas. “As a result, this family was needlessly traumatized by the police.”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland, seeks at least $2.5 million in damages. In addition to the Montgomery County Police Department, the litigation names as defendants the county itself, the police chief and 37 officers who took part in the case. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Hernan Palma, Lilian Palma and their daughter.

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