'I never got an apology': Raleigh mom still devastated after RPD tactical team raids wrong home

Joel Brown Image
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Raleigh mom still shaken nearly 2 years after RPD raided wrong home
A Raleigh mother is still brought to tears remembering the May 2020 day a team of Raleigh police officers raided the wrong house, terrifying her family

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Raleigh mother is still brought to tears remembering the day a team of Raleigh police officers raided the wrong house, terrifying her family.

The incident happened in 2020, but the family's attorney will be in court Wednesday to push for the release of the police bodycam video of the incident that ties back to a now-fired Raleigh police officer.

"I was in the house. I had just put my dinner on," said Yolanda Irving outside her old address on Burgundy Street in east Raleigh where the surprise encounter with RPD's Selective Enforcement Unit (SEU) happened. The SEU is the department's equivalent of a SWAT team, a tactical unit of highly trained and heavily armed officers.

In tears, Irving, returned to her old home for the first time in more than a year to recall that day in May 2020.

"I was right there, the second door," she said pointing to her side of the duplex. "SWAT came through my door. They pointed the weapons at me and chased my son up the stairs. They told us when they were bringing us downstairs to cup our hands over our heads."

Irving said that with guns drawn on her and her three children, officers ransacked the home. She said they were holding a search warrant; telling Irving they were looking for heroin and money.

Irving, a Wake County school bus driver, said her three teens were all terrified. She said her neighbor's 16-year-old son, who was outside her home, got scared and ran. Officer caught him and put him in handcuffs, she said.

Irving remembers being filled with fear and lots of questions.

"What is going on? What are you talking about? What are you looking for? You have the wrong house," she remembers saying to the officers.

The search warrant that officers used to enter the house is for 1628 Burgundy St. That was Irving's address. But the warrant includes a picture of the home as a way to help ensure officers don't make a mistake. The picture on the warrant is of a home two buildings down.

The tactical team was at the wrong house.

The police officer in charge of the operation was Detective Omar Abdullah. He was fired from RPD late last year after a months-long investigation into dozens of bogus drug arrests based on bad information from a criminal informant that used fake heroin as evidence.

"They didn't find anything in my home. They didn't find no money. No drugs. No nothing. I never got an apology," Irving said.

Kerwin Pittman is a criminal justice reform advocate with Emancipate NC.

"This could happen to anybody," Pittman said. "Mistakes like this have dire consequences and severe collateral damage especially toward black and brown populations."

Irving, overwhelmed with the returning emotions, said, "My anxiety is really high. It's really high. I do not mess with the police at all."

ABC11 reached out to RPD on Tuesday afternoon for the department's version of events. A spokesperson said they would get back to us.

Meanwhile, there's a hearing Wednesday at the Wake Justice Center about the police bodycam footage from that day. Irving wants the judge to release it for the public to see.

Her attorney says RPD wants to keep it sealed.