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Judge orders St. Louis County to pay $300K for warrantless police search

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ordered St. Louis County to pay $300,000 to two people who sued after police barged into their home six years ago with guns drawn and without a warrant.

A final judgment in the case was entered against the county, ordering it to pay Jon Luer and Andrea Steinebach for damages stemming from the home intrusion, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri said in a news release.

The ACLU said Luer and Steinebach were awoken about 3 a.m. on July 10, 2016, to find armed officers in their hallway searching for a suspect who had skipped out on cab fare. The two officers interrogated the couple’s teenage son and searched his room. The officers left after deciding he was not the suspect but did not file an incident report about their contact with the family, the ACLU said.

“Our family is still haunted by the illegal middle-of-the-night invasion of our home by the very people that are supposed to protect us,” Steinebach said in a written statement.

Last year, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the family’s lawsuit could proceed, calling police actions in the case a “severe, warrantless intrusion.”

A police spokeswoman referred questions to the St. Louis County Counselor’s Office. That office did not immediately return a phone message left seeking comment.

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