It’s been a few hundred years since the Third Amendment was written to keep King George from quartering British troops in American homes, but a lawsuit just filed in Nevada suggests it’s as relevant as ever.
The framers of the Constitution ratified the Third Amendment to ensure citizens would never again have to accommodate soldiers, but a few centuries later it’s become more-or-less an antiquated law that’s rarely referenced in federal court. That changed recently when a family from Henderson, Nevada accused the local police department of constitutional violations after officers of the law allegedly took residence in two neighborhood homes.
According to a legal filing first obtained by Courthouse News Service, a handful of Henderson Police Department officers and the city itself are being sued for an array of charges — including Third Amendment violations — over an incident that mirrors the making of the American Revolution.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say police officers demanded they be allowed to occupy two homes owned by their clients on the city’s Eveningside Avenue in 2011 in order to conduct an investigation involving a neighbor’s residence. When the owners refused to comply with the request, they were reportedly arrested for obstruction and brought to jail.
Police were investigating an incident at 363 Eveningside Avenue that July when Officer Christopher Worley called up the occupant of a neighboring property, Anthony Mitchell, and said he’d need to use his house in order to gain a 'tactical advantage' over the neighbor’s residence. Mitchell reportedly made it clear that he did not want to get involved in the probe and told Worley he would not be able to offer assistance. According to the lawsuit, Officer David Cawthorn, Sgt. Michael Waller and Worley all then "conspired among themselves to force Anthony Mitchell out of his residence and to occupy his home for their own use."