Oh, door: This stinks!

Posted: August 31, 2014

KAYZAR ABDUL-KHABIR and his wife, Khadijah Muhammad, said if it wasn't for their vigilant West Philly neighbors, they would have thought an intruder broke open the steel security door at their home Wednesday morning.

In actuality, it was the Philadelphia police, who took off without leaving a card or any hint that they were behind the damage.

When Abdul-Khabir tried to figure out what happened, police initially told him they had no report of the incident. When he was finally able to get a report number, he was told it might be some time before he can get his door fixed.

On top of that, police returned to his house two times later that night, looking for a man named Richard Sample who lived in Abdul-Khabir's house 20 years ago. When Abdul-Khabir pleaded with the officers to stop, they told him that his address was listed for Sample in a national warrant database and that officers would continue to come to the house.

Frustrated, Abdul-Khabir has placed a sign next to his broken door that reads: " 'RICHARD S.' DOESN'T LIVE HERE SO PLEASE DON'T KNOCK ON OUR DOOR WE ARE THE ABDUL-KHABIR FAMILY THANK-YOU AS-SALAAM-ALIKUM"

"It's just been a nightmare," said Abdul-Khabir, who has two adult sons and a brother on the Philadelphia police force.

Abdul-Khabir and Muhammad moved into their house four years ago. They have two young sons, ages 9 and 4, and Muhammad is five months pregnant.

Abdul-Khabir, 57, is a security guard at a local Save-A-Lot and Muhammad, 28, is a licensed practical nurse. They were both working when the police came to their house about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Neighbor Albert Felix was taking out trash when he saw an unmarked and a marked police car pull up.

"I figured they had the wrong house," Felix said.

According to Felix, 58, the cops banged on Abdul-Khabir's door and peeked in the window.

"One officer told the other guy to get something out of the car, and he got a crowbar and I guess they call it a battering ram," Felix said. "He popped the [steel security] door open. I thought they were going to go through the other [front] door but they didn't."

That's likely because neighbor, Nile Hardin, 36, spoke up.

"What I said to them was, 'I think you have the wrong house, you all better make sure you have the right house,' " Hardin said. "As long as I've been on the block, I knew it wasn't him."

Hardin said 90 seconds later, the cops were gone.

Felix called Abdul-Khabir and told him to get home. Abdul-Khabir called his wife. By the time they arrived, there was no trace of police, only a broken door.

The couple went to the 18th District, at 55th and Pine streets, but were told that there was no report of police coming to their house or breaking their door.

Abdul-Khabir began making calls. It was a "very nice" community relations officer from the 18th who was able to get him an incident-report number, he said.

Abdul-Khabir said police told him to contact the City Solicitor's Office about getting his door repaired, but the City Solicitor's Office sent him to the city's Risk Management Division under the Office of the Director of Finance.

He said the person whom he spoke to there told him that they'd need to send him paperwork to fill out and send back to their office, or he could pay out of pocket to fix the door and he would then be reimbursed if the claim was approved.

"I said, 'But sir, I need my door fixed today, this is the door that leads into my home,' " Abdul-Khabir said. "He said, 'Well, that's the only way we can do that.' "

As the family sat down to dinner about 6 p.m., they heard a loud banging on their front door. It was the police. Again. Looking for Richard Sample. Again.

"I said, 'Sir, Richard Sample doesn't live here. He hasn't lived here for 20 years,' " Abdul-Khabir said. "They said, 'Well, we have a warrant for him and we're going to keep coming around till we catch him.' "

An hour later, the family was watching "Family Feud" when they heard a loud banging on the door. It was the police. Again. Looking for Richard Sample.

"I'm like, 'Yo, we can't keep doing this,' " Abdul-Khabir said to the officers. "He said, 'Well, you all going to be doing this all night long because we're just going to keep coming.' "

So Abdul-Khabir went back to 55th and Pine streets, where he spoke with a detective who told him Sample was in a national warrant database and there was little he could do.

"I said, 'Well then, I'm going to put a sign outside my door' and he laughed it off like I was joking," he said. "I wasn't joking."

The police haven't knocked on his door again, but Abdul-Khabir and his wife still want to know why this happened and who will fix their door.

For Muhammad, the concern is overwhelming.

"It's the anxiety of me sitting home comfortably and worrying about who may bust into my door," she said.

Police spokesman Lt. John Stanford confirmed that Southwest Detectives broke the family's steel security door while trying to track down Richard Sample on a narcotics warrant issued on Aug. 25. He said protocol dictates that detectives should have left a note at the house about the door.

"You don't want somebody coming home and finding their door busted open and not knowing what's happening," he said.

The detectives who broke the door did make a report, Stanford said, but he was unable to explain why it took hours for anybody in the department to find it for Abdul-Khabir, nor could he explain why the incident-report number he had differed from the one given to Abdul-Khabir.

Police could have been looking for Richard Sample at the family's address because it may be the last known address they have on record for him, Stanford said.

He said multiple officers may have gone to the house because sometimes detectives working a case will ask officers they know to help track down a suspect with an active warrant. Perhaps detectives did not communicate to officers that Sample no longer lived at the residence, he said.

As far as getting the door fixed, Stanford said the family has to go through Risk Management.

"Trust me, I know that's not always the best solution, because everybody in the city doesn't have the financial means to say, 'I'm going to whip out a credit card and wait 30 to 60 days to be reimbursed,' " he said.

Barry Scott, risk manager at the Risk Management Division, said it is possible to expedite cases but it's done on a very fact-specific basis. He said along with filling out the needed forms, Abdul-Khabir would also have to get a price estimate for the fix, which then must be vetted by his office.

Another wrench in the process? The family rents, which means that they can not receive the reimbursement check, Scott said, so they have to go through their landlord.

As for the detectives that broke down the family's door without leaving a note, Stanford said that is a training issue and the department will take care of it.

"We try to remind them: Think about if this was your family member, if this was your mom's house, and they came home from work and their front door was busted open, would you want them to leave a note?" Stanford said.


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