Militarization of Police

Teen Killed in Texas Drug Raid

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Authorities are scant with details right now:

Daniel Castillo Jr. died Tuesday afternoon at a Galveston hospital, hours after the raid on his home in Wharton, located about 50 miles southwest of Houston, the Wharton County District Attorney's Office said.

Authorities declined to release details of the shooting but said it occurred as members of the Wharton County District Attorney Narcotics Task Force, Wharton Police Department Emergency Response Team and the Wharton County Sheriff's Office Star Team were executing the warrant.

Wharton police Capt. Richard Coleman said the officer involved was a six-year veteran of the department. Coleman refused to release the officer's name citing the ongoing investigation.

"He will be put on administrative duty and will not be working the streets until we can sort out exactly what happened," Coleman said.

Coleman said he didn't know whether Castillo was a suspect in the search.

"He lived at the residence where the search warrant was being executed," Coleman said.

District Attorney Josh McCown said the Texas Rangers are participating in the investigation and a Department of Public Safety team was called in to process the scene.

"Anytime you have something like this happen, it is a terrible thing both for the victim's family and for the officer and his family," McCown said.

McCown said the case will likely be presented to a grand jury.

It's the second fatal drug raid in Texas in two days. Make what you will of the comments from authorities. My experience researching these raids is that when a shooting is justified, police are quick to release information (note that in the other raid, we know that the suspect pointed a handgun at police). When a shooting is more questionable, information is harder to come by. More to come, I'm sure.

NEXT: Solidifying Their Place in the Minority

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  1. We all know these raids done to protect the kids.

    Sorry for him and his family.

  2. Yes I’m sure all ya’ll illiterate hicks down in Texas “know” that they had to shoot the kid in the face to “protect” him.

  3. Yes, all good drug warriors know he’s better off dead than in a home where there might possilby according to an unnamed informant be some pot.

  4. “Anytime you have something like this happen, it is a terrible thing both for the victim’s family and for the officer and his family,” McCown said.

    No doubt. It is probably exactly the same level of upset for both families.

  5. Doesn’t this country have sunshine laws? Why can the police withhold any information when something like this happens? It’s a closed case; there are no threads related to the drug bust, but only questions relating to the behavior of the police. The police should be compelled by law (and with a stiff penalty for non-compliance) to disclose everything. The fact that newspapers comply with police requests to not disclose the name of officers involved sickens me as well.

  6. “He lived at the residence where the search warrant was being executed”

    There is a certain sick irony in the last word of that phrase.

  7. at leat us illiterate hicks in texas know that y’all is a contraction of you all…whatever ya’ll is…

    mike

  8. tros | February 14, 2007, 1:08pm | #

    Yes I’m sure all ya’ll illiterate hicks down in Texas “know” that they had to shoot the kid in the face to “protect” him

    Two things. First, this occurred in Ron Paul’s district. Ron Paul is one of the only congressman willing to openly discuss how wrong the War on Drugs is. Hopefully he will demand a full accounting of this incident. This is one more example of a tragedy that occurs in all states in our country and is not limited to ‘illiterate hick’ states like Texas. Where are the libertarian leaning politicians from any of the ‘enlightened’ states (and I’ll assume you mean the blue states or somewhere up north) who truthfully address the travesty that the WOD is? Right, there are none.

    Second of all, we put the apostrophe between y and all as in you all which is what y’all is a contaction of as doctum has pointed out. As in ‘You all everybody acting like you stupid people wearing expensive clothes”(extraneous lost reference added just because it comes on tonight!)

  9. Mike,

    I did not mean to disparage civilized Texans, however the wording of said comment was too much to pass up a dig. Seriously:

    WE ALL KNOW these raids done to protect the kids.

    How about, WE ALL KNOW these Republican congressmen want fuck our kids

  10. I wonder about the case where the guy pulled a handgun on police. Would he have done the same thing if police had knocked on his door in the middle of the day?

