Oh Well, You Were On The Wrong End Of Cops, So Too Bad For You

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 1 week ago

News from Colorado.

Projectiles were still lodged in the walls. Glass and wooden paneling crumbled on the ground below the gaping holes, and inside, the family’s belongings and furniture appeared thrashed in a heap of insulation and drywall. Leo Lech, who rented the home to his son, thought it looked like al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s compound after the raid that killed him.

But now it was just a neighborhood crime scene, the suburban home where an armed Walmart shoplifting suspect randomly barricaded himself after fleeing the store on a June afternoon in 2015. For 19 hours, the suspect holed up in a bathroom as a SWAT team fired gas munition and 40-millimeter rounds through the windows, drove an armored vehicle through the doors, tossed flash-bang grenades inside and used explosives to blow out the walls.

The suspect was captured alive, but the home was utterly destroyed, eventually condemned by the City of Greenwood Village.

That left Leo Lech’s son, John Lech — who lived there with his girlfriend and her 9-year-old son — without a home. The city refused to compensate the Lech family for their losses but offered $5,000 in temporary rental assistance and for the insurance deductible.

Now, after the Leches sued, a federal appeals court has decided what else the city owes the Lech family for destroying their house more than four years ago: nothing.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously ruled that the city is not required to compensate the Lech family for their lost home because it was destroyed by police while they were trying to enforce the law, rather than taken by eminent domain.

The Lechs had sued under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which guarantees citizens compensation if their property is seized by the government for public use. But the court said that Greenwood Village was acting within its “police power” when it damaged the house, which the court said doesn’t qualify as a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment. The court acknowledged that this may seem “unfair,” but when police have to protect the public, they can’t be “burdened with the condition” that they compensate whomever is damaged by their actions along the way.

“It just goes to show that they can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, ‘See you later. Deal with it,’ ” Leo Lech said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday. “What happened to us should never happen in this country, ever.”

Leo Lech said he is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. Police must be forced to draw the line at some point, he said — preferably before a house is gutted — and be held accountable if innocent bystanders lose everything as a result of the actions of law enforcement.

In a statement to The Post, a spokeswoman for Greenwood Village said the city never refused to help the Lechs, saying the family was “very well insured” and refused the $5,000 assistance for out-of-pocket expenses before insurance kicked in. The spokeswoman, Melissa Gallegos, applauded the 10th Circuit’s ruling.

“The house was being used as a barricade, and the damage done to it was to remove the barricade and get the gunman out without any loss of life,” Gallegos said. “That is not a use of another’s property under eminent domain, but a use of another’s property during a police emergency.”

In June 2015, the standoff at Lech’s suburban Denver home captivated and alarmed the public, as their house at the end of the street, one located by a baseball field complex and a park, suddenly turned into a quasi-war zone.

The suspect, Robert Jonathan Seacat, had stolen a shirt and a couple of belts from a Walmart in neighboring Aurora, Colo., and then fled in a Lexus, according to a police affidavit. A police officer pursued him in a high-speed chase until Seacat parked his car near a light rail station, hopped a nearby fence leading to the interstate, and then crossed five lanes of traffic on foot. He climbed the fence on the other side — and then, shortly thereafter, came upon the Lech residence.

A 9-year-old boy, John Lech’s girlfriend’s son, was home alone at the time, waiting for his mom to return from the grocery store, Lech said. He told police he was watching YouTube videos in his room when he heard the alarm trip, according to the affidavit. He emerged to find a man walking up the stairs, holding a gun. “He said, ‘I don’t want to hurt anybody. I just want to get away,’ ” Lech said. Minutes later, the boy walked out of the house unharmed.

Seacat then began searching the house for car keys. But by the time he got in the car parked in Lech’s garage, police had pulled into the driveway. Seacat fired a shot at them through the garage, the affidavit says.

Thus began the 19-hour standoff.

“They proceed to destroy the house — room by room, by room, by room,” Lech said. “This is one guy with a handgun. This guy was sleeping. This guy was eating. This guy was just hanging out in this house. I mean, they proceeded to blow up the entire house.”

SWAT officers attempted to enter the home on one occasion but retreated after believing they heard Seacat fire several rounds. After other tactics, including tear gas, robots and police negotiations, repeatedly failed, SWAT officers tried again to enter the home at 8:21 the next morning. They found him holed up in a bathroom with a stash of drugs, where he was disarmed and arrested.

