Incomplete info on arrest warrant may have led to US Marshals holding Bradenton mom, baby at gunpoint

Manatee County

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Incomplete information on a criminal arrest warrant may have led to a mistake by U.S. Marshals in Bradenton.

The US Marshals are part of a task force that was sent to arrest Shamar Johnson, wanted in connection with a murder that happened on Sept. 11, 2021.

Johnson was being sought in connection with the shooting death of a man at the Preserve on 51st Apartments in Bradenton. A warrant for Johnson’s arrest lists the main address for the Preserve Apartments.

On Oct. 22, when US Marshals arrived at the Preserve Apartment Complex to arrest Johnson they arrived at the Apartment of Kada Staples. The address of an apartment listed in the warrant is different from that of Johnson and she has no connection to Staples.

When armed US Marshals arrived at Staples apartment they demanded to know where “he is” saying, ” We know he’s in there. We have the place surrounded.”

Staples, who is just 21 says she was napping with her three month old baby and had no idea why armed men were at her apartment door.

“They start screaming at me, US Marshalls, open up, we know he’s in there, yelling to come out and I just kind of start freaking out, so I’m trying to hurry up and put my dog away in his cage,” said Staples.

She says eventually the Marshals figured out they were at the wrong apartment.

“Then one of the guys in the hallway is like, wait, this is apartment and then said my apartment number and then kind of repeated it again and then they ran out and said, that’s the wrong apartment, wrong apartment,” said Staples.

USF Criminology Professor Dr. Lori Fridell says the lack of specific information on the warrant is a problem for the Marshals.

“When police apply search warrant, they have to particularly describe the place to be searched as well as the things to be seized and this is the actual wording from the fourth amendment of the Constitution. So, it’s not unusual when police apply for a warrant to have not just an address listed in the warrant request, but a description of the location. It is not unusual to have a picture of the location and of course, if the location has an apartment number, this is going to be included,” said Dr. Fridell.

That lack of specific information could have led to a dangerous situation for an innocent person.

“If this apartment had a clearly marked number, that did not match the warrant, then we have negligence on the part of the marshals. We have sloppy work, that brought unnecessary fear and distress to one of our residents,” said Fridell.

Staples’ apartment does have a clearly marked number. There are 200 units in the Preserve complex and yet Tampa Attorney Bryant Camareno says it may be difficult for Staples to sue the U.S. Marshals service and recover any damages.

“Because it’s law enforcement and it’s federal, they have what’s known as qualified immunity, so they are protected to some extent, but at the end of the day, I don’t think she’ll have much remedy in court,” said Camareno

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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