    Who knows, but people don’t make the best, most informed decisions early in the morning when these raids take place.

  11. Kid Handsome,

    I think they are referring to the Kathryn Johnston case, and I seriously doubt 88-year-old Ms. Johnston would have pulled a gun on uniformed police knocking on her door.

  12. Tros – I took Tym’s comment to be sarcasm.

    And as far as the “ya’ll” versus “all ya’ll” – I have heard “all ya’ll” used, but generally in the limited context of “….and another thing, all ya’ll sunsabitches can go f*** yourselves.” Most often heard outside of a West Texas roadhouse shortly after 2 am.

  13. Tros – I took Tym’s comment to be sarcasm.

    Correct.

    Also, the grammer mistake was unintentional and not meant to reflect on Texans.

  14. “Anytime you have something like this happen, it is a terrible thing both for the victim’s family and for the officer and his family,” McCown said.

    Of course, it’s a walk in the park for the victim. Hell, the victim should be thanking us for the service.

  15. I find it sad that in this kind of case I automatically assume the worst about the police, but that’s what it’s come to.

    Sorry for him and his family. Hopefully the truth comes out one way or another, but it wouldn’t shock me if very soon the police are trudging out minor drug arrests of the victim or whatever else they can use to sully his reputation.

  16. I think they are referring to the Kathryn Johnston case,…

    No, “they” are referring to the other shooting in TX two days before. Radley links to it in the post.

    You can often get by without RFTA but it helps to read to read the FUCKING POST!!

  17. “Dept of Public Safety”

    *!*

  18. “Anytime you have something like this happen, it is a terrible thing both for the victim‘s family and for the officer and his family,”

    I thought that the officer and the victim are the same people.

    The dead civilian is just minor collateral damage.

    Thankfully, the officer was able to go home to his family at the end of his shift. And isn’t that what’s really important?

  19. And I really love how the cop spokesman always says “the officers identified themselves”.

    WTF, in the time between them shouting “POLICE” and kicking in the door at three AM there is not enough time for the most astute person to tell who these intruders are. In some neighborhoods it is sesible to assume the worst about people breaking down your door.

    I’m fairly sure that the word “police” shouted by several goons at the same time would be just more unintelligible noise when combined with the sound of your front door shattering.

  20. Not to mention many home invaders will surely by now be shouting “POLICE!” just to tip the scale in their favor by instilling doubt in the victim(s) at home.

  21. I wonder about the case where the guy pulled a handgun on police. Would he have done the same thing if police had knocked on his door in the middle of the day?

    According to the Dallas Morning News, the raid occurred in the late afternoon, not the wee hours of the morning. Maybe that’s what confused them.

  22. So, where is that omelette, anyway?

    – Josh

  23. I live about 45 minutes away from wharton. I’ve been there for football games. From my experience, their police department doesn’t consist of the sharpest tools in the shed.

    oh, and obligatory south texas “Y’all”.

  24. Paging Justice Scalia.

  25. Seriously, I think that there should be some clear regulations on exactly how the police should identify themselves. My personal suggestion would be that not less than 5 seconds before smashing in the door, they should have to turn on at least 2 squadcars’ worth of flashing lights, and announce via loudspeaker, not just shouting, that this is the police. Further, all such raids must be videotaped by at least three separate cameras starting 5 minutes before the raid. Failure to have at least 2 of the cameras functioning up to 15 seconds after the point of the opening of door, or one camera functioning the entire time, shall void the warrant. Failure of the cameras to show a full five second interval between the squad car lights being illuminated or the announcement via loudspeaker and the opening of the door shall be an affirmative defense for any occupant who defends himself with a legal weapon, and an interval of less than three seconds shall constitute reckless endangerment on any officer who enters the building with a weapon ready within the first 2 minutes of the raid.

    That way, no one can claim they didn’t know it was police, and everyone will be safer.

