Militarization of Police

Another Isolated Incident

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The headline says, "Two Officers Are Saved by Bullet-Proof Vests." It could just as easily have read, "Police Screw-Up Terrorizes, Nearly Kills Couple and Their Six Children."

The Police Department's SWAT team was attempting to search a house in the 1300 block of Logan Avenue N., at 12:46 a.m. as part of an investigation by the Violent Offender Task Force. But police said that they learned later that the wrong information led them to that house.

"It was found out that this particular address was not part of that long-term investigation," police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia III told KSTP-TV on Sunday. He told KMSP-TV that it was a "bad situation. It could have been much worse."

Garcia said it was not so much a mistake by Minneapolis police but a mistake in the information that was given to them.

That last line translates to, "Admit nothing. Cover your ass in case of a lawsuit."

Come on. You nearly killed innocent people because you wrongly raided a home based on bad information. I don't care how or where that information went bad, it's pretty clearly a "mistake."

Here's another version of the same story:

Police believe they received some bad information and executed a search warrant on the wrong house early Sunday when two officers were shot at and hit, but were protected by bulletproof vests and helmets, a police spokesman said. ,p>"It was some bad information that was received on the front end and it's unfortunate because we have officers that were hit by gunfire and this truly, truly could have been a much worse situation," said Sgt. Jesse Garcia.

[…]

Family members living in the house said they were upstairs when they heard someone bust through their back door. They said Vang Khang grabbed his hunting gun to protect himself, his wife and his six children.

"He thought they were gang members and he was scared," Vang's brother, Dao Khang, told KARE-TV. Dao Khang said Vang fired a warning shot, and then two more shots through his closed bedroom door. The bullets hit two officers, but they weren't injured.

Several officers returned fire but no one in the house was injured, the department said. The man suspected of firing the shots was taken into custody, police said. He was later released.

Note where the police department spokesman's concern lies. No apology to the victims. No regret for nearly killing a man, or for spraying bullets all over the home where an innocent family lay sleeping. No, this incident is "unfortunate" because "we have officers that were hit by gunfire."

Note too that police claim they announced themselves, but no one in the house apparently heard them. Mr. Khang did nothing wrong, and isn't being charged. He isn't a criminal, and has no reason to lie.

So why is it that in so many of these cases, police claim they announced, but no one inside or outside seems to hear them? Retired cops have told me it's because the "announcement" often comes as the door is coming down, if it comes at all. Of course, even if there is an announcement, it doesn't do much good if it comes in the middle of the night, while the people inside are asleep in a backroom or on the second floor. Such scenarios effectively erase any real difference between a "knock-and-announce" and a "no-knock" raid.

When Mario Paz was killed in a SWAT raid in El Monte, California, the town's assistant police chief told the L.A. Times:

"We do bang on the door and make an announcement—'It's the police'—but it kind of runs together. If you're sitting on the couch, it would be difficult to get to the door before they knock it down."

Now imagine you're asleep when all of this is happening. The whole purpose of the middle-of-the-night raid is to catch the suspect off-guard. Why would police make a clear, full-throated announcement if the intent is surprise?

The catch-22 comes when the suspect, like Mr. Khang, or like Cory Maye, or like Cheryl Lynn Noel, justifiably feels threatened and acts in self-defense. Then "we need the element of surprise," dubiously morphs into, "They should have known we were the police."

It can't be both, as evidenced by the accumulating pile of bodies resulting from these unfortunate tactics.

NEXT: Trapping the Entrappers

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  1. Merry Christmas. It’s the cops.

  2. I was just about to nod off. Now this. How am I supposed to sleep? Thanks, Radley.

  3. What ever happened to DETECTIVES who are supposed to INVESTIGATE crimes? Really, how hard can it be to find out if there are children in the house before they pull this crap?

  4. Every time Radley posts one of these stories, I start to wonder if there would be a market in affordable ways to harden a house. Reinforced doors, windows with shatter-proof film coatings, anything to delay the police long enough to get them to double check to make sure they have the right address.

  5. mediageek –

    From what I understand about human nature, the harder it is for the cops to get in, the meaner they’ll be once they succeed.

  6. bill,

    “What ever happened to DETECTIVES who are supposed to INVESTIGATE crimes? Really, how hard can it be to find out if there are children in the house before they pull this crap?”

    Or even to find out, ya know, if it’s the right HOUSE.

  7. Are these newspaper accounts even consistent?

    Dickinson Press: “Dao Khang said Vang fired a warning shot, and then two more shots through his closed bedroom door. The bullets hit two officers, but they weren’t injured.”

    Star Tribune: “In a statement released shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, police said that officers found no one on the first floor of the house. When they made their way up to the second floor, they were confronted by an adult male. The officers identified themselves as police, and the man fired several rounds at them.”

    Both could be consistent, if Vang “confronted” the police from behind a closed door. If that is what happened, then the press release from the police department would seem intentionally misleading. The press release makes it sound like Vang stood in front of the police, ignored their attempts to identify themselves, and opened fire.

    Since Vang wasn’t shot or charged, it seems more likely he fired blind through the door, in which case the press release is misleading.

  8. Peter Parker’s comment above catches the police in an blatant lie to cover their collective asses. There is simply no way to believe the nonsense in that statement. Does anyone believe that it is remotely possible for some guy with a gun to “confront” the police who then identify themselves, then open fire at the police, and yet somehow live to tell about it?!? It’s just utter unadulterated bullshit from the police statement. The only believable, and consistent with common sense, scenario is the first one where he’s behind the door and therefore the return fire from the police has a chance to miss him (and thankfully his family as well).

    So we have yet more evidence, as if any is necessary at this point, that the police will simply, and collectively, lie to cover any wrongdoing, including blaming the innocent victims of their misguided policies. And yet again the silence of the “good” cops in speaking out against these continued lies, slandering of innocent victims and protecting their own at any cost, is once again deafening.

  9. Dammit Vang. If you shoot and they don’t go down put a couple of rounds between the running lights. Remember G. Gordon Liddy’s advice: “If they insist upon a firefight, give them a firefight. Just remember, they’re wearing flak jackets and you’re better off shooting for the head.”

    These raids terrorizing innocent people won’t end until the invaders start having to be hauled out in body bags.

  10. I start to wonder if there would be a market in affordable ways to harden a house.

    I went right there with you, MG.

    Anyone else kind of surprised that vests stopped rifle fire? Must have either been a whimpy rifle, or the door slowed it down considerably more than I would have expected. Normally rifle fire laughs at vests on the way through.

  11. “part of an investigation by the Violent Offender Task Force.” It looks like the violent offenders were the task force.

  12. Anyone else kind of surprised that vests stopped rifle fire? Must have either been a whimpy rifle, or the door slowed it down considerably more than I would have expected. Normally rifle fire laughs at vests on the way through.

    Not if the vests were enhanced with Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) or the Enhanced kind (ESAPI). The manufacturer claims the plates are capable of stopping a round the size of a .308 Winchester (7.62 for you NATO-nerds).

  13. “Vang Khang grabbed his hunting gun” – Doesn’t say rifle, so… (nor what Vang hunts; insert obvious joke about hunting neighborhood cats). The article (RTFA) actually says “He took out his shotgun”.

    I may need to rethink my decision to keep birdshot in the 8 shot Mossberg 500 Stainless because of birdshot’s lower penetration presenting less of a danger to innocents in other rooms. The innocent is generally in the room with me (to provide cover fire) and there is no one innocent on the other side of that door.

    (BTW – difficult to defend the act of shooting through a door, unless the Gestapo fired first.)

    CB

  14. The innocent is generally in the room with me (to provide cover fire) and there is no one innocent on the other side of that door.

    You end up in this situation a lot, Cracker’s Boy?

  15. Rifle rounds zip through soft armor – shotgun and pistol rounds do not.
    The North Hollywood BOA shootout began a trend for many departments to switch from shotguns and subguns to 5.56 carbines, due to their ability to penetrate soft armor. As a homeowner, you might think to do the same.

    Here is a fun link for backyard ballistics experts.

    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm

    Rifle>shotgund>handgun
    Birdshot is for birds.

    (Disclaimer)
    Advice is dependant on your own personal situation. If you live in a trailer, apartment, or soft-sided house, you may decide overpenetration is more of a liability than falling victem to kevlar-clad thugs.

  16. ‘Tis better to train for the worst.

    CB

  17. make that “victim”

  18. Yay! We’re winning the war on drugs! Watch out drugs, here we come!

  19. The Star Tribune looks like a case of bad writing to me.
    “When they made their way up to the second floor, they were confronted by an adult male. The officers identified themselves as police, and the man fired several rounds at them.”

    It looks like the reporter’s clumsy way of saying that Khang was an adult male who fired several rounds at them on the second floor.

    “Confronted” has aggressive overtones, but it doesn’t tell you anything about where he was standing; it seems like a vague word to make him sound more dangerous without actually lying.

    Also, is it just me, or does the national news under-report incidents where people successfully defend themselves? I have friends I’ve never been able to convince that guns can, in fact, be used for self-defense.

  20. switch from shotguns and subguns to 5.56 carbines

    ..or use shotgun slugs, although these don’t always penetrate body armor, and can overpenetrate through walls, etc. Anyhow, I’m very surprised that Mr Khang isn’t being charged with a slew of very serious offenses and railroaded by the local DA (which seems to be the normal procedure in these cases). He should count himself very lucky, all things considered.

  21. I start to wonder if there would be a market in affordable ways to harden a house.

    Oh, there is, and it’s pretty simple — be wealthy enough to live in a city and neighborhood where police would be very unlikely to think of using such paramilitary tactics.

  22. So why is it that in so many of these cases, police claim they announced, but no one inside or outside seems to hear them?

    And, furthermore, why should I believe that a gang of armed, masked thugs breaking down my door in the middle of the the night are “the good guys” even if the are yelling “POLICE”?

  23. How did they get the wrong house number? Easy – he said something in a phone call or email that the Bushy squad didn’t like. OOOPPPS. Get used to your future.

    Ron Paul for President.

  24. “..or use shotgun slugs, although these don’t always penetrate body armor”

    Change “always” to “almost never.” Slugs simply have too much surface area for their low velocity to penetrate the tight weave of modern ballistic fibers. Of course the blunt trauma can prove fatal in itself.

    “and can overpenetrate through walls, etc”

    Everything that has sufficient power for self defence overpenetrates through walls. Even 9mm ball will happily zip through your entire house untill it hits a brick wall or cast iron frying pan or something similar. It’s a Catch 22: If it can’t go through multiple layers of sheetrock (birdshot), you probably don’t want to count on it to stop an attacker.

    Again with the Box ‘o Truth.
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm

  25. Can I please ask what business the police have SPRAYING BULLETS into a house? Any number of innocent people could have been inside. You’d think the Murderapolis police would learn since a similar incident just cost them millions. (In that case, they sprayed machine gun fire on an undercover officer who was laying face down. Why does any cop EVER need to spray ANYONE with a machine gun?)

    The fact that the victims were non-white and poor probably had everything to do with it. The cops in Minneapolis neglect the impoverished neighborhoods, allowing the criminals to take over. Once in a while, they raid somebody and screw it up. Nice.

  26. Best solution, if you are not overly concerned with overpenetration, is to get an SKS or AK variant. They will penetrate body armor, are cheap and super-reliable, and the ammo is (relatively) cheap and ubiquitous.

    Otherwise, shotgun with buckshot or a .357 revolver.

    The fact that Vang hasn’t been charged with anything (thankfully) is, to me, the most damning indicator of police inncompetence. They are vindictive fuckholes, and if they could charge him for shooting them they would. Since they haven’t, that is an indicator that they fucked up royally and don’t dare make a stink.

  27. To protect and serve.

    We are here to keep the peace.

    S & W .500 magnum 5 shot revolver. aim for the cup. They may live, but they wont walk, procreate, defecate or strongarm an innocent again.

    May everyone derive maximum enjoyment from this holiday season.

  28. The man suspected of firing the shots was taken into custody, police said. He was later released.

    Its a fuckin’ miracle. The only thing I can think of is the cops must know something they really, really didn’t want to come out in court.

  29. So we have yet more evidence, as if any is necessary at this point, that the police will simply, and collectively, lie to cover any wrongdoing, including blaming the innocent victims of their misguided policies.

    That can’t be. Most cops are good honest law enforcement officers. Thet would never lie, cover up or perjure themselves to protect their “brothers in blue”.[/Annie off the pickle boat]

    As Mr. Balko pointed out recently, it’s quite likely the boys in blue have already had their LET’S get our story straight confab. Public servants, my ass. REMEMBER KATHRYN JOHNSTON1

  30. When is the Yet Another Isolated Incident book coming out?

  31. I’m relieved that Mr. Khang is not being charged.

    However, I am amused that Mr. Khang hit his target twice, but when “several officers returned fire” they all missed.

  32. I’m surprised Mr. Khang wasn’t found hanging in his jail cell, dead from an apparent suicide.

  33. I cannot help but wonder what unflattering details might be revealed in open court which prevented the cops from charging Mr Khang.

  34. Since they haven’t, that is an indicator that they fucked up royally and don’t dare make a stink.

    it makes you think, don’t it? maybe we’re getting closer to a critical mass – the one “get thee to the back of the bus” style flashpoint incident that causes a change in public opinion.

    sadly, that will probably take the form of a very young child being fatally shot at point blank range, on video or home surveillance.

    aresen: they’re probably not used to people shooting back at them during their midnight adventures.

  35. Goddamit Radley, stop posting these things on Monday morning. It’s like you sit home on the weekends thinking, “How can I ruin our readers’ week?”

  36. “””No, this incident is “unfortunate” because “we have officers that were hit by gunfire.”””

    That pretty much sums it up. Many cops could care less about the people in the community. The people are scum, and the cops are the scum cleaner. And to think that many people want them to have more power and more control.

  37. Considering that the effective state of the law at this point is that when men with guns break down the door of your house and yell “POLICE!”, you are legally required, under pain of death, to immediately drop to the ground and not interfere with them doing as they wish while in your house, I’m surprised armed robbers haven’t changed their tactics to take advantage of this…

  38. “part of an investigation by the Violent Offender Task Force.” It looks like the violent offenders were the task force.

    Shyeah, it’s like the “Substance Abuse Advocate”.

  39. The elite’s government FEARS you!!!!!!

    Their fear is manifested in the laws they pass. Here is a law banning what MANY of the Founders wrote is a RIGHT of citizens when a government no longer represents them:

    Section 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

    Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or
    teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of
    overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or
    the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession
    thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by
    force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any
    such government; or
    Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any
    such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates,
    sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed
    matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity,
    desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any
    government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts
    to do so; or
    Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society,
    group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the
    overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or
    violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any
    such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes
    thereof –
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
    twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by
    the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five
    years next following his conviction.
    If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in
    this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
    not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for
    employment by the United States or any department or agency
    thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
    As used in this section, the terms ”organizes” and
    ”organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of
    persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new
    units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes,
    and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

    The federal government is allowing MILLIONS of illegals to invade our country. Corporate America is becoming increasingly more powerful and influential. Yet, according to the government of for and by the elites YOU, a citizen, have to accept whatever the government does with NO recourse other than voting…… and there is sufficient proof that shows to me voting is worthless since the entrenched power structure ensures that the emplaced elite class can not be removed.

    Several Founders specifically wrote of the people’s right to abolish a government when it no longer represents them.

    We are forced to live under an elite’s TYRANNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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