Another Drug Raid Nightmare

The railroading of Ryan Frederick

Imagine you're home alone.

It's 8 p.m. You work an early shift and need to be out the door before sunrise, so you're already in bed. Your nerves are a bit frazzled, because earlier in the week someone broke into your home. Oddly, they didn't take anything; they just rifled through your belongings.

But the violation weighs on your mind. At about the time you drift off, you're awakened by fierce barking from your two large dogs. You hear someone crashing into your front door, as if he's trying to separate it from its hinges. You grab the gun you keep for home defense and leave your room to investigate.

This past January that scenario played out at the Chesapeake, Virginia, home of 28-year-old Ryan Frederick, a slight man of little more than 100 pounds. According to interviews since the incident, Frederick says when he looked toward his front door, he saw an intruder trying to enter through one of the lower door panels. So Frederick fired his gun.

The intruders were from the Chesapeake Police Department. They had come to serve a drug warrant. Frederick's bullet struck Detective Jarrod Shivers in the side, killing him. Frederick was arrested and has spent the last six weeks in a Chesapeake jail.

He has been charged with first degree murder. Paul Ebert, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, has indicated he may elevate the charge to capital murder, which would enable the state to seek the death penalty.

At the time of the raid, Ryan Frederick worked for a soft drink merchandiser. Current and former employers and co-workers speak highly of him. He also recently had gotten engaged, a welcome lift for a guy who'd had a run of tough luck.

He lost both parents early in life, and friends say the death of his mother hit particularly hard—Frederick discovered her in bed after she had overdosed on prescription medication. After the deaths of both parents, Frederick grew close to his grandmother, who then died two years ago.

Friends and neighbors describe Frederick as shy, self-effacing, non-confrontational, and hard-working. He had no prior criminal record. Frederick and his friends have conceded he smoked marijuana recreationally. But all—including his neighbors—insist there's no evidence he was growing or distributing the drug.

According to the search warrant, the police raided Frederick's home after a confidential informant told them he saw evidence of marijuana growing in a garage behind the home. The warrant says the informant saw several marijuana plants, plus lights, irrigation equipment and other gardening supplies.

After the raid, the police found the gardening supplies, but no plants. They also found a small amount of marijuana, but not much—only enough to charge Frederick with misdemeanor drug possession.

Frederick told a local television station that he was an avid gardener. A neighbor I spoke with backs him up, explaining that Frederick had an elaborate koi pond behind his home and raised a variety of tropical plants. He'd even given his neighbors gardening tips on occasion.

One of the plants Frederick told the local television station he raised was the Japanese maple, a plant that, when green, has leaves that look quite a bit like marijuana leaves.

So far, Chesapeake police have given no indication that they did any investigation to corroborate the tip from their informant. There's no mention in the search warrant of an undercover drug buy from Frederick or of any extensive surveillance of Frederick's home.

More disturbingly, the search warrant says the confidential informant was inside Frederick's house three days before the raid—about the same time Frederick says someone broke into his home. Frederick's supporters have told me that Frederick and his attorney now know the identity of the informant, and that it was the police informant who broke into Frederick's home.

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  • ||

    Good article Mr. Balko.

    Just as an aside (not to threadjack) but does Fox News seem to be more likely to publish articles, and have on as guests, Reason Magazine associates more often then any other MSM organization?

  • Dello||

    I would have handled differently...I have a shotgun.

  • ||

    I bet he gets some great mail over this one.

  • ||

    I'm glad to see more details for this case. So, it sounds like the guy that broke in earlier that week was working for the police under cover, since he only looked through papers for any evidence of dealing. Then the police break into the house anyways. At what point in this whole case is Ryan Frederick a criminal? What point did he have to shoot just one of the guys breaking into his house if his intent was to stop all of them? If he really didn't want the police there he should have put on a real gun fight and attempted to kill them all. What did he have to hide?

  • Paul||

    If he really didn't want the police there he should have put on a real gun fight and attempted to kill them all. What did he have to hide?

