Homeowner sues Greenwood Village police after house ruined in standoff

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. -- The owner of a home at the center of a police raid in Greenwood Village has filed a lawsuit against police, saying his rights were violated and his home was damaged with virtually no help from those who caused the damage.

Leo Lech was leasing his home to his son’s family last summer when a shoplifting suspect randomly chose it as a hiding place during a chase with police.

The violent standoff and raid that developed during the next 18 hours ended with an arrest, but Lech said he was left with the mess and the cleanup bill.

“It’s just been hell,” Lech said. “They came, they blew up the house, they put my son's family out in the street. They offered us $5,000 to pay for a deductible or something like that …”

Greenwood Village offered to pay $5,000 to help cover the deductible on Lech’s homeowner’s insurance and temporary housing for his son’s family, but he said that money didn’t begin to help with the real cost.

“Somebody needs to take responsibility and fess up and pay that, and it shouldn’t have to be me,” Lech said. “Nor should I have to pay skyrocketing insurance costs after this is all paid and done.”

Lech said neither the police nor the city reached out to help with counseling or any other assistance immediately after the incident, which involved the use of chemicals and resulted in his property being condemned.

“They turned over a hazardous property to us,” Lech said. “They did a horrible job of cleaning up the crime scene.”

He said in addition to seeking some kind of financial compensation, his lawsuit will go to federal district court, arguing police violated his constitutional rights.

“Why? The simple question is, ‘Why?’” Lech said. “My attorney could not find a similar case like this in the United States of America, where this amount of force was used for one shoplifting suspect with a handgun. The outcome of this case is going to determine if they can come and do this and walk.”