Army 1st Sgt. Matthew Corrigan called the National Veterans Crisis Hotline for advice on coping with nightmares from his year in Iraq, hunting for improvised explosive devices. Without his permission, he says, the hotline operator dialed 911 and reported Sgt. Corrigan “has a gun and wants to kill himself.”
Dozens of Washington, D.C. SWAT and explosive-ordnance-disposal officers spent hours preparing a full-scale invasion of the residence in the middle of the snowstorm of the century. It was not an operation to protect the public from a terrorist or to stop a crime in progress. It was to rouse a sleeping man over a secondhand report that he might have an unregistered gun.
At 4 a.m., the SWAT team awoke Sgt. Corrigan by calling his name on a bullhorn. He surrendered outside without incident. He was restrained and forced into a mobile tactical command truck. Without reading him his Miranda rights, he said, officers began questioning the Iraq veteran, trying to get him to admit to owning guns. He remained silent about his two handguns and one rifle, which he had not registered after moving into the city.
A police commander then jumped into the truck and demanded to know where Sgt. Corrigan put his house key. “I’m not giving you the key. I’m not giving consent to enter my house,” Sgt. Corrigan recalled saying. He said the officer responded, “I don’t have time to play this constitutional [game] with you. We’re going to break your door in, and you’re going to have to pay for a new door.”
“Looks like I’m buying a new door,” Sgt. Corrigan replied. His only request was they not hurt his dog.