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Glendale man alleges Arizona Game & Fish officers aggressively raided his home

Posted at 2:50 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 21:49:55-05

A Glendale man says officers with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) raided his home over a miscommunication regarding a hunting license. 

Nicholas Slater says he didn't know he applied for the wrong license eight years ago until officers knocked at his front door this past summer.

"It's actually pretty scary what they have the ability to do to a family over a hunting license," Slater said.

AZGFD officers served two search warrants at Slater's home in 2017.

During the first raid, Slater says officers took his computer, cellphones and iPads.

"I think they were fishing; just hoping they were going to come in here and find a bunch of dead animals or something," Slater alleged. 

Slater says during the second search warrant officers came through his backyard and scared his children who were with their nanny.

"The officers had come through the back door with their guns drawn and shoved them in her face," Slater explained.

Slater alleges that one of the officers mistakenly left a car key fob and his 19-month-old attempted to swallow it.

"The level of carelessness to leave the keys behind, in a home with young kids, is just not right," Slater said.

The AZGFD released the following statement regarding the incident:

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is unable to comment about any ongoing criminal investigation to protect the integrity of the case. However, the department can confirm that two search warrants were executed in connection with this case and multiple criminal charges have been filed in four Arizona counties. Additional charges are pending.

As a state law enforcement agency, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and its officers execute search warrants throughout the state during the course of criminal investigations. The department uses the level of force necessary during such events to protect the public, officers and the occupants of the residence.

Slater's attorney Marc Victor says this case could have been handled in a much easier way.

"If they had just called him and said 'Hey look we think you had the wrong license and you owe x amount of dollars' he would have sent a check," Victor said. "It makes me wonder — are we out of real criminal to go after? Are we out of real cases to go after?"

Slater says eight years ago, he checked with AZGFD and a worker said he can apply for an in-state-license even though he was out-of-state for college.

Slater has also been charged with deer poaching and license violations in Iowa.