FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – On the afternoon of Aug. 7, Framingham and Natick police, part of the MetroWest Drug Task Force, knocked on Antoinette Callahan’s door telling her they had to come in and secure the home. The officers admitted they didn’t have a warrant.
They also told Antoinette they suspected her teenage son was selling marijuana and were concerned that he would flush it down the toilet before they could get a warrant.
Antoinette said at the time she was at home with her 11 and 14-year-old daughters, her son’s friend, and her dogs.
Her interaction with police was captured on the family’s home security camera. Antoinette said she told police they couldn’t come in without a warrant, but on the tape the officers said if she didn’t let them in they would ram the door and someone could get hurt.
Once inside, things escalated quickly. Antoinette said she wanted to put the dogs away but wasn’t given the chance to do that. The family’s two mini golden doodles, Gracie and Teddy, were on the sofa barking. Gracie, who is pregnant and weighs 13 pounds, bit one of the officers who then punched the dog and threatened to shoot her.
Antoinette said she was afraid the officer was going to pull out a gun and shoot the dog while her 11-year-old was holding her. On the video you can see the 11-year-old get upset and tell the officer to stop being mean.
Police reports obtained by the I-Team show officers started investigating possible drug activity at the home after neighbors complained that there were cars coming and going from the home. Police told Antoinette earlier in the day they stopped her teenage son who allegedly admitted to selling marijuana out of the house.
The 38-year-old mom said police did search the home while they were waiting for the warrant, which took nearly five hours. During that time she asked to use the bathroom. Antoinette said she was told to leave the door partially open, which left her feeling embarrassed, scared, nervous, and sad.
The return on the search warrant shows police found 20 marijuana plants and a little more than eight ounces of marijuana, drug packaging materials, about $1700 in cash, and eight legally owned guns. Both Antoinette and her fiancé have licenses to carry firearms, which were granted to them by the Framingham Police.
Antoinette said when police came in with the warrant to search her home, one of the officers kicked her home security camera off, telling the I-Team that all of the cameras were not recording when police were searching.
“My house was a disaster. My daughters were crying hysterically,” she said.
Tom Nolan is a former lieutenant with the Boston Police and a Criminal Justice professor. He questioned the wisdom of an operation targeting marijuana distribution, telling the I-Team, “in this situation I can’t check any box that says the police did anything procedurally, lawfully correct.”
Nolan said police were trying to do an end run around the constitution. He also said, as a former supervisor, he would initiate disciplinary action against the police officers. Nolan said the officers’ actions could do untold damage to the fragile relationship between the police and the communities they serve.
“I’m surprised someone didn’t get seriously hurt or worse,” Nolan said.
As for Antoinette, she said she was in fear for her life, her daughters’ lives, and the lives of her dogs. She told WBZ the scene was so chaotic that she didn’t know what was going to happen.
Police say no one was arrested, and that this is an ongoing and active investigation. The I-Team has learned that officers have applied for criminal charges against Antoinette and her son for conspiracy and distribution of marijuana. A hearing date is set for October.
The Framingham Internal Affairs unit is investigating the incident.
Natick Police did not respond to the I-Team’s request for comment.
Massachusetts law MGL c.94G Section 1 allows adults 21 and over to legally possess and to grow small amounts of marijuana.