Drug Policy

Another Week…

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….another drug raid death.

Vincent A. Hodgkiss of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was killed on June 12 when police raided his home at 6:30am after complaints from neighbors of possible drug activity. They say an officer shot and killed Hodgkiss when he confronted them during the raid. Hodgkiss had no prior criminal record, and had a legal concealed weapons permit.

Police say they found a "felony amount" of drugs in Hodgkiss home, but have yet to say what drugs or in what quantity, or if Hodgkiss was responsible for them. The girlfriend of Hodgkin's son was arrested at the scene for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

And actually, there may be two more. A Monteagle, Tennessee, police officer was shot and killed earlier this month by a man named Kermit Bryson, who was wanted for violating his probation. Bryson had been convicted of felony marijuana possession. Bryson then killed himself after a manhunt. Friends and family are perplexed, saying Bryson was a petty drug offender, and wasn't at all the type to shoot a police officer. One friend said, "He's not a bad guy. He had to freak out in some way."

It isn't until the end of the article that we get an explanation of what may have happened:

Probation officials said the warrant was issued for Bryson because he failed drug screens and violated curfew while on probation for a 2007 felony marijuana possession charge.

Helm said the three officers approached Bryson's mobile home carefully and made their way inside. Officers often serve warrants early in the morning, expecting that suspects will be asleep.

"The officer was actually shot inside the residence," she said.

So they broke into the man's home, and woke him with an early-morning raid.

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  1. Thanks Radley for making this a featured post. Commenter Andrew first revealed this on this thread I’ll repost my original reaction.

    From the article (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.

  2. ………..FUCK, man.

    Way to ruin…yet another week.

    Good work, though.

  3. A man suspected of killing a sheriff’s deputy and wounding another officer has died after authorities say he shot himself at the end of a daylong manhunt, a hospital supervisor said.

    Shot himself eh? How many times?

  4. the column on the Pembroke Pines drug war victim states that there was just over an ounce of pot, Radley.

    Americans be warned: the penalty for protecting your home from unknown intruders while possessing an ounce of a weed is now death by firing squad.

  5. I have gotten interested enough in these stories that I see them before Mr. Balko points them out. I hope his posting leads others to do the same thing.

    On the Kermit Bryson story, I think it is quite possible thet Officer Malhoit killed Officer Tate by friendly fire. There were media reports that Officer Tate’s gun was missing, which was a very suspicious portent to me. And, of course, Kermit Bryson is dead now.

  6. Oh, yeah, and I am not sure if it has been in the Agitator or not, but nice R. Carter catch on the Memphis Police transexual beating over at the invitation-only HnR companion site.

    I think they have already cleared the unedited vid of that off the web since this weekend, which is too bad because the jailhouse nurse’s reaction is priceless.

  7. police raided his home at 6:30am after complaints from neighbors of possible drug activity

    Now that’s some action. I guess I know what the tell the police the next time my neighbor’s making too much noise.

  8. Don’t these suspects ever leave home? Is clandestine surveillance that friggin’ difficult for our “highly trained and motivated” LEOs?

    the column on the Pembroke Pines drug war victim states that there was just over an ounce of pot, Radley.

    Just think, as a youth, packing for a four week vacation could have gotten me killed.

  9. The story was updated today. They say they found “2 pistols, 1 shotgun, 40 grams of marijuana, assorted pills (oxycodone and alprazolam), a cannabis cultivation magazine, and various bongs, pipes, and digital scales”.

    In english, this means he had an ounce and a half of marijuana. Probably a copy of High Times too. The article didn’t say whether or not he had a prescription for those pills. So far, the officer who shot him is saying he was armed with a shotgun, but he said that from the beginning, the department has been silent.

    Source

  10. Andrew | June 24, 2008, 12:47pm | #
    The story was updated today. They say they found “2 pistols, 1 shotgun, 40 grams of marijuana, assorted pills (oxycodone and alprazolam), a cannabis cultivation magazine, and various bongs, pipes, and digital scales”.

