Drug Policy

Berwyn Heights Drug Raid: The Police Keep Digging

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The violent drug raid on Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo is now making national headlines.  Calvo was also on CNN yesterday.

In the raid, police in Prince George's County, Maryland intercepted a package addressed to Calvo's wife that contained about 30 pounds or marijuana.  Undercover officers completed the delivery to Calvo's home, then stormed the place in SWAT gear when Calvo brought the package inside.  During the raid, the police shot and killed Calvo's two black labs, including one Calvo says was running away to hide.  Calvo and his mother-in-law were then handcuffed and questioned at gunpoint while his dead dogs lay nearby in pools of their own blood.

Since the raid last week, we've learned that police have arrested two men in conjunction with a scheme using delivery services to ship marijuana across the country.  The plan was for operatives within the companies to intercept the packages before they reached their targets. The destination addresses may have been random, or simply chosen because of their location along routes convenient to the scheme.  In fact, the Washington Post reports in the story linked above that some packages were accidentally delivered, at which point operatives went to the houses of the innocent people who'd received them to ask for their return.

Despite all of this, Prince George's County police refuse to apologize for the no-knock raid, for the tactics they used in the raid, or for killing Calvo's dogs.

Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin High said Wednesday that Calvo and his family were "most likely … innocent victims," but he would not rule out their involvement, and he defended the way the raid was conducted. He and other officials did not apologize for killing the dogs, saying the officers felt threatened. 

High told the Washington Post that the raid "was conducted responsibly, given what deputies and officers knew at the time."  That's absurd.  High doesn't even seem to consider the possibility that perhaps the officers didn't know enough to conduct the raid when they did, and that maybe they should have done a bit more investigating before going all commando on the Calvo family.

Interestingly, the state of Maryland does not issue warrants for no-knock raids.  However, police may determine at the scene that a no-knock entry is necessary if one of two conditions are present.  The first if the police have reasonable suspicion that the suspect may pose a threat to the officers' safety.  The second is if police have reasonable suspicion that the suspect may destroy the evidence.

Though these two "exigent circumstances" exceptions carve gaping holes in the knock-and-announce requirement, it's difficult to see how this situation fit either exception.  Prince George's police say they heard Calvo's mother-in-law scream as they approached, which they say made them fear someone inside may  grab a gun or dispose of the marijuana.

Both prospects are dubious.  If the police had done any surveillance or investigation at all, they'd have realized that this was the home of the local mayor, an unlikely candidate to engage in a suicide shootout with raiding cops.  And unless the Calvos own an industrial strength toilet, it's unlikely that he'd have been able to flush 30 pounds of marijuana in the time it takes police to knock and announce themselves. 

Moreover, even if seeing the cops approaching did tip off Calvo and his mother-in-law, that's the whole purpose of the knock-and-announce requirement—to give suspects notice that the police are coming, and to allow them the opportunity to consent to a peaceful search and avoid the violence of a forceful police entry.

Still, courts have in the past been loathe to question police officers who find exigent circumstances at the scene of the search.  Perhaps the high profile of this raid will lead to more scrutiny.

Finally, I guess I'd just add that the national media coverage of the Berwyn Heights raid seems to be predicated on the assumption that the most troubling aspects of the raid—the killing of the dogs, the violent tactics, the lax investigation, the likely innocent victims, and the police obstinacy after the fact—are unusual.  They aren't.  The only thing unusual about this raid is that its victim happened to be an elected politician.

NEXT: The Satanic Love-Spawn of Rupert Murdoch and Zell Miller

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  1. Not even an apology for shooting the dogs?

    If they invaded my home and shot my dogs dead and put me in handcuffs for hours at gunpoint in fear for my life, for a botched drug raid, I’d at least like an apology. An apology would go a long way towards fixing the situation, don’t you think?

  2. So did the cops realize the recipients were unwitting recipients or not?

    If they knew or suspected the sender’s methods, how could they think the recipients were in on it?

  3. Or an industrial-strength bong with which to smoke 30 lbs of marijuana. Hotbox the whole house.

  4. Must … resist … urge … to … mail … marijuana … to … young … blond … women …

  5. The police chief’s name is High? That’s mighty suspicious. So long as they’re raiding prominent officials, why not raid this guy’s home? No-knock raid, of course.

  6. BAHGASH! AFERNILLY GIBBLE GARF! BIZ QUISKEM FARNITTLE DUSH!

    *head explodes*
    *bits of brain go ‘splat splat splat’ on screen*

  7. The cops in this case are just criminals. What kind of sick sadistic bastard goes and kicks in someone’s door and kills their dogs? I know the kind actually, someone in a combat zone. Now in a combat zone, you have leadership to knock Pyle in the head and court martial him if necessary and ensure that he doesn’t fuck up but even then crazy shit still happens. Here you have people who have that fucked up kick in the door kill everything that moves mentality but they have no leadership, responsibility or supervision. They are just free to terrorize people. Honestly at this point, I would rather be an Iraqi dealing with an infantry squad coming to my house than an American dealing with a drug team coming to my house. I am not kidding. I don’t know what we are going to do to stop it. The only sollution is for a lot of cops to be locked up for a long time because clearly they are not fit to live in a free society. But I have no idea how you get the political will to do that.

  8. unless the Calvos own an industrial strength toilet, it’s unlikely that he’d have been able to flush 30 pounds of marijuana in the time it takes police to knock and announce themselves.

    You can’t be too careful. He might have an aluminum smelter in his basement which would allow him to burn it all in a matter of seconds.

  9. black labs > black grandmother

    Gotta love the media.

  10. You can’t be too careful. He might have an aluminum smelter in his basement which would allow him to burn it all in a matter of seconds.

    Block party!

  11. To be fair, the police are generally trained to shoot anything that’s black.

  12. If the Barr campaign is smart, they should issue a “war on drugs is insane” press release on this… but will they? who knows…

  13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_George%27s_County_Police_Department

    That is the wikipedia entry for PG county police. For anyone who edits on wikipedia, they might want to add in a paragraph or two describing the police’s mayor mother law terrorizing and dog killing exploits.

  14. Why, oh why, won’t someone really crazy boobytrap their house and get raided? If cops start falling into pits filled with snakes (snakes–why did it have to be snakes?) or moats filled with sharks with frikkin’ laser beams on their heads, they might think twice about doing this.

  15. Unless you are just a sick bastard who likes killing dogs, how do you shoot dog? These dumb motherfuckers must have been hyped up beyond belief. People can become adreniline junkies. My guess is that these fuckers go out and get hyped up like it is a combat situation and see the dog and go “oh my god it is a dog kill it!@!”. It is just a game at this point to see how hyped up you can get on adreniline when you go on one of these raids.

    At that point they are a danger to themselves and the world. It is a wonder they don’t shoot each other more often than they do.

  16. home alone: police state edition

    paintcans with “live free or die” stenciled on them…hundreds of anarcho-syndicalist marbles…

    and so forth.

  17. If cops start falling into pits filled with snakes (snakes–why did it have to be snakes?) or moats filled with sharks with frikkin’ laser beams on their heads, they might think twice about doing this.

    1) Judges that do their fucking job when issuing warrants

    2) Surveillance video piped offsite where the pollice can’t get to it without a warrant

    3) Re-invigorated castle doctrine and an armed population

    Nah, crazier even than Epi’s ideas.

