ACLU of Colorado lawyers filed suit against Denver Police Officers on behalf of Ruby Johnson for violations of the Colorado Constitution for ransacking her home based on an utterly deficient search warrant for a crime that Ruby had nothing to do with. Ms. Johnson was a 78-year-old grandmother who lived alone in her Montbello home when she was subjected to a terrifying hours-long search by a Denver Police Department (DPD) SWAT team in body armor and carrying automatic weapons. On January 4, 2022, Ms. Johnson’s world was shaken when a DPD SWAT team showed up at her home of 40 years, searching for stolen goods and evidence of a truck theft. The hastily undertaken and outsized operation was based on a manifestly deficient search warrant and turned up nothing because Ms. Johnson and her home had no involvement whatsoever with the alleged incident. 

The day prior to the search, DPD Detective Gary Staab was assigned to investigate a January 3 theft of a truck.  The truck’s owner, Jeremy McDaniel, said it contained two drones, six firearms, $4,000 cash, and an old iPhone 11. The sole basis Detective Staab identified for connecting the crime to Ms. Johnson’s address was McDaniel’s use of Apple’s Find My app to try to track the old iPhone, which had allegedly pinged in the Montbello neighborhood.  But contrary to Detective Staab’s representations to the reviewing judge, the Find My app in fact made clear that the iPhone’s location could not be accurately identified, and there was no basis to identify and search Ms. Johnson’s home.

We brought this action against DPD Detective Gary Staab, who obtained the warrant and led the ensuing illegal search, and DPD Sergeant Gregory Buschy, who reviewed and approved the deficient warrant. The Colorado Constitution requires that search warrants be based on probable cause supported by a written affidavit before police can invade the privacy of someone’s home. This fundamental protection ensures that all of us can maintain the sanctity of our homes from police intrusion. Here, however, the deficient warrant authorizing the search of Ms. Johnson’s home was unsupported by probable cause.

This case, as part of the ACLU of Colorado’s Campaign for Smart Justice, is just one example of a larger problem of police obtaining warrants and invading people's homes based on false information, including — like in this case —when police misrepresent the significance and accuracy of technology.


Jury Finds Denver Police Officers Violated Colorado Constitution, Awards $3.76 Million in Damages

ACLU Sues Denver Police Detective Over Unlawful SWAT-team Search of Montbello Grandmother's Home


"78-year-old woman awarded $3.76 million after SWAT raided her home, found no evidence", 9 News, March 4, 2024

"Grandmother wins $3.76 million after SWAT raid destroys home based in Find My iPhone app ping officers 'did not understand'", Law & Crime, March 6, 2024

"SWAT team invaded sacred woman's home, found no evidence, suit says. She wins $3.76M", San Luis Obispo Tribune, March 5, 2024

"Colorado jury awards $3.76 million, finds two Denver Police officers guilty of constitutional violations", Denver Gazette, March 4, 2024

"An iPhone app led a SWAT team to raid the wrong home. The owner sued and won $3.8 million", USA Today, March 7, 2024

"Black Grandmother Wrongly Raided by Denver Police Gets $3.76 Million", Chicago Defender, March 6, 2024

"Jury awards $3.76 million to Denver woman over SWAT raid of her Montbello home", Denver Post, March 4, 2024

"Colorado grandmother awarded $3.76 million after bungled SWAT raid based on Find My iPhone ping", NBC News, March 5, 2024

"Denver woman wins $3.8 million verdict after SWAT team wrongly searched her homed based on Find My iPhone app", The Colorado Sun, March 4, 2024

"Terrifying moment SWAT team mistakenly raid home of innocent Ruby Johnson, 78, while she was in the shower after cops used Find My app to track down stolen iPhone and truck as she is awarded 3.76million", Daily Mail, March 5, 2024

"Grandmother wins $3.8 million verdict after SWAT team searches wrong home based on Find My iPhone app", Weau News, March 7, 2024

"78-year-old Black woman Ruby Johnson wins $3.8M verdict after SWAT team searched wrong home", The Grio, March 5, 2024

"Grandmother gets $3.7m over false Find My iPhone raid", BBC News, March 5, 2024

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"Jury awards Denver woman whose home was raided by SWAT team $3.76 million", CBS Colorado, March 4, 2024

"Black Grandma Whose House Was Wrongfully Invaded by SWAT...Just Got PAID", The Root, March 6, 2024


Timothy R. Macdonald, Mark Silverstein, Sara R. Neel, Anna I. Kurtz, and Lindsey M. Floyd

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Baker & Hostetler LLP and Law Offices of Ann M. Roan, LLC

Date filed

December 1, 2022


Denver District Court


Stephanie Lindquist Scoville



Case number