Officers told her 'rights' were 'only in the movies'
January 10, 2008 - The mother of an 11-year-old boy abducted by SWAT team members and taken to a hospital after he was bruised while horsing around is warning members of her community of the "Nazi" tactics she endured, including a statement from the officers that her "rights" were "only in the movies."
The case involves Jon Shiflet, who injured himself while trying to grab the handle of a door on a car his sister was driving. He slipped and fell to the pavement, hitting his head. His parents treated him for the injury and rejected paramedics' demands that they be allowed to take him to a hospital.
Nearly 36 hours later, SWAT team members broke into the family home in western Colorado near New Castle and took Jon to a hospital, where a doctor said the family should keep ice on his bruise, exactly the treatment the family already had been providing.
Tina Shiflett, Jon's mother, has written a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, the Post Independent, "to awaken, alert and appall any who read it and hear the bells ringing."
"A fully armed SWAT team broke into our home, slammed my children to the floor face down with their hands behind their backs and shoved a gun in my daughter's face and handcuffed her…" her letter said.
During the attack, she wrote, "One (officer) grabbed my daughter Beth (18 years), who also had a gun to her face, slammed her down and kneed her in the back and held her in that position… My sons Adam (14) and Noah (only 7) lay down willingly, yet they were still forced to put their hands behind their backs and were yelled at to keep their heads down.
"My daughter Jeanette was coming out from the back bedroom when she was grabbed, dragged down the hallway, across a couch and slammed to the ground," she said. "The officers then began throwing scissors and screwdrivers across the room (out of our reach, I suppose) and going through our cupboards.
"I asked if I could make a phone call and was told, 'no.' My daughter asked if that wasn't one of our rights. The reply was made, 'That's only in the movies,'" she told WND.
"The armed men in black masks took my terrified son against his wishes to Grand River Hospital, where he was examined by a doctor and interrogated by Social Services. No evidence was found that he had not been properly taken care of. Upon his return, we were told to keep ice on his head," Tina Shiflett's letter to the editor said.
"To the SWAT Team members … how far will you go in 'just doing your job?' If you feel no guilt bursting into an innocent family's home, traumatizing young children and stomping the security found therein, will you follow more horrific orders?" she wrote.
"May I remind you that in Nazi Germany, outrageous, monstrous crimes were committed by soldiers 'just doing their job?' What will be next? Where will this stop?" she wrote.
"Fathers, mothers, families and countrymen, I challenge you to consider our story and ask yourself the question, 'If this was my family, what would I do?' For it very well could be you … next!"
Ross Talbott, the owner of the Apple Tree Mobile Home Park who rents to the Shifletts, called the SWAT team actions "gross irresponsibility and stupidity."
"Is this Russia? I don't know what we're coming to when they think your kid needs medical help and they send a SWAT team," he said.