SWAT Gone Wild in Maryland

A botched raid on a small-town Maryland mayor exposes widespread abuse by the state's SWAT teams.

Late last month, Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo took the unusual step of filing a civil rights lawsuit against the police department of his own county. The suit stems from a 2008 SWAT team raid on Calvo's house that resulted in the shooting deaths of his two black Labrador retrievers. In pushing back against the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Prince George's County police department, the mayor is helping expose a more widespread pattern of law enforcement carelessness and callousness throughout the state of Maryland.  

Prince George's police originally obtained a warrant to search Calvo's home after intercepting a package of marijuana sent to the mayor's address. Calvo and his family were innocent—the package was intended to be picked up by a drug dealer. But instead of first investigating who lived at the residence, or even notifying the Berwyn Heights police chief, the county police department immediately sent in the SWAT team. In addition to having his two dogs killed, Calvo and his mother-in-law were handcuffed for several hours, and questioned at gunpoint.

To his credit, the mayor concluded early on that if this could happen to him, it was probably happening to others. "In some ways, we were lucky," Calvo said at a University of Maryland event this April. "We had the support of our community, who knew we weren't drug dealers. It didn't take long for me to realize that many people this kind of thing happens to don't have that kind of support."

Calvo also learned just how obstinate and unapologetic police and government officials can be, even (or especially) when they're clearly in the wrong. Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin High actually praised his officers' conduct, insisting that if they had to do it again they'd conduct the Calvo raid the same way. "Our investigators went in and showed both restraint and compassion," he told a local TV station.

Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson told a local newspaper that Calvo would get no apology for the slaying of his dogs. Johnson's puzzling explanation: "Well, I think in America that is the apology, when we’re cleared.... At the end of the day, the investigation showed he was not involved. And that's, you know, a pat on the back for everybody involved, I think."

It took nearly a year for the Prince George's police department to release its report on the incident. The conclusion: officers did nothing wrong.

Within a few weeks of the raid, other victims of botched search warrants in Maryland began contacting Calvo. One couple was raided after their teenage son was found with a small amount of marijuana during a traffic stop. Another elderly couple had their dog shot and killed by Prince George's officers in a mistaken raid. And in Howard County, police broke down a door in front of a 12-year-old girl, battered a man with a police shield, then shot and killed the man's Australian cattle dog. They were looking for someone suspected of stealing a rifle from a police car. The suspect didn't live at the residence.

There were more:

• Eleven days before the raid on Calvo's home, Prince George's police raided the home of a Secret Service agent after receiving a tip that he was distributing steroids. They found no drugs or incriminating evidence.

• In August 2007 police raided the home of a Prince George's County couple to serve an outstanding arrest warrant for their son. The parents were handcuffed at gunpoint. Police later learned that the couple's son had already been in police custody for 12 days.

In November 2007 Prince George's police raided the wrong home of a couple in Accokeek. Though the couple presented the police with evidence that they were at the wrong address, the police still detained them at gunpoint, refusing even to let them go to the bathroom. The couple asked the police if they could bring their pet boxer in from the backyard. The police refused. Moments later, the police shot and killed the dog.

In June 2007 police in Annapolis deployed a flash grenade, broke open an apartment door, and kicked a man in the groin during a mistaken drug raid. When they later served the warrant on the correct address, they found no drugs.

Most victims of these mistaken raids experienced the same callousness and indifference from public officials that Calvo did. When police in Montgomery County conducted a mistaken 4 a.m. raid on a Kenyan immigrant and her teenage daughters in 2005, the county offered free movie passes as compensation. When police in Baltimore mistakenly raided the home of 33-year-old Andrew Leonard last May, the city refused to pay for Leonard's door, which was destroyed during the break-in. When Leonard called the city's bulk trash pick-up to come get the door, no one came. Days later, city code inspectors fined Leonard $50 for storing the broken door in his backyard.

Just last month, Baltimore's ABC affiliate reported on another mistaken raid, and noted that city officials generally make no effort to compensate homeowners when police trash their houses in search of contraband that doesn't turn up. "If you're searching for drugs or unlawful firearms, these things are not left out in plain view on the living room table," City Solicitor George Nilson explained. "You often will have to do some damage to the premises and...the police department doesn't and we don't pay for those kinds of damages." Even if the police find nothing, Nilson said, the city has no obligation to pay, because, "it may have been the stuff that you're looking for was there three hours earlier, but somebody got it out of harm's way."

