What’s a home worth?
It’s a tough question, and it’s one that Vicki Baker found herself trying to answer the hard way after a SWAT team mutilated her house in McKinney, Texas, during a standoff with a fugitive who had barricaded himself inside.
“For two days, I couldn’t quit crying,” Baker says. “The tear gas was everywhere. It was on the walls. It was on the floors. It was on the furniture. It was everywhere.”
Prior to the SWAT showdown, Baker’s daughter, Deanna, gave officers a key to the home, as well as a garage doorInstitute for Justice opener and the back gate code. Agents took a different route. They smashed six windows. Instead of using the code, they maneuvered a BearCat armored vehicle through her fencing. Instead of using the clicker, they detonated explosives to blow off the garage entryway. And instead of using the key, they drove right on through her front door.
“It was after the insurance company told me there was no coverage that I really fell apart,” Baker adds. The company furnished a clause that protects them from liability in cases where the government is at fault for the damage. The city demurred: There would be no coverage. She was not a victim, according to the state.
“I’ve lost everything,” Baker says. “I’ve lost my chance to sell my house. I’ve lost my chance to retire without fear of how I’m going to make my regular bills.”