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Wrong-door raid studied: Cops probe error in Queens

May 30, 2003

The Police Department is probing a wrong-door raid on a Queens family's home nearly a year and a half ago, a police official said yesterday.

The official said the investigation is being conducted by the Internal Affairs Division. The probe began after Newsday columnist Dennis Duggan reported last week on the Jan. 25, 2002, night-time raid on the Richmond Hill home of Mary and Joseph Bardy.

The Bardy family said police mistakenly invaded their home after a tip from a criminal informant.

Mary Bardy, 66, said a dozen officers armed with machine guns and wearing riot gear smashed through their kitchen door shouting, "Lie down on the floor, arms outstretched and hands open!"

The officers ordered their daughter and her baby to lie on the floor before charging up the stairs to their son John's room, where he was struck on the head.

After 15 minutes, Mary and Joseph, 70, were allowed to get up. No charges were filed and the officers left.

Mary Bardy described the police investigators who interviewed them Wednesday as "very polite and professional."

"They taped interviews with me and with my husband, Joseph," she said. "If any of this information leads to them correcting the way they issue and execute warrants then I will be happy."

Mary Bardy retired after a 20-year career in the Operations Division at Police Headquarters just three days before the raid.

She said that watching the news about Alberta Spruill, who died following a similar raid on her home in Harlem two weeks ago, caused her and her husband to have flashbacks to the "nightmare experience we had."

In the Spruill raid, police used a flash grenade before entering her apartment. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said two weeks ago that flash grenades have been used 85 times during 1,900 raids.

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© 2003 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.