Family Held At Gunpoint At Air Force Museum Receives $40,000 Settlement

Photo via DoD

A mother and her mother-in-law forced at gunpoint out of their vehicle and handcuffed outside the Air Force Museum were paid $40,000 to settle a federal civil lawsuit, according to a court document recently obtained by this news organization.

The “Stipulation for Compromise Settlement and Release” document states Alice and Wendy Hill must drop all claims against the government and pay their attorneys out of the $40,000.

“These guys have a difficult job to do,” Hill family attorney Nicholas DiCello said of the base’s military police. “It can be a difficult situation for citizens and for law enforcement. But we think this case certainly went beyond the pale and these folks ended up being victimized to some extent.”

The Columbus-area residents and two young children were stopped by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base security in April 2014 during a “high-risk” stop after a 911 caller said a family was checking out vehicles in the museum parking lot.

The family said then 8-year-old Aaron was just looking at all the different states’ license plates as they made their way to their blue Honda Odyssey van. Base personnel mistakenly thought the van was stolen because the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number was incorrectly entered during a search, base officials have said.

The Hills have said they were both handcuffed and ordered to their knees on concrete for 20 minutes as the children screamed in fear. The Hills spent an additional 40 minutes in police vehicles.

“I felt like I was in Mexico, or someplace third world . . where they force someone to their knees before they shoot them in the back of the head,” Alice said after the incident.

The amended complaint filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court said then 5-year-old Brooke asked her mother, “Is Baba (grandma) going to get shot?” and that both children were “scared and confused” and needed counseling.

WPAFB representatives deferred comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which declined to comment.

“It was resolved amicably between the government and my clients, and efficiently,” DiCello said. “Once the case was actually filed, both sides worked well together to move past this just unfortunate incident.”

As for the settlement amount, DiCello said: “I think it was fair given the circumstances and the situation, he said, later adding: “None of the parties had to sit through or go through depositions or anything like that.”

The suit alleged unreasonable search and seizure and due process violations and asked for in excess of $75,000 and a jury trial.

The amended complaint listed as defendants five or more John/Jane Does and Staff Sgt. Kyle Brophy, Officer Nicholas Smith, Master Sgt. Ronnie Lewis Jr., Senior Airman Andrew Cockerham, Staff Sgt. Marco Chaparro and Officer Jonathan Vance. The original complaint listed some officers known only as “Bulldog” and “Bravo 1” and “Bravo 2.”

After the April 4, 2014 incident, Air Force officials apologized and offered another visit.

“We sincerely regret the fact that their enjoyable day at the museum ended with this high-risk traffic stop,” that statement read. “Had the vehicle not originally come back as stolen, this situation would have been resolved with a quick courtesy stop of the vehicle to clarify the initial report.”


©2017 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less