Lawsuit filed against FBI agents alleges warrantless search

By Jon Campisi | Sep 19, 2011

A married couple from Northwest Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit against three FBI agents who the plaintiffs allege entered their residence without a warrant last summer, terrorizing their son and granddaughter, who were living with the two at the house at the time.

Philadelphia attorney David Rudovsky, of the law firm Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg, filed the civil rights lawsuit Sept. 15 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Abdul Rahim Muhammad and his wife, Sharon Muhammad, as well as the couple’s son, Kharee Muhammad, and granddaughter, Tanasia Edmunds.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the United States of America, FBI Agent Carter, (no first name given), and John Does 1 and 2, who are listed as unknown federal law enforcement officers.

According to the complaint, which alleges violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the defendant agents forcibly, and without a warrant, entered the home on the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue on Aug. 5, 2010, surprising Kharee Muhammad and Tanasia Edmunds, who were still in their nightclothes at the time.

About a half hour earlier, Abdul Rahim Muhammad and his wife had left their residence, which includes a business of theirs on the ground floor.

The lawsuit states that the agents illegally seized and detained the son and granddaughter, handcuffing the son in the process, and holding the two, including the 7-year-old, at gunpoint.

The agents were believed to be looking for a fugitive of the law, the suit states, but they “refused to inform these plaintiffs of the reason or legal justification for the search.”

Keven Miller, the alleged fugitive agents had been looking for, was never located on the premises, the suit claims.

Furthermore, during their search, the defendant agents searched areas in the home where the fugitive couldn’t possibly have been hiding, the lawsuit states, including the freezer and dresser drawers.

The agents “left the premises in a serious state of disarray, with personal property tossed throughout the house,” the suit states.

The complaint contains counts including unconstitutional search and seizure, excessive use of force, false imprisonment, assault and battery and unlawful search.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages and punitive damages in amounts to be determined at trial, attorney’s fees and other court relief.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-05785-MAM.

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