Militarization of Police

Puppycide in Prince George's County

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Ten days ago, police in Prince George's Country, Maryland conducted a mistaken drug raid on Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo, his wife, and her mother.  During the raid, the shot and killed the family's two black labs, one of which the family says was running away.  Police officials now concede that Calvo and his wife were innocent, and they regret that Calvo and his family were "victimized by drug dealers," but they refuse to apologize for the violent tactics, or for killing the dogs.

As it turns out, it isn't the first time Prince George's County police have killed the family pet during a botched raid.  From November of last year:

The Myers say the deputies knew immediately they had raided the wrong home. They say it could have ended with an apology, until the couple heard two shots from the yard.

"And I said, 'You just shot my dog," said Pam Myers, through tears. "I just wanted to go out and hold her a bit. They wouldn't even let me go out."

The couple's five-year-old boxer Pearl was killed. The deputy says he feared for his life. They say the dog would bark but was no danger to the deputies.

ABC 7/NewsChannel 8's Brad Bell reports that a search of court records shows a warrant for a suspected drug dealer who lives two doors away at 14610 Livingston Road. The address is clearly displayed on that house.

"It's just not right that people have to worry about—police have their jobs to do, but the house is marked over there. All they had to do was go look," she said. "I want the sheriff to apologize to my family for killing their dog."

The Myers say they have received no apology. They say the deputies just left the scene, offering no explanation.

And the Washington Post reports:

Upper Marlboro resident Amber James has filed a $4 million lawsuit accusing sheriff's deputies of searching her home without a warrant in May 2007 while looking for her sister, who lived in Capitol Heights. According to the suit, deputies falsely claimed to have a warrant and searched every room of the home. When they did not find the sister, the suit alleges, they threatened to return the next day and search again, saying that if they did, James's dog would be dead.

The Post article quotes some law enforcement professional organizations who say that during a raid, killing the family dog should be the absolutely last option. That may be the case, but too many police departments across the country haven't gotten the memo.

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  1. To hell with apologies, I think civil suits, administrative punishments (suspensios without pay, demotions, etc) and possibly criminal charges should be applied. This is nuts. So many people are afraid of what are supposed to be their public servants.

  2. The problem with civil suits is that many jurors believe it is against their economic self-interest to vote against large awards.

    I think the answer is equitable remedies — courts putting a hand in the writing of police procedures — although even that doesn’t work out so well.

    Another thing that irks me is that attacking police dogs are not generally considered as deadly force, even though they generally are, while family pets are considered deadly force vis-a-vis a policeman, even though they are generally not.

  3. Absolute scum. I honestly hope for a painful, lingering death for every member of the PGC SWAT team.

  4. The cops in this country are absolute scum, every single one of them.

    If any cop were not total scum he/she would be speaking up about what the rest are doing. As this is not happening they must all be scum with no exceptions.

  5. To hell with apologies, I think civil suits, administrative punishments (suspensios without pay, demotions, etc) and possibly criminal charges should be applied.

    Not to mention shooting some cops because the householder “says he feared for his life.”

    Oh, wait. Did I say that out loud?

  6. Actually, that’s not a very good idea, since chances are that you’d either end up riddled with police bullets, or else on death row like Cory Maye.

  7. The deputy says he feared for his life.

    This is entirely believable. Cops are pathetic, sniveling cowards, which is why they find it necessary to throw old women on the floor and ty-rap their hands behind their backs, as they did to Mayor Calvo’s mother-in-law.

    (I mean no offense to Mrs. Porter by referring to her as an “old woman”)

    baboons

    with guns

  8. Sadly, resistance from the victims of these raids would likely only result in more public sympathy for the cops and acceptance of aggressive tactics. Widespread media coverage of completely sympathetic victims like the Calvos is the only thing that is likely to sway public opinion and (possibly) lead toward reforms.

  9. Ahhhh, my old ‘hood, PG County. I don’t miss it one bit.

    I suspect that a SWAT team will need to take out an entire family of young, cute and blonde teenagers before the public snaps out of the COPS inspired sonombulistic daze they’re in over the WoD.

    I’d call these POS cops scum, but scum is too easily treatable; you just skim it off the top and throw it away. The level of cowardice and power corruption we’re dealing with goes to the core of the police in this country now; it’s institutional. It’s going to take a bunker buster to clean house.

  10. 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.

  11. entire family of young, cute and blonde teenagers

    A home invasion SWAT raid on the Kappa Kappa Gamma house at Duke University? That might make it onto MSNBC; four times an hour, for every day for weeks.
    Particularly with video of men in black body armor hanging by their heels from the lampposts.

  12. These police officers are not only coward scumbags, but pussy little wimps.

    Jesus, how many times does one encounter a family dog walking around a residential neighborhood, and how often do dogs bark or run around and pose absolutely no threat.

    Cops should be expected to defend themselves against a dog without the use of deadly force. If a dog licks or plays with you, Pig, take it like a fucking man. Unless fangs are exposed and the dog is at your throat, you should be able to avoid it.

