Militarization of Police

Cheye Calvo Gets It

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Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo on the police raid on his home earlier this month:

"The reality is that this happens all the time in this country and disproportionally in Prince Georges county and most of the people to whom it happens don't have the community support and the platform to speak out. So I appreciate you paying attention to our condition but I hope you'll also give attention to those who may not have the same platform and voice that we have."

Good for him. And he's right

Prince George's County police have now cleared Calvo and his wife of any wrongdoing (though they still won't apologize for the raid), and the FBI is investigating possible civil rights violations.  Here are a few excerpts from Calvo's letter to the Justice Department requesting that investigation:

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 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.

[…]

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.

At this point, I'm pretty jaded about this stuff.  But that third paragraph nearly made my eyeballs explode.

NEXT: Puppycide in Prince George's County

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  1. Is it illegal to make a sort of “death course” to deter would be intruders? The intruders would to cross a moat filled with hippos. A concertina wire field filled with “bouncing betties”. Oh, and instead of dogs, a pride of lions with their voice boxes removed so as not to alert their prey. Prey usually consisting of intruders.

    *intruders also recognized as police*

  2. I took a class a few terms back taught by the former head of the Eugene police drug squad. According to the guy it is rather common for drug dealers to booby trap their houses or places of business. I have mixed feelings about that sort of thing. Just goes to show that bad laws lead to bad outcomes on a number of levels.

  3. I hope “Kim” likes her new job at 7-eleven.

    Haha, just kidding; she’ll probably get a commendation and promotion.

  4. It’s very heartening that now that a politician (albeit a very small fish) has become the victim of this, which we said would be necessary if anything were to change, that politician actually gets it.

    The complete disregard for these people, their pets, and their property by the police is truly mind-blowing. It is so obvious that the pigs consider the rest of us to all be subhuman potential threats to them. So it’s fine for them to handcuff old ladies, smash through people’s doors, threaten to shoot them if they so much as sneeze, and humiliate them.

    Do you think that a raid like this would ever be knowingly pulled on another cop? Never. That fellow pig would get all the consideration the rest of us are supposed to get.

    God damn this makes me angry.

  5. Gregory,

    Why do you have mixed feelings about booby trapping one’s own property? To echo our friend Juanita, if you does the crime (trespassing) you does the time (in the hospital).

  6. I’m reminded of the David Chappelle Show which showed a satirical Law & Order episode which switched the arrest of a gang banger and a white coller criminal.

    The white collar criminal gets “the treatment” including offing the dog and mistreating his wife. Meanwhile, the gang banger is allowed to come in at his convienence and is treated with respect and kid gloves.

    It was hilarious and one of the most thought provoking digs at the war on some drugs I have ever seen on TV.

    We need more satirical humor directed at the war on some drugs as well as a few more politicians getting “the treatment”.

  7. 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.

    I can recall a time when “new professionalism” like this was called for what it was: callous, raw incompetence.

    I’m still not sold that Calvo “gets it.” If he truly got it, he would have connected the dots in one of his public statements and indicted the WoD for this incident happening in the first place. Instead, what we are getting is a critique of proper police conduct in home raids. Maybe he’ll get to that eventually in baby steps.

    Most likely, all we’re going to get, *at best*, is a Band-Aid? on the symptom, while the disease will continue its rampage unabated.

  8. We’ve got a dogmatic criminal class, a Nanny State that defends their “rights,” and laws that encourage for-profit policing.

    Affirmative action encourages people to turn down no hire who is BOTH “minority/woman/gay AND incompetent,” so you get lots of incompetents.

    Government is not the problem; the problem is manifold, but the root of it is our desire for these one-click solutions. Ain’t gonna happen.

  9. Damn criminals and their “rights” and . . . (Gasp!) policing . . . for a profit!!! WTF!!!

  10. I read in the New American that you can’t carry a weapon if there is a restraining order out against you. Maybe several people in that community would find a reason to fear for their lives while “Kim” and the others weild guns in that community. I would think 200-300 restraining orders taken out against a cop would mean desk job time…. That’s how I read the law according to that article…

  11. Aww, its so cute that Rachel thinks the law actually applies to the people that enforce the laws.

  12. While the story enrages me (and I note it made the front page of CNN.com a few hours ago), and I understand the temptation to booby trap your house, the chances of your being invaded by drug-war thugs are actually much smaller than your needing emergency medical help some day. And it wouldn’t be good to booby trap EMT’s on the way to jump-start your heart.
    Just a small quibble, however. Keep up the drum beat, Radley…

  13. the chances of your being invaded by drug-war thugs are actually much smaller than your needing emergency medical help some day.

    those two situations are not mutually exclusive either…

  14. And the people of Mary’s Land haven’t yet risen up and tarred and feathered and run this Sheriff out of town on a rail why exactly…?

