Militarization of Police

Cato to Host Forum on No-Knock Raids With reason's Radley Balko; Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo, and LEAP co-founder Peter Christ

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Here are the details, from Cato's website:

Should No-Knock Police Raids be Rare-or Routine?

POLICY FORUM
Thursday, September 11, 2008
4:00 PM (Reception To Follow)

Featuring Cheye Calvo, Mayor, Berwyn Heights, Maryland, Radley Balko, Senior Writer, Reason and author of Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, Peter Christ, Co-founder, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Moderated by Tim Lynch, Director, Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

The Prince George's County police department is under fire for a recent drug raid on the home of Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo. Unbeknownst to Calvo, a box containing marijuana was delivered to his home. Shortly thereafter, police officers kicked in the front door and shot both of Calvo's pet Labrador retrievers. The police have subsequently cleared Calvo of any wrongdoing but are unapologetic about their raid tactics. Are no-knock, paramilitary raids an appropriate tactic for drug investigations? Or do sudden, unannounced entries bring unnecessary violence to police investigations? Join us for a discussion of the Prince George's incident and, more broadly, the militarization of police work in America.

Cato events, unless otherwise noted, are free of charge. To register for this event, please fill out the form below and click submit or email events@cato.org, fax (202) 371-0841, or call (202) 789-5229 by 4:00 PM, Wednesday, September 10, 2008. Please arrive early. Seating is limited and not guaranteed. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200.

If you can't make it to the Cato Institute, watch this forum live online.

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  1. It will be interesting to hear Mayor Calvo’s views on this.

  2. Mayor Calvo is of interest only to the extent his personal experience has changed his views. Is there any evidence he gave a shit before the jack-booted thugs kicked in his door?

    I’ll be interested in how Balko plays it. After reading his stuff the past couple of years, I know he owns this issue. His style is to take a firm but careful stand. He won’t make accusations he can’t prove, and he doesn’t speculate very far. This being a forum and not a debate, I expect more of the same. I’d love to see Balko tee off on some drum beating drug warrior some time. He is SO totally prepared he could dismantle any opponent on no-knock raids.

    The surprise here is the LEAP guy. LEAP is a few years old now and is conspicuous in the lack of on-duty cops amongst it’s ranks. The reason for that is obvious. But even so, it would take tens of thousands of retired cops to be a credible representative of law enforcement.

  3. Might want to change “Peter Christ” to “Peter Crist”

  4. I know it’ll show up on Reason TV, but is it possible to get this confab televised nationally? PBS surely has some taxpayer dollars to spend on public interest programming.

  5. If anyone cares, I’ll be there. I’m the 30-something skinny dude with a bourbon gut.

  6. PG county is horse shit, the local media here doesn’t even care. The no-knocks need to stop. They won’t but they need to.

  7. J sub D,
    CSPAN will likely air it a couple of times.

  8. “Rare or routine” sounds like the wrong menu to choose from. Rather, justification for pre-emptive strikes should be sought on the merits of each case, irrespective of statistical frequency or paucity. Imminent threats to safety, if numerous, call for proportionate instances of suppression. For example, if there are many cases in which bands of armed individuals conspire to invade homes of peaceful residents, terrorize them, kill their pets and destroy their property…

  9. Mayor Calvo is of interest only to the extent his personal experience has changed his views. Is there any evidence he gave a shit before the jack-booted thugs kicked in his door?

    Warren, don’t you think it is a benefit in having one more person on “our” side of this argument, regardless of how he or she came to that conclusion?

    I personally admit I was all for the Death Penalty. I thought it wasn’t applied correctly (read: strenously enough), and I wanted to limit the number of appeals to make it more effective as a crime deterrent. After reading about the overwhelming number of mistakes and outright falsehoods used in putting innocent people on Death Row, I quickly changed my mind. Should I be judged on how I used to think? Or in what I believe now?

