Militarization of Police

Another Isolated Incident?

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Another week, another lawsuit resulting from an alleged wrong-door raid.

The suit, filed by attorney Mike Raulston, says on Feb. 13, 2008, the Bradys were at home when the officers suddenly came in, though they did not have any kind of warrant. The suit does not say where the house is located.

It says Officer Tinney forced Tarran Brady to the floor while holding a loaded gun to her head and threatening her.

The suit says Officer Fuller pointed his loaded gun at Randy Brady and ordered him to also get down. But Mr. Brady refused to do so and asked if they had a warrant.

It says the couple was held at gunpoint while the home was searched, placing them, their children, their spouses, nephews, nieces and grandchildren "in mortal fear."

The suit says, the officers left "after realizing they had made a mistake."

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  1. yo, fuck Officers Tinney anf Fuller!

  2. Good think Obama got his $2 billion for Byrne Justice Bullshit Whatever Grants.

    Change you can believe in!

  3. But Mr. Brady refused to do so and asked if they had a warrant.

    Good for him. Just be glad the cop didn’t plug him for his temerity.

  4. It’s a good thing you keep telling us these are isolated incidents Radley. Otherwise I’d think this is starting to become a problem.

  5. It says Officer Tinney forced Tarran Brady to the floor while holding a loaded gun to her head and threatening her.

    He pointed a gun at someone named Tarran? Tarran!?

    When I become supreme dictator for life, Officer Tinney will face the proper punishment for his crime committed against my namesake.

  6. Don’t worry, folks. I’m sure the local chief of police and internal affairs will get together and mete out the appropriate punishments.

  7. I’d say the Brady’s are lucky they didn’t own any dogs.

  8. the Bradys were at home when the officers suddenly came in

    So not ‘broke down the front door at 2:00am’. No dead homeowner, no dead cop, no dead dog. Don’t get me wrong, held at gunpoint with no warrant is unacceptable. And there’s no details regarding what kind of search took place. Ransacking the house, and officers pawing through bedroom drawers could aggravate this story. Even so, I think these isolated incidences haven’t been as egregious lately as they use to be.

  9. Warren: “I think these isolated incidences haven’t been as egregious lately as they use to be.”

    How would you know? It’s only Randy that reports them. You can’t expect him to be completely exhaustive on the subject. It *tends* not to happen in affluent neighborhoods (where journalists live), so it’s under-reported. Poor people don’t hire attorneys about this sort of thing.

  10. Warren,

    The only reason there isn’t a dead homeowner is because they didn’t have a chance to defend themselves. The only reason there isn’t a dead dog is because there wasn’t a dog there. This is just as egrigous as any of the others. They just got lucky and no one got killed. The underlying acts are still the same and the dangers created just as great.

  11. The suit says, the officers left “after realizing they had made a mistake.”

    Oops! Nevermind!

  12. The officers had no warrant whatsoever? Not even for a different house? WTF?

    If so, this isn’t just a “wrong door” raid, its a flat-out breaking and entering, a home invasion without color of law.

  13. Still awaiting the book, “Another Isolated Incident,” by Radley Balko.

  14. “though they did not have any kind of warrant”

    Active pursuit of a fleeing suspect or evidence of imminent threat to life are the only cases that make this entry legal without a warrant AFAIK.

  15. The suit says, the officers left “after realizing they had made a mistake.”

    Redo!!

  16. I expect the book will be more along the lines of “A million isolated incidents. Adventures in the New Professionalism.”.

  17. RL,
    I’m totally going by what Radley reports. I don’t know what neighborhood he lives in, but he’s made it his mission to find these stories and bring them to us.

    John,
    There’s a scarcity of details here. But when I read the story, it sounds like the folks are sitting at home watching American Idol, when suddenly two cops in uniform walk in through the front door. What takes place next is unacceptable. But the situation isn’t aggravated by a SWAT team breaking in in the dead of night being as threatening and confusing as possible.

  18. Thanks again, Mr. Balko. You are a bright star in the firmament. Keep up the good work!

  19. Wake the fuck up people.Take up weapons training,hand to hand combat.What ever it takes to secure your castle.Set up traps,buy a huge dog.When America can no longer live in peace in thier own home,because of these bush clowns.It’s time to bring this war to thier door.Along with my fellow vet brothers,This Ranger s.f vet is always ready for clowns like theres.

  20. Warren,

    If you (or anyone) is seriously at the point of saying “well, this case wasn’t so bad”, that underscores how bad things really are — to me, at least. Do you not see that?