  15. Is ‘Officer Kim’ a BATF alumna?

  16. 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.

    A letter to the editor of your local paper asking why this story is receiving little or no coverage is recommended.

  17. “Why do you have mixed feelings about booby trapping one’s own property? To echo our friend Juanita, if you does the crime (trespassing) you does the time (in the hospital).”

    Maybe I’m not libertarian enough for you, but I can certainly envision situations where it would be proper for authorities to enter one’s home without their consent. What if the police have a legitimate search warrant for an actual crime?

  18. For the record, I just used the search function on the website of Michigan’s largest daily, The Detroit Free Press, for both Cheye Calvo and Berwyn Heights.

    Nothing.

  19. Be nice to see some Ron Bailey-esque disclosures from Radley. Considering the effect his stories have, I’m starting to suspect he owns stock in drug companies that make diuretics, beta blockers and other blood pressure pills.

  20. BakedPenguin –

    Well, he has dogs, so the callousness of just preemptively killing the family animals because some sissy pig is deathly afraid of being bitten by some puppy with judgment probably strikes especially close to home.

  21. I don’t know why, but I feel a strong urge for some bacon right about now.

  22. It is not a good idea to bobby trap your property. If someone gets hurt you will be on the hook – criminally and civilly. And there is a decent chance that the person who gets hurt or killed will be completely innocent.

  23. Why should this story receive mainstream media coverage? They’re too busy on John Edwards’ love child and the stabbing in Beijing to care about this.

    And no politician will ever push to change no-knock raids for fear of being painted “soft on crime”(TM), you know.

  24. What will come of this?

    A secret list of the homes of the “politically connected” that will be off limits for raids.

    That’s the likely outcome.

  25. It is so obvious that the pigs consider the rest of us to all be subhuman

    Ok, there’s no need for self-irony here.

  26. The way I see it is that the Police are there to protect and serve and using a fire arm to kill any dog right or wrong could be more of a danger then the crime they claim they are trying to control. If they did there homework on the subject they are trying to apprehend, I would think they would know about a dog. Going in with the intent of shooting the dog no questioned asked is wrong. Bring an animal control officer or someone that is not afraid of a dog. You guys in your armor suits claiming to be afraid of a family pet are lying to yourself ( Feared for my safety) Please…

    If I were to use the police logic, I could run around town and shoot any dog I see running loose, and this would be and should be against the law.

  27. Occam’s toothbrush asks:

    Why do you have mixed feelings about booby trapping one’s own property? To echo our friend Juanita, if you does the crime (trespassing) you does the time (in the hospital).

    Gregory Responds:

    Maybe I’m not libertarian enough for you, but I can certainly envision situations where it would be proper for authorities to enter one’s home without their consent. What if the police have a legitimate search warrant for an actual crime?

    I go further:

    What if it’s not the police? What if it’s the local fire department breaking down your door to save your unconcious or incapacitated family from the fire that’s about to fry them alive? Paramedics also might be foolish enought to try to save you or your children.

    Perhaps you should start an “If I’m in trouble, stay off my property and let me die” movement.

  28. If drug dealers routinely boobytrapped their property there would be people getting killed by them all the time. It is not like drug dealers are the smartest people. More then a few of them would kill themselves with the traps. Further, booby traps are hard to find and defuse so there woudl be a lot of dead cops in drug raids.

    I defy anyone reading this to find me a case in the last year of a cop being killed in a drug raid period or by a booby trap any time in the last 10 years. The post above about cops being worried about booby traps is an urban myth and 100 percent bullshit.