At least none of these raids ended with the loss of human life. In January 2005, police in Baltimore County conducted a 4:50 a.m. raid on the home of Cheryl Lynn and Charles Noel after finding marijuana seeds and cocaine residue in the family's trash. After taking down the front door and deploying a flash grenade, SWAT officers stormed up the steps and broke open the door to the Noels' bedroom. Because their daughter had been murdered several years earlier, the couple kept a gun near the bed. When the police entered the bedroom, 44-year-old Cheryl Lynn Noel stood with the gun, clad in her nightgown. She was shot and killed by an armor-wearing SWAT officer, who fired from behind a ballistics shield. Police found only a misdemeanor amount of illicit drugs in the home. Shortly after the family filed a civil rights lawsuit in 2006, Baltimore County gave the officer who shot Noel an award for "valor, courage, honor, and bravery."

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  • ... I\'ll eat three.||

    Shoot a man: no apology
    Shoot a dog: lawsuit

  • ||

    "Even if the police find nothing, Nilson said, the city has no obligation to pay, because, "it may have been the stuff that you're looking for was there three hours earlier, but somebody got it out of harm's way.""

    Indeed, they must have done something.

  • shriek!||

    My favorite part was when they bashed on the door and shot the evil drug-dealing mayor's attack dogs. It's a good thing the cops subdued them quickly and the mayor's thugs weren't around or there would have been some real problems. I'm just glad the law enforcers are safe and able to continue defending us in a similar manner.

  • ||

    To Serve and Protect (our asses at your expense).

    Be sure to know that anytime your door gets kicked in, you must assume it to be the police.

    Fucking retards driving a wedge between communities and the police and they blame the public for being pissed their door is off the hinges...

    ASSHATS Maximus.

    I'm going to go throw up and then drink.

  • ||

    Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin High

    High, indeed. WTF is that idiot smoking?

    -jcr

  • shriek!||

    Honestly, who's more likely to kick in your door? The police or a criminal?

    Obviously it's the police. A criminal would try to be sneakier. So the next time someone kicks down your door in the middle of the night just say "good evening officer, can I offer you a biscuit?"

    They love their biscuits.

  • hmm||

    "Well, I think in America that is the apology, when we're cleared.... "


    I wonder if he feels the same way if a jury cleared a man for shooting a cop breaking into his home. I sure do. Citizens should make the cost of a violation of their rights by police so high that no reasonable man is willing to roll the dice. They have no proportional response, why should I.

  • ||

    All these stories are horrific, but I wonder how big the problem really is. Do we know what the nationwide body count for these kinds of raids is? Human bodies, I mean. Dogs and pigs don't count.

  • AB390||

    Radley Balko is correct. SWAT teams are out of control.

    No matter how many people we arrest, pot is still easier to buy for high school students than beer.

    Keeping marijuana illegal does not benefit our children. It benefits special interest groups: liquor companies, the prison industry, police departments, government bureaucrats, and drug cartels.

    Tell your legislators in Sacramento to tax and regulate marijuana. Visit yes390.org

  • hmm||

    All these stories are horrific, but I wonder how big the problem really is. Do we know what the nationwide body count for these kinds of raids is? Human bodies, I mean. Dogs and pigs don't count.

    One persecuted innocent man is too many. More than one is cause for alarm. If it can happen to that one man, it can happen to you. Dogs and pigs are destroyed property. They count.

    The number of incidents is irrelevant. The fact one occurred and the way it was handled is more than enough.

  • q||

    Police should be castrated, fired and sentenced to a life of mall patrol when this shit happens.

    Seriously, as ridiculously difficult as it is to fire a grade school teacher (even for striking a child, or sending them home with a bag full'a poop, or ...), they are held much more accountable to parents and taxpayers than cops are, and vastly less dangerous. Does anyone see a problem here? [Rhetorical question; of course you do.]

  • ||

    Do we know what the nationwide body count for these kinds of raids is?

    http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

    A lot.

  • Peter||

    I hope they do a Family Guy about this and the Joe shoots Brian when they raid Peter's house mistaking it for Quagmire's (where all the drugs are).

  • shriek!||

    okay I RTFA now.

    I can't pretend defend cops anymore. No thinking, feeling human being could perform these actions. The offending officers are not fully human, incapable of understanding the repugnancy of their actions. As such they should be terminated.

