After four residents of a North Philadelphia home passed out petitions criticizing surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, police raided their house and detained them without charges for 12 hours, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
After the police search last week, the house was reportedly inspected by several government agencies — including the Department of Homeland Security — and finally sealed off by the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections.
“This leaves me homeless,” Daniel Moffat, a co-owner of the house, told the Daily News.
Police told the press that the occupants had anti-government “propaganda” in the house.
“They’re a hate group,” Police Captain Dennis Wilson told Philadelphia’s City Paper. “We’re trying to drum up charges against them, but, unfortunately, we’ll probably have to let them go.”
Moffat told the Daily News that he asked the police for a warrant before the search, but they did not have one.
After being detained, he was released without charges.
Daily News reporter Will Bunch wrote on his blog that he found the search and detainment “outrageous” and compared the police tactics to those of Stalinist Russia.
“The cops came, searched and left a mess for puzzled homeowner”
Philadelphia Daily News, June 17, 2008
“There’s something fishy in Francisville”
City Paper (Philadelphia), June 14, 2008
“Moscow on the Schuylkill: Philly cops bust activists…for what?”
Philly.com, June 17, 2008