  18. “If the Barr campaign is smart, they should issue a “war on drugs is insane” press release on this… but will they? who knows…”

    If only it were that simple. You could legalize drugs tommorow and the SWAT teams would be out kicking in doors looking for stolen cars or child porn. It has become an end in itself. The drug war is just the excuse.

  19. they might think twice about doing this

    Or, you know, just proceed directly to the “Nuke ’em from space” option.

  20. taught em everything i know

  21. Apparently the FBI has started an ivestigation.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/08/08/fbi.opens.probe.ap/index.html

    Seems like a good step.

  22. Apparently the FBI has started an ivestigation

    Saw that, however, I can’t imagine anyone in the Bush Justice Department stomping on these “well-meaning” cops.

    I suppose we could hope that the investigation drags out into an Obama adminstration.

  23. 1) Judges that do their fucking job when issuing warrants.

    This is not the judges fault. They clearly had a right to get a warrent. It was the way they executed it. A better way would be to change the law and define exegent circumstances down to literally a hostage situation or a capital murder suspect and ban the use of SWAT teams in all other searches of homes and require a knock and at least 1 minute delay before kicking in the door and further make it illegal for a cop to have a chambered round unless it is a special exigent circumstances raid. Lastly, make it a criminal offense to have a chambered round or not wait the full minute before entering a home absent a exegent circumstances warrent.

    2) Surveillance video piped offsite where the pollice can’t get to it without a warrant.

    Good idea but would only make a difference if you changed the law. Right now it is illegal for them to kick in the door and shoot the dogs and anything else that moves.

    3) Re-invigorated castle doctrine and an armed population

    I agree completely.

  24. You could legalize drugs tommorow and the SWAT teams would be out kicking in doors looking for stolen cars or child porn. It has become an end in itself. The drug war is just the excuse.

    I think John is right about this. Now that the SWAT teams are in place, they have to justify their existence, and will fight tooth and nail to not be disbanded, even if we completely abandon the WOD. SWAT is for the children, after all.

  25. Yup, once the SWAT raids become “too dangerous” (for the cops of course they don’t care how dangerous it is for the innocent) they likely will adopt some sort of “I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” policy.

    Just blow up the buildings with everyone inside, sort through the rubble and “find” evidence of massive drug operations justifying the whole thing . . . every . . . time.

  26. Is the Mayor a Republican? How large, and to whom, have his political contributions been? We must delve deeply into the truly important aspects of this case.

  27. Unless you are just a sick bastard who likes killing dogs, how do you shoot dog?

    Like you said, you’re in a SWAT raid situation, and you react. I imagine that these two dogs acted like dogs as strangers broke into the house violently – running into the room, barking and growling at them.

    Then, once they homeowners are “taken down,” they are not only drug suspects, but people who “assaulted” the cops by setting their dogs on them.

    This is exactly how I would expect cops to act when conducting a raid like this.* Like that marine in Haditha – I’d expect a marine who’s told “Clear that house” in the middle of a firefight to crash in and shoot the place up.

    That’s why the fine points of raid etiquette isn’t the issue here; the fact that cops are being sent on these raids is the issue.

    *except, you know, the part about not actually having a warrant to conduct a raid like this.

  28. black labs > black grandmother

    Gotta love the media.

    Wasn’t Kathryn Johnstom a great-grandmother? I mean she was 88 or 92 depending on the report. The MSM (I apologize for using that tired acronym) needs to do an honest self-examination about priorities.

  29. Just blow up the buildings with everyone inside, sort through the rubble and “find” evidence of massive drug operations justifying the whole thing . . . every . . . time.

    Sounds like the Lebanon War.

    If people are going to tolerate criminals living in their building and setting up their illegal operations…

  30. This is not the judges fault.

    I disagree, John. The warrant process for these things is at best a rubber stamp. If that isn’t the judges’ fault, then the threshold for evidence required has to be made higher than the word of a crackhead.

  31. Cops are assholes.

  32. sounds like what happened to MOVE.

  33. …the fine points of raid etiquette…

    Always offer a mint to your arrested suspects!

    Be sure you don’t shoot the dogs *in the face* for easy cleanup!

    Only break furniture that they were considering getting rid of anyway!

  34. You are right Joe. The SWAT team has the same hyped up mentality as the Marine kicking down a door in Iraq. The differenses are that the Marine is in a situation where the danger justifies being that hyped up, as opposed to the cop who has invented most of the danger and hyped himself up because he is an adreniline junkie, and the Marine actually has some training in dicipline. Only someone in a combat mindset is going to shoot the dogs. Anyone else is going to look at the dogs and realize they are not a threat and not shoot them unless they were going to attack.

    I was not kidding above. I would rather take my chances with an infantry squad coming to my house in Iraq than I would with a SWAT team coming to my house in the US.

  35. I would rather take my chances with an infantry squad coming to my house in Iraq than I would with a SWAT team coming to my house in the US.

    I’d be curious on a side-by-side statistical analysis of whose raids go bad for their targets more often, SWAT cops or infantry patrols?

  36. Radley, why the last paragraph? One of your two pet issues is rightfully getting national attention and it seems to me that you ought to be ingratiating yourself to the press who are covering this in order to make the wider case about police tactics. This particular case isn’t going to just go away. It’s the kind of thing that would get more traction on Nancy Grace or Gretta or whatever.

    In fact, I went to Greta’s blog and posted a request to cover this story on her latest open thread:

    http://gretawire.foxnews.com/2008/08/08/open-thread-302

    If enough of us did the same to spark wider interest in this story, the problem might get the attention it deserves outside our little echo chamber here.

  37. “I’d be curious on a side-by-side statistical analysis of whose raids go bad for their targets more often, SWAT cops or infantry patrols?”

    I would to. Now of course you would have to correct for the fact that the infantry raids are more likly to have targets that shoot back. What I would like to see is how many raids happen every year and how many times anyone actually shoots at a cop. These raids are just not dangerous. Give me a gun and a badge, a warrent and five buddies with the same and I will walk into any house in this country. I will just walk up and knock on the door.

  38. it’s unlikely that he’d have been able to flush 30 pounds of marijuana in the time it takes police to knock and announce themselves.

    Just to point out that this was completely irrelevant in this case. The cops delivered the drugs. There was no need for the evidence to be recovered and giving them time to try to flush it would have been much more damning in a trial if they’d tried.

  39. I’d be curious on a side-by-side statistical analysis of whose raids go bad for their targets more often, SWAT cops or infantry patrols?

    Apples and oranges. Infantry patrols are out there to make sure things go very, very bad for their targets. SWAT cops are out there to serve warrants. You know, wartime v. peacetime, that whole thing.

    I’ve said it before and every one of these raids just amps up my plans – when we build our new house in a few years, it will be hardened. Shatterproof film on the windows, steel core doors with multi-point locks, surveillance cameras (I like the off-site storage for those babies – I’ll put it on the list).

  40. Apples and oranges. Infantry patrols are out there to make sure things go very, very bad for their targets.

    You clearly haven’t been paying much attention to Iraq, have you?

    Infantry patrols who are tasked with *looking for terror suspects, materials, and plans* in people’s homes (something fairly analogous to looking for drugs in people’s homes) are not, so far as I know, ordered to go in guns blazing “to make sure things go very, very bad for their targets” as you so pithily put it.