    A Japanese maple.

  • ||

    Clearly, the state is not wiling to admit their mistakes. This is why we have juries. Let's hope that the jury in this case has the guts to do the right thing, and not just obey the judge.

    -jcr

  • Flaming Liberal||

    I never believe anything from FOX News.

  • ||

    Hmmm, Canadian flag. Just what is that all about? Sure, they say it's a maple leaf, but. . .you know, all those draft-dodging hippies went up there. . . .

  • ||

    I never believe anything from FOX News.

    Me either, it's just so biased that's why I get all of my news from sources outside of the country; they have just SUCH a better grasp of what is going on here.

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    So, what would have been the result if Mr. Frederick had shot and killed the first guy who broke in? Even assuming he shot blindly through the door at a guy in the yard, would capital murder ever have been considered?

    I doubt it.

    CoC

  • ||

    Christ,

    Hey, informants are people--police are gods.

    If only they knew that and stopped letting bullets penetrate their seemingly weak bodies.

  • jaydub||

    Of course, "the ones" could not have done anything wrong, and the silence from the Chesapeake police department is deafening. Further questions tend to get the response of "how dare you question this officer's legacy".

    The fact that the officer was shot by a .380ACP round, which has less impact energy at the muzzle than a 9mmx19 (Luger/Parabellum) round at 50m, gives cause to wonder if the police officer was wearing protective equipment, and was this officer wearing clothes that identified him as police.

    The initial "no" and now the "of course, how dare you" responses also make one think.

    This and what, we're supposed to believe home invaders when they yell "Police!" They could have knocked first to see if serving and executing the warrant would actually require a strong response. They could also have walked around the garage to see the alleged reason for their warrant in the first place.

    But questioning anything is unpatriotic. Sorry. Back to Guantanamo with me.

  • LarryA||

    In the case where a citizen mistakenly (and allegedly) shot through his door at a raiding police officer, the citizen is facing a murder charge; in the case where a raiding police officer mistakenly shot through a door and killed a citizen, there were no criminal charges.

    Headlines


    1. Officer shoots suspect during SWAT-style entry:


    A. Vicious, drug-dealing criminal meets his justified fate in a victory for the War on Drugs.
    B. Innocent person becomes a regrettable but acceptable loss in the War on Drugs.


    2. Suspect shoots officer during SWAT-style entry:


    A. Vicious, drug-dealing criminal slays true American hero of the War on Drugs, deserves death penalty.
    B. Vicious criminal slays true American hero of the War on Drugs, deserves death penalty.



    What point did he have to shoot just one of the guys breaking into his house if his intent was to stop all of them? If he really didn't want the police there he should have put on a real gun fight and attempted to kill them all.

    This has happened before. After officer Shivers went down the remaining officer(s) backed off. They stood around saying, "Oh, shit. Our informant said this guy was harmless. We need more help." Then they called for backup, and filled the street with flashing lights.

    Inside, Frederick was saying, "Oh, crap. This wasn't the burglar from last week." Then he put his gun down and surrendered, exactly the way he would have had an officer knocked politely on his door.

  • Not The Police!||

    There may be a lot of macho posturing in the po-po community about this, but you'd better believe that this case is causing major re-thinks about SWAT tactics and warrant service in departments across the country.

    Thanks to Balko for keeping the spotlight on.

  • Jennifer||

    you'd better believe that this case is causing major re-thinks about SWAT tactics and warrant service in departments across the country.

    Yeah, they'll make sure to wear bulletproof armor.

  • ||

    I've been trying to get this greenlit on FARK. Anybody else want to take a shot?

  • ||

    Kudos to Balko for keeping the gain up on this important story. Ironic that this story re-runs today as the Supreme Court listens to arguments on the 2nd Amendment. The second question from one of the Supremes?...How does D.C.'s gun ban account for the founders' desire that citizens be armed sufficiently to give the government reason to pause and think before sliding toward tyranny? Frederick exercised his 2nd Amendment right as apparently CPD used a burglar-turned-confidential informant to do an end-run around Frederick's 4th Amendment rights...would there have been sufficient probable cause apart from the non-LEO proxy? More than armor...how about real investigative work??

