Police in Lima, Ohio shot and killed Tarika Wilson, a mother of six, and seriously wounded her one-year-old son during a drug raid yesterday. Police say they were investigating Wilson's boyfriend for drug distribution. They haven't yet released why the police fired (though they have said police initially fired at two pit bulls). The fact that they aren't saying so doesn't bode well. When the suspect fires first in one of these cases, that fact is generally immediately released to the newspapers.
More disturbing, the police are saying they knew there were children in the home, yet went ahead a highly volatile, forced-entry drug raid, anyway. In fact...
Police Maj. Richard Shade, a former SWAT commander for the department, said it's not unusual for children to be inside homes raided by police officers.
And therein lies yet another problem with these raids. It's bad enough that they're dangerous for cops, suspects, and people unfortunate enough to be the victim of wrong-door raids. But even when they get the correct house, there's little regard for the safety of innocent people who might be inside. Why couldn't they have nabbed this guy as he was coming or going? Why not wait for him to leave, then arrest him in his car? Why put six children and their mother in unnecessary peril?
There are far, far too many cases of innocent children, girlfriends, spouses, relatives, and visitors being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and winding up killed, injured, or arrested for mistaking raiding cops for criminal intruders.