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When armed U.S. Marshals rang the bell of a Bradenton, Florida, apartment, they were certain they were about to arrest a man wanted for homicide.
“Tell him to come out with his hands up. We know he’s in there. The place is surrounded,” a Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force officer with his pistol drawn said, according to doorbell camera footage captured Saturday.
“Are we going to shoot someone or...?” another one of the officers, holding a rifle, says to his colleague.
But the police didn’t have the right apartment. And the only people on the other side of that door were a terrified young mother and her three-month old infant.
“Me and my newborn baby had guns pointed at us from every direction and they were at the wrong place,” the mother, Kada Staples, captioned her TikTok video showing footage from the attempted raid captured on her Ring. “I'm shaking. They literally could’ve killed us.”
On the morning of Oct. 22, at least five officers are seen quietly approaching the apartment door and ringing the doorbell. Staples did not immediately respond to VICE News’ requests for comment, but she told local news station Fox 13 that she was napping with her child at the time.
"U.S. Marshals, open the door!" the officer yells in the footage.
Staples tells the marshals that she’s putting her dog in its cage as they continue their demands.
“Tell him to come out with his hands up, we know he’s in there,” one of the marshals yells back.
“But no one is in here,” Staples replies. “OK hold on, hold on.”
“We’ve got contact. They have a Ring. They know we’re out here,” the marshal with a rifle says.
As the mother opens the door, several of the officers demand that she come out. In a second doorbell video, taken just seconds later, Staples leaves her apartment crying and walks down the hallway barefoot while holding her baby.
“Shamar, U.S. Marshals, come to the door with your hands up!” the armed officers yell into the home.
“No! I don’t know a Shamar,” Staples can be heard sobbing.
In a fourth angle recorded by Staples on her phone, she tells the officers through tears that they came to the wrong apartment.
“You’re right,” one of the officers says as they begin heading downstairs. “You’re good.”
In total, Staples said the encounter lasted about three minutes. The officers eventually found the person they were looking for inside a nearby apartment, according to local reports.
The TikTok video she posted of the marshals has just over 6,000 views.
The Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement to FOX 13, however, a spokesperson explained officers only approached Staples’ home because a man matching their suspect’s description was seen nearby. They also told the station that they never entered the home, despite Staples’ claims that at least three of them did.
"If the resident had not made contact with the team through the Ring doorbell, the team would not have had any contact with anyone at [Staples' apartment]," a spokesperson told the station.
The officers eventually found the person they were looking for inside a nearby apartment according to local reports.
Police raids have been scrutinized in recent years for endangering the lives of innocent people, particularly when law enforcement officers obtain warrants for the wrong home or mistakenly kill people who have nothing to do with the crime they’re investigating.
Last year, the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during the execution of a no-knock warrant in Louisville sparked international protests against the practice and even prompted the city to ban them outright in a law named after the slain EMT worker. Several other states and cities have proposed a similar law in the last year and a half. At least one, Virginia, actually moved forward with a version of the ban.