  21. So what can you do in cases like this, can you call the cops on the cops?

  22. The suit says, the officers left “after realizing they had made a mistake.”

    But, had the officers confiscated any “illegal” drugs or weapons during the negligent breaking-and-entering, the innocent Bradys would surely be prosecuted under Herring v. US.

  23. Get the officers’ addresses and make a ‘mistake’ at 3am. See how they like it.

  24. KingHarvest,
    Take that further. I imagine that suddenly, there would have been a warrant, too. It would have been found in the SWAT truck’s glovebox. Sgt. Guido just forgot to take it out when they went in.

  25. If you (or anyone) is seriously at the point of saying “well, this case wasn’t so bad”, that underscores how bad things really are — to me, at least. Do you not see that?

    Marc,
    Yes, I see that. Never intended to suggest otherwise.

    I’m just hoping things are getting better.

  26. Off the subject, but I was reading down the list of articles here and I’m surprised at such a lack of criticism regarding Obama’s political agenda. I understand there are other topics, but it seems like the most important issue facing us is being avoided.

  27. I’m just hoping things are getting better.

    Not a fucking chance. Not yet, anyway.

  28. Re: mike farmer

    Someone remind me, threadjack = drink?

  29. I’m just hoping things are getting better.

    We didn’t get a relatively happy ending here because of new and enlightened policies, which might actually _cause_ things to get better. We got a happy ending because we got lucky.

    There’s no hope to be taken from this story. Just another heaping spoonful of despair.

  30. There is no way the police officers made a mistake, it just shows that these folks were just better than average at hiding their guilt. These poor officers are getting sued, I hope this family gets a bitchload of speeding tickets. Serves them right.

  31. Kool,

    It’s not a threadjack = drink, or we’d all die of alcohol poisoning. The relevant rule involves concern trolling, i.e. “Why isn’t Reason covering issues the way I want them covered, maybe reason needs me to help them see the light!”

    It’s definitely a drink.

  32. And since when did it become SOP for officers to throw down on citizens, even suspects, who have not acted threatening in any way?

  33. concern trolling, i.e. “Why isn’t Reason covering issues the way I want them covered, maybe reason needs me to help them see the light!”

    It should be noted that this would also lead to alcohol poisoning if not for the LoneWacko ExceptionClause.

  34. Oh Calcium, you so crazy!

  35. And since when did it become SOP for officers to throw down on citizens, even suspects, who have not acted threatening in any way?

    The French Connection (1971).

  36. GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!

    I wish Ice-T still made music.

  37. Thomas,

    As the great warrior-poet Ice Cube once said, ‘If the day does not require an AK, it is good.’

  38. SugarFree and Xeones,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Thomas,
    I suggest breaking out NWA’s efilrofzaggin, as I recently did. Fuck tha Police is pretty spot-on. Also, Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet is worth listening to, just for Burn Hollywood Burn and Fight the Power.

    I really want to know how the officers left. Radio call from HQ, “uh, guys, I think you might not be where you are supposed to be…” Not to mention, how is there not even a little uproar for coming in WITHOUT A WARRANT?!

  39. “buy a huge dog.”

    Please don’t. I love huge dogs, and they don’t deserve to be summarily massacred by lying and incompetent cops determined to enrich themselves, no matter at what price.

  40. Re: mike farmer

    Someone remind me, threadjack = drink?

    Actually, it was just an observation, but I’ll stick to the topic from now on.

    On the topic, this would be more interesting, and I could, like, get really angry, if we knew all the facts. This is a law suit making allegations — for all we know, the allegations are false and the lawsuit is frivolous. I guess either way,though, someone could be outraged. However, thankfully, we live in a country where even police officers are innocent until proven guilty.

  41. Another Isolated Incident?

    Nope, with this story, there’s definitely a bunch.

  42. However, thankfully, we live in a country where even police officers are innocent until proven guilty.

    Nobody is innocent until proven guilty. You are innocent, or not, regardless of the outcome of any legal proceedings.

    What you are, is presumed innocent.

    And I would say that all too many cops are presumed innocent even when proven guilty.

  43. The doctrine of sovereign immunity has to go. When a cop goes into a house unlawfully, either by fraudulently obtaining a warrent, not having a warrent, or fucking up and going to the wrong house on a warrent, he ought to be personably liable for tresspass and if he acts like this, negligent infliction of emotional distress. Cops ought to have to carry professional liability insurance just like every other profession.

    The return for getting rid of sovereighn immunity should be ending the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule doesn’t help the innocent person victimized by the cops since there is no evidence to suppress. It only helps criminals. If the cops wrongly kick in my door, I have no remedy if I am an innocent person.