    There are good cops that think and feel, but unfortunately the ones who don't aren't ever held responsible.

  • ||

    Legate Damar,

    Ack. That's an unpleasant map.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    In other Radley Balko news, his recent plea that has the impact of supporting highly unpopular illegal activity and MassiveSubsidies has been turned into an even-less-coherent posting at a far-left site. Go say hello to your comrades, Radley.

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Most libertarians are juvenile and cowardly. Rather than attempting to engage me in debate (and losing), they choose to smear.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Hey, you SWAT officers who might be eavesdropping: I hear LoneWacko's house is just packed full of EvilWeed. And he has dogs. ManyDogs. I'd go in with guns blazing if I were you, just in case.

  • ||

    All bow before the mighty 24aheaddotcom! He is right in all matters; wise and all-knowing; infallible; never to be critiqued or disagreed with. All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield! Oops, that's the old Captain America cartoon.

  • Peter||

    Ack. That's an unpleasant map.

    Heh, there's only 3 or 4 in Kansas City where there are a TON of Meth labs. You'd think they'd be breaking down a lot more doors with guns'a'blazin'.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Sorry. That should be GunsBlazing.
    I should'a previewed.

  • DBN||

    Fuck off, lonewacker.

  • ||

    Instapundit linked to you, Lonewacko.

    Who are *YOU* now associated with?

  • ||

    LoneWhacko, are you off your meds again? You really need to remember that the leprechaun telling you to burn things isn't really there. He's just in your mind. Really.

    (if you ever brought a real argument to the table, people would debate you. As it is, ad hominem arguments are responded to by like arguments)

  • ||

    Peter,

    I was pleased to see that Tampa had zero (though our sister city across the bay had a couple, but that's to be expected). Florida has a good number, but it is the fourth most populous state, and we have lots of old people, dogs, and drugs--all things cops detest.

  • ||

    Most libertarians are juvenile and cowardly. Rather than attempting to engage me in debate (and losing), they choose to smear.

    He's added to the disclaimer! I can't wait until the disclaimer is longer than his posts.

    On topic, remember that Calvo is a mayor (not that that should matter, but it does in our world, unfortunately), and even he gets shafted like this. A "regular" person, who is not connected or rich, would be pretty much without recourse.

    The cops are so out of control at this point that the best solution is just to avoid them at all costs.

  • hmm||

    There are good cops that think and feel, but unfortunately the ones who don't aren't ever held responsible.

    No there aren't. If there were every time something like this happened every person sworn to protect and serve that was "good" would be screaming or forming a group to oppose such actions. There is no such thing as a good cop. They either toe the thin blue line or they leave. The ones that stay quite are complicate in that they swore to stop such actions and they are doing nothing.

  • ||

    ""I wonder if he feels the same way if a jury cleared a man for shooting a cop breaking into his home. I sure do."""

    If I remeber correctly the cops were upset that Ryan Fredricks was only convicted of manslaughter when he shot and killed a cop raiding his house. Sure, he wasn't cleared, but they were upset he didn't get murder one.

    The sad problem here is that humans with a badge have no problem acting like thugs and not losing sleep. What's more sad is the some idiots have a problem with people who have a problem with these callous acts behind a badge.

  • ||

    Why feed the troll?

  • ||

    Just remember the names and badge numbers of the criminal scum that break into your home and harm your pets/family. Then you find a quiet place when THEY are not expecting it and give them a lesson in "Justice". The Blue scum won't respect the people until they FEAR the people.

  • shriek!||

    hmmm:

    You are full of shit! If you've never met a decent cop then that say's more about you being a shitbag miserable person than anything about cops. Think about it.

  • hmm||

    No "e" in complicit. spell fail and sentence structure from hell.

    sorry.

    in before the grammar nazis

  • ||

    Declare Victory! End the WOD. Disband all SWAT teams. Save billions!

  • hmm||

    You are full of shit! If you've never met a decent cop then that say's more about you being a shitbag miserable person than anything about cops. Think about it.



    I know and meet numerous officers. I worked for a municipality for years and I shoot with them often. They offer the same tired rebuttal that it's a job and they aren't responsible for other officers actions.
    My point is sound. How many officers do you here decrying these actions publicly? How many departments do you see not militarizing or carrying on misguided drug war policies? You can defend them all you want. Any person who is capable of reasoning their oath with atrocities committed and civil liberties violated is not a "good" person.


