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Flint family suing Michigan State Police over April 2021 raid on their home

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Steve Carmody
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Michelle Colston holds her four-year-old son Steven during a news conference in Flint

A Flint family filed lawsuits in federal and state courts Monday against the Michigan State Police for a raid on their home in April of 2021.

During the raid, MSP troopers knocked down the home’s front door and held the family until the officers realized they had been given incorrect information in a murder investigation.

The search warrant for the home was obtained, in part, on information supplied by a confidential informant.

In June of 2021, MSP spokeswoman Kimberly Vetter said after searching the home, officers determined “the informant knowingly provided false information to investigators.”

“What this really was was sloppy police work,” said Civil Rights Attorney Bill Goodman. “It’s police work that would not have occurred in the white community.”

At a news conference in a Flint church Monday, the family’s attorneys contended the officers acted on racially biased assumptions in the decision to raid the house.

A Michigan State Police spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuits.

The lawsuits are seeking unspecified financial and punitive damages. Attorney Goodman said also the two women and three children who were home during the raid have been suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It is still very difficult for them to talk about what happened to them,” said Rev. Aaron Colston, a family member.

An attorney for the family says the state police did pay to replace the family's front door.

The family is also asking for a broader investigation into the raid itself, though to date they have not received a request for a review by the U.S. Justice Department.

A main point of contention is whether MSP used a ‘No-Knock” warrant.

In the past, the Michigan State Police have contended a verbal warning was given before the front door of the home on Garfield Street was knocked down. The family says there was no warning.

There is a bill to ban the use of “no-knock” warrants in the Michigan legislature, but its future is unclear.