Canada

Basil Parasiris Acquitted

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Parasiris is a Quebec man who shot and killed a police officer during a botched drug raid on his home. Parasiris' wife was shot in the arm, and his two children witnessed the exchange of gunfire. Last week, a Canadian jury acquitted Parasiris of murder charges. The Montreal Gazaette editorializes:

Laval police conducted the raid in the belief that Parasiris was involved in a local drug ring. Unfortunately, as Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer ruled, there was little proof to back this belief, certainly not enough for a search warrant to be executed in a surprise, pre-dawn raid. Such a raid should be carried out only in an emergency.

Parasiris was wakened by his wife screaming shortly after 5 a.m. on March 2, 2007. Seeing a shadow at the doorway to his bedroom, Parasiris picked up one of four loaded guns he kept in his bedroom and fired off at least two shots. He said he believed his home had been invaded.

In a way, it had been. Nine police officers forced Parasiris's front door open with a battering ram. Five officers sprinted up the stairs to the bedrooms. Within less than a minute, Tessier lay dying, Parasiris's wife was shot through the arm, a second police officer was hit by a bullet from Parasiris's gun and Parasiris's two children were traumatized.

Both sides seem to have panicked. It was an inevitable reaction on the part of the Parasiris family. But for the police to have fired off so many rounds suggests a lack of training in general and of planning for this raid in particular.

A search warrant for "dynamic entry" should not, on the evidence, have been issued in this case. Police could have arrested Parasiris under calmer circumstances.

A man is dead as a result of an apparently ill-planned raid. Only vigorous corrective action by the authorities can add anything positive to this tragic series of mistakes.

It's nice to see a sensible outcome to one of theses cases, even if it had to come from Canada.

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  1. Wow, Finally, the truth comes out! It was inevitable.

    JT
    http://www.FireMe.to/udi

  2. Yeah, well they still have socialized medicine, so bite me. I’ll take same-day MRIs over freedom from no-knock raids followed by death sentences any day.

  3. Now, if only the canadians would charge the other cops/judge who signed the warrant with negligent homicide or the equivalent and everything would be better.

    Only vigorous corrective action by the authorities can add anything positive to this tragic series of mistakes.

    Nothing leads to vigorous corrective action like charges against those participating would.

  4. Ironicly, this comes in a case where the defendant was apparently actually involved in the drug trade.

  5. It’s nice to see a sensible outcome to one of theses cases, even if it had to come from Canada.

    I was under the impression that they did not do this at all in Canada. I need to read your columns more Mr. Balko, rather than skipping them for being in near total agreement.

  6. Nice to see that US exports to Canada now include militarized police tactics. Does that help our trade deficit?

  7. Good Job, Canada. Now just get rid of the socialized health care and boost your average work week a bit and I’ll have somewhere to move when the U.S. finally goes to complete shit.

  8. I would guess that having corroborating witnesses in the form of his wife and children helped. If Ryan Frederick had another person inside the house who could say they didn’t hear an announcement, that would go a long way.

  9. boost your average work week a bit

    Is that average set directly by the government? Indirectly?

    In their more-Socialized-than-ours system I could see both.

  10. Such a raid should be carried out only in an emergency.

    Both sides seem to have panicked. It was an inevitable reaction on the part of the Parasiris family. But for the police to have fired off so many rounds suggests a lack of training in general and of planning for this raid in particular.

    What are the odds that these four sentences would appear in an editorial in a major American paper in a similar case? 1,000 to 1? 10,000 to 1?

    I know that there have been some pro- Ryan Frederick editorials but nothing as clear and direct as that.

  11. Nice to see that US exports to Canada now include militarized police tactics.

    Didn’t you hear? There’s a War on Drugs. We might need some tanks and Strykers, too. And close air support.

  12. for the police to have fired off so many rounds suggests a lack of training

    No, it doesn’t.

    It “suggests” that the instinct that they acted on before their “training” kicked in was to kill everyone in the place, and only their inability to control their weapons while in a blind rage prevented them from succeeding.

