War on Drugs

Talkin' 'Bout the Guns of Brixton Blues


The SWAT sagas continue…

In Montreal , it looks as if a "Cory Maye north" situation is shaping up. Basile Parasiris was home with his family when a paramilitary police team broke into the house with a battering ram as part of a larger drug raid. With son on the phone with 911, Parasiris exchanged fire with the raiding cops, believing them to be thieves. He shot two, killing one. Police returned fire, wounding Parasiris' wife. Police found no drugs in the home. Parasiris' gun was legal and registered. He's being charged with first-degree murder for the shooting of the dead officer, and attempted murder for the shooting of the wounded one.

Meanwhile in Ohio…

Georgette Prince was making a quick run to the store last Thursday morning for orange soda and lottery tickets—a venture that should have been an uneventful five-minute trip but became a terrifying 20-minute ordeal.

The unsuspecting Prince was caught in the storm of a SWAT team raid that had her in fear for her life.

"I thought I was going to be shot. I thought I was going to die," Prince recalled over the weekend as she sat in the living room of her Grace Avenue home.

She said she was just stepping out the front door of Mr. Pantry, a Copley Road convenience store, when her world became a frantic, frightening blur of guns, shouts and shoves of helmeted, armored men with guns.

"I didn't know what was going on," Prince said.


"I was holding the pop in my arms and was backing out the door, pushing it open with my back," Prince said.

"The next thing I know, I'm being shoved back into the store and someone is pointing a rifle at me, yelling at me to get back, get back and to get down on the floor."

With the rifle trained on her and an officer clad in helmet and body armor advancing toward her, Prince went to the floor face-down. She said her hands were pulled behind her back and she was handcuffed.

"I was crying and telling them my son was outside in the car," she said.


Outside the store, Prince's son found himself in an equally frightening situation as he stared down the barrel of a rifle.

"I was just sitting in the car waiting for my mom" when a SWAT officer pointed a rifle at him, Davonte said.

"He was looking at me through the rifle's scope and telling me to get out of the Jeep, get on the ground and put my hands behind my back," Davonte said.

The Perkins Middle School student said he complied and lay on the ground, which was wet from the morning's rain.

The officer "asked me how old I was, searched me, then took me to the back of the jeep," said Davonte, who acknowledged he was frightened.

After questioning the officers involved, the sheriff's office confirmed the Prince family's version of the day's events for the most part, but noted that standard entry procedures were followed.

"We believe everything was done according to the book," said Keith Thornton, an inspector with the sheriff's office. He stressed that officers "did nothing wrong and followed protocol and procedure."

Capt. Richard Roach, who was at the scene as the tactical command leader, concurred with Thornton's assessment.

"It was a standard SWAT entry," Roach said. "It is designed to be quick, loud and startling."

The SWAT team raid corresponded with a shoplifting investigation.

The justification from the officers is absurd, but typical. Golly. As long as we follow "procedure," all is hunky-dory, right? Never mind the terrified woman and her son.

Yes, no one was shot. This time. But how can anyone in his right mind think this is an appropriate police tactic? There was no imminent threat, here. They could have nabbed the suspected shoplifter store-owner as he was coming or going. Instead, they had to play Rambo, blaze into a retail store, and terrorize innocent people.