Pantry Raid

A crack SWAT team of sherrif's deputies, health inspectors, and Ohio Department of Agriculture officials busted into the Manna Storehouse food co-op in LaGrange, Ohio, in a raid last week. The co-op is also the home of the Stowers family, so Katie Stowers, her children, and her in-laws were held at gunpoint while the agents took tens of thousands of dollars worth of meat, plus computers and cell phone. Chad Stowers, Katie's husband, wasn't home because he is a U.S. Navy Seabee currently in Iraq.

Their crime? The warrant listed the reason for the raid as "beef."

Manna may, perhaps, have needed a license to run a retail food establishment. Mostly a coop, they did sell some leftover products in a small store on the property. The exact nature of the business is in dispute, which is why the Stowers' wrote letters to various agencies asking for advice on how to proceed. Obviously, the best way to reply to that request was with a SWAT team.

The folks over at Peace Chicken (yes, that's a real site, compete with chicken death doomsday clock) are seriously peeved. They offer, from the Lorain county sherrif's page, a list of the legit justifications for a SWAT raid:

  • Hostage Situations: the holding of any person(s) against their will by an armed or potentially armed suspect.
  • Barricade Situation: the stand-off created by an armed or potentially armed suspect in any location, whether fortified or not, who is refusing to comply with law enforcement demands for surrender.
  • Sniper Situations: the firing upon citizens and/or law enforcement officers by an armed suspect, whether stationary or mobile.
  • High-Risk Apprehension: the arrest or apprehension of armed or potentially armed suspects where the likelihood of armed resistance is high.
  • High-Risk Warrant Service: the service of search or arrest warrants where the warrant service matrix or policy recommends or requires the use of SWAT.
  • Personal Protection: the security of special persons, such as VIP’s, witnesses, or suspects, based on threat or potential threat to the well being of those persons.
  • Special Assignments: any assignment, approved by the SWAT Operations Commander, based on a high level of threat and/or need.

Not on the list:

  • Licensing Confusion: when a farm might be a retail establishment, or it might not, based on high level of threat from pitchforks and/or women and children.

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  • ||

    Their crime? The warrant listed the reason for the raid as "beef."

    Well, obviously, but the question is, what exactly was the cops' beef?

  • ||

    How does this fit into The Messiah's New Ruralization Initiative?

    You may farm, but only according to the Rules of the Collective? (Which shall be Revealed as the high priests see fit.)

  • libertarian democrat||

    So bad it's almost good, Joe.

  • ||

    As the cops rushed in, they were yelling "where's the beef!?!".

    On a more serious note, we are just going to see more and more warrants served this way. These guys train to do this. They want to do it. Any opportunity will be taken to go out and do it.

  • robc||

    joe,

    Its quite possible you do have a sense of humor. You just dont recognize it in the writings of others.

  • A Mind||

    What... the F**K?

    And people still think we aren't in a Facist police state.

  • Bingo||

    As the cops rushed in, they were yelling "where's the beef!?!".



    God damnit.

  • ||

    Mission Creep Alert: Since when is any firing on citizens or LEOs a "sniper situation"?

    Blank Check Alert: "the service of search or arrest warrants where the warrant service matrix or policy recommends or requires the use of SWAT."

  • ||

    Well. At least no one died. I guess if there had been casualties, Balko would have posted this instead of Mangu-Ward.

    CB

    Reminder: Gun Show at the Cobb County Civic Center December 27th/28th. Last chance before the new ruler takes over!

  • Godwin||

    SWAT = US Brownshirts

  • The Extispicator||

    Every time I read one of these, I think it is so outrageous that no one would defend it. Then, the agency conducting the raid issues a statement defending it. Can't wait for the other shoe to drop on this one!

    Prediction: Cracker Boy nailed it. The response will be "Why is everyone so upset? It's not like anyone died."

  • Mike Laursen||

    How does this fit into The Messiah's New Ruralization Initiative?

    Let's be fair. This was purely state-level dipshittery, not Federal.

  • Warty||

    I had exactly the same thought as joe. I hope this doesn't happen ever again.

  • Fluffy||

    Radley posted it at the agitator this morning but didn't follow up with a H&R post.

    I will continue to assert that one "secret" goal of the use of SWAT teams is to terrorize the citizenry so that they will be more likely to obey without question. Since operating a food coop sounds like something hippies or radicals would do [it's got the word "coop" in it; it seems to have involved barter, which has all sorts of negative connotations to statists; there was a whiff of licensing resistance or tax avoidance here as well] it was necessary to use SWAT to show these people that defiance will lead to their humiliation and terrorization. Even if a less extreme enforcement method could have easily been used, those methods would have kept the state/subject relationship on a civilized basis and treated the two sides as near equals; a SWAT raid, OTOH, shows who's fucking boss. That's what they're really for.

  • ||

    held at gunpoint while the agents took tens of thousands of dollars worth of meat, plus computers and cell phone.