    Their snapping out of it and arresting the guy after the clips were emptied is like Ted Bundy calmly driving away from Chi Omega. “Training” won’t fix that.

  13. Damn, Canada just made back some of the cred it lost with the Mark Steyn kangaroo court.

    If Ryan Frederick had another person inside the house who could say they didn’t hear an announcement, that would go a long way.

    Actually, I think the testimony from his neighbors, who are relatively disinterested, might be better.

  14. What are the odds that these four sentences would appear in an editorial in a major American paper in a similar case? 1,000 to 1? 10,000 to 1?

    Not the same, but there’s actually some good editorials coming out of my hometown where the Police shot and killed a man in a drug raid over the weekend (bonus: I’m quoted in the second editorial)

    here

    and

    here

  15. Its almost bizarre to read statements like that in a newspaper.

  16. PS: I’m not sure why I capitalized “police” in my last post. I’m reasonably sure Sting didn’t have anything to do with the shooting.

  17. Parasiris picked up one of four loaded guns he kept in his bedroom and fired off at least two shots.

    Really poor planning. The police should have known about these guns. All guns in Canada are in the Canadian Gun Registry. It says so on the label.

    And they’re all stored according to safe storage laws.

    No wonder the police panicked.

  18. It’s nice to see a sensible outcome to one of theses cases, even if it had to come from Canada.

    Another reason to like the Canucks.

    It appears that Canadian courts and juries don’t automatically drop to their knees and commence fellating when they see a law enforcement officer.

    Another reason to like the Canucks.

  19. From Andrew’s link (highlight mine):

    “We use SRT to serve all narcotics warrants,” Golt said Friday. “You never know what you’re going to encounter.”

    And there you have it. SWAT is now the default in Pembroke Pines. Wonderful.

  20. From Andrew’s links, some letter-writer said,

    Even you have stooped to a new low. Obviously you have never stepped foot in a ghetto that is riddled with lives, children, families, neighborhoods and generations that have been destroyed by drugs. The amount of violence is reaching unseen levels and the vast majority of it is fueled by the drug trade. But the best that you can do it criticize the police and trivialize the use and sale of illicit drugs. You are severely warped. -Aaron V.

    This kind of attitude is puzzling to me. Most drugs were illegal the whole time people were ‘destroying their lives with them’ for generations. And yet that really didn’t stop some people from ‘destroying their lives’. Also, note how the letter writer attributes the problems of the ghetto to drug use while minimizing poverty and a lack of education. But then I’ve found that many ‘drug warriors’ lack a decent understanding of human nature.

  21. Yeah, I figured people would pick up on some of those letter writers. I posted it more just because of my shock that the guy actually questioned the police’s actions, which you almost never see (and there have been other problems around South Florida)

    And the quote from the officer does worry me, since I live in Pembroke Pines.

  22. Not the same, but there’s actually some good editorials coming out of my hometown where the Police shot and killed a man in a drug raid over the weekend (bonus: I’m quoted in the second editorial)

    Damn, Andrew – the other quotes (bar a couple of reasonable ones) in that editorial are scary. They’re not even using the “Isolated Incident” defense, they’re using the, “So a suspected drug dealer was shot and killed, what’s the big deal?” defense

  23. Mister Kamikaze DNA, what’s (not) funny is I’ve even seen people who use drugs expressing a similar sentiment about “drug dealers”. Maybe they have a nasty dealer.

  24. A.) I had no idea you could even own a firearm in Canada, much less a handgun.

    B.) Thank God he was acquitted.

  25. I’m not sure why I capitalized “police” in my last post. I’m reasonably sure Sting didn’t have anything to do with the shooting.

    Correct. And the only other time one would capitalize Police would be if one was referring to Mrs TWC walking up behind me when I’m hanging with certain unsavory buddies. It would then be: Watch out TWC, it’s the PO-Lisa.

  26. Wow. I’m shocked…not that he was acquitted, but that a newspaper in a major metro area would publish an OP/ED like that.