    Hearts and minds, and all that. The one infantrymen I’ve had the privilege to talk to who actually did this sort of thing actually compared the task directly to a police raid. And spoke of the delicate nature of relating to the occupied peoples while carrying out raids…a problem I understand that police depts. also have in areas of high crime.

  41. I’ve said it before and every one of these raids just amps up my plans – when we build our new house in a few years, it will be hardened. Shatterproof film on the windows, steel core doors with multi-point locks, surveillance cameras (I like the off-site storage for those babies – I’ll put it on the list).

    Not a bad plan. Of course, if you increase the SWAT team’s frustration level, they’d just be that much more likely to want to kill you on the other end when they finally do break through.

  42. You could legalize drugs tommorow and the SWAT teams would be out kicking in doors looking for stolen cars or child porn. It has become an end in itself. The drug war is just the excuse.

    QFMFT. The drug war was the catalyst, but this bullshit will take hundreds of more tragedies before the public starts questioning their love affair with SWAT teams.

    For all who think Hollywood displays a strictly leftist lean, think about how cops are treated by the TV and film industries. SWAT teams are lionized daily on the idiot box.

  43. For all who think Hollywood displays a strictly leftist lean, think about how cops are treated by the TV and film industries.

    Oh yeah. I can’t even watch crap like CSI or the other cop shows, because of how they portray the pigs as fucking angels including sickening doses of moral superiority. Just watch Caruso for 5 minutes on CSI: Miami and you’ll lose your lunch (not just from the scenery chewing).

    Hollywood’s authoritarian love affair with the badge is repulsive.

  44. “””I’d at least like an apology. An apology would go a long way towards fixing the situation, don’t you think?”””

    Yes, but assholes don’t apologize for being an asshole.

  45. If this happened to more Politicians it would be stopped. The only way anyone gets coverage of being fucked by the police is when they are in office or the relative of a politician.

    This just shows that we could call in all the tips we want to judges and pols families and friends homes and they do ZERO investigationg before calling out SWAT. Another 3 or 4 of these raids on the RIGHT peoples homes would end all this bullshit for the rest of us mere citizens.

  46. when we build our new house in a few years, it will be hardened.

    If I had the money, I’d get myself one of those houses built from an abandoned nuclear missile base.

  47. when we build our new house in a few years, it will be hardened

    Sounds mighty suspicious to me. What are you hiding, R C?

  48. “””Hollywood’s authoritarian love affair with the badge is repulsive.”””

    Hollywood just gives us what we want. America has an authoritarian love affair with the badge when applied to other people. That’s why this isn’t an issue for a lot of people. They think the Mayor got what he deserved. A SWAT team is what you get when drugs are delivered to your door. They don’t look further than that.

  49. One more thing: this Halloween, do not costume your children as Labradors.

  50. I’d like to see an analysis of these raids that determines the number of times:
    police are shot at
    police are wounded
    police are killed
    And the number of times “suspects” of the raid are:
    shot at
    wounded
    killed
    And we could add dogs as well

  51. Not to defend Big Media on this, because I think they’re dropping the ball on showing the real world, but…

    @ Episiarch

    @ J sub D

    For all who think Hollywood displays a strictly leftist lean, think about how cops are treated by the TV and film industries.

    Oh yeah. I can’t even watch crap like CSI or the other cop shows, because of how they portray the pigs as fucking angels including sickening doses of moral superiority. Just watch Caruso for 5 minutes on CSI: Miami and you’ll lose your lunch (not just from the scenery chewing).

    I suspect this is partly to do with the structure of a TV show. It’s hard to build a believable series out of “Bad Cop, Good Little People”.

    With Good Guy cops and Bad Guy robbers we can produce 12 (or 20, or 50) shows a year. The conflict is already set up, the audience knows who’s who. It is easy, reliable, and profitable.

    Bad Cop stories show up more in the movies. The longer format gives you time for the set up, and its a once- (or twice-, or thrice-) off. ‘Course, there is generally a Good Cop to bring them down.

    Not that this makes the portrayal any less nauseating. It’s like the writers have never heard of subtlety, or allowing the message to be inferred.

    “Wheel of morality, turn, turn turn…”

  52. RC Dean,

    Don’t forget the gator or pirrana filled moat. Are there are any highly dangerous ENDANGERED animals? That would make for a fun case endangered species protection laws v. swat thugs.

  53. I can’t even watch crap like CSI or the other cop shows, because of how they portray the pigs as fucking angels including sickening doses of moral superiority.

    Wouldn’t COPS on Fox be a much better show if they occasionally showed an event where the fleeing suspect gets away, or the cop makes a mistake? Maybe someone hanging his head, banging the steering wheel because he screwed up. A guy’s who’s sorry or frustrated because of how much hostility there is between the police and the public.

    It would make them humans instead of supermen. We’d relate to them instead of being awed or afraid. Can’t have that.

  54. Are there are any highly dangerous ENDANGERED animals?

    I’d go with a Komodo Dragon for the proper effect.

  55. And what will change as a result of all this publicity about PG’s Finest Thugs? Will anyone extrapolate this out to a damning statement on the pointless futility of the WoD? Will handsome anchors put on the Very Serious Face? when talking about the incident?

    My money is on:

    1) Not a god-damn thing.
    2) No.
    3) And the Very Concerned Furrowed Brow? as well.

    black labs > black grandmother

    Black grandmothers scold you and yell at you. They generally make you feel like a whiny POS who’s ass they could easily (and could) kick. Labs are cuddly, warm and loyal. They play fetch much better than grandmothers.

    No contest.

  56. You clearly haven’t been paying much attention to Iraq, have you?

    Sure I have, El. For an infantry patrol, targets are enemy hostiles, not necessarily the people whose houses they may be searching for evidence.

    For SWAT teams, though, the only “target” is the poor bastard whose about to get a warrant served via Jackboot Express.

    I was having a little fun with the way each group defines, and treats, “targets”, El. Geez.

    What are you hiding, R C?

    An increasingly bad attitude toward the police, that’s what.

    Don’t forget the gator or pirrana filled moat.

    Well, the place will be in the country, and well back from any road, with likely only one approach for vehicles. Some kind of drawbridge isn’t entirely out of the question, depending on terrain.

    This is dry country, though, so I suspect a moat will be a non-starter. Plus, I couldn’t keep the idiot dogs out of it, which would be trouble after they got et.

  57. Black grandmothers scold you and yell at you. They generally make you feel like a whiny POS who’s ass they could easily (and could) kick. Labs are cuddly, warm and loyal. They play fetch much better than grandmothers.

    Black grandmothers play fetch pretty well, too. They’ll send you running down the street to bring stuff back for them all day if you let ’em.

  58. I can just see RC sitting in a hole in the floor with two shotguns waiting for the cops to come through the door a la Death Hunt.

  59. 1) Judges that do their fucking job when issuing warrants.

    This is not the judges fault. They clearly had a right to get a warrent. It was the way they executed it.

    I would like to believe you John. But I fear the process for getting a warrant has become far to lenient. That’s got to be the judges’ fault. They respond to public pressure just like everyone else, but in our system they are the next to last defense against tyranny (where an armed population is the ultimate last defense).

  60. I was having a little fun with the way each group defines, and treats, “targets”, El. Geez.

    I had a humordectic lobotomy this morning. The part when my sense of humor once resided still itches, if you know what I mean. 😉

    My point was that you could define a comparable set of cases where the missions were similar (searching for stuff in people’s houses for whom you do not have technical leave to simply level the place) non-ridiculous comparisons could be made.