When the Lech family was allowed back on the property to retrieve their belongings, they were aghast at what they found.

John Lech, his girlfriend and her son moved in with Leo Lech and his wife, who lived 30 miles away, requiring John to change jobs. The $5,000 offered by the city “was insulting,” Leo Lech said.

His expenses to rebuild the house and replace all its contents cost him nearly $400,000, he said. While insurance did cover structural damage initially, his son did not have renter’s insurance and so insurance did not cover replacement of the home’s contents, and he says he is still in debt today from loans he took out.

“This has ruined our lives,” he said.

Gallegos stressed that any large expenses Lech incurred are because he chose to do more than necessary, and chose to “repour the foundation that wasn’t damaged, and [build] a bigger better house where the old one stood.” Lech insisted starting from scratch was necessary.

Previously, police have defended their actions during the standoff.

“My mission is to get that individual out unharmed and make sure my team and everyone else around including the community goes home unharmed,” Greenwood Village Police Commander Dustin Varney said in 2015, KUSA reported. “Sometimes that means property gets damaged, and I am sorry for that.”

I think you’re a liar.  I don’t think you’re really sorry.

But take note, dear readers.  You’re never in more danger than when the cops are around.  And remember, they aren’t out to protect your safety.  They only care about making their arrest and going home safely at the end of their shift, regardless of what happens to you.


  1. On October 31, 2019 at 5:59 am, Roger J said:

    I suppose this means that if something similar happens to you, and you are at home, take care of the situation yourself so you can present the cops with the dead body of the suspect. Nothing that Lech could do under those circumstances…reminds me a little of the MOVE raid in Philly in 1985 in which nearly a block of row houses was destroyed through police incompetence.

  2. On October 31, 2019 at 8:52 am, Ned said:

    I could be wrong here Roger, but the destruction of a block of row houses in the MOVE raid was likely considered a feature, and not a bug by TPTB. The fire in the MOVE raid was a precursor to Waco. If they’d had a Reaper drone, they’d have gleefully used it.

  3. On October 31, 2019 at 9:39 am, revjen45 said:

    When Beta Bobby talks about “a visit from law enforcement” this, Waco, and Ruby Ridge are what he’s talking about.

  4. On October 31, 2019 at 9:51 am, Chris Mallory said:

    I guess shutting off the power and water and just waiting never crossed their minds. Have 3 cops on each side of the house and grab him once he comes out. The cops are getting paid no matter what they are doing. Deliver him a pizza and a couple bottle of booze and walk in once he is passed out asleep.
    Nah, then the cops don’t get to play with their toys.

    I would require Officers to pay for any damage they cause out of their own pockets and to return private property to the original state it was in.
    No more tossing houses and emptying all the shelves and drawers onto the floor.

  5. On October 31, 2019 at 11:09 am, Fred said:

    This case is what happens when this false notion of a debt to society is applied. The criminal has no debt to the family and the society (justice system) has no debt to the family either.

    This is the influence of the Roberts court, which is this notion of very narrow application and ruling. What narrow interpretation does is eliminate legitimate claims by using words games. Sure this case doesn’t fall under the narrow application of the 5th amendment which is peaceful (I know it’s still at gunpoint) taking of property, but they took it and destroyed it. Really, every dog shot by police should be compensated many times fold.

    This is why you need to know the constitution for yourself. I’m not sure what they should have filed under, and maybe the 5th was the best option, but the 5th amendment, as narrowly interpreted, is not about compensation of this type.

    I’m not sure what US statues relate but I do know the Law of God applies and our laws used to follow these in similar manner because, you know in your heart that not compensating the family is unjust because the Law of God is natural, right, and good, written on the heart of a just man. But America is now a godless heathens den of wickedness full of reprobates. Judgement, this is what it looks like, godless heathens and barbarians at every turn ruling over you without the Law of God.

    This is the Law of God relating to another’s property by damage. The use of the word trespass in verse 9 is the broad meaning and us laws have attempted rightly, to make application of the Law of God by having trespass codes and statutes, and the 5th amendment, rightly understood, should be about broad application in government taking or wrecking or destroying your property as lower laws most assuredly cover non government destruction of property.

    They didn’t kill the guy, which is good under the 6th commandment, but they blew it under the 8th commandment when dealing with the destroyed property. This destruction becomes a type of theft.

    The 10 commandments is a framework, or outline, so here are some related sub-statutes of the Law of God:

    Exodus 22:5-6 “If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.”
    “If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.”

