Family who claims deputies raided wrong home, to hire an attorney

Published: Oct. 25, 2011 at 9:48 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:24 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Richland County family claims deputies got the wrong home, when a drug unit knocked in their front door and ransacked every room in their home last Thursday.

The sheriff says that's not the case. Now, the family is looking for an attorney.

Deputies spent more than an hour, rummaging through every room of Reginald and Wanda Blanding's Gibbs Road home.

Reginald's brother shot video, as deputies searched the home, cars and a neighbor, walking through the yard.

An unidentified deputy at the Gibbs Road home said, that he did not know who sold the drugs, but someone sold drugs to him, that's why they came back with a search warrant.

Criminal Attorney, Harrison Saunders took a look at the search warrant.

"Now, whether all of this information in the affidavit is true, of course, that's another story, but as far as the warrant goes, it appears to be valid from what I can see here," said Saunders.

Saunders told Reginald that someone sold drugs to an undercover informant out the back of their house. Reginald says minutes later, a second deputy gave him a different story.

"The female officer chimed in saying that someone came from around the back of your house, so my thing is...that's already two different stories, which one? They came out the inside of the house, or they were at the back of the house?" asked Reginald.

The search warrant says the informant bought drugs from a "black male" at the Blanding's home and the only "black male" living there is Reginald.

"If you all have a family member that might be doing that," said the unidentified deputy. "I would let them know to stop doing that at your house, because if we do buy drugs from your house we're coming back."

Sheriff's Captain, Chris Cowan defended the search by saying a drug dog went in the house and could tell that drugs were once in there.

Cowan also says agents only searched the master bedroom.

The Blandings are upset because they think deputies could have done a better job investigating.

"I do believe--yes, law enforcement could have done more to, I guess, save the homeowners the trouble," said Saunders. "The humiliation, the embarrassment that they suffered as a result of this, however, I cannot say definitively that law enforcement was wrong in how they handled the situation."

"It was just poorly done," said Reginald. "I mean, they would know that these are some hard working people and they would have had the right place and we wouldn't have to go through this right now."

The Blandings say their plan now is to hire an attorney to figure out if they can let a jury decide if deputies followed the rules in knocking their door in.

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