    I wasn’t arguing we should be comparing infantry units in direct combat or search-and-destroy missions to SWAT teams. That *would* be apples and oranges.

  61. OK lawyers out there:

    If having your name in the SHIP TO field on a shipping label on box containing dope constitutes probable cause for a search warrant, then why do the police need to wait for you to take possession to search your house?

  62. I’m with RC. When we build our next house, I’ll make some “adjustments” for general security. It’s not that I expect a “no knock” raid (or have any reason to), but in the unlikely event of a forced entry, I think I can build something that would allow me to pop some corn and wait comfortably.

  63. The only thing unusual best thing about this raid is that its victim happened to be an elected politician.

    Fixed.

  64. Since the police already knew the drugs had been taken inside the house, the rationale for breaking the door down just doesn’t wash, especially since they were wearing masks, carrying guns and not in uniform but in street clothes.

    I can only assume that if this mayor had a gun upstairs he and his mother would both be dead, right along with the two dogs and PG police would be making up a whole new set of lies about the mayor being a weed kingpin.

  65. Re: COPS

    I’m convinced that Cops has 2 purposes: 1) Show average Americans how terribly dangerous everything is, so they will continue to support the police and 2) Show the criminally minded that the police always win (and that criminals are really stupid) so there will be fewer “I’m going to take as many of you bastards with me as I can” incidents out there.

    Re: home “improvements”

    Good minefields make for good neighbors. Decorative fougasses are going to be THE lawn accessory of the 21st century.

    Set up a camera to alert you when unwelcome armed visitors show up; when they approach your door, go out to them and say “Thank God you’re here, I think they (point at least liked neighbor’s house) are running a meth lab/child porn studio/terror cell/Nader for President meeting”

    It won’t help you, but it will make them pause, and it’ll teach your neighbor not to let his dogs crap on your lawn. You’ve got to look for the silver lining, after all.

  66. black labs > black grandmother

    Gotta love the media.

    Does it matter? You still support the drug war that makes such things inevitable, all the same. Reserve your judgment for folks who aren’t doing your dirty work.

  67. I’ve only read about this story on this site. Prior to this post that included a picture, indeed I had assumed that the mayor and his wife were black, being that it was a drug raid in PG county and all.

  68. I’d love to spit some beechnut in those dude’s eyes.

  69. in the unlikely event of a forced entry, I think I can build something that would allow me to pop some corn and wait comfortably.

    Of course, its also security against the usual burglary as well, but, in the unlikely event the cop feel the need to break down the door, I expect to have enough time to get on the intercom and ask them just what the fuck they think they’re doing, and if they want serve the warrant like civilzed people, I’ll be happy to meet them around back. As soon as my lawyer gets here. And the press.

  70. I may be a lone voice here, and it may be because it’s a mayor, and it may be because the wife’s statement to the media was so over the top, but I don’t think this is a great injustice. The SWAT officers have to be prepared that the suspect may be armed, and the officers must be prepared that the suspect may have some way to dispose of the drugs. Also, the officers have no way to know whether or not the dogs were trained to attack – being a mayor does not disqualify the possibility. The SWAT officers acted according to their training – whether or not you disagree with those tactics is another question. After all, another SWAT officer didn’t mistaken the shots at the dogs for gunfire coming from the suspect and shoot them(as what happened in Lima). No one got hurt – the mistake here was they targeted the wrong people. But in terms of mechanics, I don’t think you can say it was a gross injustice in and of itself.

  71. PG county is a liberal (and criminal) bastion with a bunch of liberal politicians. Utterly shocking this would take place in that cesspool.

  72. . . . but I don’t think this is a great injustice.

    And a great many Russians were dismayed by their loss of a sense of security when the Soviet Union collapsed.

  73. “Saw that, however, I can’t imagine anyone in the Bush Justice Department stomping on these “well-meaning” cops.”

    I call partisan bullshit!

  74. I may be a lone voice here, and it may be because it’s a mayor, and it may be because the wife’s statement to the media was so over the top, but I don’t think this is a great injustice. The SWAT officers have to be prepared that the suspect may be armed, and the officers must be prepared that the suspect may have some way to dispose of the drugs. Also, the officers have no way to know whether or not the dogs were trained to attack – being a mayor does not disqualify the possibility. The SWAT officers acted according to their training – whether or not you disagree with those tactics is another question. After all, another SWAT officer didn’t mistaken the shots at the dogs for gunfire coming from the suspect and shoot them(as what happened in Lima). No one got hurt – the mistake here was they targeted the wrong people. But in terms of mechanics, I don’t think you can say it was a gross injustice in and of itself.
    ————————————

    1) The police had no reason to suspect anyone in the house would be armed, it was a middle class neighborhood and the mayor waived to them earlier that day. The police do not ALWAYS assume that any warrant they are serving is going to turn violent and there was no reason here to use a swat team.

    2) The police are the ones who delivered the drugs and there is no way I know of to destroy 30 POUNDS of pot in the time it would have taken for them to knock on the door and show the warrant.

    3) It appears the dogs did NOT attack, even the police have not said the dogs atacked, only using vague words like ‘engaged’ and the police feeling threatened. The mayor has said the 2nd dog was shot in the back while running away and has challenged the police to release the photos. So, far the police have not released any evidence that backs up the need to shoot and kill the two dogs.

    4) Yes, someone got hurt, the two pets were killed for no reason and the mayor and his mother were terrorized for two hours. I suspect IF the mayor had a gun he and his mother would both be dead.

    5) The issue here is that a SWAT team was totally inappropriate given the situation and what police knew: a package of pot delivered to an address with no known history of drugs or criminal activity in a middle class neighborhood where the suspect had waived at them earlier while walking his dogs.

    There is no defense for the shoddy investigation and police overkill. Even IF he was a pot dealer this would still be complete overkill and inappropriate use of force.

  75. I call partisan bullshit!

    Huh?

    I’ve voted libertartian for the last six presidential cycles; so I have roughly equal animosity for both the democratic and republican parties.

    My point is that the Bush adminstration was busy pushing career prosecuters out of the justice department to install “right-thinking” attorneys with the “proper” set of priorities.

    I don’t see persuing a case against police for violating the civil rights of a citizen during the serving of a “legitimate” warrant as being high on the list of things that Justice will worry about during the remainder of the Bush adminstration.

  76. The Prince George’s County Police Chief is black; the county administrator is black. Let me ask this…assume they were white and the mayor was black. How big of a demonstration do you think they would be having in Prince George’s country this weekend? I’ll tell you, you would not be able to drive down Route 1! this is really bad; really bad; and both the county administrator and the police chief should be FIRED! PERIOD!

  77. Isn’t the mayor a republican? Maybe that is why the FBI/DOJ already has opened an investigation…which is lightening speed to get the Feds involved in a local police matter.

    It’s also worth remembering that all these thugs were in plain clothes and as the town police chief said, if any of his own officers had seen them they too would have assumed it was an armed home invasion and may have fired on the SWAT team.

    It may also be that given the numerous other high profile screw ups by PG police that the Feds already have been investigating them.

  78. The SWAT officers have to be prepared that the suspect may be armed,

    We have this thing called the second amendment. Despite some controversy over whether constitutional amendments are enforcible outside a “federal district”… due to this second amendment, we are all potentially armed.

