Bellwood police sued over raid on home that may have been swatting

BELLWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- A family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Bellwood police after a middle-of-the-night raid that may have been a swatting incident.

Behind a bright light, at 1:30 a.m., Bellwood police officers with guns drawn approach and enter this home with no explanation to the residents. Pictures and video from the security cameras at the home give an idea of the show of force.

"How they treated my wife, grandchildren, like we were criminals, like we were animals. Shame on them," said resident George Soto.

"I kept begging them to tell us what we did wrong," said his wife Margarita.

It is unclear who or what police were looking for. They were apparently responding to a 911 call to the house that attorneys say may have been a prank call about a fake emergency at the home, a relatively new phenomenon known as swatting.

"There was no due diligence. There was no reasonable inquiry. The officers just stormed into the house in the middle of the night," the family's attorney said.

Attorneys have allege assault and battery among seven counts in a federal civil rights lawsuit against police filed Thursday morning.

George Soto happens to be a candidate for the Bellwood town council, ironically, running on a platform of police reform. He was dressed only in boxer shorts during the raid, and claims police roughed him up, breaking a bone in his back.

"The officer grabbed me by the arm, handcuffed me then threw me on the floor," said Soto.

Eyewitness News has requested body camera video from the Bellwood police department, and a response to the allegations from the village. So far we've gotten no response.
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