Militarization of Police

Man Mistakenly Shoots Through Door During Police Raid. Kills Another Man. Won't Be Charged.

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Unfortunately, I'm not talking about Ryan Frederick.

From North Carolina:

More than a year after a law enforcement officer's mistake left a teen dead and a family in grief, Peyton Strickland's parents finally have found closure.

That closure came on Tuesday evening with a settlement of $2.45 million and a public apology from New Hanover County [North Carolina] Sheriff Sid Causey. Additionally, Causey agreed to an independent review of the heavily armed team responsible for Strickland's death.

[…]

Strickland's parents, Durham lawyer Don Strickland and his wife, Kathy, had two years from the time of their son's death on Dec. 1, 2006, to file suit. Former New Hanover County Sheriff's Cpl. Christopher M. Long was not charged with a crime, leaving Strickland's family without closure.

[…]

Long shot Strickland to death in the process of a raid. The sheriff's Emergency Response Team was in the process of arresting Strickland for armed robbery. Long mistook the sound of a battering ram for gunshots.

His gear included a hood, earpiece and helmet that he said muffled his hearing.

I don't think Long should have been charged, either, though it's good that he's no longer part of the police force. I just wish prosecutors and grand juries would show the same sort of deference to the people targeted by these raids that they show to police officers. After all, unlike the police (allegedly), the targets of these raids aren't well-trained. They don't have the advantage of knowing the raid is about to take place. And the raids use tactics whose specific aim is to disorient and confuse the people they're raiding. Yet Ryan Frederick, Cory Maye, and others sit in jail cells. Long merely lost his job.

Of course, the better solution would be to only use home invasion police tactics against people who present an immediate threat to others.

NEXT: Wherever You Go, There You've Been Trafficked

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  1. Yeah! A Radley post that doesn’t make me want to find the first Broward County Sheriff I see and kick him in the shin…

  2. “Of course, the better solution would be to only use home invasion police tactics against people who present an immediate threat to others.”

    How do you expect them to get all that extra SWAT gear if you propose that? They would get laughed out of a funding hearing.

  3. Taktix —

    I’m still for kicking Broward County Sheriffs deputies in the shins on general principle for their past sins, whether or not Radley gets me even more pissed off.

    As it is, I spend most of my day in Dade county, and only go home to Broward, so I can only kick the Miami-Dade Police officers in the shins. Which isn’t that fun, because generally I just feel sorry for them.

  4. So we’re supposed to be satisfied that the higher class of citizen cop just got fired while peasants non-cops go to jail for the same (not really, the cops initiated the violence) mistake?

    It’s fucking sad that we’re reduced to this level of gratefulness.

  5. Andrew, I have to side with Taktix on this one, as a Broward County suburbanite whose municipality’s LEO presence is provided by BSO. There’s just so darn many reasons to *want* to kick a Broward deputy in the shins, from the past few years, I will agree, but the past few months since the ousting of Ken Jenne have been quiet.

    Almost too quiet.

    Hrmmmm….

  6. I wonder who’s paying the settlement. ‘Cause if its the county, it really means the taxpayers there are getting it in the ass. All the more reason to be pissed off at the town police force.

  7. At least only 25,000 of the cash is coming out of our pocket (New Hanover County taxpayers). I suppose their insurance premiums will go up and we’ll pay anyway. Hopefully enough heat has been generated by this to get the sheriff’s dept to think twice about using the swat team next time, but I’m not holding my breath.

    The son in law of a guy I work would have been on that raid if he hadn’t been sick that day.

  8. economist-

    Check the link. The insurance deductible is $25k.

  9. That should say “…a guy I work with…”

  10. Okay, okay. I was just wondering.

  11. At least they were apprehending a violent felon and didn’t cap some innocent person or non-violent drug offender. I bet it is cheaper to accidentally kill the average innocent citizen than an armed robbery suspect whose father is Durham lawyer Don Strickland

  12. re: “violent felon”

    I would agree that the violent nature of Strickland’s alleged offense at least leaves the acceptability of using of a swat team open for discussion, but I still don’t think it was necessary.

    And you’re right, if this guy’s father wasn’t a rich lawyer, nothing probably would have come of it. If the guy who got his ass kicked had any money and influence he probably would have sued the shit out of Strickland’s family by now. It’s similar to the Duke lacrosse situation- those kids would have been railroaded straight into prison if they weren’t very well off.

  13. One thing I’ve learned over the years.

    If a cop lord kills a peasant, it’s an isolated incident, an unfortunate mistake, an understandable reaction, caused and explained away by the stress of the incident. When a citizen serf, untrained, unbriefed, and startled from slumber finds himself on the receiving end of that stressful situation, fires at his attackers, he’s a cop killer, a first degree murderer, a thug whose own actions justified the raid in the first place.

    Got it. Equal protection under the law.