    Verse 9 is general and probably makes the best case here.

    Exodus 22:9 “For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.”

    Verse 9 says “all manner of trespass” and this case is certainly that. “for any manner of lost thing” This case certainly is a manner of lost thing. And most assuredly, the family who owns the house doesn’t owe the government let alone double but by the Law of God, somebody has to pay for the damage. I wonder who that should be?

    By God’s law, which is perfect, somebody owes double and it ain’t the family with the destroyed house.

  6. On October 31, 2019 at 2:22 pm, DelMarVaDave said:

    Fuck The Police

    I know you’re not going to publish it. I just like to say it.

  7. On October 31, 2019 at 2:40 pm, Michael (from Utah) said:

    Wow, this just leaves me incredibly angry. Absolutly disgusting behavior by all levels of government. (Then again, my default setting is that this is the norm).

  8. On October 31, 2019 at 3:53 pm, Adam Baum said:

    Law EnFORCEment: earning the hatred, every day.

  9. On November 1, 2019 at 7:41 am, PAUL B said:

    We have been following this case since the day it happened. Greenwood Village Police over reacted and the destruction to the home was horrendous.
    Yes, the owner had to replace a portion of the foundation, the MARP the police used damaged it and to get a proper repair additional concrete had to be removed and new rebar doweled into the existing foundation. The police would not pay for the ‘extra’ work even though the engineer stated the work had to be done so the foundation could properly support the walls. The interior damage increased because the roof was penetrated, and the attic insulation was allowed to get wet. This damage was not covered by the home owner’s insurance. Also, the tear gas that was pumped into the house is classified as hazardous by your insurance, so all the carpet was removed, and the home had to be decontaminated prior to any contractor entering to even view to give quotes, again, not covered by insurance.
    If you don’t take anything away from this just remember. The police can now destroy your home, not pay you a dime for the damage and walk away smiling and laughing while you stand there looking at your shelled-out mess. And no one is coming to help you!

  10. On November 2, 2019 at 3:21 pm, ExpatNJ said:

    Hit ’em in the pocketbook:

    “Find out which agency(s) participated in the militarized “Code Enforcement” invasion. Go to each entity’s Risk-Management Dept. Find out what Insurance Company(s) is underwriting them, and their Bonds. File a claim on those Insurance policies for any/all damage to people/property that occurred during the property invasion. Militarized Code Enforcers are employees of the corporations participating in the invasion, and are responsible via the insurance Policy. Insurance and Banks ARE the bosses. You start tapping them, and they will lay-down the bottom line to the for-profit corporations like the Courts, Local, State, and Federal, along with the enforcement-arm corporations. 90% of what people call ‘Govt’ are for-profit-corporations, pushing Statutes, Codes, and Policy, under Color of Law, to an ignorant population for Revenue & Profit. Get on Dun & Bradstreet. They list most for-profit-corporations in the US. Get the proper name of your local courts and look them up. Do not expect assistance from an attorney to help you, as their oath forbids educating slaves under penalty, and, they are not citizens, but foreign corporations for The Bar, at all levels having renounced Citizenship, and under no obligations to educate you to the gravy train on the Plantation.”
    ~ ‘Disgusted’, https://disqus.com/by/blndtouch, 11/02/2019, https://www.activistpost.com/2019/11/taxpayers-to-be-held-liable-after-swat-raids-innocent-family-over-growing-tomato-plants.html#comment-4675220594 [abridged, edited].

    Sound reasonable. I feel like going to city hall next chance I get and find out – in advance – who their Insurance underwriter is. THAT might put them ‘on notice’. BUT, the above is only one person’s opinion, and NOT necessarily “legal advice” remember, you have to PAY for that …

  11. On November 3, 2019 at 8:52 am, revjen45 said:

    Why should they give a fuck (regular, flying, or cluster) what they destroy in the Name of Leviathan. They aren’t responsible for their actions if they can say “good faith” 3 times without laughing. Hey, WTF anyway? – the cops all got to blow their wad and give the peons the finger.
    If I knew of a fugitive hiding in the ’49 Burb in our driveway (thinking here of the Boston Bomber and all the damage and destruction to everything within range*)I would wait until he left to tell the Orpos about it (if at all), since I don’t need a reenactment of the Knob Creek Finale with our home and vehicles downrange.

    *OTOH, I might put him on the trailer myself and call the cops to remove the carrion before it starts to stink.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published October 30th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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