'I could have lost two kids': Mother addresses settlement following wrongful RPD raid

Jamiese Price Image
Friday, June 2, 2023
Mother addresses settlement following wrongful RPD raid
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The City of Raleigh will pay families a total of $350,000 in a lawsuit over a former Raleigh police detective who framed more than a dozen young black men.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Yolanda Irving can't forget the trauma her family faced in May 2020 when Raleigh Police Department's Selective Enforcement Unit showed up at her former home on Burgundy Street and delivered a no-knock warrant.

"You going in people's homes without knocking. Things could have went wrong so fast," said Irving.

Three years later, the city of Raleigh is paying for what happened in a $350,000 settlement to plaintiffs Yolanda Irving and Kenya Walton, who were neighbors at the time of the police encounter.

"It's three years too late," said Irving. She reflected on how far this case has come."We were in our home, minding our business. And y'all interrupted our peace."

Her peace shattered when the heavily armed tactical team came through the doors of her home with guns out, aimed at her and her children. Irving said the officers were looking for drugs and money. Her former neighbor Kenya Walton's 16-year-old son was also handcuffed in all the chaos.

But there were big problems. The officers were at the wrong home. The search warrant that officers showed Yolanda included a picture of a home with red doors, and the doors to Irving and Walton's homes were beige.

The police officer in charge of the operation was now fired, Detective Omar Abdullah. He was indicted on obstruction of justice charges amid allegations he framed dozens of young black men in a fake heroin scheme

"I could have lost my son behind this. I could have lost two kids behind that. But literally, I could have lost my 12-year-old behind that because they chased my son down," said Irving.

Advocating on behalf of these two mothers was a small legal team including attorneys with Emancipate NC.

Executive Director Dawn Blagrove said the right thing to do was to offer a settlement to the family months ago.

"It took this long because there was a lack of compassion and a lack of willingness to accept accountability for wrongdoing by the Raleigh Police Department. And that lack of accountability," said Blagrove. "And that lack of compassion runs all the way up to Raleigh City Council. This could have and should have been resolved. months ago, at best months ago."

She also outlined some of the law enforcement changes since officers showed up at Irving's home in 2020.

"We know changes have already taken place that RPD has updated its policies to end no-knock warrants. So they will not be doing no-knock warrants anymore," Blagrove said. "We also know that they have made substantial changes to their confidential informant policies, to hopefully avoid this kind of foolishness in the future."