Drug Policy

Tracy Ingle Gets a Lawyer

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Tracy Ingle is the Arkansas man I wrote about last week. He was shot five times during a no-knock drug raid on his home. Though police found no drugs, they charged him with running a drop operation, anyway, due they said to a scale and some plastic bags they found in his home. He's also charged with assaulting the police officers for pointing a broken gun at them when they broke into his bedroom and woke him. A few updates on his case:

• First, the good news. A couple of weeks ago while still researching the raid on Ingle's home, I called Arkansas defense attorney John Wesley Hall to get his thoughts on the case. This week, Hall agreed to represent Ingle. Hall is one of the best defense attorneys in the country. He's a former executive with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and argued the landmark no-knock raid case Wilson v. Arkansas before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ingle's defense (and possible lawsuit) is in good hands.

• I also spoke late last week with the prosecutor in the case, John Hout. Hout wouldn't go into the details of the case with me, but did confirm that (1) he plans to go ahead with both the drug and assault charges, (2) the officers who shot Ingle have been cleared of any wrongdoing, and (3) he can't release the affidavits from the raid despite the fact that they're public record, because the case is "an ongoing investigation." He did say the affidavits will be available to Ingle's attorney through discovery. I also spoke with the information officer of the North Little Rock Police Department. He also told me that the affidavits are off-limits.

• Finally, members of Ingle's family say the North Little Rock SWAT team visited Tracy Ingle again last week. This time, they came to his house asking for a man named Shawn Anthony Turner. Turner is Ingle's cousin, and has had frequent problems with the law—he has actually served time on drug charges. When Turner was released from prison several years ago, Ingle's mother agreed to have him released into her custody, mostly, she says, because no one else in the family would take him. For a short while, Turner lived in the home Ingle's mother (Turner's aunt) owned, along with Ingle and a few other roommates who came and went.. This is the same home the police raided in January. When Turner didn't clean up his act, the family threw him out. Turner continued to pester Tracy Ingle about letting him move in, the family says, and Ingle continued to refuse to allow it.

Tracy Ingle's family members now speculate that Turner somehow factored in to the January raid on Ingle's home. Ingle's house is Turner's last known address, though he hasn't lived there since mid-2006. Ingle's sister and mother believe either the police mistakenly raided the house while looking for Turner, or that Turner told the police Ingle was making methamphetamine in retaliation for Ingle's refusal to let Turner live in his home. Tracy Ingle's name doesn't appear anywhere on the search warrant for the raid.

Last week, when the police saw Ingle, they apparently recognized him, realized this was the same house they had raided months ago, realized Turner no longer lives at the address, and left.

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  1. (2) the officers who shot Ingle have been cleared of any wrongdoing…

    Surprise! Oh wait, no….

    Was there an actual investigation or did the chief just go “Sheeeeit, you done nothin’ wrong! Git back to work!”?

    Glad to hear he’s got some kick-ass representation. Somehow, “you ‘da man” doesn’t quite cut it for your well-deserved praise, Radley.

  2. I will be happier when I read “Ingle was cleared of wrongdoing”.

    I hope my paypal transfer is serving some good purpose.

  3. Heck of a job, Radley (in a good way, of course).

  4. @JW May 14, 2008 2:21 PM

    (2) the officers who shot Ingle have been cleared of any wrongdoing…

    Surprise! Oh wait, no….

    Was there an actual investigation or did the chief just go “Sheeeeit, you done nothin’ wrong! Git back to work!”

    That was my question too. I also think it’s questionable at best that a prosecutor would say that while the investigation against Mr. Ingle is obviously still ongoing (even in the unlikely case there was a robust internal investigation or investigation by some outside party), because it can, far too easily, taint a jury (the officers did nothing wrong? Must be Mr. Ingle’s fault!).

  5. Obviously what’s being done to Ingle is a travesty, but how stupid do you have to be to point a broken gun at an armed intruder (police or otherwise)? Did he learn home defense from “The Andy Griffith Show”?

  6. (3) he can’t release the affidavits from the raid despite the fact that they’re public record, because the case is “an ongoing investigation.”