    I understand your point, I am just for adding one more person and one more person and one more person to “our” side. However they get there is fine, although I don’t wish any no-knock raids on anyone (besides, perhaps… Juanita).

  10. Who on that forum is arguing for “routine”?

  11. One might expect police “actions” like these to be carefully thought out, with meticulous preparation.

    Unfortunately, preparation seems to consist of a bunch of addlebrained steroid junkies in a room snorting and stomping their feet and yelling, “Let’s go git them fuckers!”

  12. No knock raids are an important tool in the war on drugs, it is a form of shock and awe. The purpose is to catch them off guard by surprise so they cannot flee or dispose of evidence. It is a useful way to execute drug users because if they don’t know it is police and try to defend their home they will be shot.

  13. Warren, don’t you think it is a benefit in having one more person on “our” side of this argument, regardless of how he or she came to that conclusion?

    Oh sure, I’ll gladly welcome the support of anyone who wants to tighten the reigns on law enforcement. I’m just saying, I’m not yet impressed with his honor and would hold off on making him our spokesman. Maybe I’ll change my mind after I hear him. But for now, he’s just another goddamned politician to me.

  14. …he’s just another goddamned politician to me.

    Point taken.

    As I always mumble under my breath (a slight variation of “the business of America…”), The Politics of politics is politics.

  15. the reigns on of law enforcement

  16. the reins of law enforcement
    /nitpick

  17. Atinuaj, A useful way to EXECUTE drug users? First of all, who made you the executioner, and second, what happens when the police kick in the wrong door and kill innocent people executing their Constitutional right to protect their home from invaders? Or are you advocating that police can execute anyone they feel like, including any innocent people who are killed in the crossfire or in a botched raid. What would you do if someone kicked in your door and had the wrong address, and you did not know it was the police? I hope that they would execute you.

  18. There are supposed to be very careful safeguards, both judicial and police tactical for the use of no knock raids. It is impossible to flush 35 pounds of pot quickly.These raids are very dangerous, especially for law enforcement,who do so many of them. This was an incompetent operation from every aspect. No research, no proportionality, no proper no knock warrant from a judge, no coordination with local police, no common sense appraisal of the high likelihood that the Calvo’s were innocent recipients, etc. A first week police academy student could have planned this one out better. Sow the wind, reap the lawsuit.

  19. Is there ever going to be any report on the investigation here? These police have done botched raids before in Prince George’s County in which innocent people have been killed. Where is the press and journalistic outrage here?

  20. I think too many police have a rambo wannabe mentality. In the old days we called them “peace” officers. I think the younger ones have grown up watching too many robocop type movies. The most skilled offciers are the ones that are able to de-escelate the situation and avoid a gun battle. This isnt Iraq. I find it hard to beleieve that the cops here really felt that they were going up against a house full of dangerous armed killers over a box with a samll amount of marijhuana in it. I think they really wanted to kill the dogs and humiliate the residents.

  21. Why did these cops have to shoot a harmless labrador retriever, in the back, as it was running away from them? These cops are evil, they have no soul. They will be judged. The world is round.

  22. -Atinuaj

    Believe it or not, the purpose of the police is not to serve as the judge, jury, and executioner. What was witnessed in PiG County was something that would have fit well in Nazi Germany, only they operated under a higher IQ that the thugs that executed this raid. Does this give them the right to gun you down for legally defending your property? Or how about Tarika Wilson, a young woman who was gunned down by a jack boot while holding her infant son?

    I am sorry, but if you look at the majority of the police officers today, they all wear their thug attitudes like a badge of honor. Until I start to see major change, I’ll continue to view all police officers with the same level of distrust.

  23. I like to think we can protect our family from garden variety criminal street thugs and burglars, but how do we protect our family from “constables on the prowl” who get off on the adrenalin rush of busting down doors and murdering harmless family pets for sport and thrills? And not even an oops, I’m sorry..what incredbile disgusting arrogance! This will be the mother of all lawsuits.