  79. (1)Thirty two pounds of marijuana is about half the size of a bale of hay. That much cannot be easily destroyed before the police can get in and find it. (2)Maryland has strict gun control laws. The police would have known if guns were present, since the mayor was a known liberal. Therefore the assumption must be that the reason that the police were acting as jack-booted thugs is because they are jack-booted thugs.
    The War on Drugs is a war on the Constitution. While I dislike drug users, I’d rather put up with junkies than fascism.

  80. This was the County Sheriff’s Department, NOT the County Police. The Calvos need to get Sheriff Michael Jackson to apologize, not Melvin High.

  81. “Huh?”

    Right. My bad. Of course the Bush admin will block/hinder/squash the FBI’s investigation. They can’t help it. It’s what reptilian shape-shifters do. It’s in their DNA. I gotta get me a fuckin’ tin hat pronto!!!

    PS I forgot that Libertarians are incapable of being partisan.

  82. Of course the Bush admin will block/hinder/squash the FBI’s investigation.

    Do you normally have reading comprehension problems?

    It doesn’t matter whether or not the FBI investigates.

    It matters whether or not the Justice Department (the prosecuters not the investigators) choose to file charges.

  83. oops on the closing itallics

  84. “shot Calvo’s dogs because they felt threatened by them”

    It’s such a convenient excuse, “I felt threatened, so I xxxxxxxxxxxxx”. Sloppy police work, no problem.

  85. To spell it out so that BeeBee can get it

    Prosecutors have discretion one which cases they choose to prosecute.

    The Bush department purged career proescutors from the Justice Department and replaced them with Bush loyalists, not Republicans, Bush loyalists.

    The priorities of the new proescutors was terrorism, abortion, and pornography.

    Chasing civil right violators ain’t even in the playbook let alone on the front page of priorities.

  86. I wouldn’t count on charges, I wouldn’t even count on anything beyond ‘mistakes were made, policies need to be updated, but no laws were broken’

    I wouldn’t expect anything from PG county police, they still haven’t admitted officially that the mayor and his wife are innocent, and they will never admit they should not have killed the dogs.

    So, I guess that means that in America today, a white, middle class, elected public official with no criminal record can have his house invaded by jack booted police thugs not even in uniform who can then refuse to show him the warrant, fail to abide by the terms of the warrant, kill dogs that don’t attack them, including one that runs away from them, keep the mayor and his 60+ year old mother handcuffed on the floor and they don’t even have to make a formal apology even though their own investigation already hinted that the mayor and his family were innocent victims of the actual drug traffickers.

    Not good.

  87. Incidentally, the Marine who threw the puppy off of the cliff was thrown out of the Corps.

    Details here.

    So at least the military disciplines its dog-killers.

  88. Facts:
    The weed was picked up by dog in Arizona and addressed to mayor’s wife. The cops delivered the weed and mother in law said leave it on front porch. Family is white in white older neighborhood and a Republican area at that.

    The mayor-part time has a day job and got home picked up package notice the black SUVs and a women waiting. He left it on a table and went upstairs to change. He heard his mother-law-scream and he was in his underpants. The crash of the broken door, two shots and he dropped to the floor. The older dog was at the front door and the younger was running to back room when shot.

    Mayor and mother-in-law were handcuffed on the floor with the corpses of the dogs and were questioned for hours when the police started to realize something was wrong.

    The PG Swat team was busy and did not handle the raid. The sheriff dept did the raid and normally they handle civil subpoenas. They did not contact the local police chief of the Berwyn Heights. They did not know that this was the local small town mayor house.

    They did not have a no knock warrant.

    The dogs are a normal casualty when a raid goes down. No cop will take a chance with large dogs. Problem was lack of detective work.

    After this screw up the cops arrested a deliveryman and another. Recovered 412 lbs of pot worth 3.6 million.

    The problem is SWAT tactics should be stopped unless a hostage situation. This needs to be stopped. The mayor could have gone to the door with a gun in MD perfectly legal and would have been shot.

    I also have 2 dogs and one is a German Shepard and aggressive at the door. I fully expect that she is first line of defense and would get hurt or killed in a home invasion. That leaves me time to get armed. There is no difference to the homeowner to a robber committing a home invasion or the police on a no knock raid. NO way can I tell the difference in time to stop from either being shot or shooting a cop. This is a tragedy waiting to happen for both police and homeowners.

  89. You still support the drug war that makes such things inevitable, all the same.

    Hungry Antelope, I think you have me confused with someone else.

  90. The Bush department purged career proescutors from the Justice Department and replaced them with Bush loyalists, not Republicans, Bush loyalists.

    Please stop saying this as it is false. You are conflating replacing US Attorneys, who are politcal appointees, with “career prosecutors”

    Just stop.

  91. Another example of one of the many failures of the drug war, and its negative effects on liberty and safety.

    Maybe being in an elected position, Calvo will use this incident as leverage to expose the tactics used regularly by drug task forces across the country.

  92. The Prince George County police, both Sheriff’s and County departments have had a reputation for sloppy and substandard police work for years and deservedly so.

    It would benefit everyone, if the investigation is open and transparent.

  93. I just can’t get over the sickening waste of the two dogs. Not just for their sake alone although that is part of the consideration of course. I just can’t imagine how horrific it would be for their owners. One moment everything is fine and the next they witness their family pets getting blown away. I feel so awful for these people. That has got to be traumatic.

    What I don’t understand is the house was being surveilled. They had to have seen that the dogs were family pets. It is nothing but excessive to not account for them, to not give the owners of the house the benefit of the doubt by at least planning to cause the least amount of harm to property and pets as possible.

    How is it that mail carriers can protect themselves against dangerous animals with pepper spray and these freakin cops go in with only firearms to defend themselves against a pair of pampered Labs?????? WTF????

  94. The Ace,

    Please stop saying this as it is false. You are conflating replacing US Attorneys, who are politcal appointees, with “career prosecutors”

    Just stop.

    You are incorrect.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/20/AR2007062002543.html

    Decorated career prosecutors in the Civil Rights division.

  95. anon | August 8, 2008, 11:22am | #

    “I’d at least like an apology. An apology would go a long way towards fixing the situation, don’t you think?”

    It is an admission of guilt in some ways so I wouldn’t expect one… since the lawsuit is the expected round two. On the other hand, I wouldn’t go and defend the raid either. If I were involved I’d just shut up and say I can’t comment.

  96. The answer is that these police were totaly incompetant from start to finish. They cowboyed up with all the fancy toys they could find for a weed drop off [ridiculous], and when they found a defenseless granny, a 30 something guy in his underwear and 2 labs, they had to kill something.

    This guy is lucky he’s alive, if he wasn’t the town’s mayor he would probably be dead and the two actual drug smugglers would have already “confessed” to his role in the drug operation.

  97. “http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/20/AR2007062002543.html

    Decorated career prosecutors in the Civil Rights division.”

    who were leftist hacks. Yeah, they probably got replaced by rightist hacks but that is the way it goes. Like every nutjob leftist plaintiffs lawyer won’t be getting a job at DOJ if the Dems ever win the Whitehouse. Cry me a river Joe. DOJ has been a cesspool of chonyism and politics for 20 years or more. The best thing any President can do is fire DOJ lawyers.

  98. who were leftist hacks And you know this how? Quick, don’t look, name one of the people who’s life’s work you just slandered.