    I guess if a little kid runs up and says ” Hi Mr police officer” he might be a threat too- better shoot him dead.

    Fuck these fat worthless pigs who cannot do a goddamn thing without being fucking wimps and pulling out a gun. What the fuck is wrong with these people and why are these cowards allowed to serve? If you believe their excuses they “fear for their safety” in every fucking situation imaginable. Well guess what asshole. If you are that much of wimp find another fucking job.

  13. Criminal charges — don’t screw around — petition the feds to come in and round them up in a big sweep, indict them, try them, and send them to prison where they can meet up with the Old Boys who aren’t terribly fond of cops. Some of them are referred to as “Gladiator School” where they — supposedly — give you a trash can lid and a stick when you come in and let you fight it out in the exercise yard. See how tough they are without badges, guns, and sympathetic judges.

    JW says it right — they watch COPS and think they’re actually allowed to do that stuff.

  14. Meanwhile, here in NJ, a civilian who’s car was pulled over was arrested, charged and convicted of ASSAULTING a police dog because he merely uttered the following comment, “If that dog scratches my car I’ll F***G kill him.”

    And even that wasn’t enough for the local sheriff, who was outraged to learn that assaulting a police dog is only a disorderly persons offense. He contacted his local legislator, who immediately introduced legislation to increase the offense to a full-fledged crime.

    And the best part…they are calling the bill “Danny’s Law,” in honor of Danny, the dog who had been “threatened.”

  15. Better one hundred old ladies than one police dog…

  16. Police dogs are police, so they’re more human than the rest of us (to a police officer).

    They really are just a huge fucking gang.

  17. Meanwhile, here in NJ, a civilian who’s car was pulled over was arrested, charged and convicted of ASSAULTING a police dog because he merely uttered the following comment, “If that dog scratches my car I’ll F***G kill him.”

    Do you have a link?

  18. The Tree of Liberty is Thirsty…will no one water it?

  19. Labs. The most dangerous animals known to man.

  20. Wicks cherrycoke: are you sure? Some googling for “Danny’s Law” didn’t turn up anything in regards to a dog.

  21. Not your link, Radley, but more of the same here.

  22. Googling “new jersey police dog law” turns up this story from 1995:

    Mr. Bock had been pulled over after a stolen Corvette he was driving sideswiped a jitney bus, the authorities said yesterday. He took off and eventually abandoned the car but was caught by Dux, who bit him. Mr. Bock punched Dux, the police say, leaving the dog with a puffy eye and a limp. Mr. Bock now faces a number of charges — including injury to a police dog. “We’ve got a statute for everything,” Sgt. Ernest Jubilee said.

    So, if you injure a police dog while it attacks and bites you, that’s a crime. I wonder if Dux was given administrative suspension with full pay.

  23. Not Danny, Danno. Check out this story from July:
    http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080721/NEWS/80721004
    “””
    A bill in the state Legislature that would increase the penalties for anybody who threatens the life of a police animal has Somerset County roots.

    Lt. Tim Pino of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit said that earlier this year a local drug dealer threatened Dano, a narcotics-sniffing Belgian Malinois with whom Pino has worked for six years.
    “””

  24. This is the sleazy, cowardly type of behavior by police that the useless and stupid drug war brings. If cops here shoot my dog, they’d have to shoot me too, because I’m coming after them.
    WTF? I hate arrogant fucks with guns who shoot helpless animals.

  25. i know from experience, PG cops have ego problems (probably small penis compensation).

  26. I swear to you if some jackass cop or swat guy shot my dog I’d hunt him down and cut his balls off in his bed. I’m sick of this shit!

  27. I wonder if these are the freedoms all the terrorists hate?

  28. Despicable. These men are not upholding the law. They are thugs walking the streets with a gun, swinging their dlcks in people’s faces. They should be behind bars.

  29. Copy of the (signed) e-mail I sent to PG County “Police:”

    We threw the British out of America because their soldiers would kick in our doors without provocation and assault us. You have done the same to the mayor of Berwyn Heights. Everyone involved – including your despicable Chief – should be tried for treason.

    If the FBI is worth one thin dime, you will be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of high crimes. You will find zero support in your community or mine.

    I will follow this story closely in an effort to ensure that our federal government is capable of protecting us against scum like you. You are enemies of the state, and the citizens of the USA recognize you – and will treat you – as such. Deal with it.

  30. This same sheriff’s department did this same thing just a few months ago. Last November Prince George’s County sheriff’s deputies raided the wrong house and after 45 minutes, even after learning of the mistake, shot and killed the family dog in the backyard, a boxer named Pearl. The homeowners pleaded with the LEOs to let them get her. The deputies refused, went out back, and shot the dog twice. The LEOs later got the right place and the right suspect. They still haven’t apologized.
    http://www.acc-tv.com/images/wjla/news/vidcap_berwynheights0808.jpg

  31. It is rather amazing that more people haven’t started sniping cops in general. I mean really if someone is targeting cops who do you suspect when you have fucked over so many people that the list of “who might want to do you harm” is sooooooo long. Some animal lover gets his dog shot cold blooded and then starts a long vengence spree against cops. Not that far fetched in my mind.

