RIPON, Calif. (KTXL) — A Ripon family said they are questioning law enforcement’s response after officers raided their home over fireworks they had.
The McCurdy family has lived in Ripon for the past 6 years. They said officers overreacted, and that all they had to do was ask. Instead, the family said they were left feeling traumatized and humiliated.
“Walking out, I have my 3-year-old and my 16-year-old,” Nicole McCurdy said. “It’s dehumanizing. I have never felt like that in my life.”
On Wednesday, police behind tactical shields and with a search warrant in hand raided her home.
“I was humiliated. I have never had fear go through me like that,” McCurdy said.
She said she didn’t have the slightest clue why the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office and other agencies showed up on her doorstep.
“He says, ‘You know why we are here right? I said, ‘No I don’t, I have no clue.’ He did his arm to the fireworks that we had stored for our Fourth of July party for the community,” McCurdy recalled.
The fireworks were in the family’s garage. They said they were gathering them for another community Fourth of July celebration — events they said they have held for the past two years.
“I don’t understand where the excessive force came from,” Michael Schirmer said.
Nicole’s husband, Michael Schirmer, was away when the raid happened, but he is trying to figure out why there was a large police response, especially after police officers over the past two weeks are seen in photos checking out the fireworks.
“Nothing illegal. They even took some of the poppers that I bought for my son you can get from Target,” Schirmer said.
State laws say Safe and Sane fireworks can only be sold between June 28 to July 6. The family said they bought theirs online and would have gladly turned them in if asked. Instead, police took the boxes and some marijuana from the safe.
“I don’t know what their protocol is, but I don’t think guns need to be pointed at a woman, a 3-year-old and 16-year-old over fireworks,” McCurdy said.
Nearby neighbors were upset about how the situation was handled.
“You have a family here that invests thousands of dollars into the community every year, to put on a Safe and Sane show because Ripon canceled theirs. Community members turn out and the police have been here,” one neighbor said.
The family also said police shot at their dogs with non-lethal bullets during the raid. They add all this terror was unnecessary.
“You don’t shoot my dogs and put guns on my family because I have fireworks before June 28 and some don’t have a California seal on them,” Schirmer said. “That is a sick abuse of power.”
The family said even with $4,000 worth of fireworks taken away, they will do whatever they can to celebrate the Fourth of July.
FOX40 reached out to the sheriff’s office on Thursday. They said it was an active investigation and would not be releasing anything.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, however, released a statement on Friday after community concerns:
“Statements being made to the media by the family claim excessive and unnecessary force and that there were only legal fireworks in the home that were being used for a community celebration. What the media and family aren’t sharing is that the search warrant stemmed from an ongoing investigation of an illegal fireworks operation that was connected to the home. Deputies had to take necessary precautions due to knowledge of criminal history and firearms in the home,” read the statement.
The sheriff’s office also stated that the dog attacked deputies and they offered veterinarian care, after using force on the pet, which the family declined.
Officials concluded the statement by saying how they take these complaints seriously and that the deputies followed the right procedure.