    Yeah, they probably got replaced by rightist hacks …which would be a federal crime.

    but that is the way it goes. No, actually, career, civil service prosecutors like these are not routinely turned out by different administrations. That’s the difference between the career civil servants and the political appointees.

  99. Even “Ace” recognized that, when he disputed that they were career prosecutors, and insisted that the politicized firings and hirings were limited to United States Attorneys.

  100. Um, didn’t the DOJ’s own probe just recently say that one of the Bush appointees ILLEGALLY took political affiliations into consideration when making career hires? Monica Gooding ring a bell?

    http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/31/hiring-at-justice-found-politicized/

  101. “To spell it out so that BeeBee can get it”

    Perhaps you might consider fucking yourself.

  102. Top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales ran the U.S. Department of Justice the way that the snotty kids in your school decided who was cool, and who was not.

    It would be funny, if it hadn’t affected the way justice is administered in America, and if it hadn’t started right here in Minnesota.

    Monday’s report by the department’s inspector general confirmed that Gonzales and his aides, including the destructively ideological Monica Goodling, broke civil service laws by subjecting appointees to political litmus tests and playing bizarre games of 20 Questions in which they asked prospective hires witless questions such as: “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him? (maybe how he looks all Marlboro Man in his Wranglers)” and Googled candidates with red-flag words such as “gay,” “gun,” “sex” “Clinton” and (I kid you not) “Spotted owl.

  103. US Attorneys are political appointments. However, the law prohibits political considerations in hiring and firing of those attorneys.

    So, The Ace, I am not wrong.

  104. Back to the dog killing jack booted thugs…here is Calvo’s letter to DOJ…pretty compelling, I especially like how he mentions that one of the “officers” sitting in a house full of the blood of two dead dogs with an old woman lying face down on the floor was making personal phone calls on her cell phone.

    Nice.

    Dear Ms. Becker:

    I am writing to request that the Civil Rights Division initiate an investigation into the search warrant policies and procedures of the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department and the County Police Department and specifically to investigate the incident that occurred on July 29, 2008 when our home was illegally entered by county law enforcement officers, who tied up two members of our family and shot and killed our two family dogs, with premedication and without provocation.

    1. What Happened.

    On the evening of July 29, 2008, I came home from work and arrived at my residence at 8522 Edmonston Rd. in Berwyn Heights. I work at SEED, a non-profit organization that operates the nation’s only public boarding schools for at-risk urban students. I have been the elected, part-time mayor of Berwyn Heights, a municipality in Prince George’s County since 2004. My wife, Trinity Tomsic, is a financial officer for the state of Maryland. My mother-in-law, Georgia Porter, works for a local company.

    When I arrived home, I was greeted by my mother-in-law, who was cooking an artichokes, tomatoes and pasta dinner in the kitchen. She told me a FedEx package for my wife, Trinity Tomsic, was on the porch. It had been delivered to the house a few minutes beforehand, and Georgia had asked the delivery man to leave it outside on the porch. I thought little o fit because Trinity frequently receives gardening supplies by mail. I then took our two dogs, Payton (age 7) and Chase (age 4), both black Labradors, for a walk. While on the walk, I noticed SUVs parked on nearby roads, but thought little of it other than to wave to the drivers. I returned home and then began changing my clothes to get ready for a quarterly meeting of municipal officials from nearby towns that I was hosting at Berwyn Heights Town Center, down the street. Before going back inside the house; however, I retrieved the package and placed it unopened on a living room table.

    While in my bedroom upstairs, while changing and only in boxer shorts, I heard my mother-in-law scream and then heard our front door being broken open and gunshots being fired. I thought our home was being invaded. I feared for my life and fell to the floor. No one announced themselves as law enforcement.

    Downstairs, the officers shot Payton immediately upon entering the house. Payton’s body was located on the floor near the entry to the kitchen where he was hot some distance from the front door. Chase, our four-year-old Lab, was shot in the back by the officers in the rear of the house while running away. Neither dog attacked or “engaged” law enforcement, as claimed by the county sheriff.

    My mother-in-law was made to lie face-down on the floor in the kitchen, several feet away from where Payton was bleeding to death. Her hands were restrained with plastic handcuffs behind her back. She laid there on the floor with her head held down by police so that she could only see Payton’s lifeless body for a considerable period of time.

    The officers called for me to walk downstairs backwards with my hands up, which I did. The officers then directed to me to kneel down in the living room by the open front door in my boxer shorts with my hands restrained in plastic cuffs behind my back. I remained in that position for a considerable period of time, watching Payton’s body in the other corner of the room and my mother-in-law lying face down in the kitchen.

    Georgia and I then were interrogated by police. Georgia was questioned by a detective named Kim, who in the course of her questioning managed to talk on her cell phone and to make a veterinary appointment for her dog. Georgia overheard Kim tell her friend that, this was her first raid and that it was “exciting” because it was the mayor’s house. Finally, after nearly two hours, the officers released the restraints on my mother-in-law and me after I complained about losing feeling in my right hand. The officers ultimately decided not to arrest me or any member of my family and indeed found no evidence linking any of us to the box’s contents.

    Yesterday, Melvin High, the outgoing chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department, announced the arrest of two men, including a Federal Express delivery man, who participated in a scheme to use the overnight service to ship as much as 417 pounds of marijuana using the addresses of innocent and unsuspecting residents to ship the contraband. Chief High said that, in addition to Trinity Tomsic, five or six other innocent county residents had been subject to such ficticious deliveries.

    Although they were listed as addresses, the deliveries never reached them because they were intercepted by the Federal Express employee. Like my wife, they were victims of identity theft. Their names were used to allow drug traffickers to ship marijuana through the Federal Express overnight delivery service.

    The law enforcement officers who entered our home did so without knocking and broke through the door. Since 2005, Maryland law has required a no-knock warrant. Last Saturday, the spokesperson for the county police stated that the court had issued a no-knock warrant. This is untrue. Law enforcement neither sought nor obtained a no-knock warrant. Indeed, no warrant was ever presented to us during the evening of the police raid.

    Yesterday, the county sheriff justified the killing of our dogs because they had engaged the deputies. This is false. The officers were aware of the presence of dogs in our house before they entered. They had seen me walking the dogs, both black Labs, moments earlier. They opened fire on our dogs as soon as they broke our door down. One dog, Payton, was shot near where he was found near the entrance to our kitchen some distance from the front door. The second dog, Chase was shot in the back while running away and was found in the rear of the house, where he had been shot.

    Without ever investigating what happened or speaking to us, both the sheriff and the county police chief have announced public conclusions in this case defending the raid. More disturbing, we now have received reports of similar misconduct involving other innocent homeowners, including invasion of the homes of other innocent country residents and killing of other innocent family pets. This appears to be a pattern and practice in our law law enforcement agencies where a lack of training and supervision is apparent. There are also significant questions as to why our county’s sheriff’s department, whose statutory mission does not involve drug enforcement, should be executing drug raids.

    It is clear that our local law enforcement agencies have a culture of disregarding Maryland’s no-knock statute and ignoring the rights of innocent occupants and their pets. It is also clear that our county law enforcement agencies cannot discipline or investigate themselves.

    On behalf of my wife, Trinity Tomsic, my mother-in-law, Georgia Porter, and myself, I request that the Civil Rights Division investigate the circumstances surrounding the invasion of our home and killing of our dogs on July 29, 2008. I also request the division to investigate the pattern and practices associated with search warrant executions by the Prince George’s County Police Department and Sheriff’s Department.