    This is going to be the best multi-agency Christmas Party ever! Fire up the Barbie! Steaks for everyone!

  • Dormouse||

    Google sez...

    Sheriff's Capt. Rich Resendez denied online reports of a SWAT team being part of the search.

    "There was no SWAT team there. They had one uniformed patrol officer who wore a black-style uniform who is assigned to a warrants unit, but that's his daily uniform. There were no guns held to anybody's head."


    http://www.chroniclet.com/2008/12/09/state-investigates-lagrange-organic-food-business_122/

  • ||

    And pigs have the audacity to wonder why some consider them the enemy. I'm rewriting (not that it needs it) Fuck the Police for the 21st century. I also need a "Don't shoot my dog" bumpersticker. To quote Keyser Söze, when he is still Verbal, "Fucking cops."

  • creech||

    Needless to say, all the local grassroots libertarian organizations in that area of Ohio are all over this, right?

  • Fluffy||

    Resendez' denial sounds like a semantic denial to me.

    Apparently only one of the officers present had the black uniform people generally associate with a SWAT team. And apparently all the police officers on scene did was "secure the residence" while Agriculture department employees actually seized all the items on the warrant. And apparently no weapons were pointed at anyone's "heads".

    So this means that he can say the online story that this was a SWAT raid is "absurd", because it was actually a Department of Agriculture raid backed up by an armed interdepartmental task force team. Silly online reporter, mislabeling that a "SWAT raid".

  • ||

    According to Sheriff's Capt. Rich Resendez: "All we did was secure the residence and the Department of Agriculture did the rest."

    So, how exactly was the "securing" achieved? Pointing guns at chests? Aren't they supposed to aim for the body? Less chance of missing or something like that?

    Moreover, I can't wait to see this one explained when we have one side saying: "the Stowers' wrote letters to various agencies asking for advice on how to proceed."

    And the other saying: "They blocked every effort to try to get information," including ordering two county health officials off their property.

    I kinda hope that Russian economist is correct when he stated that the U.S. will collapse into 4 or 5 separtate countries. So long as they aren't all the same facist/statist/socialist/police state that we live in now.

  • ||

    I possess a convoluted thouth process that sometimes makes unusual connections. Was this SWAT team partially or totally funded with a homeland security grant?

    I mean, after you discount NY and DC, LaGrange is where the terrorists will probably strike next.

    LaGrange, O-fuckin-hio needs a SWAT team?
    Oh wait, it was the Lorain County SWAT team. Here is the Sheriffs website, Here is the county newspaper website. Of note is

    Top Stories - County sheriff mulls layoffs.



    Maybe they don't need a SWAT team after all.

  • Paul||

    Special Assignments: any assignment, approved by the SWAT Operations Commander, based on a high level of threat and/or need.



    Sorry, dudes, but this is the 'commerce clause' of swat team usage. It's over. And it's justified.

  • ||

    Now I see it wasn't a "SWAT" team. Jusat some of those soon to be laid off officers that don't have anything more important to do.

  • ||

    Actually, there seems to have been one cop there. Without SWAT gear. Wearing a sidearm.

    Special Weapons And Tactics Team.

    No special weapons. No special tactics. No team. A single cop, and some agricultural commissioners.

    I think KMW jumped the gun on this one. Bitch about the food laws if you want, but this doesn't sound like a SWAT raid to me.

    Seriously, there's no difference between 1) a gang of militarized police who raid a home with rifles, submachine guns, and body armor, holding people at gunpoint without announcing after crashing unannounced through a door and 2) a cop dressed and arrayed like a regular beat cop, announcing his presence and standing there?

    See, I thought that the police doing Scenario 1 instead of Scenario 2 was the problem.

  • ||

    """As the cops rushed in, they were yelling "where's the beef!?!"."""

    That's about the time I would get shot. The picture of the little old lady screaming where's the beef would have had me ROFLMAO. Naturally they would have said I was non-compliant and reaching for a weapon.

  • ||

    No special weapons. No special tactics. No team. A single cop, and some agricultural commissioners.

    We know this is true because the sheriff said so and cops never lie.

    I think that the truth is somewhere in the middle of the sheriif's and the Stowers' version.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The Man said it.
    joe believes it.
    That ends it.

  • Warty||

    Option 2 is better than option 1, but I prefer option 0, where the dirty hippies get left alone.

  • ||

    """"I kinda hope that Russian economist is correct when he stated that the U.S. will collapse into 4 or 5 separtate countries. So long as they aren't all the same facist/statist/socialist/police state that we live in now.""""

    The original idea of the US would give you choices by state. Don't like state A, try state B. That's a benefit of limited federal power. But the more the feds gain control the more the choice becomes moot, the more we become like a Euro democracy.

  • Fluffy||

    We know this is true because the sheriff said so and cops never lie.