    The tort system works reasonably well to police bad doctors and other negligent actors. It woudl work well here. Cowboy cops who get sued a lot, just wouldn’t be able to afford insurance and couldn’t be cops anymore. Further, insurance companies would make cops follow safety procedures and actually do their jobs in order to get coverage.

  44. I wish Ice-T still made music.

    I wish Ice-T ever made music.

  45. Yes, I left out presumed, so, technically, you are right, but you stubbornly ignore my point.

    The fact of past injustices where cops did wrong and received no punishment has no bearing on the actual innocence or guilt in this case.

  46. The fact of past injustices where cops did wrong and received no punishment has no bearing on the actual innocence or guilt in this case.

    Sure, whatever.

    I could go along with John’s proposal, although I have really hard time allowing the state to benefit in any way from its violation of the Constitution by getting rid of the exclusionary rule. I don’t see why we can’t have both the waiver of sovereign immunity and the exclusionary rule.

  47. “Sure, whatever.”

    Devastating comeback.

    It was you who wrote — “You are innocent, or not, regardless of the outcome of any legal proceedings.”

  48. Geez, Mike, give it a rest. You make a pretty anodyne point about getting the rest of the facts. I respond with a pedantic point about the presumption of innocence.

    Did I disagree with you on your main point? No? Did I, in fact, make a statement tangentially supporting your main point? Yes? Then why are you yammering on like we have something to disagree about?

  49. Because he’d rather be bitching about Obama.

  50. Whoa, cool down. It was you who seemed to be stretching for a disagreement — I was just responding. Then your rude — “sure, whatever.”

    David, I don’t understand your sarcasm. Is this a private club? I’m sorry I disrupted your ass-patting.

  51. I need to go practice some eugenics.

  52. when the hell is this shit going to stop??

  53. Ben-

    Do you have to ask?

  54. Not that he needs me to point it out, Mike, but “Sure whatever.” Wasn’t supposed to be a devastating comeback. What he meant was,

    Sure. Whatever.

    Grok?

  55. Mike Farmer –

    It is a civil lawsuit. What part of the presumption of innoncence is not part of the scenario don’t you get?

  56. “It is a civil lawsuit. What part of the presumption of innoncence is not part of the scenario don’t you get?”

    The construction of this question is what I don’t get. But, seriously, I thought it was obvious that my point was simply to not jump to conclusions based on allegations. This is a smart crowd so I’m almost certain that my point was understood. I don’t know what the rest of all this is about, but — goodbye.

  57. What would Monday’s around here be without a delicious cop-hating moment? Isolated incident, indeed…someone way up the thread said these incidents are under reported — although how he would know is beyond me. That doesn’t prevent Balko’s Kids from making all kinds of sweeping generalizations about the STATE OF COPS IN AMERICA. Why do isolated incidents about incompetent doctors not result in a sweeping indictment of physicians? Why do isolated incidents of corrupt lawyers not result in a sweeping indictment of law as its practiced in the U.S.? Funny, isn’t it, how soldiers enjoy the sort of protected status usually reserved for religions: incidents of violence and abuse by soldiers abroad hasn’t caused any hysterical outbursts over the systemic problem with military personnel. Perhaps that’s because there is no systemic problem with military personnel?

    I argue that the same is possibly true of COPS IN AMERICA(tm). Balko can whip you into a frenzy of cop hating, that doesn’t give any rational credence to useless sentiments like “this is a growing problem.” As Balko knows, the art of incident isolation is that it projects a misguided and disproportionate level of emphasis on any subject to which it is applied.

  58. Why do isolated incidents about incompetent doctors not result in a sweeping indictment of physicians?

    I don’t know, because physicians, on the whole, deplore fuck-up doctors, and allow them to be suitably punished when there is real evidence that they screwed the pooch?

  59. Escaped,

    So, you are inferring that cops, on the whole, DON’T deplore fuck-up cops? This is my whole problem with Balko…neither he (nor you) seem interested in proving or talking about this. Next argument?

  60. Andrew, I could be inferring just such a thing.

    I admit that hard data is thin on the ground here, and am willing to be convinced.

    It’s just that we keep reading how the perpetrators of these screw-ups are not only cleared of wrong doing, but praised.

    A wrong-door tactical entry should never happen. And when it does anyway (because this is really life), someone screwed up. Only, no one up the chain of command every seems to admit it. At best we hear that nebulous, cop out: “Mistakes were made.” Not, evidently made by anyone. Certainly not by anyone who will be held to account. Apparently they just, sorta happened.