  105. Warrants for SWAT raids should require that the cops be drug-tested prior to the raid. I don’t want cops on meth, speed or steroids kicking in people’s doors.

  106. kinnath,

    Law prohibits? This Administration never puts those two words together when contemplating its actions.

    Congress must impeach Bush and Cheney. These two clowns need to do time.

  107. I’m not sure if the law prohibits firing them for political reasons but using a political bias to hire them is against the law.

    John is right, and I’ve been saying for a while, it is a problem with law and needs to be fixed via law.

  108. It depends on what category they are, if they are a “political” appointee then they can be hired and fired for political reasons, but not for illegal reasons such as refusing to indict someone on false charges or forging evidence or not having sex with the boss.

    If they are a career civil servant category then they cannot be hired or fired based on any political considerations.

  109. I have a different idea about how to combat the growing problem of hyper-militarized police raids on peoples’ homes.

    Someone (I would do it if I had the time, and I might find the time, but somebody might get to it faster than I can right now) could start a website designed around the idea of how to protect your home from home invasions and renegade police (but I am repeating myself).

    The site would outline the problem and offer tips on how to limit access to doorways so the cops cannot easily “stack” there without exposing themselves, how to protect main level and basement windows from entry tools, and pretty much basic information gleaned from fortress design from days of old as well as current Third World home designs (which mostly resemble walled compounds).

    I want to make it clear that I do not want to live in a nation where the police are acting like such blatant thugs, but that is the cultural direction we have taken and it is a reality now. Might as well help people prepare for it. You can at least make it as difficult as possible for the thugs in society to harm you and your loved ones.

    Another thought on this whole matter:
    The police have been heavily marketed to by “police supply” warehouses that offer everything that they use. These companies do it because it is easy money. If you have noticed, cops these days are sporting Batman-style utility belts with just ridiculous amounts of gear and their cars are now weighed down with guns and computer equipment, all purchased on the public dime. So another idea is to force agencies to stop buying so much shit and start going after the companies marketing the gear, too–get them to absorb some of the responsibility for the misuse of their products. If the liberals can sue gun manufacturers, they can sue the battering ram and armored truck companies, too. Make it a moral hazard, which is what it is.

  110. I can’t even read to the end of that letter, or I’m going to start throwing things.

  111. “There are also significant questions as to why our county’s sheriff’s department, whose statutory mission does not involve drug enforcement, should be executing drug raids.”

    two words: asset forfeiture.

    “Warrants for SWAT raids should require that the cops be drug-tested prior to the raid. I don’t want cops on meth, speed or steroids kicking in people’s doors.”

    How much do you want to bet that the officers went to the bar that night.

    DISGUSTING, the war on drugs makes me sick.

  112. Then again, if the police’s intent was to send a message to the mayor and all other politicians, this will be highly effective….

  113. The problem with fortifying your house is that the police will always have more artilery than you do…it will only result in more justification for SWAT style crap and more dead citizens.

    Unfortunately, Ruby Ridge and Waco involved people who did not fit the profile that civil liberarians and liberals typically defend.

    Randy Weaver and the Waco nut jobs weren’t very good poster boys, those tragedies didn’t jazz the media or political elites.

    And so here we are, nice middle class mayor gets his life torn apart and his beautiful dogs slaughtered by thug cops.

    Welcome to America, as the saying goes, you always end up with the government you deserve.

  114. Something just does not make snse with this case. I think there needs to be an investigation, ie grand jury by the feds.

  115. Good grief! Over analyze much???

    This was WRONG people! And a lot of police and law official heads need to roll. If I was that mayor some people would be hurting the rest of their lives for this.

  116. The biggest worry for me is that, in a small dysfunctional town, if you piss off a local attorney’s office, or embarrass a prominent church member, he can pull strings at the local Police station and…

    …They can effectively frame you now. All just to avenge a personal vendetta ‘gainst you.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is, many retired police officers never really leave the force. So, if you award them entry to your home under the pretense of, say, hiring them as a buiding contractor, and, should you exercise the contract’s termination clause, or otherwise show displeasure with his work, watch out!

    This tendency to use the State’s force-agency as one’s private proxy is extremely dangerous to a free society.

    America under the “War on Drugs” resembles China’s “Cultural Revolution” at times. I’m not sure I recognize my nation these days.

    Something’s got to give.

  117. Whenever I read about a cop shooting – good, bad, or indifferent – I always rush over to get the Radley Balko whine-fest. It’s as predictable as the changing of the seasons.

    Officers interact with the public thousands of times each day and do thousands of warrants every year. The overwhelming majority of which don’t result in bad situations like this. That’s never reported because it isn’t news though.

  118. I don’t disagree that police are able to serve warrants without shooting up the place, that is exactly the point. They could have done exactly that in this case. There was no need for any type of crazy SWAT activity.

    My guess is that when no knock/SWAT type of events are put in place by police there is a much higher rate of ‘collateral damage’ than just showing up, knocking on the door and saying ‘we’ve got a warrant to search the place’..

    The police today did clear the mayor and his family [funny, how an FBI investigation can bring clarity], but still REFUSED TO APOLOGIZE FOR KILLING THE DOGS.

    Note to self: stay out of Prince George’s County.

  119. Two loyal dogs are dead due to insane prohibition of marijuana.

  120. Here’s a link to an email from the mayor to friends and family:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-mayoremail0808,0,4607054.story

    I hope he sues, but he’s probably too nice of a guy.

  121. If the dog was so loyal why was it running away? There is an cop saying – better to shoot a person than a dog because people are so whacked out they get more pissed about a dog being shot than a person.

  122. What is particularly appalling is a Prince George;s detective present at the scene, named Kim, after handcuffing the mayor and forcing him to lay down facing his dead dog in a pool of blood, called a friend on her cell phone in the mayor’s house and made a veterninary appointment for her dog.

    Prince George’s County Police Chief Melvin High should be fired, and the detectives involved should be criminally charged with trespass, breaking and entering (a no-knock warrant was NOT issued), and animal cruelty.

  123. TRO, you are a disgusting human being.

    To make light of what is a deep personal tragedy for the mayor (“If the dog was so loyal why was it running away”) because you somehow want to minimize the egregious behavior of the police in this instance – behavior that is becoming all too common with the paramilitarization of the police – is reprehensible.

    The point here is that the police had no business sending a bunch of amped up adrenaline junkies in plainclothes to execute a military style raid in a situation where two uniformed officers and a bullhorn would have sufficed.

    I’m thoroughly sick of SWAT / SOT / HRT / HRET infantry wannabes. If you want be a soldier, join the damn Army. A cop is a civilian who has a civilian job as a public servant, “to serve and protect,” not a jackbooted thug who sees a police career as an opportunity to get his rocks off kicking doors. There is no excuse for this – none.

    Of course, if an 18 year old infantryman in Iraq behaved like these cops did, he’d be facing UCMJ action. It infuriates me beyond belief that our soldiers fighting a war are held to a higher standard than our civilian police are.

    And it matters not a whit to me whether thousands of cops everyday suppress the urge to shoot citizens’ dogs, destroy their property, and terrorize their mother in laws. In this case, and in too many cases like it, the cops are out of control thugs – and will continue to be until the voting public reins them in.