    I don’t believe we would ever see an editorial like this is in a major American newspaper.

  27. Episiarch,

    No offense to readers of this blog who happen to be dope fiends, but I’ve always found drug users to be a really odd lot.

    I had a neighbor whose drug of choice was basically anything that could be injected in his veins. Once he realized I was relatively cool, he would talk openly about his drug use. One time he was bitching about the pharmacist not falling for his “I’m a diabetic” story and refusing to sell him any syringes, I offhandedly said it would be better if he government didn’t interfere with people buying fresh needles.

    He gave me this crazy look and said, “Oh, no. If it was easy for me to get syringes, I’d have OD’d years ago.”

    He didn’t understand me when I pointed out that if syringes could be easily obtained, he could always just quit shooting dope. It was like I was telling him to quit breathing or something.

  28. He gave me this crazy look and said, “Oh, no. If it was easy for me to get syringes, I’d have OD’d years ago.”

    Yes, I have seen this attitude before in users, in that they think the only thing keeping them alive is the WOD. of course the fact that, if there was no WOD, they could get clean needles, exact amounts of known potency smack, not be on probation or in jail, and could voluntarily switch to methadone and attend therapy is utterly lost on them.

    Also, most rehab therapy reinforces this notion.

  29. Good thing the Human Rights Commissions were not involved.

  30. Good thing the Human Rights Commissions were not involved.

    Good point. If the dead cop was a Protected Minority, our man Basil would be doing hard, hard time.

  31. Good point. If the dead cop was a Protected Minority, our man Basil would be doing hard, hard time.

    Which is why Canada has Human Rights Commissions to deal with cases a jury would laugh out of court.

  32. TWC,

    A.) I had no idea you could even own a firearm in Canada, much less a handgun.

    I knew you could because Michael Moore told me so in one of his comedies.

  33. wHO MADE THAT COMMENT IN THE OTHER THREAD ABOUT cANADA NOT HAVING ITS OWN CULTURE?

  34. I would never say that Canada doesn’t have its own culture. No one would ever mistake Inspector Gadget for an American cartoon, for instance.

  35. Nice. That is really heartening.

  36. If it was easy for me to get syringes, I’d have OD’d years ago.

    So what’s the problem with easily obtained clean needles?

  37. Mad Respect for Canada.

  38. wHO MADE THAT COMMENT IN THE OTHER THREAD ABOUT cANADA NOT HAVING ITS OWN CULTURE?

    ‘Twas me. I stand by my original assessment.

  39. Sugarfree @ 2:17,

    Win!

  40. So how many people saw the title Basil Parasiris and thought it was the species name of a plant?

    At least one.

  41. It’s nice to see a sensible outcome to one of theses cases, even if it had to come from Canada.

    Yeah, well, the MORE sensible outcome would be that Mr. Parasiris slept in his house undisturbed by negligent cops. But maybe you’re right and at least I should be glad the guy was not gunned down by the police just because he was protecting his home and family, or dragged to the gallows to be hanged, drawn and quartered (by Nancy Grace) because he was a ‘cop killer’.

  42. Mister DNA,
    No offense to readers of this blog who happen to be dope fiends, but I’ve always found drug users to be a really odd lot.

    Irrelevant – what matters is that they have the right to be an odd lot. The issue is the nasty and destructive war on drugs, and not the users themselves.

  43. No offense to readers of this blog who happen to be dope fiends, but I’ve always found drug users to be a really odd lot.

    I think you’ve got that backwards – you have found that people who strike you as odd also happen to be heavy drug users. You probably know a lot of drug users who aren’t the least bit odd; you just don’t know they’re drug users.

  44. Just so everyone knows, the Montreal Gazette (my local paper) is considered a relatively conservative publication. They tend to be right-of-centre on most issues (well, by Canadian standards). So it’s not just some loony lefties who think the cops shouldn’t go around acting like stormtroopers.

    (I sent Radley a link to this story the day it came out… coincidence??) 🙂

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