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.