    Talk about a non sequitur. How does it follow that they can’t release an affidavit because they have an ongoing investigation? So what. He might as well have said he can’t release the affidavit because the Giants won the Super Bowl. Then again, this is Arkansas so perhaps someone needs to remind him that “releasing” the affidavit doesn’t actually mean he has to give away the original.

  7. Last week, when the police saw Ingle, they apparently recognized him, realized this was the same house they had raided months ago, realized Turner no longer lives at the address, and left.

    They realized this only *after* they visited the house again? Sheesh, no wonder they’re losing the “war” on drugs.

  8. Obviously what’s being done to Ingle is a travesty, but how stupid do you have to be to point a broken gun at an armed intruder (police or otherwise)?

    How would he know the intruders were armed? Did they send him a postcard before the raid?

    Better to be a perceived threat than not. Normal criminals would come in guns a blazin’ if it was just theft. Only trigger happy cops do that.

  9. Normal criminals would come in guns a blazin’ if it was just theft.

    wouldn’t…dammit

  10. How would he know the intruders were armed? Did they send him a postcard before the raid?

    Well, they waited 3 weeks between getting the warrant approved and doing the raid, so they had the time to send the postcard.

  11. SO what’s worse? Having cops respond in ways that endanger everyone in the home, or having cops not respond at all to real high risk situations?

    Check out this link and the followup here
    Essentially, lady calls 911 when her ex breaks into her home and threatens her. Cops never show up. She calls back multiple times, cops still never show. In one call, the 911 operator is recorded saying “I don’t give a shit what happens to you” after lady hangs up the phone with 911.

  12. This kind of shit really makes me want an old fashioned stone castle with a gator/pirahna filled moat and constant surveillance for a mile in all directions.

    “The invaders tried to scale the walls and fell into the moat where they were eated by the gators. I find no wrong doing on the part of my gators.”

  13. Ugh . . . eaten, not eated!

  14. Chris Potter:

    you defend your home with the gun you have, not the gun you wish you had.

    In other news, you’re a bit of a jerk.

  15. ChicagoTom:
    SO what’s worse? Having cops respond in ways that endanger everyone in the home, or having cops not respond at all to real high risk situations?

    I prefer having cops respond in ways that do not endanger everyone in the home. Is there some reason why you don’t think that’s an option?

  16. I just wanted to say Thank you to all of you for your support, donations, kind words and in keeping Tracy’s story alive. All donations will be used for Tracy’s medical bills,prescription needs, physical therapy and legal filing fees. So far we have received donations totaling $2,223
    We would like everyone to know that if Tracy wins a civil lawsuit pertaining to this case, ALL donations received will be reimbursed. Your comments, cards, letters, suggestions are all welcome on justicefortracy.com
    Thank you and Please continue to keep Tracy’s story alive……..Tiffney Forrester

  17. I prefer having cops respond in ways that do not endanger everyone in the home. Is there some reason why you don’t think that’s an option?

    Because too many cops seem to act like that’s not an option.

    I too would prefer reasonable responses. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the direction most police forces are heading towards.

  18. While I have no real faith that a particularly thorough investigation was made, it would not surprise me nor seem particularly outlandish that the police officers who pulled the trigger would not be faulted for doing so.

    Presumably the scope of the investigation was limited to whether the use of deadly force was warranted upon entering the bedroom and being confronted by Ingle waiving a gun. Certainly they couldn’t have known that the gun was non-functional as Ingle raised the gun.

    They were there on an approved warrant for a no-knock raid. So the officers who pulled the trigger are cleared of any wrongdoing for pulling the trigger. What was undoubtedly never examined was the question of whether they should have ever been in that situation in the first place. If the no-knock warrant was gotten under knowingly fraudulent circumstances, then I’d support a charge of reckless endangerment on the lead investigating officer. If the judge should have caught it had he followed reasonable procedures, he’d also be up on some form of criminal negligence charges in my book.

    Start holding investigating cops and enabling judges responsible for the fallout from their sloppy work.

  19. Oh, and also charges of violating Ingle’s civil rights on the investigating officer, their supervisor, and the judge.

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