Drug Policy

More Death, More Drug Raids Gone Wrong: FBI Edition

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The family of Laquisha Turner, a 17-year-old quadriplegic woman who died last week in Richmond, California, is blaming her death on an FBI drug raid of their home.

"When I opened the door I said, 'I have a disabled daughter…you guys are going to scare her, you can come in and search, do whatever you have to do,' but by this time they were coming in the side door shooting things," West said.

West believes the agents used tear gas during the raid on her house.

The agents were serving a for West's son, wanted on felony drug charges. The FBI declined to comment to ABC7, citing an ongoing investigation, but sources close to the raids said the agents used flash-bang gernades, not tear gas but admitted they do leave a cloud of smoke.

Turner was kept inside, breathing the air while waiting for paramedics while the raid went on.

"They kept telling her to get down on the ground and she kept telling them, 'I can't get down,'" West said.

The FBI was apparently looking for Turner's brother, who is wanted on felony drug charges. Oddly, Turner was paralyzed after being shot two years ago in a drive-by targeted at her boyfriend.  That shooting led to retaliatory shootings that precipitated the series of FBI raids last month.  Prosecutors may now charge her assailants with murder.

It's too early to say if Turner's death was directly attributable to the raid.  Her family is awaiting the results of an autopsy.  And it's difficult to muster much outrage over the more severe charges for the men who shot her two years ago.  But regardless of whether the raid was a factor in her death, she was needlessly put through another horrifying experience.  Once again we have police storming a house with guns and flashbangs to apprehend a drug offender.  And once again, it looks like they didn't first bother to check to see who might be inside (if they knew Turner was inside and chose the paramilitary tactics anyway, all the worse).  In this case, they at best terrified—and at worst may have killed—the very woman whose injury set off the reason for the raids in the first place.

This comes a couple of weeks after a drug raid in Pittsburgh that resulted in the first on-duty death of an FBI agent in more than a decade.  Agent Samuel Hicks was shot and killed when Christina Korbe, the wife of suspect Robert Korbe, says she mistook the raiding FBI agents for armed robbers, and fired blindly down the stairs to her home.  While Robert Korbe is a repeat drug offender, Christina had no prior record, and claims she was protecting her 10- and 4-year-old children, who were asleep upstairs during the 6 am raid.  She called 911 shortly after shooting Hicks. She has been charged with criminal homicide.

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  1. These stories get sadder every time I read them. I am slightly confused though, so they knocked on the front door first and talked with the mother but then the back/side door teams decided to raid in grenades blazin’ anyways?

    Also any more news on the man from Virginia who is going through the same thing as Christina Korbe?

  2. We’ve come to an interesting place. You have your second amendment rights. You have the right to own a firearm for self defense. But you’ll never know if the dark figures charging through the door are perpetrating a home-invasion robbery, or are just your friendly local police officers doing a meet-and-greet.

    There’s your gun, use it to defend yourself. Feelin’ lucky?

  3. Not feeling a lot of sympathy for Agent Hicks.

  4. lucky is as lucky does ?

    oh, that was a meet and greet. . .

  5. Prosecutors may now charge her assailants with murder.

    You mean someone is finally going to hold those reckless thugs we call drug police accountable for their actions? Awesome.

    Oh, that’s not what you meant. Silly me.

  6. And soon, it won’t be paramilitary cops conducting home invasions, it’ll be 20,000 troops from the 3rd Infantry Division.

  7. So, being physically incapable of putting your hands up or lying down is now punishable by firing squad execution.

    The more time passes, the more it looks like all those federal agencies are really treating US citizens like they’re some conquered country’s population. A comparison with how soldiers treat Irakis could bring up interesting parallels, I think.

  8. I have little trouble with a justice system where actions that could result in death are treated the same way as ones that do. (For example, if some guy shoots me in the chest, hits a lung, but I happen to just make it into surgery in time to survive, I’m fine with my good luck being separate from the punishment of the assailant). From that, I would be fine with charging her shooters with whatever will get them punishments like murder(prior to this raid).

    But, if they are only changing the charges BECAUSE she died from something unrelated, it’s complete BS.

  9. lib dem,

    The principle is that the act of causing someone to die is murder, regardless of ho long the death takes to occur. So if you shoot me and I die from it, whether my death takes seconds or weeks does not matter.

    There have been many cases where a victim has lingered for weeks before succumbing – and the assailant has been charged and successfully prosecuted for murder. This can be taken to extremes. There was some guy recently who died 30 years after he was shot. The medical examiner, though, concluded that the death was caused by health problems directly caused by the shooting. Result, a guy who had been charged, convicted and punished for aggravated assault for a shooting several decades back found himself arrested for murder.

    Don’t know how that case turned out (to be honest I am hazy on the details)…

  10. Well at least this military style raid was conducted on the right house attempting to apprehend violent felons and not on innocent people or non-violent drug offenders.

