Man searches for compensation after cops destroy property

Man searches for compensation after cops destroy property
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 10:38 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A Vanderburgh County man is trying to figure out how to pay for massive damage to a rental property that was ripped apart by police.

In April, police went to arrest Steven Howard Goldstein after identifying him in a video where he shot a weapon near a minor.

The mobile home he was in belonged to Clero Schmitt, who rushed to the area when he heard what was happening.

“He (Goldstein) was already well the ambulance had already come out where they hauled him away,” said Schmitt.

Officials say Goldstein shot at police, so they ripped the mobile home open quickly and shot Goldstein to death. Schmitt says at the time the incident happened, a man and his daughter were renting the trailer.

“That was her room where they killed him in, they busted her instrument whatever she played,” said Schmitt.

Schmitt says police damaged the entire home, which left the man and his daughter renting the trailer displaced.

“I told them who’s going to pay for this and they said not us,” said Schmitt.

Sheriff Noah Robinson says in these cases, blame goes entirely to the man they were after.

Schmitt says he hasn’t found a lawyer to help him sue the estate for damages, and in the meantime, insurance won’t cover it.

“They just put their feet in the ground and really I guess I can see their point of view,” said Schmitt. “They said that ain’t an act of god.”

Schmitt’s policy covers things like fires, storm damage, riots, but not a case where the police pull down walls because a criminal was shooting at them. He says he never knew Goldstein; he was just a guest of the tenant.

“The officer said it’s kind of his fault that he let that guy in there, well I guess that’s true but anybody might let somebody in there,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt says he has a destroyed property and less income.

“That’s $4,800 I’m losing right there and another 10,000 from the house, said Schmitt.” “I don’t know where to go next. I was told and then I did call the Institutes of Justice.”

Schmitt also questioned whether the sheriff’s office could have waited in that situation rather than quickly resorting to infiltrating the trailer.

We spoke with the sheriff again Monday who says that in that stand-off, Goldstein immediately began shooting at them.

The sheriff says any kind of negotiation goes out the window when lives are at-risk. He also says while he has sympathy for damaged property, he feels very strongly that taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for something that a criminal started.