The Justice Files: Family wins settlement after raid targeted wrong family

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Daniel McGuire woke up from a deep sleep when he heard a loud bang coming from his bedroom window.

“I was stunned,” McGuire said.  “I was frozen.”

He jumped out of bed and searched for his family urging them to call 911.

McGuire didn’t know law enforcement was in the home already.

“I was confronted in the living room by lights and guns and police officers shouting orders to get on the ground,” he said.

Moments later, McGuire and family members were in handcuffs as police searched the home in Taylorsville. 

“What was going through my mind was absolute terror,” he said.

It was November 2015 and a SWAT team was executing a search warrant.  They were looking Misty Lee Italasano who happened to live in the McGuire’s basement.

According to court records,  a confidential informant told Cottonwood Heights police she was dealing drugs from her basement apartment.

Shane Johnson and Stewart Gollan of the Pioneer Justice Center were McGuire and his family’s attorney.

“The officers in the apartment had concerns about the downstairs tenant,” said Gollan.  “They had no independent concerns about my clients who lived upstairs and there were multiple indications that they were aware of that they were likely separate apartments.”

What hurt McGuire the most that day was seeing his mother in handcuffs, questioned and betrayed.

He said his mother knew Italasano was a parolee.   But after meeting her in church, she gave her a second chance and rented the basement apartment.

“(It was) uncomfortable and painful and shocking,” he said.

McGuire and his family sued Cottonwood Heights police as well as Unified Police Department which provided the swat team.

This week, Cottonwood Heights settled.  Early on, Unified Police settled as well.  But neither police department claimed liability.
Gollan said the undisclosed settlement was the best possible outcome for McGuire and his family.

“There certainly has been a steady shift by the courts giving law enforcement more and more leeway,” Gollan said.

Mcguire said the settlement was a compromise but helped gain justice for the family.
He hopes police will learn from this.

“I would hope that from the bottom of my heart that those police offers that took part in this try and grow as human beings and do a little bit better from now on,” McGuire said.

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