    No, the sheriff didn't even say that. The sheriff said that only one cop present had the black uniform people associate with a SWAT force.

    Joe read that quote and is interpreting it to mean that only one police officer of any kind was present.

    Since the sheriff says elsewhere, "we" secured the residence, I take that to mean that multiple cops were involved. Maybe he was using the imperial "we", but I doubt it.

    Joe's statement is exactly the conclusion the sheriff wants you to draw. It's actually a pretty effective semantic denial.

    Claim: "The warrant was served by a SWAT team that held people at gunpoint and kept the family in custody for hours!"

    Denial: "The warrant was actually executed by the Department of Agriculture. Only one of the police present was in a SWAT-type uniform. No guns were pointed at anyone's heads."

    Sounds like a pretty adamant denial, doesn't it? Except there's nothing in that denial that would mean that the family was not subjected to precisely the search they say they were. The events could have transpired exactly as the family describes, but as long as the police involved weren't technically assigned to the SWAT team, and as long as no guns were pointed right at heads, the denial is technically true.

  • Fluffy||

    Sorry about the tag.

  • Paul||

    I think that the truth is somewhere in the middle of the sheriif's and the Stowers' version.

    Nah, the default position is the government is lying. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a SWAT team wasn't used. Impossible standard? Welcome to the private sector.

  • muen||

    I wish the story ha dmore info.....it feels incomplete.

  • ed||

    I guess if there had been casualties, Balko would have posted this instead of Mangu-Ward.

    If you ever get an unexpected phone call from Radley, get your funeral clothes ready.

  • ||

    LOL, now suddenly you're all skeptics.

    Mighty selective skepticism, wankers.

    I didn't notice a whole lot of "let's wait for the facts to come in" or "the truth lies somewhere in the middle" at the beginning of the thread.

    Too funny, watching you all waffle.

  • ||

    Fluffy | December 9, 2008, 3:19pm | #

    Radley posted it at the agitator this morning but didn't follow up with a H&R post.

    I will continue to assert that one "secret" goal of the use of SWAT teams is to terrorize the citizenry so that they will be more likely to obey without question. Since operating a food coop sounds like something hippies or radicals would do [it's got the word "coop" in it; it seems to have involved barter, which has all sorts of negative connotations to statists; there was a whiff of licensing resistance or tax avoidance here as well] it was necessary to use SWAT to show these people that defiance will lead to their humiliation and terrorization. Even if a less extreme enforcement method could have easily been used, those methods would have kept the state/subject relationship on a civilized basis and treated the two sides as near equals; a SWAT raid, OTOH, shows who's fucking boss. That's what they're really for.


    But remember, I'm the one letting my preconceived notions - you know, my well-established pro-meat-raid preconceived notions - skew my judgement here.

    LoL.

  • ND||

    Sheriff's department makes denials in Plain Dealer article this morning.

    http://www.cleveland.com/crime/?/base/iscri/1228901417175700.xml&coll=2]'Raid' at Manna Storehouse organic food co-op disputed by Lorain County Sheriff's Office

  • ||

    I think we know why with Mangu-Ward posted this instead of Radley now.

  • .||

    Still hearing voices in your head, joe?

  • ||

    Brings back memories of the good ole days when cops went in to save children at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and children were rescued to send back to Castro. No sense in shaking down some Imam's threatening to blow up America or Mexican gangs murdering Americans.

  • ||

    Period.

    What a perfect name for you.

  • purpleslog||

    The Peace Chicken link's page has some type of Malware embedded in it. You should remove the link.

  • laura||

    Thanks for mentioning my humble little blog.

    Yes, I am peeved, and yes it does bother me that millions of animals are killed each year so gluttonous humans can keep enjoying $1 double-cheeseburgers.

    But I'm also peeved that we have to fear for our safety if we decide we want to grow our own food.

    You should see how the Cleveland Plain Dealer handled this story. Nothing but crazies on the Internet spreading rumors!

    Not sure what mal-ware error that person was getting from my site...?

  • ||

    """and children were rescued to send back to Castro."""

    Plural? Other than Elan Gonzales, whom do you refer? He was sent back to live with his father not back to Castro. Though I don't agree with the heavy handed method, I'm happy that his dad, not the type of government where his dad lives, won the day. Family over government.

  • ||

    I, as many do, agree that the sherif's department was out of line with this "SWAT" style raid. However, all of us need to consider all aspects of the story as well. Thus far, I've only heard comments from the family who's house was raided. And of course other people who are not officials of the departments heading the raid.

    I would like to know just how long this family was running an illegal business BEFORE they were raided. I understand the concept of a CO-OP. I also understand under most local, state, and federal laws that the sale and distribution of foods is regulated. If for no other reason than health issues.

    But again, having said that, this sherif's department and the Ohio Department of Agriculture should be ashamed of themselves. I believe a polite knock at the door from an official, or a letter in the mail warning of licensing requirements would have sufficed.

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