    Drug dealers are not master crimnals They do not want to kill a cop and go to jail for life or the death chamber. They are more concerned about being robbed or killed by their competitors. The biggest danger to cops is the dealer shooting them thinking they are being robbed. The second bigggest danger is the cops shooting each other in the confusion of the raid. This is what happened in the kathryn Johnson raid. I don’t see how these raids make cops in anyway safer. It used to be the fundemental principle of law enforcement was to desecalate any situation. These raids go completely against that

  29. What if the police have a legitimate search warrant for an actual crime?

    Gregory,

    All of the raids that Radley covers are warranted by a judge for the perpetration of an actual crime. The problem remains that the warrants are issued on flimsy evidence by judges who have a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo. Even when the cops manage to raid the right house, they usually face unarmed people guilty of nonviolent offenses

    While I’m as Freedman as the next libertarian, the problem I see with shooting back at cops in situations like this is escalation. If we start shooting back, the cops will start breaking down doors on every warrant they serve. Legislators and judges will back them up on it because of a more prevalent “imminent threat.” And it won’t take the scores of dead people that Radley has been covering to do it either. About ten will start the ball rolling.

  30. I have a good anecdote about cops, drugs and booby traps.I was working in a remote location on the Cumberland Plateau and a “TBI marijuana eradication task force” helicopter landed nearby
    and came up to see what we were doing.The lead cop bragged how much mj they had confiscated and destroyed that season but said the operation was about over. I cringed as some dumb hippie on the crew asked why they had to do their job but then the agent started sputtering about how growers were dangerous criminals who booby trapped their crops with set guns,improvised land mines,punji stick pits, and treble fishhooks suspended at eye-level. Throwing caution to the wind I asked “how many booby traps did you find this year….more than last year” with a smirk on my face. The pig got real pissed and said none but that someone shot at the copter last year.
    I asked if it was a grower and he said no, some old farmer who was mad they were scaring his cows. I started laughing and he and his colleagues turned and went back to their ‘copter without saying even good bye.

  31. According to veteran law enforcement, the war on drugs has not reduced the incidence of drug use, has not reduced the flow of drugs, and has created the modern Capone, the drug lords. The drug war is targeting blacks, resulting in an incarceration rate of blacks in the US that is over five times higher per 100,000 than were imprisoned in South Africa at the height of apartheid.
    http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php

    The Cato Institute has documented the widespread abuse of innocent citizens in botched raids. Categories are death of an innocent, death or injury of a police officer, death of a nonviolent offender, raid on an innocent suspect, other examples of paramilitary police excess, and unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
    http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

    Anytime the government says war on something it is guaranteed to be an attack on our freedom and the Constitution. The federal government needs to be restricted to Constitutional parameters, which is very little outside the national defense, the mail, and the census. All laws and government actions should cite a clear Constitutional basis before going into effect, not be in effect until some citizen prevails in court.

  32. Hugh – By actual crime, I meant not vice related.

  33. And it won’t take the scores of dead people that Radley has been covering to do it either. About ten will start the ball rolling.

    My guess you’re at least eight too high.

    Look at the proliferation of ‘possessive form of a young girl’s name’ laws.

  34. Isn’t our government supposed to be fighting terrorism instead of perpetrating it against innocent Americans?

    Just wondering…

    -jcr

  35. It is not a good idea to bobby trap your property.

    I concur. If you want to get serious about defending your property, install doors that take more than a kick to get through, plenty of cameras in well-hidden locations, and make sure you have an offshore server to upload all of your video to in real time.

    -jcr

  36. Gestapo tactics. Like a goddamed Dead Kennedys song.

  37. “””Is ‘Officer Kim’ a BATF alumna?”””

    I was thinking the reserves with time in one of our current campaigns.

    “”””According to veteran law enforcement, the war on drugs has not reduced the incidence of drug use, has not reduced the flow of drugs, and has created the modern Capone, the drug lords.”””

    Retired veteran law enforcement maybe. You won’t find many on the job saying that. THe unwritten rule is you can’t talk bad about the game while you’re still playing. Think military commanders and Bush.

  38. This is an example of bad police work. Just plain incompetence combined with bullying behavior that was “justified” by a drug raid.

    Shooting two defenseless dogs. I don’t know why there isn’t more national outrage over that…and the MIL and the abuse in general.

    Sounds like “Kim” and the others had a bit of a sociopathic adreneline burst. Did “Kim” shoot a frightened dog in the back as it was running away and then make an appointment with her vet for her own dog??? Sick.

    For those of you in the rest of the country who don’t know PG County, it is a corrupt and drug-infested county on the “bad” side of D.C. It’s a joke.

    My husband and I lived in PG when we were first married; got out when we could afford it.

    Ironically, if the PG police want to find the real players in the drug business, they should check those multi-millions dollar mansions on the golf course and find out how all the unemployed occupants of those homes can afford their lifestyle.

    The mayor of Berwyn Heights was the least likely person – in his modest 1950’s home with his simply dressed wife – to be dealing drugs.