  • Geotpf||

    Samuel Colt-I haven't had a green light in months, and I've been trying. I guess I'm not witty enough in my headline writing.

  • robc||

    Im 0 fer like on fark. Remember though, this is news, so it doesnt real belong there anyway.

  • robc||

    That was supposed to be "0 fer life"

  • ||

    I don't believe anything I hear on Fox News, CNN, NBC, BBC, CBS or ABC!!!!

  • Geotpf||

    I've actually had 18 greenlights on Fark, but I haven't had one in maybe six months or so.

    /does that make my e-penis big?

  • Mayberry||

    He is being 'Nifonged'

  • ||

    Frederick's case is a perfect example of how much the power structure in the U.S. does not want citizens to have guns. Yes, it's still legal to own one in most places, and if you use a gun in self defense against an ordinary citizen you might get away with it. But when it comes to law enforcement, they treat our homes as if we have no right to defend them and if we do, the default is to bring the full weight of the law against us. On the other hand, the default if law enforcement really screws up and kills a citizen is a temporary suspension. They tell us we still have the right to self-defense, but they prosecute the victims of their brutal and unconstitutional tactics as if we don't.

  • bill||

    How come this story isn't getting any national attention?

  • TallDave||

    Would police really raid a man's home because he owned plants that looked like marijuana leaves?

    Are you kidding? These days, if your kid fingerpaints a maple leaf wrong and you put it on the fridge you're in mortal fucking danger.

    Didn't we use to have a 4th Amendment?


    Just as an aside (not to threadjack) but does Fox News seem to be more likely to publish articles, and have on as guests, Reason Magazine associates more often then any other MSM organization?


    Hume knows the abuse of gov't power pretty well.

    After those revelations, Anderson and his staff, including Hume, his wife and children were placed under surveillance by the Central Intelligence Agency.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brit_hume

    He's a conservative, but seems to lean libertarian on some issues. More of a Friedman conservative than a Falwell conservative, if you get my drift. But I haven't read his pre-FNS work, so I don't know for sure.

  • TallDave||

    You wonder how many people can honestly say they'd have handled it any differently than he did.

    Hell, how many policemen would have handled it differently than he did?

  • ||

    if they try to come in my home minus a legitimate warrant and adequate identification...I have a constitutional obligation to resist. My responsibilities to those who have sacrificed before me require resistance.

  • ||

    f they try to come in my home minus a legitimate warrant and adequate identification...I have a constitutional obligation to resist.

    No you don't.

  • ||

    Be sure to share the mailbag on this one, Radley.

    Good work!

  • ||

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  • Dan||

    There seems to be disagreement over where the cop was shot.

    If I shoot you in my doorway, is it guaranteed that there will be blood in my doorway?

  • ||

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jury nullification refers to a rendering of a verdict by a trial jury , disagreeing with the instructions by the judge concerning what the law is, or whether such law is applicable to the case, taking into account all of the evidence presented. Although a jury's refusal relates only to the particular case before it, if a pattern of such verdicts develops, it can have the practical effect of disabling the enforcement of that position on what the law is or how it should be applied. Juries are reluctant to render a verdict contrary to law, but a conflict may emerge between what judges and the public from whom juries are drawn hold the law to be, or the legitimacy of a law itself. A succession of such verdicts may signal an unwillingness by the public to accept the law given them and may render it a " dead-letter " or bring about its repeal. The jury system was established because it was felt that a panel of citizens, drawn at random from the community, and serving for too short a time to be corrupted, would be more likely to render a just verdict, through judging both the accused and the law, than officials who may be unduly influenced to follow merely the established law. Jury nullification is a reminder that the right to trial by one's peers affords the public an opportunity to take a dissenting view about the justness of a statute or official practices.