    And Andy, while I in general agree with you that the problem is that the raid happened, I also thing that the police were simply wrong and out of control in shooting the dogs. No, I take that back, they were pussies who execute all large dogs as a matter of SOP because they’re afraid of them. If they couldn’t control 2 labrador retrievers – not a breed known for ferocity – then they’re just wimps. And tracking the dog’s blood through the house – there’s no excuse – just the cops way of saying “Fuck you” to the citizens they’re sworn to protect and the law they’re sworn to uphold.

    And before the police apologists like TRO jump on me with the “you haven’t been there so you don’t know” argument, let me throw the bullshit flag pre-emptively. The doors I’ve kicked have potentially had trained terrorists with RPGs and machine guns behind them, not street criminals. And the cops don’t have to be worried about getting IED’d on the way in.

    Oh, and by the way, when I was faced with an Iraqi fucking Cujo snarling in my face, I didn’t take the shot because I didn’t want to terrorize the family by shooting in their house. No such consideration is forthcoming inside the US, apparently.

    Just disgusting . . .

    SF Alpha Geek

  124. TRO

    There is an cop saying – better to shoot a person than a dog because people are so whacked out they get more pissed about a dog being shot than a person.

    Then why do they always shoot the dog?

  125. I’m not advocating violence against the police, but if I were on a jury for someone accused of shooting one or more of those SOBs, I’d probably acquit.

  126. Oh, and while I’m at it, we need to have the dog shooters publicly identified with their names, faces and addresses (Google Earth too) listed for public review.

    Moreover, the two “under cover” officers who intercepted the pot but then sent it on must also be similarly identified.

    Maybe some young enterprising “Michale Moore” wannabe can catch some of these scumbags on a home video cam and post it to the internet.

  127. Let’s not let this case die down and be forgotten. This horrendous, violent misuse of the law should serve as a rallying point for restoring Constitutional rights.

  128. We all live at Ruby Ridge now.

  129. Yeah, call me “disgusting.” That always moves a debate along.

    If disgusting means I have my priorities straight, The issue here is the police conducting a no-knock warrant (something I am against by the way) based on what evidently was bad intelligence and even worse police work. If the officers involved acted illegally here they should be punished. If they did not, they should not. Simple as that.

    The dead dogs, while unfortunate, are not the most important thing here, yet people gnash and wail about them as if the world had ended.

    Give me a break.

    This is a typical comment thread here on any cop shooting. Everyone goes off on tangents like pot legalization and all cops are “suppressing the urge to shoot dogs.” It would be funny if it weren’t so overdone.

    I have been a law enforcement officer for 24 years in both the military and now with a federal agency. I never had the urge to shoot a dog. I own a couple of beautiful dogs. I have, however, worried about having to shoot dogs that I believed could be dangerous to me on a number of occasions. And I have always counseled other investigators who happen to be with me to not shoot a dog – better to get bit and be stitched-up – just because of the unhinged people who will flip out if you do, no matter how legitimate that action might be.

    Someone said “Then why do they always shoot the dog?”

    Well, they don’t. Rarely does that happen, because as you can see, when it does it is bigger news than a mass murder. As I said before, cops serve thousands of warrants each year, and the vast majority are preformed safely and without any significant problems. And cops interact with the populace millions of times each year with no real issues either.

    But you guys ignore that and judge all officers by the screw-ups of a few. And it’s mostly because you can’t smoke pot legally and you got a speeding ticket in the past.

  130. Commenter asked “How do you shoot dog?”

    Simple — procedure. If you take a peek into SWAT procedures one of the principles are that dogs are to be treated at all times as armed assailants. The reasoning for this is that fact than in many cases trained dogs are used by drug rings as first lines of defense.

  131. Maybe we ought to start sending 30# bags of oregano to the HQ of Prince Georges County. We might just be lucky enough that they raid themselves.

  132. I’m pretty pro-police, being a solid Republican, but this is just horrible. These police are obviously way out of control. It would have been less damaging if everyone in the entire neighborhood got high on that pot rather than what actually happened.

    What should happen here is that the PG Sheriff’s Department personnel who took part in this raid should be terminated with prejudice, meaning they can never work in law enforcement again. What should also happen is that these people should receive several million dollars in PG reparations. Make the cost enough to really hurt the PG Sheriff’s Department and the PG County Government.

    If those things happened, the local police would see the cost of error was so high they dared not make one. Moreover, even should there be some rash individual who might not want to take proper investigative precautions before a no-knock, his supervisors would have been telling him from Day 1 of his service as a LEO that “you screw up and it may bankrupt the county. You, however, will DEFINITELY be in need of a new job. DON’T SCREW UP!”

    With that kind of continuous indoctrination unrelentingly applied, even a rash officer wanting to try it on would almost certainly have his colleagues reining him back.

  133. The only difference between the Prince George’s County police and the Boy Scouts is the Boy Scouts have adult leadership. If the damn cops want to be in combat, then join the fucking Army or Marines. Swat teams should be outlawed and they should be made to wear uniforms, not their ninja costumes….cowardly bastards.

  134. @Dan

    That’s part of the problem a lot of these guys ARE reservists or national guard. They do a tour in Iraq and when they come back they think they are still over there and the same rules apply.

  135. Interestingly enough, this raid is making it more dangerous to be a police officer. Numerous commenters on the Baltimore Sun article have stated they are more likely to fire on anyone armed approaching their home. I can’t really disagree with them. Does it matter whether the criminals are wearing badges or not?

    I’m going to protect my pets and my family over some random SWAT stormtroopers. “Just following orders” didn’t cut it as an excuse for the Nazis, and doesn’t work for the drug nazis either. If you think it’s moral for you to go into people’s homes guns blazing over a drug less dangerous than alcohol, then I really won’t feel sorry when one of those residents takes you out.

  136. Here is the link for that article. Over 3,000 comments so far.

    http://www.topix.net/forum/source/baltimore-sun/TJO9JRPA0TRDGKOLF

  137. Prince George Police Dept email:
    Police_CustomerService@co.pg.m d.us

    Sheriif’s email:
    sheriffinfo@co.pg.md.us

  138. When they broke down the door
    and put their guns in the face of your wife and child
    and as they pinned you to the floor
    did you say “officer, i am not resisting you. ” ?

    American Justice american dream
    is this what ‘ the other half ‘ means
    half of our lives dissolved in fear
    half of our rights they disappear
    is our apathy so corrosive
    where does the cycle start
    hear the sirens screaming out in the distance
    hold your family close to your heart

    American Justice American Lies
    a war of words that I despise
    I wish the good cops If they exist
    the very best
    and a bullet for all the

    complications injustice deliberations what’s the deal
    they fake it, we break it, and take back what they steal
    we could rise black and white unbound and make them pay
    for every tear, for every fear, defend our yesterdays

    when they dropped the bomb on the building to kill a MOVEment
    did they care where the rights of the murdered went
    police terror in the eyes of the children
    police terror in the streets of every town
    where’s our freedom when the sun goes down
    and will the houses that the landlords built keep out the bullet sound

    American Justice American Lies
    a racist prison
    anaesthetized
    I wish the good cops If they exist
    the very best
    and a bullet for all the . . .

  139. As a defense lawyer, I am totally accustomed to this being a typical and disgusting reality in our police state Amerika. This is a test to see if there is an outcry. If not, this will result in more escalation. See infowars.com or the free google movies Police State etc

  140. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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