I-TEAM: Questions raised if woman’s civil rights were violated in case of mistaken identity

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman who claims she was the victim of a case of mistaken identity involving the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said her civil rights may have been violated by officers who forced their way into her home without a warrant.

When JSO officers arrived at Khristi Jackson’s door at a Northside apartment complex early last Thursday morning, officers were accompanied by members of JSO’s K9 unit. While officers may have been prepared for some kind of foot pursuit, the local woman told the News4JAX I-TEAM that police knocked on the wrong door, and in the process, she feels they violated her civil rights before handcuffing her and taking her to the floor.

MORE: JSO burst into her home and handcuffed her thinking she was a suspect. It was a case of mistaken identity, she says

Video shows that Jackson and her family shouted 13 times for one minute and twelve seconds before JSO officers responded and asked Jackson for her identification.

Jackson said JSO officers were looking for a woman named Mrs. Cooper and she told them, “that’s not me.” She said she tried to close her front door before officers used force to detain her.

“You got officers holding my legs, one on my stomach one on my back, and one officer had his knee on my neck, and they had my hands on my back, all that pressure, ya’ll aren’t lightweight people,” Jackson said.

News4JAX has learned the officers dressed in green were members of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit.

News4JAX showed the cellphone video the family recorded to News4JAX Crime and Safety Expert Lakesha Burton, who spend decades with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. She said a police dog was likely nearby and ready to be deployed

“Possibly outside the door in the car, but definitely there was a K9 in the vicinity,” Burton said.

Burton said police officers would have only had the right to enter Jackson’s home without a warrant if they were in hot pursuit of an individual who had just committed a crime. Police can also go into a home without a warrant if they believe evidence of a crime is being destroyed in the house. Jackson said these circumstances don’t apply to her.

″He tried to slam me right here, up against the wall...and I fell in the chair,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she was eventually handcuffed, and questioned in a patrol car before police realized they burst into the wrong house and detained someone other than who they were looking for.

″This could have potentially escalated to something dangerous if there was someone else in the home,” Burton said.

Burton added that Jackson had the right to close her front door unlawful search and seizure is protected by the 4th Amendment.

″It is permissible for a homeowner to speak to police through the door, the window, or through the video cameras. But is that the ideal way that law enforcement wants to communicate with the community? It’s not. But the flip side is that I think law enforcement has to understand that people don’t want to talk to the police or allow them into their residence, it isn’t because they committed a crime and are guilty, there are some people who have distrust or are just fearful of the police,” Burton said.

Jackson said her 4-year-old grandson who witnessed the chaos is now scared of Jacksonville police officers.

″Ya’ll not trying to earn nobody’s trust because ya’ll keep doing the same thing over and over again, and say it’s a mistake, but how many times are you going to make the same mistake?” Jackson asked.

When News4JAX asked JSO for information or a statement about the video, it would not comment saying the incident is under administrative review.

Jackson and other local faith leaders told News4JAX that they are concerned about accountability in the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and they are worried that JSO is not addressing the bigger issue of improving community relations.

Jackson said she has hired an attorney.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.