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Newberry women sue police in federal court after home raided

Libby Williams was asleep when she heard the front door of her Newberry house kicked in and saw the flash and heard the bang of grenades thrown in as smoke filled the interior, a federal lawsuit states.

Next, more than 20 officers in military garb, with weapons drawn, entered screaming at Williams, her friend, Roscellus Carter, and Williams’ 10-year-old son inside the house at 2801 Linn St., according to the suit in U.S. Middle District Court.

Williams on behalf of herself and her 10-year-old son along with Carter accused Lycoming County Det. Tyson Havens and 20 unnamed police officers in the civil action alleging their rights of illegal search and seizure were violated along with other constitutional infringements. They claim in the suit the police haven’t given them a reason for the raid.

It was 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 29 when Williams said she was awakened from sleep at her residence. She said she heard commotion outside her front door. Still groggy, Williams said she could not process what was going on, according to the suit.

Claiming the officers barged into the house without warning, according to suit. The women claimed they were terrified and immobilized with fear, the suit said.

The suit accuses the officers of ransacking the home, tearing apart furniture, ripping a thermostat from a wall and breaking an oven and television.

Carter said one officer told her to shut up right now as he put a gun against her head when she asked what was happening, the suit said.

Havens reportedly showed a video from Williams’ social media page showing her distain for police, the suit said.

Williams also claimed ownership of a gun that was seized by law enforcement officers in the raid and said she had a license to carry it, according to the lawsuit. She does not have a criminal record. Carter, however, does have a history of firearms-related charge and pleaded guilty last year before her sentence was served.

Williams’ said her son now lives in fear of police and was told to say goodbye to his mother because she was going to jail for a long time.

The suit alleges the police violated the defendants’ rights to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, excessive use of force, assault and battery, false arrests and taking items that don’t belong to law enforcement, the suit said.

The women are seeking unspecified damages.

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