Police Destroyed Her Home Based On A Faulty ‘Find My iPhone’ Image

swat team gathered together
Zain Murdock
January 16, 2023

77-year-old Ruby Johnson was home alone watching television on January 4, 2022. But at the loud sound of a bullhorn, the grandmother went outside to see military-adorned officers, rifles, and an armored truck.

When they entered her home, police destroyed furniture, punched into the ceiling, and smashed her garage door. Perhaps the most appalling: they beheaded one of her "prized collectable doll figurines," a decades-old gift from her son. 

But why were cops there in the first place?

It all came down to some stolen items in a truck. Denver detective Gary Staab used an approximate screenshot from the "Find My iPhone" service to mark Johnson's house for the search. They found nothing there. But Johnson was left with the fallout.

For months after, Johnson lived with her children, terrified of her own home. And even after filing  a lawsuit, the fear remained.

Mistake or not, police frequently disrupt the lives of Black residents like Johnson. But are these raids, that disproportionately target Black people, really a mistake? How many "mistakes" make a system worth abolishing?