  26. Page down on the first link and see this:

    Officer opens fire on pot suspect who runs.

    http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=local&id=5032256

  27. Officer opens fire on pot suspect who runs.

    Reading the article, the shooting occurred during a struggle after the officer had caught up to the suspect, not as the suspect ran.

  28. Quick exceptions to the above announcement rule – serving an arrest warrant against an offender suspected of using a firearm (not just carrying, but firing) during a crime (think cop-killers) and for situations where an armed suspect is threatening hostages (bank robberies).

  29. Hey, a bullet is cheaper than handcuffs. Plus, shooting the suspect is certainly justified if the alternative is that a guy with a lot of pot might get away and smoke it, or worse yet sell it to our children.

  30. Or worst of all smoke it (or cigarettes) while riding in a car with children.

  31. Why doesn’t every police badge have a CCD camera installed? Civilians are under constant surveillance, why aren’t the police?

  32. A slightly different take from the hometown paper:

    http://www.journal-spectator.com/front1.shtml

    “I don’t know at this point,” Coleman said when asked if Castillo was armed.

    I’ll take that as a “No”

  33. “He lived at the residence where the search warrant was being executed” does not say “… where the search warrant specified.”

  34. Why doesn’t every police badge have a CCD camera installed? Civilians are under constant surveillance, why aren’t the police?

    The police don’t seem to like the idea, for one thing.

    http://www.glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=bfa0905727f48d124fd317d1a05e4732&threadid=654791&perpage=25&highlight=&pagenumber=1

    My favorite one recently was where the speeding police car killed Isaac Singletary in Middletown, OH. There was a dispute about whether the police car had its flashers and/or siren on before it struck Mr. Singletary.

    The official story was that the dash cam of the police car involved was “out for repairs.”

  35. Damn, I feel safer.

    I’m not sure how mentioning how much I hate pigs will help anything, and it certainly won’t bring that young dude back, but it sure makes me feel better.

  36. My personal suggestion would be that not less than 5 seconds before smashing in the door, they should have to turn on at least 2 squadcars’ worth of flashing lights, and announce via loudspeaker, not just shouting, that this is the police.

    Ninety-nine percent of the time for a suspect with no history of violence they should be required to announce and wait five minutes for him to voluntarily come out.

  37. Larry A: “Ninety-nine percent of the time for a suspect with no history of violence they should be required to announce and wait five minutes for him to voluntarily come out.”

    How do you balance that with the legitimate need of law enforcement to preserve evidence? Five minutes it would seem is more than enough time to delete data, flush contraband, etc…

    I do agree with you in principle; I just have a difficulty time traversing the preservation of evidence argument when it’s used against me and I’d like your thoughts.

  38. “How do you balance that with the legitimate need of law enforcement to preserve evidence? Five minutes it would seem is more than enough time to delete data, flush contraband, etc…”

    hmm….

    Human lives vs. some dope (which should be legal anyway) down a toilet?

    Tough call man.

  39. About the only kind of evidence you can really flush is illegal drugs. A tap on the sewer line will take care of that.

    Computers would be a bigger problem. But even there I’m not sure you can completely reformat a drive that fast. Bust it up, maybe.

    Good point, but I think in most cases law enforcement could work around the problem. Or just catch the person away from home.

  40. I agree the evidence claims are BS for these raids, put a damn strainer in the cleanout of the sewer or turn the water off. For computers you could cut power to the house first that should feeeze everything and your not likely to get a DOD drive format done in 5 minutes on a laptop either.

    And yes people do leave their homes why not wait till then? I am sure both “victims,” in this case would have made out better in the end with such a practice. Especially that one victim who got killed, him inparticular.

    Plus if preserving evidence is SOOOOOOOOO fucking important why hasn’t the (frozen FBI bribe cash) evidence from William Jeffersons freezer been used to even charge him with a crime?