    I am really surprised they didn’t included “plastic baggies” and “metal spoons” as drug paraphernalia. They, along with the digital scales are all available at your local WalMart and likely found in your kitchen.

  11. According to his attorney, Diaz fired in self-defense because Vincent Hodgkiss was carrying a loaded shotgun when authorities entered his home

    I think my head is going to fucking explode. The cops invade his house, which he has (especially in Florida) every right to defend and they are claiming self-defense after they shoot him.

    I can’t take much more of this.

    1. FYI – the man was hugging a commode pucking his brains out from the chemotherapy drugs he was on for prostate cancer – end stage. He was shot in the back twice – he never knew these goons were even behind him. Trial will begin soon as evidenced by the SA office contacting the witnesses. The SWAT team came close to blowing the brains out of the g/f as she was leaving for class, ambushed her as she approached her car. Threw a grenade into the house to boot. Their informants made a fool of the entire PPines police department, possibly as a joke.

  12. Good find Jon. Amazing how they mention it was “police like body armor” without actually speculating that they might have posed as, you know, police.

  13. Episarch,
    Florida law was recently amended to allow homeowners to “stand their ground” with no duty to retreat. Not saying you are wrong, just indicating that the right to home defense hasn’t been that strong until recently.

  14. Yes, little jewelry bags are evidence of dealing drugs. I know a renaissance faire jewerly maker who had a difficult time because of this…

    Also, Dave W. is tracking me across the vast plains of the internet!

  15. Probation officials said the warrant was issued for Bryson because he failed drug screens and violated curfew while on probation for a 2007 felony marijuana possession charge.

    Wow, is this the new 3 strike rule? I see this individual as a potential contributor to society and a productive person, so he sells pot to support his habit, he stays out late and failed a drug test, I see no problem here.

    /I wish police and prosecutors spent more time on real crimes, especially unsolved and incorrectly prosecuted cases.

  16. re the transexual getting beat up video, the reporter says: “… the feds are investigating whether a civil rights violation occurred.”

    I guess they’ll announce the results of that investigation as soon as their “is the sky blue?” investigation is complete.

    As fucked up as it was, I laughed when the cops brought the nurse in… to see if the cop was okay. Surreal.

  17. “”””Florida law was recently amended to allow homeowners to “stand their ground” with no duty to retreat. Not saying you are wrong, just indicating that the right to home defense hasn’t been that strong until recently.””””

    Why is it I don’t believe the law applies when it’s the cops breaking down your door.

  18. Also, Dave W. is tracking me across the vast plains of the internet!

    Of corse, I am only cyber-stalking The Smacky. U just got in the way.

    Side note to Smacky: More Urkie-Posts. plz.

  19. For people who don’t frequent gun forums: people are getting really pissed about these home invasions by police (and many gun owners usually side with police).

  20. According to his attorney, Diaz fired in self-defense because Vincent Hodgkiss was carrying a loaded shotgun when authorities entered his home

    How did Diaz know it was loaded (not that its really relevant, but since it isn’t relevant, why did his attorney feel the need to say it)?

    And is it SOP for the Pembroke Pines PD to open up on anyone seen carrying a gun? In their own house?

    And in Monteagle, we have an inadvertant omission that there was no knock and announce:

    Helm said the three officers approached Bryson’s mobile home carefully and made their way inside.

    These clowns snuck up to, and inside, the guy’s house.

  21. When are the rank and file police going to start telling their superiors that deliberately surprising suspects in the suspect’s home puts them in too much danger to justify preventing the suspect from running or flushing evidence?

    So many of these stories end up with at least one cop dead or seriously wounded that you’d think the officers would not want to use this tactic.

  22. If the Crips broke into a man’s home to look for drugs and they killed him in the process, tyhey would be facing the death penalty.

    Why should cops be treated differently? They wear blue too.

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