  11. Interesting how I never hear about police doing an invasion style raid on meth or LSD labs. This has to be due to the presense of highly flammable/explosive/biohazardous chemicals such as hydrazine, methylamine, ether, toluene, etc.

    So my question is – since the police still arrest meth & LSD cooks, why can’t they use the same tactics on non-meth/LSD dealers?

  12. “So my question is – since the police still arrest meth & LSD cooks, why can’t they use the same tactics on non-meth/LSD dealers?”

    cuz it doesn’t make a good show!

    Thank you again, Radley for bringing these stories to our attention.

  13. Moose – if they can’t play soldier, it’s just no fun.

    BTW, standard libertarian/anti-drug war disclaimer on above question.

  14. The principle is that the act of causing someone to die is murder, regardless of ho long the death takes to occur.

    Interesting parallels with Valerie Solanas and Andy Warhol.

  15. Baked – yup.

  16. “I have little trouble with a justice system where actions that could result in death are treated the same way as ones that do.”

    Wow, I sure hope your view does not prevail. How far do you want to stretch this? Lots of events could result in death, including life itself.
    Pure outcome-based legal theory. Just like the Lori Drew case. Someone died, let’s find someone, preferably someone totally unsympathetic, and make him the culprit. No matter if we have to mix up correlation and causality, whatever it takes.
    Makes for terrible law for the rest of us, every time, but does not surprise me in this almost hysterical climate of victims rights and punishment.

  17. It’s too early to say if Turner’s death was directly attributable to the raid

    I’m amazed they didn’t shoot her for not getting down on the ground, which would have made it directly attributable for sure. Must be that FBI professionalism.

  18. Stupid freaking cops. Too bad she didnt have a claymore mine to set at the front door to greet them!

    hess
    http://www.anonweb.net.tc

  19. For once I agree with the spam bot.

  20. I get the NRA magazine every month. Every magazine has 3-5 blurbs, up front, about people who have shot intruders. However, they have never reported on any of these drug raids. Where is the NRA on this?

  21. Where is the NRA on this?

    On the side of the police for the most part. Pretty much making the assumption that they’re heroes going after the evildoers.

    You’ll have to go to other 2d Amndt advocates to find a contrary opinion.

  22. “So my question is – since the police still arrest meth & LSD cooks, why can’t they use the same tactics on non-meth/LSD dealers?”

    Because they are usually white.

  23. Hmmm . . . Fred may be onto something. I should deal meth and LSD and stay away from “hard” drugs like pot to keep from being raided SWAT style.

  24. So this guy they were looking for never left his house. He stayed in there 24/7 and the only way to apprehend him was to do an assault on the home ignoring the high possiblity of collateral damage?

    What? He wasn’t there? He steppped out and was at large in the community while our highly educated and trained feebs were wasting considerable time and resources on someplace he might be at?

    This incompetency and callous disregard for the safety of bystanders no longer surprises me.

    I’m a bit under the weather today, please insert appropriate foul-penned invective adverbs and adjectives as appropriate.

  25. a drug raid in Pittsburgh that resulted in the first on-duty death of an FBI agent in more than a decade.

    What was that again about how it is so dangerous to be an FBI agent that they need paramilitary snatch squads to arrest people?

  26. Patrick & Isaac … take a moment to read the NRA material. Then think about how it applies to this situation, or to others like it.

    The FBI bursts in with flash-bang grenades, and a few days later, a quadriplegic who was in the house succumbs to non-gun-related injuries she incurred during the raid.

    Exactly what do you figure the NRA should be saying about this? Do you think they should be featuring articles about how a lawful gun owner shot a storm trooper, mistaking them for an armed robber? How should that play out? What is your line of thinking that causes you to denigrate the NRA in these regards?

    Why not blame Smith & Wesson for making guns that are used by FBI agents? Or Escort for making the flash-bang grenades?

  27. Do you think they should be featuring articles about how a lawful gun owner shot a storm trooper, mistaking them for an armed robber?

    Yes, they should. If the NRA’s rhetoric about self-defense means anything, then they should be reminding people that you are (in some states, including Texas) and should be (in all states) allowed to defend yourself against the cops.

    There should be one standard for self-defense – your reasonable fear that your life is in danger – regardless of whether the person putting it in danger is a cop or a criminal without a badge.

  28. Patrick,

    The NRA are cosmotarians of the Gun Rights movement. Remember how they fell all over themselves apologizing for the “jack booted thugs” comment? The only thing they care about is what their fellow elitist DC lobbyist friends think of them, and so they toe the establishment line. If you want a group that really cares about Gun Rights, you need to join Gun Owners of America.

  29. Why don’t they spend their time investigating the criminals in Washington DC and Wall Street?

    This stuff is petty compared to what’s going on there.

  30. R C Dean … I can dig it, but it’s a no-win situation.

    Say they report on it in their magazine in support of individuals using their weapons to defend themselves against armed intruders. This is clearly a problem for the individual. They used their deadly force and killed a cop, albeit unwittingly. How does reporting on that advance the NRA’s agenda?

