One work after Harrisburg police exit body video camer footage showing the arrest that a community activist after a noise complaint, Kimeka Campbell stated she still believes the officer didn’t have actually a ideal to go into her fenced ago yard.

You are watching: Can police come through a locked gate

She continuously ordered the officer to leave, due to the fact that she believed he had actually unlawfully opened up the latched gate of her wooden 6-foot privacy fence to let himself inside a darkened corner of she yard.

But he refuse to leave and also the incident ended in a cloud the pepper spray and Campbell in handcuffs, charged v two summary offenses.

The incident at 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Campbell’s residence in the 300 block of southern Front Street released a vigorous debate amongst people over privacy rights in their own yards and also police officers' capability to conduct their duties.

Dauphin County’s cook Deputy publicly Defender Paul Muller claimed it didn’t seem necessary for the officer to enter the yard.

“He didn’t usage his flashlight until he was well right into the yard,” Muller said, after ~ reviewing the body cam footage. “I think he unnecessarily developed a possibly dangerous situation over a boy issue.”


This screenshot shows the moments after an officer gone into Kimeka Campbell's darkened earlier yard and also was greeted by she dogs.

“Whether he could lawfully be in the garden is debatable, however a civil issue,” he said. “The fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful search and also seizure uneven there is probable cause.”

The city’s mayor, police commissioner, and also district attorney have said they believe the officer had a duty to try to uncover the residential or commercial property owner to effectively investigate the noise complaint. They said it was reasonable for the officer to walk to the resource of the noise: the ago yard.

“He’s investigating a complaint,” said Commissioner cutting board Carter. “He has actually a ideal to be there. His sole purpose was to speak to the property owner.”

Carter claimed the officer was prepared to provide a warning rather of a citation, however he needed the owner’s name and date of birth because that his paperwork, to check that he had actually contacted the owner and resolved the complaint.

If Campbell had listed that information, the officer would have quickly left, Carter said. The officer is heard on the video clip saying he just needed her name and also "I’m out of here.” Campbell noted her complete name, consisting of spelling her first name, but then refuse to spell she last name or carry out her date of birth, insisting the the officer had breached she rights.

The means the police department’s body cameras are collection up, the audio starts when the officer presses the begin button, however the video is recorded 20 for seconds prior without audio. The officer began recording ~ he gone into the yard as soon as Campbell’s dogs began barking at him, therefore that’s as soon as the audio begins, yet the video clip saved 20 seconds prior reflecting the officer exterior the fence and opening the gate.

The officer stated he make the efforts to gain the fist of human being in the ago yard prior to opening the gate, and also that he announced himself. The footage taped him flashing his strobe light from his car before opened the gate.

After Campbell’s arrest, she referred to as for the officer to it is in fired and also a neighborhood organization started a petition because that his shoot and more accountability because that police.

District attorney Fran Chardo said going into the earlier gate to discover the homeowner no much different than one officer walking approximately a front porch to find a homeowner.

“The conduct of the police officer was totally reasonable and also lawful,” Chardo said. “It’s no various than a neighbor wade up and also seeing if you home.”

Mayor Eric Papenfuse provided there is no parking in prior of the residence along former Street, for this reason the back with parking is the main entrance.


This is a daytime view of Kimeka Campbell's earlier yard in Shipoke with a red circle showing where the latched gate is located.

The fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable search and also seizure,” and attorneys say the vital factor is reasonableness the the officer’s actions.

The officer, for example, couldn’t merely open up her front door and also walk within her residence if she didn’t answer, Chardo said.

“The home is different from the yard,” he said. “There is a huge difference in the expectation of privacy.”

Even if a resident believes an officer’s conduct is out of line, Chardo said people should answers reasonably and also “take up any type of grievance after ~ the fact.”

The 4th Amendment allows five exceptions, follow to attorneys, and the relevant one in this situation is known as “curtilage,” a term for the residential or commercial property attached to someone’s home. The rules around when one officer can enter the curtilage is extremely fact-specific, consisting of the size of the yard, what is publicly visible in the yard, and also the location of the gate, amongst other details, attorneys said.

So that gets to decision whether an entry right into curtilage is legal? It most likely would require a homeowner to document a lawsuit and also then the judge would decide, Muller said.

“The 4th Amendment is like Swiss cheese, the courts have poked so numerous holes and exceptions in it end the years,” that said. “It’s favor reading tea leaves to try to acquire an answer.”

Defense lawyer Brian Perry said even if the officer’s entry was taken into consideration unreasonable, there isn’t an automatically remedy, like if officers had actually seized physics evidence. In that case, the evidence could be suppressed. Yet there is no such remedy in this instance like automatic dismissal the the fees she currently faces.

“However, due to the fact that she was in her own back yard,” Perry said. “I find it tough to think the commonwealth can prove she guilt beyond a reasonable doubt top top the fee of disorderly conduct.”

Campbell said she still has actually questions, and also complaints, from her interaction with police. She said the officer accused her in the disorderly citation of refusing to turn the music down, yet the music was off once the officer gotten in the yard.

“There room discrepancies,” she said. “Can officers sneak onto the residential or commercial property of residents? Why no go to the former door? all those questions, ns still have.”

Note to readers: if you purchase something through among our affiliate web links we might earn a commission.

See more: What Does Salmonella Look Like Under A Microscope ? Applications Of Microscopy In Salmonella Research


Cookie Settings

Community Rules apply to all contents you upload or otherwise submit to this site.