Dallas family says bounty hunters crossed the line

Armed bounty hunters storm Dallas home

The first thing Michael Faz heard at the door was a loud smack.

He was inside his family’s apartment with his two younger sisters in southwest Dallas last month. He figured it was police looking for his uncle, so he started recording on his cell phone.

He whispered to his sisters, “Girls, the police are here.”

The men broke the deadbolt lock and came in. He would only later learn that they were not the police. They were bounty hunters.

“Come out with your hands up,” one of the men said. “Felony warrant. Felony [expletive] warrant.”

“He’s not here,” Michael told them. “It’s just kids.”

The men were looking for his uncle, who was wanted for jumping bond on a drug delivery case. The bounty hunters ordered him to open the bedroom door, giving every impression that they were the police.

“I’m going to open it,” he told them. “I have no weapons.”

Michael opened the door with his hands in the air. The video shows him getting down on his knees.

“One of the guys right here gestures at me with his pistol to get on my knees,” Michael said.

On the video, his sisters can be heard crying in the background. A man can be seen dressed in heavy tactical gear.

“Are you sure he’s not in there?” one of the men asked.

“Yes, sir,” Michael replied.

“We got the warrant,” a man said.

The man kicked open his mom’s locked bedroom door. By then, Michael had disappeared from the camera view. He says the men handcuffed him.

“There were just guns in my face,” says the 18-year-old high school senior. “Looking down the barrel of a pistol is not a good feeling.”

As the sisters cried, the men continued to ask him where his uncle was. They told him he better not to lie to them.

“We can take him to jail,” one of the men said. “We can take him to jail and take them to CPS. Want to do that?”

The men left a few minutes later. They did not find the person they were looking for. Michael says they told him that they would be watching them.

“When you’re at work and you get a call saying, ‘I just had a gun put to my head or to my face. That's not a good feeling,” says his mother, Leticia Chapa. “I come home. My girls are scared. My son's upset.”

Chapa reported the incident to police, who continue to investigate the Aug. 10 incident at the complex on West Ledbetter Drive.

“I want them to get in trouble and pay for what they did,” she says. “It’s unacceptable what they did. They were afraid when they saw these guys with guns. We have no reason -- no criminal anything -- for them to come in here and treat my kid like criminals.”

Under state law, a bounty hunter cannot enter a residence without the consent of the occupants.

Matthew Toback, an attorney for the bounty hunters, said Chapa’s brother was living there and had been there the night before, an allegation that Chapa says is untrue.

He said management gave them a key to the apartment and told them the occupants had been evicted.

“My clients believe that they were following Texas law in their actions,” Toback said. “We feel that they’ll be vindicated through the court system.”

A manager of Smith Creek apartments declined to comment.

That morning, the bounty hunters first went to the apartment of another family member who lived across the courtyard. The family members say the bounty hunters banged on the door, said they had a warrant and needed to be let in or they would kick in the door.

“We opened the door for them, so they wouldn’t do that,” said Maribell Garcia, who is married to the son of the man the bounty hunters searching for.

She said they also believed the men were police officers. Garcia says the men came in, searched and kicked open her mother-in-law’s locked door. Garcia showed WFAA the damage to the door.

“They threatened us in front of our kids,” she says. They were crying. They were really scared.”

The next day, the apartment complex filed for an eviction against Chapa. They claimed Chapa was behind on the rent, which she denies. Chapa says she tried to pay but they would not take her payment.

Chapa and her children have since found a new place to live.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment