Drug Policy

News From Chesapeake

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Interesting timing for this announcement:

Chesapeake will hire an independent consultant to review the police department's procedures, policies and staffing levels, City Manager William Harrell announced at a Tuesday morning press conference.
Harrell's decision comes less than two weeks after Chesapeake Detective Jarrod Shivers was shot and killed while serving a search warrant on a home in the Portlock section of the city.

Seems like at least some officials in Chesapeake aren't happy with police procedures.

Related: One of Shivers' colleagues recently told the Virginian-Pilot that if they were to conduct the raid again tomorrow, they'd do it "the exact same way." I suppose he was driven to say that in part by feelings of defiance in the wake of his friend's death. There's also the matter of liability. Admitting police error could both hurt the criminal case against Frederick and could put the department and individual officers at risk should Det. Shivers' family decide to sue.

But damn. You just conducted a raid that ended with a dead cop and a man with no prior record sitting in jail on murder-one charges. You've got a life ended, a life ruined, and two families in mourning. All the raid turned up is what I think we can now safely say was no more than a user's amount of marijuana. The vast marijuana grow operation described in the search warrant is nowhere to be found. And you wouldn't do anything differently?

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  1. That’s okay. My day was already down the shitter.

  2. “Criminal shoots cop doing his job.”

    Thats probably the only level at which this story resonates with most people.

    So what if it was “a little” weed. Weed is crime! Cop stops crimes! Cop risks life to protect you and me from… people who do crimes, like having weed! Cop gets killed by crime person. Criminal will now get executed and nature is again in balance. End of story.

    What I dont get, personally, is that they knew that their informant had broken into the guys house a week before, then went ahead and did a no-knock raid anyway? Isnt that like, incredibly fucking stupid? Why not just ring the door during dinner and show him the warrant, nice and polite like? Or is it these guys just cant help but want to smash people’s doors down for the hell of it?

  3. Chesapeake will hire an independent consultant to review the police department’s procedures, policies and staffing levels

    Expect the review to conclude that police are in danger and prone to error because of understaffing.

  4. Its about sending the right message to the children!

  5. “the exact same way.”

    And get the exact same result.
    Are these fucking cops capable — at all — of thought? Of reflection? Of learning?
    Jesus, I’m going to start drinking again, even though I haven’t had a drop in three years.

  6. It’s things like this that make me really excited to go on my February vacation 🙂

  7. Officers trying to serve a narcotics search warrant at the house executed a “well-thought-out operation,” … said police Detective J. Duncan.

    I beg to differ.

  8. There should be a movement to try to get Gov. Kaine to pardon the guy.

  9. I mentioned this whole scenario to a friend, an independent voter who is your average “cops do good things, the drug war is bad, but…” kind of guy. He said he read recently that cops do these 4am surprises because it makes it less likely the suspect will respond coherently. I countered by saying I’d rather calmly pick the guy up as he went out to get his mail where he is not likely to carry a gun and he said, “you don’t know who else might be in the house.”

    Who cares who is in the house? If you have the manpower you have one or two guys walk the guy back to his house to serve the warrant and investigate, you ask him if anyone else is around and if so, do they have weapons or access to them, etc. The other cops can surround the house. If they are flushing the drugs, maybe that’s an issue, but I’d rather everyone live. That’s just me. This regular guy friend of mine is the mentality of most people. If the cops say it is the best way, it must be, no matter how safe and positive any other scenario you mention might be. “They study these things. We don’t.” Ugh.

  10. Chesapeake will hire an independent consultant to review the police department’s procedures, policies and staffing levels, City Manager William Harrell announced at a Tuesday morning press conference.

    Overall, this is a good thing. Whenever a distaster happens, like Titanic, Thresher, Challenger, a complete review of all the processess and procedures have lead to significant improvements – even the identification of stuff that no one thought a problem. However, these days we have very few Richard Feymans anymore to cut through the politicization with which these things get encumbered..

  11. If you have the manpower

    Well there you go. It’s a manpower shortage. To stakeout the house until the guy comes out requires more man-hours. A SWAT raid is over and done with in a matter of minutes.

  12. “Chesapeake will hire an independent consultant to review the police department’s procedures, policies and staffing level.”

    The consultant will conclude;

    4:00 am raids should be moved to 3:00 am

    Slightly more force should be used on the battering ram and the ram should have a sound-dampening material so as to not wake up the occupants / evil druggies.

    Body armor should be better.

    Contents of the house should be thrown into the street to make a better show.

    More flash bang grenades and they should be thrown immediately after saying “police” in a polite and non-threatening voice.

    That should fix it. /snark

  13. I am quite cynical by nature (I prefer to think of myself as skeptical, but whatever), so anytime people start talking about how we just need to get more information out there and educate those around us, I tend to think of it as well-meaning but ultimately useless. However, my dad was visiting me last weekend and it got me thinking. My brother the anarchist has been arguing with him about the war on drugs and how useless it was. After I told him about this story, he (evangelical/ fundamentalist, drugs-bad, reagan-loving republican) allowed that for some drugs, particuarly marijuana, the benefits just don’t seem to justify the costs. I was pretty impressed with that first step.

    (Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go read about the Isreali-Palestian conflict before I start singing Kumbayah)

  14. Sulla, good for you! It’s all about education. It also helps that our economy is going sideways. The war on some drugs is a rich man’s hobby.

    How long will the “drugs are bad, mkay” rhetoric continue to keep the war on some drugs feasting at the government trough?

    As long as voters let it continue.

    How to fix the problem?

    Let more people know about all the crap we talk about right here. After all, we’re all paying for this.

  15. The only thing they would have done differently was kill the home owner if given the chance.

    Amazing when a life is worth less than a treat of flush the toilet. To me this logic says it all. They claim the need for these type raids because evidence can be flushed if you actually knock and wait for someone to answer the door. So according to their own logic their lives and the lives of others are less important than making sure no one flushes a toilet. Very fitting that flushing lives down the toilet is all they really seem to accomplish.

    And sorry but I have no sorrow for anyone stupid enough to put themselves in harms way to get a few doobies off the street. When you go to do these things as a cop you are saying by your own actions that your life is worth losing over the drugs.

    No one forces anyone to do anything. If all the cops came together and said we are not doing this anymore what could any of the higher ups do about it exactly? Fire all the cops for failure to comply with orders? I doubt it seriously.

  16. zzm

    You forgot the part about doing away with the announcement “Police” altogether.

    Aw, shucks. Just eliminate the Bill of Rights and be done with it.

  17. In case you forgot, this guy is a CRIMINAL. In case you didn’t know, Marijuana just so happens to be currently ILLEGAL, because it is a dangerous, addictive drug. This was determined by Congress years ago. I don’t think children should be high on drugs, this is why we need them illegal.

    It is OK to use alcohol, but drugs are too addictive. I thinnk this story lays to rest the myth that drugs don’t cause violence.

    The police have no idea if the guy has weapons or is on drugs, so they are entirely justified in using overwhelming force. Also, what if they politely knock and the evidence is flushed?

    The guy needs prison for murder, before he fired the weapon, he should have known who or what he was shooting. I think we need to use tanks and other armor in these raids to be safer.

  18. O Phil, Phil, what have you done?

  19. Here’s to hoping Phil Stevens is just an exercise in satire.

  20. I think we need to use tanks and other armor in these raids to be safer.

    I’m sure the cops would agree with you here. Tanks. Sad.

  21. I feel like I am living in Nazi Germany and I can smell the burning flesh of my fellow citizens in the air.

  22. I feel like I am living in Nazi Germany and I can smell the burning flesh of my fellow citizens in the air.

    O god. The world’s gone batshit crazy.

  23. DavidS,

    The “world” has been “batshit crazy” for a long time now.

  24. Of learning?

    Indeed!

  25. This story wouldn’t be about more than a routine SWAT drug raid except:

    The cops used uncorroborated, paid / compensated informant information, instead of cooking up their own or actually investigating the operation.

    Found large grow op.

    A cop got killed.

    Predicted Chesapeake PD solution:

    Contact Sheriff Victor Hill as consultant.

  26. I meant if you already have the manpower for the raid, you have the manpower to surround the house for the serving of the warrant. No need to stakeout, just circle the house while two guys in the front ring the doorbell, and quietly announce. If the people in the house suddenly start running around like chickens with their heads cut off grabbing dope and heading for the bathroom, then you nab ’em.

    Of course, it should be legal so this is all moot, but you get the idea.

  27. “””Here’s to hoping Phil Stevens is just an exercise in satire.”””

    Probably. Or one law for me another for thee. Phil acts like he has a problem with people who violate the law, unless they are cops.

  28. Nick, you forget how sneaky people can be getting rid of dope and crawling into their camoflaged hidey holes.

    protectharrass and serve annoy

  29. Did I miss the at the end of Phil Stevens comment.

    So, by his logic (and his typing pattern) ANYTHING the government BANS is therefore ILLEGAL and anyone who does/owns whatever it is, is therefore a CRIMINAL.

    Brilliant.

    I truly believe some posters are regular posters’ little brothers that type contrarian garbage to angry up the blood.

  30. There’s suppossed to be a “/snark” in between “the” and “at” in my first sentence.
    (and a ? at the end for that matter… gotta start hitting “preview” when my blood is all angered up).

    Dammit.

  31. “Chesapeake will hire an independent consultant to review the police department’s procedures, policies and staffing level.”

    Actually, I think the recommendation will eventually be:

    1. Sneak up quietly and gas the house. If the inhabitants die, are innocent, or property is ruined, well, that’s just the price we pay to ensure officer safety and to make it slightly more inconvenient and expensive for our kids (and cancer patients) to buy weed.

    2. Fire a couple RPGs into the house until it collapses, then sift the rubble for evidence. If innocents happen to die, they should have thought of the dangers of living in a neighborhood full of poor people. The survivors will be much better off in a world free of hippies, skaters, and the aforementioned cancer patients. (They’re sooooo depressing anyway.)

  32. So, by his logic (and his typing pattern) ANYTHING the government BANS is therefore ILLEGAL and anyone who does/owns whatever it is, is therefore a CRIMINAL.

    True, the LAW is the LAW. It must be obeyed and enforced.

    In case you happened to forget marijuana gets people high, anything that can get people high can be abused and must be illegal to protect society. I don’t think people should drive, fly planes or perform surgery stoned, and if drug is legal how can the cops prevent that?

    I don’t want all the kids stoned, if it isn’t illegal, there will be crack vending machines in preschools.

    Fire a couple RPGs into the house until it collapses, then sift the rubble for evidence.

    If they have good evidence that drugs may be present, the house should be blown up. All wars involve some collateral damage.

    I feel like I am living in Nazi Germany and I can smell the burning flesh of my fellow citizens in the air.

    The death penalty could be a useful tool in the war on drugs. If it makes us all safer, I don’t see the problem. If you obey ALL laws you will have no problem.

  33. Cfisher, you bring up a good point. We ALL (joe included) know how much hippies stink and just plain suck all kinds of ass, but sometimes its easy to forget about them punk cancer patients that can’t hack a little bit of death and suffering without feeling the need to medicate. And the poor – don’t even get me started on all those poor people who don’t even have the common courtesy to display a little wealth once in a while. RPGs are too good for em.

  34. Cesar had it right.

    As Alexander Hamilton (by no means a limited government guy) explained in Federalist No. 74, justifying the pardon power: “The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel.”

  35. Yeah, zig zag, I know I’m a huge pushover. I just assumed flushing the drugs is what the cops would want anyway. They wouldn’t want to take all that pot back to the station and lose some of it along the way. Nah, they’d never do that.

  36. Hey, Phil reminded me of something I’ve been wondering for a while now…does anyone know the number of laws the average person has to obey? I know it would differ by state, but in general…are there a million laws that might apply to me?
    Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that ignorance of the law *is* an excuse. Oh, you’ll be punished if you get caught breaking one, no doubt, but for anyone to claim they know and obey every single law that applies to them…I don’t see it.

  37. Phil Stevens: Fear not valiant defender of the law! Some friendly officers are coming over right now to clear your house of anything that can get people high, or that can be made into anything that can get people high. Please make sure all white-out, gasoline, paint thinner, alcohol, permanent markers, fruits, yeast, bread, sugar, soil, fertilizer, light bulbs, drugs (OTC, prescription, or other), ammonia, bleach, electricity, and high fructose corn syrup is in able to be found and easily confiscated.

    We’ll make sure you’re protected from your own base urges and desires.

    Just don’t worry about those surgical shears… we’ll need to take your testicles so you can’t get high on sex.

    Nephilium

  38. “They study these things. We don’t.” Ugh.

    It never seems to register with these people that while they study these things more they have less incentive to be unbiased.

    Also, it’s the kind of thing my grandparents would say. The AARP crowd is not good for liberty.

  39. Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that ignorance of the law *is* an excuse.

    Practically speaking, yes, but legally it is not an excuse in a court of law. You are theoretically required to know all laws as they apply to you.

  40. “””Practically speaking, yes, but legally it is not an excuse in a court of law. You are theoretically required to know all laws as they apply to you.”””

    Doesn’t that apply to the cops too? Also are they not required to follow their internal rules and procedures? What should the penalty for that?

  41. Phil reminded me of something I’ve been wondering for a while now…does anyone know the number of laws the average person has to obey? I know it would differ by state, but in general…are there a million laws that might apply to me?

    “Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience.” ~ John Locke

    I think awareness of all these laws is the justification to ignore them. I no longer correlate “illegal” to “wrong,” the laws are no longer relevant.

  42. “””In case you happened to forget marijuana gets people high, anything that can get people high can be abused and must be illegal to protect society. “”””

    Some would claim that there is no greater high than love or God.

  43. say what you want about Phil Stevens, but his was the exact same counter-argument made in the late 70’s when pot was a hair away from being decriminalized.

    We know which side won.

    You might beat emotional appeals with reason, but that’s generally not the course of history. The occasional defeat of flat- earthers are the exception, and don’t really advance interpersonal relations all that much anyway.

  44. you wouldn’t do anything differently?

    Well, we might have tossed in a few incendiary flash-bang devices.

  45. Two raids based on the same BS informant tip:

    Cops shoots innocent guy: he deserved it for x and y reasons, and no, we will not investigate anything.

    Innocent guy shoots cop: Let’s review our policies and staffing levels.

  46. Also, what if they politely knock and the evidence is flushed?

    Maybe, just maybe, they could shut off the water with that valve by the curb.

  47. Maybe, just maybe, they could shut off the water with that valve by the curb.

    There is still a reservoir on the back of the toilet capable of a flush….

  48. Officers trying to serve a narcotics search warrant at the house executed a “well-thought-out operation,”

    Nothing says “well-thought out operation” like somebody dead over a few joints.

  49. There is still a reservoir on the back of the toilet capable of a flush….

    Even if he did have the kind of marijuana grow operation they said he did… you can’t flush plants down the toilet. You could maybe see that kind of argument for small-scale cocaine dealers, but certainly not for people growing marijuana.

  50. Radley, this Chesapeake fiasco “hits home,” since I’m from Suffolk, Virginia, the city just to the West of Chesapeake. I could know some of the people involved, or know someone who knows them. This creepy feeling about my home reflects my feeling at discovering the “racism” in the best seller, “Color of Water,” took place in Suffolk. Growing up there, I have nothing but idyllic thoughts about my home. Your story reminds me that Big Government will let no part of Earth in peace – there’s no where to hide. God help the man in prison; instead, he should be given due respect for defending his castle from invasion. And the cops – those poor bastards – deranged to actually believe in this malevolent Drug War. God help us all.

    P.S. Great work Radley also on the War on Pain Doctors and Pain Patients. The Pain Relief Network, as you may know, is engaged as we speak in Kansas, defending Dr. Schneider in court and before the State medical board, and is filing the big one – an injunction to overturn the Controlled Substances Act. For more info, to to http://www.PainReliefNetwork.org.

  51. “God help the man in prison; instead, he should be given due respect for defending his castle from invasion.”

    I would imagine that Mr. Frederick is held in pretty high regard among his fellow prisoners. Not only did he defend himself, he is guilty of no crime. I understand that there is a certain amount of honor among prisoners, even the most hardened ones.

  52. This is for all you “the law is the law” idiots. This is a mere tautology. If is one of the most vapid statements in the world that you can have without being completely meaningless.

    The three laws of thought are, partly, premised on the law of Identity, A=A. One would hope that the law is law and the law isn’t a fat pig policeman, or turnip. Otherwise, language would become useless.

    http://www.tompotter.us/exmid.html

  53. Cesar,

    We’ve petitioned the governor but he doesn’t want to appear soft on people who’ve been falsely imprisoned.

  54. Troy

    While I agree that “the LAW – no matter what it is – must be enforced” is idiocy, what seems to be happening here and in the other SWAT raids is that the police are placing themselves above the law.

    Whatever its flaws, “Government by Law” is superior to “L’Etat c’est nous.”

  55. You mean cuz the second one is French?

  56. You mean cuz the second one is French?

    It does have a certain “Je ne sais quois.”

  57. Any “evidence” that can be disposed of in a single hurried flush (while yelling out “just a minute!”) to the cops at the door is penny-ante level.

    If the drug warriors are that concerned about disposal of evidence through the plumbing system, they can turn off the water and insert a plug at the building sewer cleanout. That one flush worth of evidence will be preserved in the sewer pipe.

    Well, they can do that, or they can roll the dice and accept that some of them may be killed when invading homes like common criminals.

  58. Sneak up quietly and gas the house. If the inhabitants die, are innocent, or property is ruined, well, that’s just the price we pay to ensure officer safety and to make it slightly more inconvenient and expensive for our kids (and cancer patients) to buy weed.

    reminds me of th citizens of salem. If they drowned, too bad. small price to pay to make sure we don’t have witches.

  59. Related: One of Shivers’ colleagues recently told the Virginian-Pilot that if they were to conduct the raid again tomorrow, they’d do it “the exact same way.”

    Well, minus one thing.

  60. “””Sneak up quietly and gas the house. If the inhabitants die, are innocent,”””

    Is Steve Martin doing the gassing?

  61. Why are the police so surprised at the death of the officer? He was engaging in a war on drugs when he was killed so this is more like any other soldier who dies on the battlefield, and is also an long overdue consequence of initiating hostilities against others.

    I only wish more police departments were dealt much more significant losses in the future to the point that at least partial restraint and some humility were restored. I have a dream…

  62. He said he read recently that cops do these 4am surprises because it makes it less likely the suspect will respond coherently.

    So your cop friend would agree that anyone who pulls out his piece under those circs and starts spraying the intruders with hot lead should automatically get off because they were too disoriented to have mens rea?

  63. I thinnk this story lays to rest the myth that drugs don’t cause violence.

    Another marijuana-related death.

  64. Fire a couple RPGs into the house until it collapses, then sift the rubble for evidence. If innocents happen to die, they should have thought of the dangers of living in a neighborhood full of poor people.

    There are precedents for such a strategy, if you change the preferred means of bringing the building down from explosives to fire: MOVE in Philadelphia and the Branch Dravidians outside of Waco.

  65. reminds me of th citizens of salem. If they drowned, too bad. small price to pay to make sure we don’t have witches.

    Trial by ordeal was not practiced at Salem. Everyone who died was convicted after trial by jury, not trial by ordeal. Luckily, no one today ever gets convicted by a jury on the basis of ridiculous testimony.

    (Everyone, of course, other than Giles Corey, who wasn’t convicted, but who died under the peine forte et dur, which was applied to try to get him to plead so that a trial by jury could be held. But because he wasn’t convicted, at least his property wasn’t forfeited. Nowadays, we’d get around that legal obstacle by entering a not guilty plea for him, then convicting him, executing him, and confiscating his property, or perhaps we wouldn’t even bother waiting for a conviction, but would simply apply civil forfeiture.)

  66. Now how does this factor in to the equation?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326885,00.html

    “Robbery Ring Disguised as Drug Raids Nets Convictions for Former LA Cops”

  67. So, now in light of that story, even if it is the cops busting down your door you still don’t know if they are there to raid or rob.

  68. Phil sez If they have good evidence that drugs may be present, the house should be blown up. All wars involve some collateral damage.

    Sir, I knew Dan T., and you, you sir are an even better troll than he.

    Urkobold – you should be recruiting!

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