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Metro Police raid wrong house with three-year-old inside

Raid reveals botched communication between police, MDHA

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Azaria Hines had finished her late shift at the local Mapco, curling up on her downstairs couch asleep when the banging outside began.

Hines, a resident of the Edgehill apartments, said she wasn’t even dressed when she realized it was police.

“I was like hold on, I’ll let you in,” Hines said.

What happened next traumatized not only her, but her cousin, 15-year-old Kanani Hines, and her nephew, 3-year-old Jaiden Hines, both of whom Azari Hines has custody of.

Hines said police burst through the door with a battering ram, smashing the door frame and pointing guns at her naked form.

Hines said she reached to put on a shirt and was ordered by police to stop. 

Both Azari and Kanani Hines describe that police rushed up the stairs halfway with guns drawn.

Both Kanani and Jaiden then came downstairs and were ordered to go out onto the porch.

“I’m furious because they came up in here and woke up my kids with rifles,” Hines said.

After several tense minutes, police came to Hines with an admission.

“They had the wrong apartment,” Hines said.

“Did anyone say, ‘I’m sorry that we have the wrong place, I’m sorry that this happened?’” asked News4 Investigates.

“No. They basically said, sorry for the mix-up,” Hines said.

A News4 Investigation into the botched raid revealed a communications snafu between two Metro agencies led to officers having outdated information.

Edgehill Apartments is an affordable-housing property of Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency.

News4 Investigates found ultimately that Metro Police believed they were serving the warrant on updated information from MDHA, however, the housing agency stopped giving updated information on residents for privacy reasons back in 2018.

Don Aaron, spokesman for Metro Police, told News4 Investigates in an email that the search warrant was executed at Hines’ apartment in connection to evidence of vehicle burglaries by a 16-year-old seen on video carrying a gun.

Aaron wrote that the address for the 16-year-old, included in an arrest report last month, was also listed as the address for Hines’ apartment.

Hines said she had been living at the apartment for the last six months and had never heard of the 16-year-old.

Hines said the locks were even changed when she moved in.

“I don’t even understand where that mix-up came from. It’s not even making sense to me,” Hines said.

Aaron said police even went to the apartment a month ago to alert the 16-year-old’s mother to come pick him up from juvenile court, but that mother never answered the door.

At some point before serving the search warrant, a Metro Police spokeswoman said officers checked MDHA’s resident listing to verify that the 16-year-old lived there.

Hours after the botched raid, Metro Police realized they did not have access to the current list.

“As late as today, an MDHA staffer told officers that the database is updated every 24 hours; however, the database that MNPD officers were able to query had not been updated from the MDHA master database since November 7, 2018. It is unclear who, if anyone, at the MNPD knew that the information was no longer being shared. We have found no notification thus far,” Aaron wrote in the email.

A spokeswoman for MHDA said in a statement that they had stopped providing resident’s addressed to law enforcement more than a year ago because of concern of violating privacy rules.

It is unclear why Metro Police did not realize they had old information.

“Ironically, an MNPD IT staffer discovered yesterday afternoon that the database had not been updated since November 2018 as he prepared for moving data from one server to another and inquired with MDHA about it,” Aaron wrote.

MDHA does provide keys to Metro Police when a search warrant is served, and the spokeswoman for MHDA said staff provided two keys to two apartments associated with the warrants.

However, Metro Police said the key to Hines apartment didn’t work.

“MDHA provided officers executing this morning’s search warrant with a key to the residence; however, the key did not work (perhaps the spare key was not updated when the locks were changed after the last tenant moved out). Entry was made after the officers repeatedly knocked and announced themselves,” Aaron wrote.

Regardless of how the mix-up occurred, Hines said the trauma is still being felt by herself and her children.

“I don’t want to live here anymore,” Kanani Hines said.

On Wednesday, Metro Police said at a press conference that three officers have been decommissioned following the raid. 
 
 
 

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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