    I'd rather be a thinking shitbag who adheres to his morals and oaths than a shitbag that compromises my morals and oaths for a paycheck.

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Did I strike a nerve or a little too close to home?

  • ||

    "You often will have to do some damage to the premises and...the police department doesn't and we don't pay for those kinds of damages." Even if the police find nothing, Nilson said, the city has no obligation to pay, because, "it may have been the stuff that you're looking for was there three hours earlier, but somebody got it out of harm's way."


    Or it may be the fuckhead buffons were looking for something that wasn't there, you dissembling twat. It could possibly that your poorly trained unaccountable bullies masquerading as public servants are incompetent boobs all too eager to viollate somebody's home on the flimsiest of "evidence" you got from a scum sucking loser trying to avoid a 60 day jail sentence.

    Police argued both that these volatile, confrontational tactics are necessary to surprise drug suspects-to take them off guard before they have a chance to retaliate, or dispose of the contraband. At the same time, police argued that Cheryl Lynn Noel should have known the armed men storming her home at 5 a.m. were police; therefore she had no right to be holding a gun, and the police had every right to shoot her.

    These violent, trigger happy punks trot out this example of cognotive dissonence (LEOs are advised to get someone to explain the term as it has more than two syllables in each word) every fucking time they gun somebody down in testosterone fueled raids on people who would have politely answered the fucking door if you cocksucking morons would have knocked.

    Where are all the stats on gunned down cops who were peacefully serving search warrants on suspected drug dens? Don't wanna talk about that because criminals don't want to get the fucking chair for killing a cop and it happens in only the rtearest of cases. You dumbshits are placing yourselves and the citizenry in harm's way trying to avoid a danger that largely doesn't exist, you paranoid imbeciles.

    Whenever a cop gets shot during one of these jack booted thuug raids, you in the LEO community have only yourselves tp blame. As much as I mourn Jarrod Shivers (sp?) getting killed by Ryan Frederick in Chesapeake, if you had knocked on the goddam door the man would be home playing with his kids right this minute.
    __________________________________________________________________________
    Lonewacko -
    Go suck some donkey cock in a Tijuana show. Your a boring asswipe with a blog that ranks below amatuer status that I am getting real tired of. I hope a wetback knocks up your sister. Really, I do.

  • ||

    Cops are complicit when they don't do anything to stop the awful practices of their less ethical brethren, true. But what about us? If voters gave a rat's ass about this issue, we could stop it all in an election or two. Instead, most of us just ignore issues like this and go our merry way down the path to tyranny.

  • Xeones||

    http://www.cato.org/raidmap

    North Dakota's looking pretty good.

  • hmm||

    Police argued both that these volatile, confrontational tactics are necessary to surprise drug suspects-to take them off guard before they have a chance to retaliate, or dispose of the contraband.

    My favorite fallacy. If they can dispose of the physical contraband (drugs) in in the time it takes to knock and ask then is it really worth putting lives at risk? If the people you are after are so dangerous why on earth would you confront them on their territory and not wait to confront them in a more advantageous situation?

    answer: We don't get money for that and we don't get kool big guns and tanks and shit.

  • ||

    """As much as I mourn Jarrod Shivers (sp?) getting killed by Ryan Frederick in Chesapeake, if you had knocked on the goddam door the man would be home playing with his kids right this minute."""

    They will never admit that.

  • hmm||

    Cops are complicit when they don't do anything to stop the awful practices of their less ethical brethren, true. But what about us? If voters gave a rat's ass about this issue, we could stop it all in an election or two. Instead, most of us just ignore issues like this and go our merry way down the path to tyranny.

    I don't disagree. I do what I can, as small and limited as it may be. I wouldn't argue that there is more I could do. I at least do something and I am not charged with the protection or service to others through an oath and I no longer hold the public trust.

  • ||

    Step one of solving a problem is admiting there is a problem. How ever we solve this problem, if we can, expect LEOs to be kicking, screaming, and cursing the entire time that the solution is applied.

  • hmm||

    24 comes here to get hits to boost his revenue.

    I'm guessing that is the only reason.

  • Paul||

    It sounds like there's evidence that this has reached a level of criminal conspiracy and possible racketeering. I mean, when a guy has his door kicked in, and then the cops refuse to pay, and then he gets a $50 code enforcement fine for storing the broken door in his back yard?