  32. The larger problem: They may in fact not have even had a writ for the raid, period. The story develops.

  33. So, if you injure a police dog while it attacks and bites you, that’s a crime. I wonder if Dux was given administrative suspension with full pay.

    I don’t really see the problem here, unless the dog was unleashed on an innocent person (which it wasn’t).

    By the way, all this “kill the pigs” bravado makes us libertarians look like absolute nutjobs. There’s no question that these are egregious offenses, but if you think this calls for people to start executing police officers, all I can say is “you first.” But the drug laws will still be on the books, and the police will have a groundswell of public support.

  34. What’s up with all this police dog hate? Most of them are far more human than the SWAT teams that raid homes.

  35. so Barr did a press release on this… unfortunately it’s very lame…

  36. Jordan,

    My problem is that the special powers and protection that society gives to police officers is being bestowed on an animal that does not understand the rules of engagement and is incapable of accepting a surrender. Once the dog is unleashed, there’s nothing you can do to avoid being seriously injured (including self-defense, apparently).

  37. I don’t really see the problem here, unless the dog was unleashed on an innocent person (which it wasn’t).

    Unless I am mistaken, a properly trained guard dog does not actually attack a person unless given a specific command. They are trained to bark and threaten a person in order to hold them unless their handler gives the order.

    So, either this dog was ordered to attack, or he wasn’t properly trained. In either case, some kind of investigation seems to be in order.

  38. When you surrender you Second Amendment rights, you are at the mercy of these fine individuals.

  39. This article from July indicates that there was a bill introduced in the NJ state legislature that would make it a fourth-degree, indictable crime to purposefully taunt, torment or threaten the life of any law enforcement animal, including police dogs and horses.

    “Lt. Tim Pino of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit said that earlier this year a local drug dealer threatened Dano, a narcotics-sniffing Belgian Malinois with whom Pino has worked for six years.”

    “Pino said that, with support from Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano, he approached state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, R-Branchburg, the sponsor of what’s become known as “Dano’s Law.” Bateman said he hopes to see action on the bill in the fall.

    “These dogs aren’t your typical animals; they’re highly trained and they’re very important to law enforcement,” Bateman said. “It’s almost like threatening one of your fellow officers. They’re not human beings, but still.”

    Threatening a police dog is presently a disorderly persons offense that could carry a fine of up to $1,000 and possibly jail time, according to Pino. Under the bill, those penalties would increase to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in jail, Pino said.

    “To be able to threaten a dog, while the handler is standing right there and they’re connected by a leash and they’re considered a team, and not have that threat carry the same weight, just baffled me,” Pino said.”

    And in PRNJ*, something like this is likely to pass.

    It’s ridiculous – to criminalize the act of saying “I’m gonna kill you” or “I’m gonna kill that dog”, on its own? I could almost see it if those words are uttered under circumstances in which it is likely that the person will take immediate action to carry out his threat and has the means to do so, but what if none of that is present? Guy just says it – he’s not enraged, he’s not acting crazy, he has no weapon, he’s not menacing or approaching in a threatening manner – just says “Keep that dog away from me or I’ll kill it.” Boom – a year and a half in jail? NJ proceeds farther into the liberal Democratic-controlled police state it has already become.

    I reserve the right to bash NJ, having been born there and lived there for the first 35 years of my life before escaping.

    *People’s Republic of New Jersey

  40. These barbaric & sadistic cops need to be individually prosecuted and then hopefully sent to prison where they belong.

    The thug cops were supposedly laughing as they were shooting (and killing) the 2 innocent dogs who each died in a puddle of blood.

    These sadistic and cruel cops should be behind bars not “protecting” our citizens and their streets.

    This kind of disgusting violence seems more akin to police brutality in 3rd world countries like Mexico or Iraq. Where did they get these rejects from?

  41. Something about cops and rights for dogs. Hitting a police dog is the same as attacking the human officer in many states. They live by the concept that hitting their dog is a crime, killing yours is just part of the job.

  42. By the way, all this “kill the pigs” bravado makes us libertarians look like absolute nutjobs.

    But we are nutjobs! If you can’t see that… then you’re in even more trouble than the cypherpunks, conspiracy theorists, spoiled brats, and rebels who occasion these parts are.

    Also, this is the internet. Many are sympathetic to that call to create a civilization of the mind free from that annoying government thing in the unvirtual world. So whenever a story about a cop intrudes on our delight, we are understandably cheesed off.

  43. There is a petition started over the incident with the dogs being shot, please go sign it. We must Protect our dogs. It is at http://protectourdogs.blogspot.com/

  44. Where I am from, any citizen who even hurts a police dog is likely to get the crap beaten out of them and then will invariably be charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence..and will go to jail with a high bond. I guess in Maryland the cops just kill all the dogs and then go drink beer and tell heroic war stories about their exploits.

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