  14. I would agree that the violent nature of Strickland’s alleged offense at least leaves the acceptability of using of a swat team open for discussion, but I still don’t think it was necessary.

    The SWAT team was probably unnecessary.
    I’m just pointing out that Peyton Strickland is not a Balko poster boy.How often is there a $2.5 million settlement, apology, and a cop fired when the victim isn’t a violent felon, or even a perp? the cop’s mistake was accidentally killing the criminal son of a higher class of citizen.

  15. SIV- I understand and I don’t disagree with any of that.

  16. His German shepherd, Blaze, was killed, too.

    Looks like Blaze was the only innocent victim killed in the raid.

    I read a bunch of the News& Observer stories on the case. I actually feel kinda sorry for the fired cop.

  17. Where are the gun control advocates on this?

    Why is it that they claim that the Virginia Tech massacre proves that the common man can not be trusted with guns, but make no similar claims about trusting the police after incidents like this?

  18. As I understand it, the police always kill the dog “out of concern for their own safety.” Since I can’t find a single case of an on-duty police officer ever actually being killed by a citizen’s dog, I guess this makes the score:

    LEOs – 6,449,327
    Dogs – 0

    Looks like the police are keeping pretty safe.

  19. That cop was involved in a previous shooting incident where he was investigated, but he was cleared. It may be that he was a bit trigger happy, but I suppose that it is hard not to be when one is thrown into a confrontational and potentially violent situation.

  20. Two bad shoots Chris Long definitely shouldn’t be a cop.
    The dead punk had a conviction for a crime committed with a firearm and was awaiting trial on a violent assault and battery before the armed robbery that prompted the raid. One of his fellow perps had a Facebook page posing thug style with some heavy weaponry. The SWAT raid was a lot more justified than the usual drug case as they went in to apprehend armed violent felons. One of them had a rich personal injury/wrongful death attorney father with a lot of juice.

  21. That cop was involved in a previous shooting incident where he was investigated, but he was cleared. It may be that he was a bit trigger happy, but I suppose that it is hard not to be when one is thrown into a confrontational and potentially violent situation.

    So the rational personnel decision is to put this guy on the Goddam SWAT team? I swear I could be a stupid as the LEO chiefs you read about in Radley Balko posts. I really could be that dumb if I was being well paid for it.

    OTOH, keeping a straight face at the press conference, …

  22. “Of course, the better solution would be to only use home invasion police tactics against people who present an immediate threat to others. ”

    But….drugs are bad.

  23. They could have surrounded the place, cut off water and electricity, call him on the phone and say come out with your hands in the air. The suspect would then surrender or commit suicide by cop. Not very dramatic, but there would be less danger to all concerned.

  24. I would agree that the violent nature of Strickland’s alleged offense at least leaves the acceptability of using of a swat team open for discussion, but I still don’t think it was necessary.

    The media did a terrible job getting to the bottom of what the alleged offense even was. I think the official story was that Peyton Strickland was in the car, but not the attacker, and that the attacker used a “slapstick.” On its face, that story sounds made up. How did they know Strickland was in the car? The “slapstick” sounds pretty convenient, too.

    Then there was the phone call be the victim to the police. From what I read, it sounded like the attacker was unarmed, but the victim had a knife.

    Then there was some suggestion that they found stolen PS3’s at Strickland’s house, but not the one stolen from the attack victim. I mean, maybe . . . it is possible, but it sounded like more made up stuff.

    It is sad that the police story was not explored more aggressively because a good part of search / arrest warrant reform should be directed to making the police be more transparent about the decisions they make on these issues so that they don’t make stuff up after the fact to cover bad decisions gone wrong.

    In fact, I was the Stricklands had litigated teh case instead of giving that settlement to charity. I actually think a lawsuit would have done the world more good than whatever it is that $2.45M will end up doing.

  25. What happened to the patient, thoughtful, tough but fair law enforcement officers that I used to know?

  26. The dead punk had a conviction for a crime committed with a firearm . . .

    Is this true?

  27. Dave W.,

    It seems that after the shooting the circumstances surrounding the actual robbery were forgotten about. I don’t follow the local news very closely, but that is the impression that I’ve gotten.

    This is the first I’ve heard of a of a previous gun crime committed by Strickland. I have no idea if it is true.

  28. I got the bit about a previous firearms violation from the N&O stories.There were no details but Strickland reportedly was adjudicated on an armed trespass charge.Sounds like poaching on restricted land.

  29. I checked and it was in comments on the WWAY tv site.I considered it credible as it was a comment defending the punk’s reputation.
    Considering both the law and where the juice was on this case I assume any juvenile record is not readily available.

  30. “They could have surrounded the place, cut off water and electricity, call him on the phone and say come out with your hands in the air. The suspect would then surrender or commit suicide by cop. Not very dramatic, but there would be less danger to all concerned.”

    And his dog would have survived!

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