|Trent Cowherd and his wife, Sharon
That's how it's supposed to work in a normal eviction. In our situation, landlord Trent Cowherd had no grounds to evict at all, under at least four provisions of Missouri law -- including the fact he violated state law by initiating eviction proceedings before rent was late at least one month.
Policies of the Greene County Sheriff's Office make it clear that deputies are to play a passive role in an eviction, providing a presence to help ensure a potentially flammable situation does not catch fire. In our situation, Cowherd, or his representative, had the duty to evict.
So why did more than a half dozen deputies barge into our apartment, with assault weapons and handguns drawn? They probably would claim ours was a special situation because I allegedly had called 911 and threatened to shoot anyone who attempted to unlawfully evict us. Except I never made any such call, and an investigation will prove that.
Did someone place such a fake call under my name? Did someone falsely tell law enforcement I had made such a call? If so, said person soon will have serious legal issues, including possible criminal sanctions. The issues might be particularly thorny when you consider that deputies broke my wife Carol's arm so severely that it required trauma surgery -- and she's facing bogus criminal charges in an effort to cover up police misconduct.
Aside from that, it's clear the deputies who evicted us violated their own policies. This is from the "Civil Division -- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) " section of the Greene County Sheriff's Department Web site:
The tenant should be served with, or the property posted with, a summons and petition notifying them that a lawsuit has been filed and will have the opportunity to be heard in court before any eviction. Upon the Landlord receiving a judgment for possession and filing for a Writ to Execute on the judgment for possession, the GCSO will schedule a date and time with the plaintiff/Landlord within five business days to stand by while the Landlord evicts the Tenant and regains possession of the property. The Landlord has the responsibility of scheduling for a locksmith and staff required for moving of property if needed.
Missouri State Statutes reference Landlord/Tenant Law RSMo. Chapters 441, 534 and 535
A law firm that represents landlords in Missouri eviction cases states on its Web site that it's standard for only one deputy to be present, and he usually remains in his vehicle during the eviction. This is from the FAQ section of the firm's Web site:
Q. Do I need to be present at the eviction?
Yes. On the day of the eviction, you must be available to “greet” the Deputy Sheriff. The Deputy will usually pull up to the location of the eviction in a marked patrol car. Typically, the Deputy will not leave the car. It is up to you to go to the car and identify yourself as the landlord or landlord’s representative. You will then need to identify the entry door to the rental property and will sign a document authorizing the Deputy to use force to enter if necessary. Generally, you either need to have a key to the rental property so that the Deputy can enter or have a locksmith available to provide access.
Deputies hardly were on "stand-by" mode during our eviction. My wife, Carol, has the hardware in her arm to prove it.