    Why do some people get to determine the time in which they will turn over evidence and others get their doors kicked in at 3am to have it collected at gunpoint? Note to it is usually the people screwing thousands of others via fancy fraud rackets that are given the time they need. But the guy smoking a little pot in his living room hurting and taking nothing from anyone else has his door kicked down.

    We are so screwed. I swear if everyone called in tips to judges and politicians families homes and this shit would end quick.

  41. lunchstealer | February 14, 2007, 3:17pm
    Seriously, I think that there should be some clear regulations on exactly how the police should identify themselves….

    Or announce themselves over the telephone.

    This ensures that they have made contact with somebody inside the house. And the NSA can record the phone calls.

    Speaking of cameras:

    http://cbs4denver.com/crime/local_story_248194306.html

    “When the SWAT team burst in, police turned off the tape and officers killed the unarmed Bonner who they said they thought was armed.”

  42. To clarify the ya’ll vs. y’all debate, y’all is gramatically correct, but it’s generally used casually in the “border states.” Many in the deep south and east Texas prefer ya’ll because it’s closer phoenetically.

    On topic, I’ve also been to Wharton, and the police are indeed not very bright.

  43. I noticed all the small towns surrounding Houston had cops of that description. What you have to remember is that in many of those types of towns the police force is usually comprised of relatives of the mayor, sheriff, police chief etc. Just as a genetic side note.

    Than again the cops in Atlanta and NY or New Orleans are far from the top of the bell curve in many regards. Not trying to stereotype the profession just something I have noticed 1st hand over time.

  44. It is not worth killing people to bust them for drugs. These raids are out of control. I do not accept that violating drug laws justifies deadly force. The law provides for penalties, but the local swat-cops ramp their enforcement way beyond what those penalties imply, ultimately to deadly force.
    One more note – I am not surprised that this appears to be an Hispanic victim. If he was suspected to be part of a dangerous gang. then let’s hear it. Silence about these things indicates another botched raid, another casually discarded young person of color. Four different law enforcement agencies and one dead 17 year old. Nice work, public safety officers.

  45. Don Falks the police officer who shot Daniel Castillo jr should be commended for his actions. He has helped rid Texas of one wetback drug dealer who didn’ deserve to live. He was just another vermin who was probably in this country illegally. Anyway Daniel Castillo Jr may you rest in hell

  46. How about not being a drug dealer…problem solved. nobody gets shot, everyone goes home happy…

  47. Maybe if everyone quit buying drugs there would be no profit in it, therefore no drug
    Dealers, therefore no DEA or war on drugs.
    Everyone here thinks the cops are murders,
    So why would you give them a reason to come to your house? Have you smoke too much dope? It’s like speeding in a school zone then bitching about the ticket. Evolution generally lets the ones who fell to adapt die. Too harsh?

  48. the only “harsh” thing is trying to sort through your spelling…its FAILED to adapt…assuming you’re referencing Darwin…but good point.

  49. David Duke

    You’ve got to be f@#$ckin kidding me right? Danny was 6th generation American Citizen you moron. AND Don Falks’ own son is a known crackhead around town. He has appeared in the local police blotter for possesion many times. What’s your real name and address and how old are you really? You should move to Wharton, you would fit in nicely. F*ckhead.

  50. Steve-
    Hmmm… speeding in a school zone and bitching about a ticket-waking up one morning to see your unarmed son dying on the floor of his bedroom. Good comparison. You better pray to that one day someone doesn’t suspect you of doing something illegal. You are justifying a cops rights to come into your home and shoot one of your family members with no provocation and based on suspicion alone.

    Hey, next time you are pulled over for speeding, I hope the cop shoots you right in the face. Save all of lawabiding taxpayers the grief of you going to court and contesting the ticket. Better yet, let a cop come to your house and shoot you in the face becasue you may one day speed. You do own a car right? The chance is always there….

  51. Hey Kathy i agree with you David Duke is a fuckhead with his head up his ass

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