    We're not a nation of laws run by elected officials. We're a nation of policies and procedures run by petty bureaucrats.

  • ||

    """As much as I mourn Jarrod Shivers (sp?) getting killed by Ryan Frederick in Chesapeake, if you had knocked on the goddam door the man would be home playing with his kids right this minute."""

    They will never admit that.



    I know. Why do you think I get so angry? If this shit happend a time or two and the cops said "whoa! We need to rethink this shit." I'd have far less reason to rant at and rag on the whole profession. Cops are acting more like an occupying army tham public servants daily.
    ______________________________________________________________
    And one more fuck you tossed LoneDipShit's way.

  • ||

    24 comes here to get hits to boost his revenue.

    That only works if you click on his links to his pathetic excuse for a website.

  • hmm||

    I'm sure some do. I don't.

  • ||

    There's something particularly odious about the tyranny of bureaucrats.

  • killerwhale||

    They say they are afraid of getting shot by dope dealers in a close in situation. What they ain't sayin is that if they keep it up, then it'll be 400 yd headshots. Keep pissin' folks off, and you'll kill someone who has friends. What most folks don't realize is that if a man is motivated and knowledgable, and only shoots once, well, it's a different deal. Maybe if the SWAT teams remember that we all live in the USA, then we won't have to exercise the second amendment.

  • ||

    They offer the same tired rebuttal that it's a job and they aren't responsible for other officers actions.

    Ah. The Nuremberg Defense.

  • MNG||

    We have some serious problems here in MD with police incompetence and corruption...People are starting to wake up here and there, but not enough yet to fix it...

  • ||

    With the "militarization" of local police departments, they are no longer seen as "protecting and serving". They are empowered and encouraged in their terrorization of the populace by the very politicians the citizens elect. It's all about control. Taken as individuals most cops are simply decent, hardworking people doing a job. It is when they put on their "war face" collectively that they assume the role of jack booted thugs. Hard to mourn the increasing number of LEOs lost in the line of duty now days when they themselves bring much of it on their own heads. Sad state of affairs indeed.

  • ||

    I remember this case 9from the link in Legate Damar's 3:39pm comment:

    February 15, 1989-FL



    In February 1989, police in Titusville, Florida raid the home of 58-year-old Charles DiGristine, a retired painter. As a flashbang grenade detonates near the front door, DiGristine's wife screams, and DiGristine runs to his bedroom to get a handgun.

    Officer Stephen House, dressed in dark clothing and a black mask, charges into the bedroom with his gun drawn. DiGristine shoots and kills him.

    Police raided on information from an anonymous informant that the house was being used by armed drug dealers. They found only a small amount of marijuana belonging to DiGristine's son.

    DiGristine was charged and tried for first-degree murder. A jury acquitted him.

    When DiGristine then filed suit against the city for the raid in 1990, the Titusville city manager responded, "It appears from the publicity achieved by filing very close to the anniversary date of this occurrence that it fits with the overall plan of greed and publicity."

    Sources:

    "Man Innocent of Police Murder During Drug Raid," United Press International, August 17, 1989.

    Lynne Bumpus-Hooper, "DiGristine Sues Titusville Over Drug Raid," Orlando Sentinel, February 15, 1990.



    Some people who were active in the Brevard County LP helped raise money for the guy's defense. They were all harassed for the next year or so by every police agency in the county. One guy was held in jail for an "unpaid" traffic fine, until his wife could find the cacelld check that proved it had been paid.

  • ||

    Isaac,

    Jesus. That kind of stuff is just mind-numbingly awful. What's happened to us? How can we tolerate this kind of crap? Hoenstly, that kind of abuses of power--particularly in retaliation--should be a criminal offense. Like a go to jail for twenty years kind of offense.

  • ||

    Remember, PL, that happened twenty years ago. It's only gotten worse since then.

    Actually, they don't show up on Radley's map but there were a couple of shootings of innocents by cops in Orlando within a year of this. That together with a series of "home invasions" where the perps had posed as cops made the cops make some noises that they were rethinking the whole "guns drawn/no knock" style raid.

    No such luck, of course. It wasn't long before they were back at it.

    No such luck

  • ||

    Well, we've been losing our gumption for a lot longer than that, I suppose.

  • bob||

    I have a shoe with Melvin High's name on it.

