4th Circuit finds police raid excessive

RICHMOND, Va.— A federal appeals court says police went too far when they barged into a West Virginia family’s home without first knocking and announcing their presence.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a Martinsburg judge’s decision that police are not immune from being sued by Tametta Bellotte and her two children.

Jefferson County officers raided the family’s home looking for evidence of child pornography after Sam Bellotte printed photos containing nudity at a Winchester, Va., Walmart. Sam Bellotte was not home at the time of the 2007 raid.

Police said they didn’t knock because they knew the Bellottes had concealed-carry permits and they feared a violent reaction. The court said that wasn’t sufficient to justify a no-knock entry.

The case is Bellotte v. Edwards, No. 10-1115.