Another Damned Drug War Death

Add 81-year-old Isaac Singletary to your list of wrongful drug war victims.

Police were apparently conducting an undercover drug investigation when Singletary asked them to leave his property. They didn't. So he asked again, this time with a handgun.

And that was the end of Isaac Singletary.

Whether or not he had reason to know the men on his lawn were police is still under investigation. It seems unlikely. The officers were undercover. And neighbors and relatives say Singletary was protective of his property precisely because of the drug activity in the area.

It's the third shooting involving the Jacksonville, Fla. sheriff's office in three weeks, causing local state's attorney Harry Shorstein to ponder, "If we're just selling drugs to addicts, I don't know what we're accomplishing."

Shame that it takes a pile of bodies to come to that realization.

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  • ||

    Whats that the drug warriors say.. Mistakes happen its part of the job.

    I am going to say this again. Not until the politicians and polices families are killed due to this will it be an issue to them. Want to get them to stop, just call in anon tips left and right to every politicians home and their families home. I would guess after 2 of these types of events it would suddenly be an outrage to the politicians.

    Till then its only happening to the little general public people so what do they care. Why is it we never see these raids on episodes of COPS or Dallas Swat?

    Amazing simply amazing that we tolerate this crap. They are so out of their minds at the Drug Entitlement Agencies they are grabbing at straws for new propaganda to try. Anyone seen the SLOMing ads? At the end the words come up as a joint is folded up "what could you be convinced to do,". First off after seeing that poor excuse for a joint I could be convinced to re-roll it. Second I could be convinced that the WoD folks have jumped the shark AGAIN!

  • Pi Guy||

    ...just call in anon tips left and right to every politicians home and their families home.

    I like this idea a lot. I almost wish that there was a way to coordinate such an effort so that it impacts as many politicians as is possible.

  • LoneSnark||

    Anyone know what the punishment would be?

    Taking into account the odds are good that many of them will have drugs of one sort or another on the premises.

  • ||

    "obviously...officer's lives were in danger"

    Really? It seams all they had to do was get off the man's land as they had already been told and they would have been fine.

  • ||

    obviously...officer's lives were in danger

    Only after refusing a lawful request to leave the property. No way did they have a warrant or any other legal process giving them the right to be on his property.

    So, if I'm trespassing and have been asked to leave, can I shoot the landowner, or is that only the cops who can do that?

  • Shane||

    Once again evidence of the innocents who are hurt in this "war on drugs". I wonder how long it will take for them to realize that to take away the criminal's power would be to legalize it, tax it, and eliminate the criminal element from it.

  • dhex||

    shane: judging by the response to the right wing news essay defending the drug war, the answer is "a really, really long time."

    for the children, etc.

  • ||

    Hmmm...

    He said his uncle was territorial and mad about the drugs on his street, and would often take his gun and try to scare the drug dealers away.

    So the dealers would respond to his request by simply walking away an untold number of times, yet the police were the first to ever fire their weapons instead.

  • ||

    I think this is horseshit but I am not seeing how the drug war is to blame. If these guys had been undercover trying to find terrorists or Christian extremists engaged in anti-evolution research after a tip from Ronald Bailey, would that make their actions any more justifiable? I don't think so. The problem is that we have a police department who thinks they can trespass on private property without a warrant or showing a badge and feel it is it justified to shoot anyone defending their property. Perhaps the drug war mentality helped create this situation, but I am not sure legalizing drugs will undo the damage. This isn't so much a drug war issue as an asshole trigger happy cop issue.

  • ||

    John, Jesus Christ, you have to be the 3rd most obtuse motherfucker on the internet.

  • ||

    To build on my previous point:

    The Drug War is one of the main reasons for why there are asshole, trigger-happy cops with no regard for property rights.

  • Larry A||

    Perhaps the drug war mentality helped create this situation, but I am not sure legalizing drugs will undo the damage. This isn't so much a drug war issue as an asshole trigger happy cop issue.

    The War on Drugs provides the justification for allowing the situation to continue. Remove the "we're protecting the children" boogeyman and the cops will end up on much shorter leashes.

    Unless you mean the War on Terror or Transfats or Online Gambeling or etc. will take the WoDs place?

  • ||

    So the dealers would respond to his request by simply walking away an untold number of times, yet the police were the first to ever fire their weapons instead.


    The concept that illegal drug dealers might have consistently been more respectful of others and less violent than cops generally are kinda depresses me.

  • Rommel||

    I have to agree with John here. I think these excessive uses of force and violence by the police are way out of hand, and I think the drug war is fueling it, but I think the bigger problem is the complete lack of consequence when the police screw up.

    Botched SWAT raid? Accidentally shot and killed a non-threatening suspect? These are actions that would get a private citizen in jail, but the police are let off with a finger wag -- even when they are caught lying about it!

  • ||

    John, it's the tactics, mannerisms, states of mind, and what's considered OK to do, in the war on drugs that makes it possible to blame the drug war its self. The drug war is responsible for allow the police to do things that were previously considered uncontitutional. Such as lesser 4th amendment protections in your car, for one.

    Sure, I agree that it boils down to people, Lawmakers pass laws, police brass makes policy, the individual is responsible for their actions. However it's well known in Psychology that people act according to the situation, not according to their traits. The situation is the drug war and they think that they are acting accordingly and not doing anything wrong.

