A panel of three judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Tuesday that the City of Greenwood Village in Colorado does not owe the Lech family, whose house was destroyed by police, any more money than the $5,000 they received in temporary rental assistance back in 2015.
It began in June 2015 when an armed man who shoplifted from a nearby Walmart randomly holed up in the Lech house. Police had a standoff with the man that ended only when the house was entirely destroyed and had to be condemned by the city.
The police blasted rockets into the house and even drove a vehicle into the front door, The Washington Post reported.
“They proceed to destroy the house — room by room, by room, by room,” Leo Lech, the owner of the house, said in an interview with the Post. “This is one guy with a handgun. This guy was sleeping. This guy was eating. This guy was just hanging out in this house. I mean, they proceeded to blow up the entire house.”
Lech was renting the home to his son and his family when the police showdown happened.
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The Lech family sued, claiming that by destroying the home to capture the suspect, the government had taken it for public use. This would have guaranteed the family compensation.
The federal panel of judges did not agree and, for now, the Lech family will get nothing in return for their home being destroyed by police.
“It just goes to show that they can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, ‘See you later. Deal with it,’” Lech said in an interview with the Post. “What happened to us should never happen in this country, ever.”
Lech told the Post that he is considering taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.