East Chicago Police Department being sued after family claims officers forced way into home | Video

'It's just scary. The whole thing was scary,' Tanisha Oneal said

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
IN police being sued after family claims officers forced way into home
The East Chicago, IN police department is being sued after a family claims officers forced their way into their home and arrested them.

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (WLS) -- An East Chicago family is filing a lawsuit against the local police department after they said officers conducted an illegal search and seizure while they were celebrating an anniversary at home.

"It's just scary. The whole thing was scary," homeowner Tanisha Oneal said.

Oneal said she and her family had been celebrating an anniversary at her home, when suddenly East Chicago police pounded on the door at 2:30 a.m. on April 28.

"They were loud, and they cursed, 'open up the blank door!'" she said.

Oneal claims, with guns drawn, officers forced their way in, and refused to answer why they were there.

She later learned police were called over a noise complaint.

Cellphone video shows part of what unfolded.

Oneal's husband, Laquan Afolayan, was told to get on the ground.

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Their 4-year-old daughter, who has autism, was watching.

"And he complied, and was still arrested and charged with resisting arrest. He was charged with assaulting an officer. How you assault an officer when you are on the ground I'm unclear about, but that was what he was charged with," attorney Cannon Lambert Sr. said.

Craig Ginn, Oneal's brother, who was recording the video, was charged with refusing to aid and disorderly conduct.

Their attorney has now filed a lawsuit against the East Chicago Police Department for violating the Fourth Amendment, calling it an illegal search and seizure.

"You have to have a warrant in order to enter someone's home. There was none. There's got to be exigent circumstances, there were none. You have to have reason or be voluntarily let in. That did not happen," Lambert said.

"We are still scared to this day when we hear knocks at the door, people coming up the stairs; we are fearful. That's not fair. We were not protected," Oneal said.

She said after experiencing such aggression and, what she calls, police misconduct, she knew she had to speak up.

"You'll hear him say, 'this is what we do.' This has to be stopped. It's not OK," Oneal said.

In his incident report, one of the responding officers claims that before the recording began, one man slammed the apartment door on his wrist and another man threw an empty liquor bottle at him.

East Chicago Police Chief Jose Rivera said he is investigating the incident.