Police Identify Bounty Hunters Who Terrorized MWC Family
Dana Hertneky, News 9 and LaShauna Sewell, News9.com
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma – Midwest City police say a group of bounty hunters who forced their way into a family's apartment have been identified as the Bounty Boys.
Kevin Houston says someone pounded on his door just before midnight on July 25. The 51-year-old man jumped out of bed.
"I said ‘Who is it?' And they never did say," said Houston. "They were just like 'Open the door.'"
7/29/11 Related Story: Police Looking For Bounty Hunters That Terrorized A MWC Family
7/29/11 Related Story: MWC Police Search For Bounty Hunters Terrorizing Innocent People
Houston says six men dressed as police officers rushed into his apartment. They were wearing vests labeled with the word "Fugitive" on the back. They also carried guns, tasers and badges. Houston says he did what they told him to do because he assumed they were police. Houston, his fiancé and two children were terrified.
"They had on all black with all these guns and tasers and stuff and they pointed the gun at him and I thought ‘oh God they're going shoot him," Houston's fiancé April Frost said.
After detaining the family for 45 minutes, the bounty hunters realized they were at the wrong home. The fugitive they were searching for is white. Houston is black.
Houston says the men simply walked out, and never apologized.
Midwest City police have now identified the men as the Bounty Boys, a local bounty hunter group. After the original story aired, several law enforcement agencies and legitimate bounty hunters called police and said the "Bounty Boys" were likely the culprits.
Police say there have been other complaints made against the group, but victims would never testify in court. The Bounty Boys have posted some of their actions on YouTube, and describe themselves as reality actors.
A Midwest City Police Department investigator contacted one member of the Bounty Boys, who admitted the group entered Houston's apartment. However, the member refused to speak more with the investigator, and referred him to the group's attorney. The attorney has arranged interviews with the bounty hunters for next week.
"They made a mistake, but it's not a mistake that should involve filing criminal charges," said the group's attorney Irvin Box. "If someone has some sort of civil litigation that's up to them, but we don't believe it rose to that degree."
Police say the Bounty Boys could be charged with kidnapping, pointing a firearm, and entering a building with certain intent. It's up to the Oklahoma County District Attorney to decide if charges will be filed.
"This incident has raised some concerns with the law enforcement community regarding a few rogue bounty hunters," said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes. "As I said earlier, I don't want to stereotype all good people who work in this field but we know there are some who need oversight and statutory regulation to ensure they don't violate criminal law or civil rights."
Dudley Goolsby, president of the Oklahoma Bondsmans Association issued this statement in regards to the incident:
"The law must be respected and adhered to. Bail bond agents should not use or condone the use of recovery agents (bounty hunters) who fail to follow the law or fail to respect the rights of citizens to be secure in their own homes."