Vista man says Sheriff's deputies damaged his home

Vista man says SDSO deputies damaged his home
Posted at 5:56 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 20:56:50-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - San Diego Sheriff's (SDSO) deputies served a search warrant on a North County house a couple of months ago but it's how they served that warrant that angered the homeowner.

"It doesn't make me feel good," Robert Martinez said.

Martinez still can't believe it.

"He came in through this door but you can see where they tore," Martinez recalled. "It was way down here. I tried to straighten it up. Then, then they tore this one. I thought somebody was trying to break in, not the cops."

It was the cops - SDSO deputies to be exact. Martinez said deputies blasted through his front door around 11 p.m. one day in August.

Martinez still has a photo on phone showing where he said deputies hit him in the arm. He took pictures of the bruise where he was handcuffed - and the $3,000 worth of damage around his Vista home.

"I was scared. I was scared," Martinez said.

Scared because he said it was the sixth-time deputies searched his house. But the first time they didn't knock and come in peacefully. He said he was told they had a search warrant for probable cause.

Martinez said his grandson - who lives at the house - has a rap sheet for drug and gang charges. He said his grandson bailed out the morning of the raid but was quickly arrested again because he got a ride from a suspected a gang member.

When asked if his grandson was at fault, Martinez said, "mostly, yes."

But Martinez said 13 deputies barged in that night and handcuffed his family even though his grandson was in jail. However, he said the deputies walked away with nothing illegal, just his three guns from the attic which Martinez said he purchased legally years ago.

He sued the SDSO for only $3,000 to fix his house - and lost.

In a statement Thursday, SDSO said the search was related to a shooting earlier in the day.  They said they broke their way in because they knew there were guns inside and the family saw them coming:

"The search warrant in question was related to a shooting incident in the city of Vista.  Information was obtained that there were firearms in Mr. Martinez' residence.  Based on probable cause, a judge authorized the issuance of a search warrant, which deputies served.  People inside the residence saw deputies approaching to serve the warrant, which, in combination with the information that there were firearms inside, necessitated the need for a forced entry for deputy and public safety.  Multiple firearms were seized during the service of the warrant.  Mr. Martinez took advantage of the civil remedy of a County claim which was denied.  He then filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court which also found the Sheriff's Department was not liable for the damage."

Martinez said that's a lie, and that the raid was late at night and everyone was asleep.

"I was afraid somebody was trying to break in and hurt us," Martinez said.

Martinez added that deputies searched his home a seventh time after their court hearing. His grandson is still in jail.