    It's a ten year old shoe, and it smells like it. It's one half of a beloved pair of sneakers that I wear while doing yard work. What's left of the ridges in the sole retain fresh evidence of its recent close encounter with a warm and steamy fresh pile of doggie poop.

    Should I ever be able to get close enough (unlikely) to Chief High to toss it at him without tossing my cookies first (also unlikely) and actually succeed at hitting him with it, I would of course be compelled to apologize.

    ...To the shoe.

  • ¢||

    A suggestion for the next rant, Mr. sub D: no "testosterone fueled." Testosterone decreases aggression.

    "Estrogen-fueled" would be funny.

  • Brett||

    In Montreal police raided the wrong home and were shot by the resident believing the raid was a home invasion. The courts determined he was within his legal rights and he was acquitted.

    if SWAT teams continue to conduct themselves in this manner it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed, and that someone may be the police. I think it would change the debate on no knock warrants if a police officer was killed while executing such a warrant.

  • hmm||

    In the US they just throw the guy who shot the cop in jail for murder or manslaughter.

  • Lowdog||

    I think that, not only are they conducting these raids and not apologising when they are incorrect, but they are also trying to intimidate anyone who decides to stand up and say something about the way they were mistreated. I really don't have any good things to say about police in this day and age. I do know that I would be raging pissed if some asshole shot my dog, police officer or not.

    Brett - unfortunately a police officer has been killed while trying to break into a gentleman's home, and the cops don't seem to think there's anything wrong with their behaviour, see Frederick, Ryan.

  • Vanessa||

    Let's not forget Cory Maye, Lowdog.

  • JB||

    Many times when dealing with the police your best bet is to shoot first and make sure you hit them.

    The decent and non-retarded cops out there should be ratting on all the crooks and idiots on a regular basis. Those idiots make their job more dangerous.

  • johnny john john||

    Drug raids are what the people want. It's not the cops' fault, they're doing exactly what the law requires of them. It's up to all Americans as a people to stop this injustice, presumably through democratic methods...

    The problem is a lot of people pro-drug war don't know much about drugs, except for the propaganda they were exposed to in school.

  • ||

    Brett

    See my post at 5:33pm.

    Several cops have been killed in these raids. Sometimes the outcome is in favor of the householder asin the Florida case I cited and your Montreal case, more often as in the case of Cory Maye (death row) and Ryan Frederick (manslughter conviction) it's not.

    And no, as I noted in my later post, the cops never learn, they just ramp up the firepower.

    They don't even learn when they find out that crooks are conducting home invasions impersonating cops.

  • ||

    Isn't the purpose of the second amendment to allow people to protect themselves from the state? People should legally be allowed to point guns at anyone who enters their private property.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Excellent article by Radley. But as people often point out, articles by Radley Balko can often be measured as top quality by the amount of rage and dismay they evoke in the reader.

  • TB||

    Calvo needs to plant a tree of liberty on the town green and water it well...very well.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    By sheer coincidence, I was talking with co-workers about Mississippi's shitty civil rights record during the '60s.

    I'd like it if people questioned the execution of the WoD and no-knock raids like they questioned the entire justice system in the Jim Crow South.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    And +1 to TB.

  • Joe Plummer||

    The "Freest Country" in the world...where a SWAT team can kick in your door, murder your pets (or worse - your family) NOT because they believe you have killed somebody, not because they believe you "have a bomb" or "hostages" or are "torturing children in the basement" but because they believe you could be selling pot.

  • ||

    As the article states, this is hardly new. It has been going on for a long time. It is time we reviewed the way raids are conducted for this "drug war". The collateral damage that results cannot be brushed off under the guise of "officer safety" or conducting business according to department regulations and policy.

    The courts and legislature have seemed to be reluctant to hold the state accountable for their mistakes and murders. It is up to the family of the victims to exact retribution.

    I would have no problem with going after, physically, the officers responsible or even their own families. These police homicides happen because they know they are immune from any type of culpability whatsoever. Therefore it is up to the victims to hold them accountable. When they learn that the people will no longer be victims perhaps things will change.

  • ||

    People with no other recourse will soon come to realize that preemptive self defense is the only way to get justice. Look for more dead cops.

