Teen Sent to Prison for Defending Home from Intruders—Because The Intruders Were Cops

By Rachel Blevins

Austin, TX – When a SWAT team initiated a no-knock raid in search of cannabis, they were met with gunfire, and while the resident surrendered as soon as he realized his home was being raided by police, the fact that he opened fire on the intruders and shot one of them in the leg has resulted in a 13-year prison sentence.

When a SWAT team broke down the door and charged into the Harrell family’s house in the early morning hours of April 14, 2016, they claimed that the intrusive operation was justified, because they believed 18-year-old Tyler Harrell was running a drug ring out of his parents’ home.

When Tyler Harrell was woken up by what he believed were burglars breaking into his home, he did what many gun owners would do, and he grabbed his firearm and confronted the intruders. He used his legally-owned AK-47, and while he did not kill any of the officers, he did wound one officer by shooting him in the knee.

Lisa Harrell told KVUE News that she believes her son only opened fire because he thought his family was being robbed. “[Tyler] came running out with his gun, thinking someone was intruding in our house, and he started shooting down the stairs,” she said. “I know my son thought there was an intruder in the house.”

Hours after the shooting, police confirmed that “another SWAT team member returned fire, but did not hit Harrell, who surrendered to police within minutes,” indicating that as soon as Harrell realized he was firing at police officers, he stopped and let them arrest him without a fight.

When officers searched the home, they found one ounce of cannabis, which would justify a misdemeanor charge against Harrell. However, because the officers initiated a no-knock raid before dawn, and Harrell attempted to protect his family from the intruders, he was charged with attempted capital murder.

During the trial, Harrell’s psychiatrist testified that at the time of the shooting, he was “suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after an incident four months earlier in which he and his friends were robbed by a masked gunman,” and the gunman shot Harrell, before Harrell “wrested the gun away from the man and chased him out the door of his friend’s apartment,” according to a report from the Austin Statesman.

However, it was the testimony from Officer James Pittman that apparently pulled at the heartstrings of jury members. He was the only person injured by Harrell’s gunfire, and he said the bullet wound in his leg kept him from playing with his kids now and would force him to get knee replacement surgery one day.

Pittman also criticized the “Not Guilty” verdict from another Texas case in which a homeowner shot and wounded three police officers when they initiated a no-knock raid on his house. Ray Rosas spent nearly two years in jail awaiting his trial, and his actions were ruled justified based on the fact that he was acting in self-defense and did not know the intruders he was shooting were police officers.

Rosas was acquitted, despite the fact that 11 police officers testified against him. However, in the case of Tyler Harrell, his lawyer argued that the 18 SWAT team members who attended court in tactical gear to show their support for Officer Pittman, further demonized Harrell in the eyes of the jury.

Look at this gallery. You don’t think this is a lot of political pressure for these people?” Lawyer Michael Chandler told the jury.

The pressure worked, and while the jury determined that Tyler Harrell was not guilty of attempted capital murder or aggravated assault on a public servant, he was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison, and a fine of $7,000.

When the trial shifted to a debate over whether Harrell acted in self-defense, it served as a distraction from the fact that the drug raid on his home was an absolute failure, and officers were never able to prove that Harrell was a “large drug dealer” of marijuana and cocaine, which was the claim they used to justify obtaining a search warrant for the raid in the first place.

Rachel Blevins is an independent journalist from Texas, who aspires to break the false left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Steemit and Patreon. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

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29 Comments on "Teen Sent to Prison for Defending Home from Intruders—Because The Intruders Were Cops"

  1. No knock raids always result in property destruction, injury or loss of innocent life. Were SUPPOSED to only be for big time drug operations; now used for everything that gives LE a chance to use their military equipment. The excuse that the perps will get away or destroy evidence is just not valid with the numbers of cops they send to cover every exit. If you don’t identify then you deserve to get shot.

    • RJ O'Guillory | May 16, 2018 at 11:50 am | Reply

      …I would love to open a construction company focusing exclusively on prevention of “no-knock-raids”…or home invasion. Double thick steel doors with dead bolts that cannot be broken with a battering ram, bullet proof glass in all windows….a self-trap-vestibule area where a group of cops or thieves can rush in, but a trap door that closes … or opens on them, delivering them into a 7 foot pit, or locks the door behind them. If you were to “re-invest” in this fashion, along with installing some “offensive-defensive” systems in your home…such as high-frequency, targeted sound waves, high volume sound…non-toxic, sticky…yet pepper-based spays that would attach themselves to every bit of equipment and person…and plenty of video cameras and signage that the home is extra-protected…that would be great! Imagine watching the video of a tactical, no-knock-raid done at 0300…where the police are forced to stand around in the open, looking like unprepared dorks…who get squirted with pepper spray after a 30 second notice of intent. Even later on, if they charged you for the acts of the house defensive systems…you can claim that they are meant for intruders, and perfectly legal. Ha!
      RJ O’Guillory

      • Oh how I wish all could afford such a place, but alas most really couldn’t unless your a big time dealer or a politician or a movie star.

      • Menzoberranzan | May 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Reply

        Do it yourself. I have. They’ll die in the yard.