    I agree with Rommel, the way to reverse this trend is to hold them accountable.

    I think the broken window theory applies here. They should be held accountable for all law breaking regardless of how little, running red lights when not at code 3, illegal parking, and such. If you shoot an innocent person, you get a desk job (at least).

    Rudy used the broken window theory to clean up New York City. Since it's a successful tactic on the citizenry, why not apply it to the lawmen?

    Sure the cops with bitch and moan about it, so did many New Yorkers, I for one. They will claim that it will make their job less safe. Why? because they lose the right to shoot first ask questions later and not fear penalties for making a wrong decision (which is how the rest of us live).

  • ||

    "I think this is horseshit but I am not seeing how the drug war is to blame."

    I totally disagree. There was a nice Frontline Documentary on the Drug War that aired about four years ago full of testimonials by a number of true believers who came to their senses after working for years for the DEA and other gov't agencies. The propensity for no-knock raids had its origins in the War on Drugs. I believe it was about 1974 when this became acceptable practice. It was only a few short steps from there to scenes of jackboots with balaclavas and military hardware murdering innocents, which has been well documented by Balko, Sullum, Carpenter et al. The "they had good intentions" or "this type of thing rarely happens" defense doesn't fly anymore. These guys are thugs pure and simple.

    You might be able to "see" this war more clearly, John, if you take off the blinders. In fact, the quicker people stop providing cover for these types of crimes by pleading ignorance or naive surprise, the quicker we start bringing charges against these guys for the homicides they commit.

  • Kid Handsome||

    Let's not overlook the authorities complete lack of respect for property rights.

    Imagine what would happen if you told a cop to leave your yard.

  • Sam Franklin||

    Over at the police board they decided that this is an excellent occasion to make fun of how black people talk. "Shafonda sho nuff got da Fo-One-One on da haps dis time yo!"

    Full thd:

    http://www.glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=d7717ab3593085d848151e07782ecfeb&threadid=648584

  • barneca||

    well that's just stupid. "they" didn't decide to make fun of anyone. one single person did.

    that would be like someone saying "look, over at hit and run the libertarians decided to make up moronic lies about the police board".

    -cab

  • masterchief||

    I wonder what the undercover cops were pretending
    to sell? Not that it makes any difference to the deceased but it would seem like a Shakespearean tragedy if it was pot.

  • Ed||

    A little background on undercover drug sting operations in Florida: Before Janet Reno became USAG, she was a DA in Miami-Dade. During this time, she was approached by a joint task force of Sherrif's Deputies and DEA agents asking for seized drugs to be released to them to enact a sting operation to catch buyers on the street and have them "turn" on other dealers, who would then "turn",etc. on up the chain. This operation recieved six kilos of seized cocaine from the county evidence impound and used the Sherrif's office lab to manufacture it into crack. The crack was then sold in small ($10) amounts on the street to make arrests on users. During the four month operation, all of the crack was sold on the street level with a net result of nine arrests for simple possession, with no arrests for intent to distribute of trafficking. Unbelievable, but true and documented. Makes one wonder exactly what the JAX officers are up to, no?

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    What we need is for racist, lying local undercover police department to shoot DEA agent protecting his daughter.

  • Larry A||

    The propensity for no-knock raids had its origins in the War on Drugs. I believe it was about 1974 when this became acceptable practice.

    I remember the beginnings of the WoD in the late 60s. The original justification for breaking down doors was that drug users were flushing their stashes.

    I think these excessive uses of force and violence by the police are way out of hand, and I think the drug war is fueling it, but I think the bigger problem is the complete lack of consequence when the police screw up.

    True. But the main reason given to justify this overuse of force is the War on Drugs. As in "An innocent person losing his life is unfortunate, but the War on Drugs is so dangerous and important that such losses are acceptable collateral damage."

    If the war goes away, so does the justification.

  • Sam Franklin||

    Perhaps the drug war mentality helped create this situation, but I am not sure legalizing drugs will undo the damage. This isn't so much a drug war issue as an asshole trigger happy cop issue.

    I agree with John. In fact, if drugs were legalized in part, I think police would skew enforcement to try to connect every murder, mayhe, assault and jaywalking incident to (newly legal) drugs in order to score political points and make (certain) drugs illegal again.

    However, I also think that society does have an effective deterrent at its disposal. Specifically, if the po po's here and in the Kathryn Johnston case and the Peyton Strickland case get the death penalty and are executed, then the trigger happy cops problem will largely disappear.

    The death penalty may or may not be a deterrent when it comes to avowed criminals, but I think trigger happy cops would get the message quick. They should inject the police in full uniform and have the bagpipes there so the point really gets across.

  • Todd Frye||

    This was all over CNN yesterday. Hopefully this incident will get people's attention, or at least provide the tipping point. But it will probably be just another statistic.

  • ||

    Well, about ten years ago the media attention it would have gotten was that it was one more reason why "civilians" should not be allowed to own guns.

  • Robert||

    I too think the causality of the overall level of violence and crime by narcotics prohibition is exaggerated. I think drug activity is a low point in the ground into which the existing sewage sinks, both of cops & criminals.

    Meanwhile, as I look at the pictures in the Jacksonville.com article, I wonder why the cops were on this guy's tiny lawn at all. It's not as if they could've gotten a long way from the sidewalk, nor as if there was a lot of foliage to hide in, so why didn't they conduct all their business on the sidewalk?

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