  • ||

    Honest cops, and I know several, are embarrassed as hell about all this. Unfortunately the cop culture imposes a code of silence on them to prevent them from speaking out. As more cops die in such raids this will eventually change, but until there is a common realization that late night noknock raids are dangerous to the cop's health the practice will continue.
    And as someone has already pointed out it's curious that no one has yet decided to seek retribution for the unjust killing of an innocent by mistake. For when the courts fail to administer justice Americans tend to homebrew their own. Were I a com on that Calvo raid I'd be more than a little concerned about my pets, not to mention my family and myself. Seems some folks just can't take a harmless joke after all.

  • ||

    ...Police found only a misdemeanor amount of illicit drugs in the home.

    You can go ahead and leave these examples out, since they undermine your case. Petty criminals are still criminals.

  • ||

    Jonathan --

    No it doesn't. Petty criminals do not deserve this treatment any more than non-criminals. In fact, no one not actively in a criminal pursuit and being dangerous deserves it.

    If you run a stop sign, you're a petty criminal chum.

  • Craig||

    In pushing back against the abuse attack he suffered at the hands of the Prince George's County police department paramilitary assault force, the mayor is helping expose a more widespread pattern of law enforcement paramilitary occupational forces carelessness abuse and callousness throughout the state of Maryland United States.

    Fixed.

  • Killerwhale||

    Can someone explain the difference between SWAT in MD and the British before the revolution? Seems like some folks are looking for propane filled rooms. Lots of info out and about......

  • Craig||

    Every department will be required to submit a quarterly report detailing each SWAT deployment.

    Yeah, that oughta stop 'em.

    How about this reform instead: Maryland gets one SWAT team for the state, to be deployed with the permission of the governor in those rare cases where armed and dangerous criminals are holding hostages or involved in a shoot-out with police.

  • ||

    Time to feed some hogs

  • ||

    Honest cops, and I know several, are embarrassed as hell about all this. Unfortunately the cop culture imposes a code of silence on them to prevent them from speaking out. As more cops die in such raids this will eventually change, but until there is a common realization that late night noknock raids are dangerous to the cop's health the practice will continue.

    I would be a hell of a lot more impressed if the cop's opposition to no-knock raids by paramilitary squads was based on their concern for the rights and well-being of their fellow citizens, rather than own hides.

  • ||

    Great to live in Texas.

    If the Police use excessive force while serving a search warrent you are allowed to defend yourself. That includes using deadly force if needed. That is Black Leter Texas Law.

    Since a Dynamic Entry is defined as excessive force. If you shoot them and survive you can get off. As the Rangers said in the Waco Congress Hearings that "They would of walked up and knocked on the door to serve the warrent because that was what Texas law required them to do."

    We still have SWAT and Mistakes but they are a LITTLE more carefull. Not Enough. But still it is better then other states.

  • Killerwhale||

    The point is whether you are willing to take a chance on a scared man's trigger finger. How would it be if those men knew that if they killed someone, well, paybacks are a bitch, as we say. Why are their lives worth more? How many folks do you think can arrange large, fast moving surprises? Thing is, we have the constitutional right to defend ourselves.

  • ||

    SWAT teams are an abomination. NOTE: when schools are locked down with some crazy shooting automatic weapons they HIDE you can see it on the news hence the school teachers actually risk their lives while SWAT hides like the nazi cowards they are. Their entire "military response" is uncalled for. How come it used to take only a couple of detective to KNOCK on the door during THE DAY and serve a warrant. Crack houses are different yes but regular homes are clearly not crack houses but the cowardly "lions" of ALL SWAT teams are nothing but thugs who usually steal money and drugs. Yet they are ALL above the law. SHAME on the whole system.

  • ||

    Oligonicella:

    Petty criminals do not deserve this treatment any more than non-criminals. In fact, no one not actively in a criminal pursuit and being dangerous deserves it.

    I don't think it's a question of "deserve," which I would save for the penalty phase of the trial. I'm more interested in getting all of the criminals off the streets while preserving the health/safety of law enforcement personnel and the Constitutional rights of all of us, generally.

    If you run a stop sign, you're a petty criminal chum.

    Not automatically, according to council at the Fortune 500 company at which I work. Some traffic violations are considered violations of municipal ordinances, not necessarily crimes. In the example you cite, though, I would have no problem with a cop yanking me from the car and throwing me down if I resisted. Running a stop sign, especially if you can't clearly see cross-traffic, is incredibly hostile to human life. Anyone who kills someone while running a stop sign should be presumptively guilty of depraved indifference homicide, in my opinion.