    I agree that there should be a discussion, but Patrick’s question is a non-starter because it has pretty much nothing to do with what the NRA is all about and Isaac’s response was completely uninformed. I was responding to them.

  31. For the story in Pittsburgh, it is absolutely ridiculous to villianize the police or FBI in the case of christine and robert korbe. They were part of a very violent drug ring in Pittsburgh and Christine did have a police record for drugs. Her husband was a very well known drug dealer, and a horrible criminal who beat people violently for looking at him sideways. He was nothing short of a terrorist. The police are on tape announcing themselves before breaking down the Korbe’s door and the husband acknowledged them from a window and then proceeded to run down the steps and try to drain his drugs down a wash basin, change his clothes and run out a back door leaving his drug addicted wife and two kids on a second floor where she blindly fired shots from a second story landing in to the hall way, murdering an innocent FBI agent who was only 32 years old and the father of a three year old son. He was a decent and honorable person. Christine and Robert Korbe : God only knows how many people have died or overdosed at their hands of drug sales. They have terrorized people, beat people, sold drugs and exposed their children to this lifestyle. To sympathize with them is equal to sympathy for the devil himself.

  32. Had a little hysteria for breakfast today, Susan?

    As sorry as I feel for Agent Hicks, the fact is he died as a result of a misguided, interventionist government policy. What Robert Korbe was doing was no different than what alcohol and tobacco companies do every day. If Agent Hicks or the officers accompanying him have ever smoked or drank alcohol, they were engaging in an act of rank hypocrisy. Period.

    This is not to glorify Robert Korbe (although it is worth noting that Christine’s police record for drugs was for marijuana charges that never came to trial.) However, given the SWAT team tactics, it would be all too easy for someone to confuse what was happening with a criminal home invasion. Last time I checked, the standard of innocence in the American justice system was one of reasonable doubt. That seems to be a factor here.

  33. Nope its not hysteria. These are facts. I personally know the people that were terrorized by Korbe…he part of a VIOLENT drug ring. He PUSHED drugs in a VIOLENT manner and has been involved with this since he was a teenager. He beat a harmless man and left him lying in a pool of blood just because the man happened to walk in to the wrong place at the wrong time. He was part of a very large, complex, violent, drug ring in Pittsburgh and he deserved to go to jail. Bottom line. The last time I checked alcohol companies like Budweiser or tobacco companies such as Marlboro have not beat the living day lights out of anybody to use their product…but Korbe beat people and operated his drug ring in a very violent manner. His wife knowingly went along with this lifestyle and paraded her children around as high as a kite. Drinking alcohol is not a crime. Pushing crack cocaine on innocent teens or selling heroin to 12 year olds, and beating people in a massive drug ring is a crime and Hicks was simply doing his job to get scum such as Korbe out of our community. Christine Korbe has known for years what her husband has been involved in and before you write such garbage you should get the facts straigt and understand that people are actually closer to the situation than you may know and are not having hysteria for breakfast…but reality.

  34. What’s crazy is the person they searched the house for doesn’t even live there. And they knew he didn’t live there he might have frequented the house but of course, it’s his moms. But they have no solid proof that he actually lived there. So why are you raiding this house again?

  35. It’s not a war on drugs. It’s a war on your freedom. Why should it be any business of the government what you choose to put in your body?

    The government effectively funds crime by making drugs illegal. Don’t think so? We tried all this before. It was called “prohibition”. We had criminals making a killing off illegal hootch and drive by shootings with shotguns and machineguns were common. Most of the crime, death and destruction associated with drugs is over deals gone bad, turf wars or trying to fund an expensive habit. And yet, with alcohol legalized, I’ve never seen one bartender shoot at another over who gets to serve a customer or a gun battle between bar owner and beer delivery truck driver.

    Get the picture? The “War on Drugs” makes us all less safe and less free – which is exactly what the authoritarian police state wants. Legalize drugs now. Make it a death penalty offense to deliver drugs to people below a certain age, and be done with it.

    We would save over $200 billion every year – in eliminated court, prison and policing costs. Murders would drop more than 50%. We’d save even more in all the crimes that WOULDN’T be committed to fund drug habits. A month’s supply of cocaine today can cost several times more than the average American monthly income. Drug users make up the difference through crime. But if the drug were legal, it would be much, much cheaper. A cocaine user could fund a month’s use by flipping burgers a couple days a month. Cost-wise, it would be more like buying beer than gold.

    So, would you rather the drug addicts burglarize, maybe attack, rob, maybe even kill you? Your kids? Your parents? Or would you rather leave them alone, end this unconstitutional war on American citizens, and just make drugs legal?

    Storm troopers who kick in the doors in support of illegal laws (like the Federal laws against drugs – which are UNconstitutional – check it out – there’s no congressional power to regulate drugs) deserve a bullet in the skull. When they get it, I don’t shed any tears for them.

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