  24. Not all police are bad. Remember, most cops are very hard working and brave. This dog shooting was the work of a few bad apples who are not fit to be human beings much less wear a badge. They will be fired, dont worry.

  25. No-knock raids should be the default approach, provided that the cops are instructed to shoot everyone inside. It’s the only way we can be sure.

  26. fyi: Atinuaj is juanita spelled backwards, incorrectly.

    They will be fired, dont worry.

    i too enjoy the crisp, clean taste of mind-altering drugs!

  27. Karen Hudson:
    “Not all police are bad. Remember, most cops are very hard working and brave. This dog shooting was the work of a few bad apples who are not fit to be human beings much less wear a badge. They will be fired, dont worry.”

    First, if I am with a friend who robs a store and shoots the clerk, I am still guilty of murder. Even though I did not know he was going to shoot the clerk. Now if good cops stand by while bad cops do their bad deeds, then they themselves are also bad cops. By that standard there are more bad apples then good.

    Second, do you really think they would be fired for shooting the dogs, not investigating, possibly entrapping, brutality? They do not get fired when they shoot through babies to kill a mother. In fact they get medals when they break into the wrong house and attempt to kill everyone inside including the children.

    Last, you need to watch that BS propaganda show Dallas SWAT to see how brave they really are. If they know the danger is very low they rush right in and crush the little old lady with overwhelming force; however if there is a good possibility they may meet with an armed defender they will try every humanly way to get the person to surrender, and only as a final option will they rush in.

  28. You know, it’d be even safer for the police if they just pump the house full of fentanyl gas like they did to that theater in Russia.

  29. Fuck the War on Drugs.

    Drug use by informed consenting adults is a victimless crime. Drugs should be legalized and individuals of age should be free to decide whether or not to take them and which ones to take. The individual is in a better position to determine whether the benefits are worth the risk of self-harm, and the government should not protect adults from their own decisions by depriving them of the freedom to make those decisions.

    The fact that the War on Drugs is serving as a pretext for these kinds of reckless law enforcement tactics is simply piling one injustice on top of another.

    If we had no “victimless crime” laws, would we still have to worry about law enforcement acquiring unjust power on the pretext of enforcing legitimate laws? Maybe, but it would probably be much less of a problem than it is now.

  30. Atinuaj and juanita are TROLLs…and the same person….ignore them

    KEEP DOPE ALIVE !!!

  31. While I’m firmly on the “rare” side, it would be nice if you could get some “routine” guys on the forum. Otherwise, it’s just a big circle jerk.

  32. Not all police are bad. Remember, most cops are very hard working and brave.

    Oddly, most cops do nothing about the bad apples in their midst.

    They will be fired, dont worry.

    I’ve got $20 that says they won’t be.

  33. Atinuaj and juanita are not to be confused with the love of my life, Juanita. They are filthy low rent imposters who don’t fool this lovestruck reasonoid one bit.

  34. J sub,

    Should I bring flowers for Juanita from you to Cato on the 11th, just in case I see her there?

  35. Should I bring flowers for Juanita from you to Cato on the 11th, just in case I see her there?

    Let me check out the exact wording of the restraining order and get back to you.

  36. Dude!
    You’re taking away my “plausible deniability!”

    (fucking hilarious by the way)

  37. I advocate Door #3 – these raids should be illegal, without exception, ever.

  38. Anyone feel free to correct what might be my faulty memory, but wasn’t Prince George County, MD the place where one or some of the county commissioners, the local brand of elected Nazis, were all ready to ban outdoor smoking?

    Given that, do these drug raids surprise anyone. BTW, wasn’t it a PG County cop who shot and killed an unarmed dentist in the course of another SWAT operation, this within the last few years?

  39. BTW, wasn’t it a PG County cop who shot and killed an unarmed dentist in the course of another SWAT operation, this within the last few years?

    If I may correct myself, he shooting of the unarmed dentist took place Virginia, the Arlington area if memory serves.

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