Former Reasoner Radley Balko has his first article up at his new digs in The Huffington Post. It's an in-depth report on Jose Guerena's death by SWAT team, which Tim Cavanaugh blogged about here, here, and here. Radley adds many more details to the story, and his whole article is well worth reading; here's an excerpt:
Michael Storie, the attorney for the Arizona police union,...told the Arizona Daily Star that Guerena was "linked" to a "home-invasion crew," and that police found rifles, handguns, body armor, and a "portion of a law-enforcement uniform" in Guerena's house. "Everything they think they're going to find in there, they find," Storie said. "Put it together, and when you have drug rip-offs that occasionally happen where people disguise themselves as law enforcement officers, it all adds up."
I asked Chris Scileppi, the attorney representing Guerena's family, about the "portion of a law enforcement uniform" allegation. "They're trying to imply that he was dressing up as a police officer to force his way into private homes," Scileppi says. But when police serve a search warrant they leave behind a receipt what they've taken from the residence. According to Scileppi, the only item taken from Gurena's home that remotely fits that description was a U.S. Border Control cap -- which you can buy from any number of retail outlets, including Amazon.com.
About the guns and body armor Scileppi says, "Is it really that difficult to believe that a former Marine living in Arizona would have guns and body armor in his home? Nothing they found in the house is illegal to own in Arizona." In fact, Storie himself acknowledged in the Daily Star that had the SWAT team entered Guerena's home peacefully, they wouldn't have made an arrest.
And when you "put it together," to borrow his own terminology, Storie's comments thus far lead to a pretty astonishing conclusion: After violently breaking into Guerena's home, the police found exactly the evidence they were looking for -- yet none of that evidence merited an arrest. Storie is either shamelessly posturing, or he actually believes that the police are justified in violently forcing their way into a private home with their guns drawn, even if they have no expectation that they'll find any evidence of a crime.