  • ||

    I suspect that those who would take vengeance on SWAT officers who killed an innocent target would be beyond careful to avoid damaging any pets so unlucky to be in that officer's company -- just to emphasize their differences!

  • ||

    I find it disturbing that police and swat teams are so eager to burst into homes with guns drawn in the middle of the night (apparently based on slim evidence of a crime), but when there is an actual shooter in a building and the lives of innocents are in peril, they seem to be getting slower and more hesitant to engage.

  • ||

    Calvo needs to plant a tree of liberty on the town green and water it well...very well.

    TB, that statement constitutes domestic terrorism. You can come down to your nearest DHS office and turn yourself in, or we can come get you in the middle of the night with doors broken down and itchy LEOs with fingers on triggers. And you know what that will mean for you.

    And your little dog, too.

  • ||

    html tag off.

    Sorry about that.

  • Killerwhale||

    Ain't difficult - they don't want to get shot! If they want to act like they are in combat, well, that goes both ways, doesn't it? As for my little dog, maybe I'll wire him up, too. Employing combat techniques against American citizens is gonna backfire.

  • ||

    In the olden days, public officers were required to post a bond of their own money; in the event they violated someone's rights, that bond was forfeited. Today, they've rigged it so that YOU post their bond in the form of municpal, county, or state insurance and the individual officer has nothing to lose. No wonder......

  • ||

    """Many times when dealing with the police your best bet is to shoot first and make sure you hit them."""

    Yeah, that worked well for Ryan Frederick. The problem is that if you shoot them without identifying your target, your in the wrong, and once you can see that they are cops you end up shot because your holding a gun. It's lose lose.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    The only circumstances in which SWAT-like actions are acceptable are such where life or limb is in immediate danger. Hostage crises, terrorism, shooting spree et cetera.

    One SWAT team per 5-10 million people seems to be about right.

    It is absolutely disgusting to use such military-like tactics in case of non-violent crimes or suspicions thereof.

    I must admit I cannot understand why freedom-loving folks like Americans ever consented to use of such teams on ordinary people suspected of drug possession.

  • ||

    Pro Liberate
    "But what about us? If voters gave a rat's ass about this issue, we could stop it all in an election or two. Instead, most of us just ignore issues like this and go our merry way down the path to tyranny."
    Yup...painful to admit, but I try to be reality based, and most people really don't care about individuals, or their rights.

  • Michael||

    I agree that in some of the instances listed officers acted inappropriately. However, this is a site based on "Reason." Based on our constitution, a search warrant is issued by a judicial official, and executed by agents of the executive branch. This structure validates the search warrant, so as long as the officers who applied for the search warrant were honest, the search warrant is valid, and it's service is legal.

    In the incident were the night gown clad person was killed by the officer wearing armor and behind a shield. Based on the facts presented it stands to reason that the officer used deadly force in response to deadly force. The fact that he employed armor to protect himself should not be used against him, because it is reasonable for any person to wish to preserve their life by the application of armor. By the law his actions were reasonable even if in fact the search warrant was for a non-violent offense because he was confronted by a person armed with a firearm (a deadly weapon).

  • ||

    There are a large number of combat vets in this country of which the government Is well aware. Add to that all the kids who have been trained by the finest combat simulators - PS3 & X-box 360 - well, lots of trained personnel out there. I'll bet you had no idea just how well certain video games train. Once again, the gov knows quite well, as they helped develop some primitive games - Quake and Doom - childs play in comparison to today.....ambushes, small squad deployment, mine placement, practiced over and over again. So, when SWAT bunches up like they do, ever hear of Mr. Claymore? He doesn't care if you wear body armor or not, you're still invited to the party.........it's very dangerous to mess with folks that you don't know anything about......Improvised tactics.....startin' to sound familiar? This is what happens when you use combat techniques against American civilians.....factually, if that SWAT team in MD isn't brought to heel, someone might remonstrate.

  • ||

    "The fact that he employed armor to protect himself should not be used against him, because it is reasonable for any person to wish to preserve their life by the application of armor."

    In many states, it is illegal to wear body armor in the commission of a crime.

    If the government had chosen to prosecute Carlos Artson, instead of giving him a Silver Star for "valor, courage, honor, and bravery," the fact that he was wearing body armor would probably have led to additional criminal charges.

    But in this universe, the nobility is not constrained by the same rules that we serfs are.

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books.

  • nike shox||

    is good

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