    Of course , you gotta be smart to know that. PG police ….well, dumb and dumber.

  39. Is bite-resistant outerwear unavailable to police?

  40. Does anyone have any idea about the actual numbers of police officers that are attacked by dogs and subsequently injured to the point that other officers are afraid and need to use deadly force? Shouldn’t our local letter carrier pack heat as well given the logical extension?

  41. Seems one could “booby” trap a house with non-life threatening/non-injuring effects like lights, sound, etc. Perhaps the idea would be to slow the raiders/robbers down and alert the homeowner. I am curious about SWAT protocol. Under their protocol, for what reasons would they be forced to back off/retreat? It seems that being shot at isn’t enough to force a retreat.

  42. Just a guess: Superior firepower?

  43. I don’t think there’s a need to booby trap a house. Blast/bullet resistant doors are available for about the price of a solid wood door. They even make them with wood veneers. Doors like this are essentially impossible to break down. I imagine someone with a door ram would break their wrists trying. An inexpensive way to harden windows is to apply a synthetic coating created to help during hurricanes and break-ins. In a demo video it took a man 10 minutes to get through with an axe. Use triple pane widows and you will get projectile resistance as well. Many triple panes will stop a .38.

    If you can stop them for a while you will be able to call your lawyer, the media, etc.

  44. Anarch, I suppose if you have your own SWAT team at home, you’re all set. I was just wondering if there was a simple way to use their SOP against them.

  45. Oh, and Stupendousman’s got the answer in part, I think. If they can’t mantain a level of surprise because your house is difficult to break in to, then their standard procedures are out the window.

  46. J sub D | August 10, 2008, 5:29pm | #
    For the record, I just used the search function on the website of Michigan’s largest daily, The Detroit Free Press, for both Cheye Calvo and Berwyn Heights.

    Nothing.

    J sub D, Berwyn Heights is in Maryland, not Michigan, so it’s not too surprising that the DFP doesn’t have any stories on it. The Washington Post, however, has done an excellent job covering the case; they’ve run at least 5 articles on it since the initial raid. Additionally, CNN covered the press conference Calvo held last week. The AP picked it up and it was featured on msnbc, yahoo news, and other major outlets.

    The sad part is, as Mayor Calvo and Bradley noted, the only reason they’re covering this case is because he’s the mayor.

  47. re: stupendousman @ 12:53

    A solid door alone won’t solve the problem. The weak area is where the bolt engages with the frame. Most doors can be popped open at this point by simply wedging a prybar (a large screwdriver will often do) between the door and the frame and pushing the handle sideways. This forces the bolt and the striker plate inward until it bursts through the soft pine that the frame is usually made of. A battering ram will do the same, plus it’s loud and violent.

    ‘Course there are ways to shore up the frame, too, but just sayin’…

  48. Shirt,

    The blast resistant I’ve seen have multi-point locks like those on a safe door. A heavy duty frame is also part of the install.

    Ex.
    http://www.matadoors.co.uk/residential_doors_high_security_doors_910.html

  49. Window protection:

    http://www.shattergard.com/home.html

    Warning- loud flash intro

  50. Next up, controlling/prohibiting possession, use, sale, distribution, etc. of these protections.

  51. Exactly Stupendous Man, and I have an example.

    A lady was assualted in front of the Hell’s Angels NYC clubhouse. So the NYPD tried to raid the building, except they couldn’t breakdown the door, nor gain access though window. Basically the cops spent hours trying to figure out what to do next. It gave the Hell’s Angels time to call their lawyer who looked over the warrant and worked out terms for the peaceful surrender of the suspect.

  52. I think the best idea is the hidden cameras. Nothing makes a pig squirm more than their gestapo actions on TV, for the world to see. Look at what happened to that fat cock-sucker, Officer Salvatore Rivieri, Baltimore’s finest, on YouTube.

    Of course, I doubt we’ll hear an apology from the Jackboots involved in the Mayor’s assault. Yet when one of their cops get plugged, we’ll be expected to feel sorry for the loss of a “fine and upstanding citizen.”

  53. Since 9/11, more innocent Prince George’s county residents were terrorized or murdered by members of the Prince George’s police department under Melvin High and the sheriff’s department under Michael Jackson than by al qaeda or any other foreign terrorist group.

  54. Does anyone know if the Mayor was a democrat?

  55. why did they have to shoot a harmless labrador retriever, in the back. as it was running away?

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