Militarization of Police

More Obfuscation in Prince George's County

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Prince George's County, Maryland officials are still refusing to hand over documents related to the botched raid on Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo.

In letters obtained by The Gazette, county lawyers rejected the mayor's request to obtain police reports, officer accounts and other significant documents from the raid.

"We will object to any request that deals with matters that are or have been subject to investigation," wrote Mary C. Crawford, deputy county attorney, in an Oct. 21 letter to Calvo.

Police spokesman Maj. Andy Ellis said Monday that the county is still reviewing its role in the execution of the search warrant.

"The preliminary investigation has been completed," Ellis said. "Right now it's in the review phase."

Ellis said the department would likely notify Calvo of the conclusions of its internal investigation but said he wasn't sure if police would turn over incident reports and other documents the mayor has sought.

"It's not something we normally do," Ellis said. "I presume he could request them, and we would consider any request. But as a matter of course, it's not something we usually do."

[…]

Calvo, who said he's become increasingly concerned with the tactics officers employ in drug warrants, had also requested copies and reports from other searches the county has done in addition to his own.

Though the county agreed to give copies of the training orders and policy manuals allowed under the Maryland Public Information Act, they denied more specific information about the July 29 raid and any other raids. County attorneys also said they would charge Calvo more than $1,000 to copy the allowed records, which include police training manuals and department policy statements on how to execute search warrants.

"It will be time consuming," Crawford wrote. "Please let me know if you want to spend the money to identify the material."

The Maryland Public Information Act allows anyone to request copies of existing records, though exceptions are made for personnel records, privileged communication with lawyers and material that is part of an ongoing investigation.

Crawford also said budget problems would hamper the county's ability to turn over the allowed information in a timely manner.

This is an elected official making these requests, in a case where he was terrorized and nearly killed by agents of the government, in a botched raid where he was clearly innocent, and that made national news.  And they're still giving him the runaround.  Four-and-a-half months later, they're still playing games. Imagine what happens when normal people try to get documents related to run-ins with the police.

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  1. How about a website paypal donation request, with the caveat they post the information via PDF’s for public consumption? I’d make a contribution towards that.

  2. Well, what can we do? In all honesty, the war on drugs is probably the best example of governmental abuse in modern America. The reason why it is so easy to get away with is that as a nation we generally look (or have looked) down on drug users. That’s why such tactics and general bs are okay.

    This case is so extreme, that I wonder if anything can be done to stop freedom destruction in the name of the drug war. It is obvious that most people (outside of reason) haven’t heard this story and likely wouldn’t beleive it if I told them about it.

    Radley, what can we do?

    Are law enforcement officers always above the law, why? How did it get like this? Was it always like this?

    What can I do?

  3. County attorneys also said they would charge Calvo more than $1,000 to copy the allowed records, which include police training manuals and department policy statements on how to execute search warrants.

    I’ve heard that some of those computer geeks have figured out a way to transfer documents without paper, like with electrons and stuff. So you can just sit at your computer, click your mouse, and zoom, off it goes. Doesn’t require $1000 worth of paper or labor or anything, it’s like magic.

    Maybe we should get this sheriff’s dept to look into that stuff.

  4. If they arent guilty, they have nothing to hide.

  5. This is an elected official making these requests

    He’s a part-time mayor and not an official of the county, but of his town. If he was some kind of County Supervisor or something, the stalling would be truly amazing.

    Still, the arrogance of the pigs is breathtaking.

  6. The reason why it is so easy to get away with is that as a nation we generally look (or have looked) down on drug users.

    This is very true, and also very sad. I can not tell you the amount of times I have been berated by people who are drunk or drink alcohol about me smoking pot. Now, obviously I am not against alcohol at all, but I am just saying, I have never passed out in the grass, face first in a pile of vomit with a fresh stream of urine running down my leg after a few joints.

    cunnivore, although I do get your point, I think (not sure at all but I think) if he were to take them to court over this, he would need hard copies of the documents from the county. Documents on the computer are just to easy to manipulate.

    This is a disheartening story to say the least. I hope justice is served here. Hopefully Calvo will pursue this. Although even if he wins it won’t change these terrible policies and atrocities that are being carried out by police forces on the state and federal levels.

  7. which include police training manuals and department policy statements on how to execute search warrants.

    Policy statements are public record. Training manuals, I don’t know, maybe laying a shelf somewhere.

    Also, is that $1,000 for the entire request? That doesn’t seem too out of line if they bill clerical time at $80 per hour. Suck it up and pay for the records if he can’t embarrass them out of the PD.

