By DOUGLASS CROUSE
PATERSON - A resident says detectives mistakenly burst into her Hamilton Avenue home on Wednesday, then made her and her family stand in a cold draft while they arrested their intended target next door.
Michelle Clancy said the officers broke her doorknob and shouted rudely as they entered her home at 5:50 a.m. Most ran next door after realizing their error. But others remained and forced Clancy and four family members, including her 65-year-old father and 13-year-old daughter, to wait 20 minutes in front of an open outer door, she said.
"Even when you are in your own home you can be held hostage like that?" Clancy asked. She said a supervisor apologized and said he would note the damages in his report.
A police spokesman confirmed the mix-up but said the time Clancy and her family were asked to wait was closer to 10 minutes. During that time, narcotics detectives raided a rooming house next door, arresting an alleged drug dealer and recovering crack cocaine and a handgun, Lt. Anthony Traina said.
In the darkness, he said, the officers confused Clancy's home with the one next door. He said the department would cover any related repair costs.
"These things do happen," Traina said. "There's naturally a human element involved in these operations."