Officers sued after entering Brooklyn Center home claiming doll was a baby

Three metro police officers are accused of performing an illegal search of a Brooklyn Center, Minn. home after officers claimed to mistake a doll for a dead baby.

The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court by Yolanda Mays and Tommy Holmes, accuses two Minneapolis police officers and a Brooklyn Center officer of illegally entering Mays' home in March 2023.

The lawsuit alleges the Minneapolis officers, Andrew Schroeder and Mark Suchta, showed up at Mays' home on March 21, 2023. The lawsuit does not explain why the Minneapolis officers had responded to Mays' home, which the lawsuit says is in Brooklyn Center. Online records list Mays as living at a home off Vincent Avenue North, a little under a mile north of Minneapolis city limits.

The lawsuit only says that the officers were investigating "an open file" but the lawsuit claims that Mays' home was not connected to any "actual investigations."

The lawsuit says the Minneapolis officers knocked on the door. At the time, Mays wasn't home and Holmes was apparently in the basement.

When no one answered the knock, the lawsuit says Suchta eventually peeked through the window, spotting the doll.

The lawsuit explains: "Suchta saw a baby doll on a couch in Mays’ home. Suchta had Schroeder look at the baby doll on the couch through the window. The officers discussed that the baby doll could either be a doll or a real baby that had died. Suchta remarked that he thought it was a doll."

The Minneapolis officer called in a "possibly baby in distress" and a Brooklyn Center officer, identified in the lawsuit as Alan Salvosa, responded to the scene. Ultimately, the lawsuit says Salvosa kicked in the home's door.

The complaint alleges that the doll couldn't possibly be mistaken for a real baby.

"The baby doll that the officers saw does not look like a real baby," the lawsuit explains. "It would be obvious to any reasonable observer that it was a baby doll. The baby doll has stitching on joints, a plastic sheen, and is not particularly lifelike. Upon information and belief, officers used the observation of a baby as a pretext to gain entry into Mays’ home to conduct an illegal and unauthorized search."

Holmes was startled by the officers. The lawsuit claims both Mays and Holmes suffered distress from the search.

The complaint also alleges that Schroeder has two other complaints against him for wrongful searches.

The lawsuit accuses the officers of violations of the Fourth Amendment protections for unlawful searches, civil rights violations under a Monell claim, and conspiracy to violate constitutional rights.

Mays and Holmes are seeking unspecified monetary damages for the search.