  2. Herman Christian | May 16, 2018 at 10:36 am | Reply

    THIS is the B.S. deal about the Corporate cops violating hell out of the public trust !!!
    People’s rights have been run over so long in the pursuit of loot, we have our President advocating the death penalty for gunning cops. If the cops are reigned in and put back to POLICING instead of running revenue road, much of this wouldn’t be happening. When a man steps out of an alley way and points a gun in my face saying hand over your money, he is a robber and a criminal. When two men step out one has a uniform and a badge and the other is in a suit , the suit says hand over your money and the uniform sticks a gun in my face and says or I’ll kill you, all are criminal here with little difference?
    When statutes, codes, and policy under color of law are wrongly enforced and backed with deadly force, we have a real problem here? Like Winston Churchill said, when you have 10,000 regulations and few knowing them at all, people soon loose respect for the LAW ( Not statutes, codes, and policy which is commerce and contracting and NOTHING to do with LAW ) Mr. President and Governors, take the profitability out of so called law and order and the common people will regain confidence in you once again.
    This story above is a travesty of real justice with for profit courts the only winners.

  3. Kick my door in at night and you will be met with some nice steel brass coated 12 Gauge rounds coming your way called 000 buck shot. 12 at a time and my shotgun holds 6+1 of those nice human tissue shredders. You want to come in my home you damn well better knock loudly and announce yourself. Oh and that 000 Steel brass coated buck will penetrate 90% of the Ballistic Vests on the market as they are magnum loads.

  4. Maybe they should knock next time. Idiots.

    • Lil Miss Maple | May 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Reply

      Idiocy backed up by a very nasty, self serving, idiotic state still means people go to jail unjustly.
      There’s nothing more sinister & fearful that incompetence underpinned by evil & the full force of the state.
      Just stay out of the system as much as you can. Trust no one & keep your nose clean. Remember high ranking criminals will always try & criminalise the innocent to shift the blame from themselves.
      The system is very evil.

  5. The US is a police state and the courts are as corrupt as Hell!

    • and grand jurys are hesitant to blame the police officer in killing a suspect where there was no threats. kirst is a wrong policy for police,.

  6. Another one where a person trying to defend himself and household are the criminal and not the raid that caused it. That jury is wrong and stupid. Probably all gun haters and dem’s to boot.

    • anticriminals | May 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Reply

      You can bet that all those jurors are too ignorant to know their own rights, let alone protect the rights of another. All are beholden to the State. All are licensed by the State making them the slaves of their masters and duty bound to protect the satanic system. All have been brainwashed in the criminals’ school system, 10th listed element of communism.
      Have you given up your God-given inalienable rights to liberty/ travel, and the pursuit of happiness for the communists’ privilege to drive? Is it possible that your occupation is not that of a ‘driver’?
      They get their jurors from licensed/ registered slaves.

  7. NeverForget | May 16, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Reply

    Those who enforce the laws of tyrants have the most blood on their hands.

  8. NeverForget | May 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Reply

    We need another Nuremberg style trial to bring all these scumbags in black uniforms to justice for all the blood they have shed.

  9. Hmmm

    Hold on here. These are the same courts that ruled that police officers who raid the wrong home, killing one or more of the totally innocent owners in the process are free from any responsibility, let alone criminal charges because after all mistakes are made and police officers should never be made to pay for them. The defense of one’s home, armed or not, is an inherent right that predates our Constitution. If a pack of intruders break down you door in the dead of night, you have every possible legal, moral and ethical right to shoot them dead. Only a certifiable lunatic would do nothing.

    America is NOT Nazis Germany circa 1938, nor is it the Soviet Block at the height of the cold war. The actions of the police are not consistent with America’s values in any way shape or form. If in fact they were truly in fear for their lives, all they had to do was simply wait until he walked out the door of the home in broad daylight to arrest him……..And despite what you see repeated on TV over and over, the bad guys almost never start blazing away when confronted by overwhelming force in broad daylight. That is pure fiction. Does it happen? Sure, but not often. Besides, the officers would of had ample time to ensure they were protected behind barriers. Good grief. This isn’t 1984, this is the Gestapo.

  10. That’s a crock of toro mierda..

  11. communist red-tards would be wise to announce themselves by knocking on the door.

  12. He was probably offered a plea deal that was a hell of a lot less than 13 years, but he knew he was RIGHT and thought his fellow Texans would exonerate him……America just isn’t the country I grew up in……..we DO live in a police state and once you are in the system…even if you are innocent…hell…ESPECIALLY if you are innocent……you are just chewed up and spit out…….there is NO way to “win”.

  13. Yeah, because bad guys never yell “Police!” during a home invasion. Keep your tools on you, mates!

  14. BugsBunnyPatriot | May 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Reply

    Knowing cops as I do I am surprised they didn’t find more weed just to make the raid look better

  15. Menzoberranzan | May 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Reply

    They bust in here they’re gonna all die.

  16. No Earthly government has the authority to block an adult’s access to food or dope of their choosing.
    Examples: real milk and marijuana.
    No Earthly government has the authority to force dope on anyone.
    Examples: fluoride, non-therapeutic vaccines, and psycho dope.


  18. i hope they are appealing this wrong thing. the boy had no idea. no knock…means the swat team burst in and he would have no idea why. on their suspicion, not anything tat the swat team know

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