In the course of negotiating a successful hostage situation with tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and a bulldozer, the Spartanville, SC police department damaged a convenience store. So badly that the owners "were later asked by the City to tear it down as it did not comply with ordinances regarding vacant commercial buildings." After the owners said no, the City demolished it.
In Carolina Conveniece Stores, Inc. v. City of Spartanburg, No. 27663 (Aug. 31, 2016), the South Carolina Supreme Court held that this wasn't an inverse condemnation. The court didn't provide any substantial analysis, holding merely that the South Carolina Constitution does not contemplate that damage occasioned to private property by law enforcement in the course of performing their duties constitute a taking." Slip op, at 4-5. Why? Because "the framers of the Constitution did not intend that law enforcement operate under the fear that their actions could lead to takings-based liability." Id. at 5. Does the court provide a citation to this constitutional history? Nope.
Interestingly, the court rejected the Court of Appeals' analysis that this was not a physical appropriation and that this was an exercise of the police power, even though that court reached the same result -- no liability. Thus, we have to conclude that this is a pure legislative policy call by the majority -- police shouldn't worry about who's gonna pay if they bust down doors (or, in this case, totally trash a building).
Two justices dissented from the holding:
Here, we consider the question of whether an inverse condemnation claim arises where private property is destroyed by the government during the course of an emergency. I believe this question has a simple answer. The police damaged the convenience store so significantly as to "take" the property from its owners, and this taking clearly served the public use of apprehending a dangerous suspect. Regardless of who is assigned fault for this act, faithful interpretation of our constitution demands compensation for the innocent individual.
Dissent at 8 (footnote omitted).