SWAT team with guns drawn raids Arizona home for toddler with fever

Thursday, March 28, 2019
SWAT team with guns drawn raids Arizona home for toddler with fever
David Novarro reports on a SWAT raid in Arizona that targeted a 2-year-old child.

CHANDLER, Arizona -- Video shows a SWAT team raiding a home in Arizona with guns drawn looking for a 2-year-old child with a fever.

The raid came as a result of a fight between the toddler's parents and a doctor over his medical care.

But now, local lawmakers say it went too far.

It was a scene that resembled police trying to take down a dangerous fugitive, bust down the door with guns at the ready. But instead of a fugitive, police were looking for a toddler believed to have an extremely high fever.

State representative Kelly Townsend says she's troubled by the video, and she's played a big role in getting legislation passed requiring Children's Services to get a search warrant before removing children from a home in a non-emergency situation.

But she says she never thought this would be the result.

"The doctor chose to use DCS to remove the child, and DCS chose to use the police, and the police chose to use the SWAT team," she said. "That is not the country that I recognize."

Townsend says it all started back in February, when the parents took the 2-year-old, who isn't vaccinated, to a naturopathic doctor for a fever of about 105.

The doctor instructed the parents to take the child to the emergency room, but the fever broke after the doctor's visit, so they never went.

Upon learning that, the doctor called DCS, which then called Chandler police to check on the child.

The father refused to let police into the home, and later that night, officers came back with a search warrant.

"At that point, who now owns control over the child?" Townsend said. "And it seems like we've now given that to the doctor, and the parent no longer has a say or they risk the SWAT team taking all of the children and potentially the newborn."

Townsend says she can see both sides of the story, a concerned doctor and protective parents, but she is questioning how it was done and the amount of force used.

"We need to admit that in this situation, it was a mistake," she said. "There are other situations where there is neglect, there is abuse, and that is what we need to focus on."

Townsend said the child actually had an upper respiratory infection and not meningitis like the doctor had feared.