  8. RADLEY: Thanks for your continuing reporting on this.

    PHALKOR: Awareness is the first step. Radley is doing his part by making us aware of things like this. The next step is for folks like us to keep talking about this to anyone who will listen, and direct them to Radley’s stories. The ACLU is about the only organization fighting for everyone’s civil liberties, so support them or similar groups. Lastly, talk to your elected officials and let them know that you pay attention to stuff like this, and that you vote. A single voice won’t do much, but the more we expose, and the more outrage we generate, eventually we’ll reach a tipping point. Part of the calculus of our opponents is that these tactics will so dishearten and terrify us that we’ll cave.

  9. Phalkor: Also, ping on mainstream media outlets and ask why they aren’t covering this…

  10. This is an elected official making these requests, in a case where he was terrorized and nearly killed by agents of the government, in a botched raid where he was clearly innocent, and that made national news. And they’re still giving him the runaround. Four-and-a-half months later, they’re still playing games.

    This seems to indicate that democracy is ineffective — that civil servants still act like monarchs.

    The reason why it is so easy to get away with is that as a nation we generally look (or have looked) down on drug users.

    But that doesn’t explain why such things should happen in cases where there is no drug user. Would it be a normal course of business for someone to declare, “There are drug users in America”, or any other country for that matter, and then proceed to atom bomb the country? Or, more to the point, “There are drug users somewhere in the universe”, and then proceed to atom bomb some place on Earth?

    Somehow I don’t think that’s what’s operating here. I think it’s more a matter of civil servants being afraid to let on that they’re not perfect.

  11. It’s CYA. Stonewalling until the publiuc gets distracted by Britney’s vagina again. Plus, you gotta give the cops time to get together and coordinate their perjury recollections, something that is never allowed to those arrested.

  12. J sub D,

    I’m shocked at pessimism! Shocked I tells ya! I have been arrested before and as long as you DON’T say anything, you are in the clear. They get frustrated pretty quick when the only thing you say is “Phone call please.” Assuming of course they don’t beat a confession outta you that is.

  13. This is an elected official making these requests, in a case where he was terrorized and nearly killed by agents of the government, in a botched raid where he was clearly innocent, and that made national news. And they’re still giving him the runaround. Four-and-a-half months later, they’re still playing games. Imagine what happens when normal people try to get documents related to run-ins with the police.

    Gore Vidal remarked that Nixon could be strangling his wife on live TV and a percentage of people would say he didn’t do it. At one point, freedom and constitutional rights meant something…now, citizens don’t control the gubermint – the gubermint controls us.

  14. Well, if the cops can just drag out the process of releasing the information long enough, they deserve to face no punishment and have no ramifications for their actions. Right?

    Or does that only go for Bush administration figures?

    Many H&R commenters have told me on numerous occasions that since the Bush administration managed to stonewall until the clock ran out on their administration, they now deserve to face no investigations and no punishments for any crimes they may have committed while in office.

    Shouldn’t that apply to these cops, too?

    Or is there some sort of dividing line for government officials, where you have to be above it for the “get off scot free” rule to be in effect? Federal offices only, maybe? That doesn’t seem fair to state and county workers.

  15. Many H&R commenters have told me on numerous occasions that since the Bush administration managed to stonewall until the clock ran out on their administration, they now deserve to face no investigations and no punishments for any crimes they may have committed while in office.

    Really? I remember people saying that prosecuting members of a previous administration would lead to enless political reprisals, not that the Bush administration deserves a free pass if they run out the clock.

  16. “This is an elected official making these requests, in a case where he was terrorized and nearly killed by agents of the government, in a botched raid where he was clearly innocent, and that made national news. And they’re still giving him the runaround. Four-and-a-half months later, they’re still playing games. Imagine what happens when normal people try to get documents related to run-ins with the police. ”

    Silly Radley – normal people don’t SURVIVE their run-in’s with police. They’re shot in the head, 3 or 4 times, and the cops come out of it clean as the driven snow, as they had ‘reasonable fear’ according to the review board when they pulled the trigger.

    Keep up the pressure.

    Re what a previous commenter said: Why DON’T the MSM folks take up this issue? Lean on ’em Radley. How about writing a series of Op-Ed’s and submitting them to papers across the country?

  17. Really? I remember people saying that prosecuting members of a previous administration would lead to enless political reprisals, not that the Bush administration deserves a free pass if they run out the clock.

    Well, Phil, in order to avoid

    endless political reprisals

    that would result if we engaged in

    prosecuting members of a previous administration

    we would have to refrain from

    prosecuting members of a previous administration

    if we aren’t able to prosecute them while they are still the current administration, and this means that we must give the

    Bush administration

    a

    free pass

    if they manage to

    run out the clock.

    So you aren’t really disputing my point, you’re confirming it by restating it in a different way.

  18. thank you, citizens of H&R for not totally crushing my faith.

  19. Wouldn’t the discovery phase of a lawsuit give Calvo the ability to see these documents?

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