    Nullification has a mixed history in the United States. Jury nullification appeared in the pre-Civil War era when juries occasionally refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act . However, during the Civil Rights era, all-white juries were known to refuse to convict white defendants for the murder of blacks. [13] During Prohibition , juries often nullified alcohol control laws, [14] possibly as often as 60% of the time. [15] This resistance is considered to have contributed to the adoption of the Twenty-first amendment repealing the Eighteenth amendment which established Prohibition ..........................

  • marcus||

    American needs to put an end to the war on drugs. It kills more innocent people than drugs do.

  • ||

    The Police have no business kicking in doors for misdemeaner crime. It's their own fault one of them got killed. Do not blame the home owner. What happen to knocking on the door with a warrant if they think he was growing marijuana. The Police are getting more out of control every day.

  • ||

    I have long wondered what to do in this situation. With the rise of swat errors and home invasions that can claim they are cops. As a law abiding citizen I 'should' be able to assume that the police don't come breaking into my house. Just to be safe, I have talked to friends who are the po po, they agree this is a sticky situation but advise to get on 911 and loudly announce you are armed and on the phone with 911. This 'should' bring a peaceful end to the situation.

  • ||

    """There seems to be disagreement over where the cop was shot.

    If I shoot you in my doorway, is it guaranteed that there will be blood in my doorway?"""

    Guaranteed? No, but a high probability. I've asked the same thing. I don't know if blood is necessary to make a judgement call on this. I don't think any cop has said, and little has been said, that Mr. Frederick opened his front door fired, nor have they claimed Frederick fired through his door. The door was taken as evidence.

    Was the door damaged by police breaching equipment like a battery ram or a cop's foot? Was the bottom panel of the door damaged, consistant with Frederick's statement? Were there any bulllet holes in the door? If so how many and how big? Did the cops see Fredrick when he fired? Which officer was responsible for the .223 shell casing?

    If the cop was shot according to Frederick's statement, the door would have been closed with the bottom panel damaged where the cop was trying to enter, and there may be one bullet hole if a officer other than Shivers fired since only Shiver alledgely. If Shiver fired his weapon inside the house, his and Frederick's shell casings would have found some what close together. If he fired from the yard, that's where the .223 casing would have been found.

    I think a reasonable person could conclude what happened if the right questions were answered. No wonder the cops are keeping their mouth shut.

    I wonder what condition the door is in now, if the cops haven't distroyed it. Should we start taking bets on whether or not the door will be available for evidence?

    """But questioning anything is unpatriotic.""""

    Unless you're a LEO, then it's your duty.

  • ||

    ""and there may be one bullet hole if a officer other than Shivers fired since only Shiver alledgely.""

    Yeah, about that preview button.

  • Mouseclone||

    Personally you should shoot to kill if an intruder is breaking into your home. It is your home.

    I have read stories about the cops taking everything that you that you on just because someone says that you are dealing drugs.

    It is crazy. People need to stand up for themselves, and they need to stand up for others. No one cares any more, at least not until it effects you. Then you get all upset.

    You can elect the people to office. You have no control over what they do once there. After the damage is done, then next person steps in to do damage as well.

    The US is the only country that elects different dictators every 4-8 years. They, whom ever it is, will rule this country the way they wish to. This case is just an example of the rights that we don't have any more. The juries will be scared of this man by the end of the trial. That the DA will see to. Fear will breed into them, and they will have him killed.

    I'm sure we are all afraid of terrorist, but we really should be afraid of the terrorist in our own back yard. The US government.

  • V||

    If police put themselves in the situation where citizens are lawfully entitled to open fire
    on them and even ultimately kill them with gunfire, then thats their choice, and they must
    accept responsibility for their actions.

    No crime has even been committed here as near as I can tell, at least not by the citizens
    involved. If anyone is criminal, its the police for the false statements they have made,
    the bad warrants issued on no evidence and with no probable cause, and the decision to emulate a dangerous murderer by smashing into a citizens home in the middle of the night.

