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People and Planet: Elyria Police dodging responsibility in misguided raid

Sometimes you see a headline and cannot help but wonder, “How did that even happen?” This was my reaction to reading an Associated Press article about Elyria police raiding the wrong home and putting a 17-month-old in the ICU. 

Every time police make a “mistake,” there is a chorus of how difficult their jobs are and that they deserve a little more sympathy and understanding. The problem is, if you are in a job where you carry a gun, use flashbangs on civilians and can legally break into their homes, you do not get the luxury and privilege of making mistakes.

In this case, police broke into the home by using a flashbang to break a window where the toddler slept. The child’s mother — and only other person home during the raid — Courtney Price said her son, who was already on a ventilator, was hospitalized for burns and diagnosed with chemical pneumonitis because of the chemicals released by flashbangs. 

Price and her son, Waylon, were at Price’s aunt’s rental home. Police were looking for stolen guns and a suspect who had not lived in the home for over a year. In the body cam footage, the police wait about 10 seconds between identifying themselves, knocking and busting the door down. Although it's still unclear who said it, someone can be heard saying, “It's the wrong house,” before they entered.

Innocent people were hurt because of a “mistake” the police made.

This happened when Uvalde, Texas police chief Pete Arredondo failed to take any action to save the children bleeding out on the other side of the wall during the Robb Elementary School shooting.

This happened when Breonna Taylor’s apartment was wrongfully raided and she was shot and killed by police in her own home. 

Maybe if the police did something other than double down with the almost laughably tone-deaf “thin blue line” movement in response to the brazen murder of George Floyd at the knees of the police, I would be saying something different. But one thing has been made clear over the past few years in terms of police culture: in their minds, cops can do no wrong. 

Even when it's painfully obvious that someone screwed up, they will stand with each other instead of those they have vowed to protect.

The Elyria Police Department, or EPD, released a statement denying the child sustained any visible injuries from the flashbang, insinuating the mother was lying, and said the address for the warrant was correct. However, there was no acknowledgment that although the address may have been correct, the detective work that led to said address was sapped in negligence. 

In fact, they felt the need to explain that Price didn’t have a car seat for her child in the press release in what seemed to be an attempt to cast her in a bad light to distract from the actual major problem at hand.

Although there is still a lot of information to come, the fact of the matter is that the EPD made a blatant mistake that could have ended much worse than it did. Its response is reflective of not only a problem within the culture of the EPD, but also of something much greater brewing in police departments across the country. The EPD needs to admit to botched, negligent detective work to regain the trust of its community. 

Megan Diehl is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Megan? Email her at

Megan Diehl

Assistant Opinion Editor

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