    I will not mourn the death of this officer.

  • FLC||

    I'd be a hypocrite if I said I was sad this officer is dead.

    What is truly sad is that the police/DA will not admit clear wrong doing.

  • Taxi4||

    We need to start taking down the troublesome people. Identify anyone in charge who approves these military raids on private citizens, and have visit with them at their home. When a few start turning up dead with notes pinned to their corpses that they were executed as enemies of the people, maybe the message will get across. We are not going to take this fucking fascist shit anymore.

  • Ramo4Congress||

    The simple fact is police departments needs to lay off serving warrants after dusk and defore dawn unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the suspect or contraband is on the move. Moreover, if the police informant, under direction or approval of police broke into his home, THAT IS A SERIOUS BREACH OF THE 4th AMENDMENT, WHEN THE HELL DID THE POLICE GAIN THE AUTHORITY TO BREAK INTO HOMES WITHOUT WARRANTS. The police state is not comming, its already here!!!

  • ||

    Taxi4 | March 19, 2008, 11:52pm | #

    "We need to start taking down the troublesome people. Identify anyone in charge who approves these military raids on private citizens, and have visit with them at their home. When a few start turning up dead with notes pinned to their corpses that they were executed as enemies of the people, maybe the message will get across. We are not going to take this fucking fascist shit anymore."

    AMEN!

  • ||

    I would have done the same effing thing this citizen did. The out of control SWAT tactics have got to go. What would one of those same officers do, if someone was bashing down their door in the middle of the night, and they knew they had broken no laws? It went so quickly from "Serve and Protect" to strictly "Law Enforcement" no matter the human cost. I hope the jury of sheeple that get this case have to courage to do the right thing.

    Luis Leon

  • ||

    "V | March 19, 2008, 9:19pm | #
    ...

    I will not mourn the death of this officer."


    How about a Darwin Award for him, V?

  • ||

    "FLC | March 19, 2008, 9:55pm | #
    ...
    What is truly sad is that the police/DA will not admit clear wrong doing."

    Obviously, the real blame goes to the thoughtless, bloodthirsty thugs who spend cops' lives like so much spare change in their campaign to terrorize decent people and turn this country into a virtual prison camp.

    They have to blame the homeowner as part of their new mission which is to avoid having to pay "Rambo's" widow a huge settlement for sending him out on a completely ill-founded, wrong-headed and unnecessarily dangerous errand.

    Rambo died not because the homeowner did anything wrong, but because Our Great Government is deliberately trashing the Constitution.

  • ||

    He should not have shot at someone just for breaking in; you have to determine who it is that is breaking in and if they intend you harm. Yelling from behind the corner, "I have a gun and will use it. Cease and desist and identify yourselves." will either get pol,ice to ID or make the crooks run.

    This guy shot 1st. Manslaughter would be the minimum possible charge...

  • Gynophile||

    If the police look up and see a guy holding a gun in their direction, they will shoot first and ask questions later.

    Humans have instincts and one of those instincts is to kill or be killed. He handled the situation the same way alot of other people would have. In the moment, you do not think "Oh, maybe I should ask this person if they intend to hurt me," you assume they intend to harm you because they broke down your door.

  • Anonymous||

    Kudos to you, Ryan Frederick! It's good to see the citizens evening the score a little.

  • ||

    Thanks for killing a pig. Hope you get off.

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  • قبلة الوداع||

    ThaNk U

  • Detroit Lions||

    Thanks

  • Alrazaak.com||

    Nullification has a mixed history in the United States. Jury nullification appeared in the pre-Civil War era when juries occasionally refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act . However, during the Civil Rights era, all-white juries were known to refuse to convict white defendants for the murder of blacks. [13] During Prohibition , juries often nullified alcohol control laws, [14] possibly as often as 60% of the time. [15] This resistance is considered to have contributed to the adoption of the Twenty-first amendment repealing the Eighteenth amendment which established Prohibition ..........................

  • alamali||

    thanks

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