    This is not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable for a thin blue line to protect the guilty.

  61. Escaped, now we’re talking. I’ll happily admit that there is in SOME police forces in PARTS of the country a chronic problem that manifests as institutionalized if unwritten CYA. I just don’t know why Officers Tinney and Fuller (or any of Balko’s other BAD COP poster children) are logically representative of the LARGER universe of law enforcement agents…even if you include the higher ups in their chain of command? It is this irresponsible misdirection on Balko’s part that I object to.

    If, as of 2006, there were “683,396 full time state, city, university and college, metropolitan and non-metropolitan county, and other law enforcement officers in the United States,” (best stat I could find) then I’m more interested in how often and to what level of insidiousness the problem exists. If we’re talking about rogues who are protected by fools, then this characterization can be applied to anything from MBAs to politicians to military commanders.

    Therefore, what is Balko trying to accomplish, other than to whip his loyal cop-haters into a frenzy? I, like you, can be convinced with facts, not with random acts of stupidity (or the reporting thereof). Why does Balko’s incident isolation amount to anything more reasonable than the idea that young black males are criminals by default and should be pulled over if driving late at night?

  62. Andrew Lynch,

    Maybe if cops would stop shooting people and terrorizing innocent people, they wouldn’t get so much shit? I am a veteran and a former prosecutor. I have sent people away for decades and never lost any sleep over it. You will meet few people who are more law and order than I am.

    So what if the percentage is low? The stakes are incredibly high. The percentage needs to be zero. If only one in a thousand planes crashed, wouldn’t you agree that would be a big problem? Well, if one in a thousand no knock raids go wrong and result in the death or terrorizing of innocent people, that is a problem.

    You would have a point if local department dealt with these issues and held cops responsible for their fuck ups. But they don’t. Thanks to police unions a cop literally has to go to prison to lose his job. The cops in the cases pointed out by Balko are never diciplined much less lose thier jobs. I am sorry, but when cops kick in someone’s door and hold them at gun point and kill their dogs or worse and never recieve so much as a reprimand, the system is broken. I don’t care if it only happens five times a year. That is five times too many.

    Until states and localities start holding cops accountable and until cops themselves start holding thier own accountable, they can go to hell. The good ones deserve to be condemed with the bad ones because the clearly the good ones have no interest in eliminating the bad ones and are thus part of the problem.

  63. Andrew,

    By leaning on the (presumptive) small fraction of LEOs responsible for these outrages you play right into Mr. Balko’s rhetorical point. It is a good thing that few officers are involved, but it doesn’t matter.

    What matters is that the screw-ups are not held accountable.

    In a working system the police are there to provide a systematic level[1] of protection from wrong-doers. But, if they fail to protect us from the wrong-doers in their own midst, then they are not doing their jobs.

    And if the isolated incidents come one-after-another, you might, just begin to suspect that there is a systemic problem.

    ———-
    [1] At the point of the spear, you still have to protect yourself. Because, when seconds count the police are minutes away. But systematic followup really is important.

  64. John,

    The percentage needs to be zero. If only one in a thousand planes crashed, wouldn’t you agree that would be a big problem?

    Hmmm, I can’t really comment on the absence of perfection in the real world. And I don’t think accidents or neglect leading to plane crashes is the same, unless you are associating thuggish pilots with downing planes because they can…and just call it a mistake later, consequently enjoying the impenetrable protection of their superiors.

    You support my case about generalizations when you say, “…if local department dealt with these issues and held cops responsible for their fuck ups. But they don’t.” None of them? Ever? That doesn’t seem logical. If there is the big dearth of accountability that your post suggests, why isn’t this problem even bigger, more rampant, and not just isolated incidents, to borrow Balko’s presumably cynical parlance. Is it possibly true that the incidents Balko reports are ONLY interesting because there is an expectation that no reprimands will ensue? If NOT TRUE, then where and how big is the REAL problem, a problem certainly more massive than Balko’s focus on incidents? If TRUE, then how did we arrive at this assumption that isolated incidents in which bad cops escape reprimand are indicative of a systemic problem?

    The good ones deserve to be condemed with the bad ones because the clearly the good ones have no interest in eliminating the bad ones and are thus part of the problem.

    Don’t know what to say, other than that there is no native responsibility of a good cop to correct/overhaul/fly in the face of the so-called endemic badness of copdom. You clearly don’t believe that there are good cops since you assign to them a passive role in the corruption of their profession.

  65. Actually, Andrew, there is a native responsibility of good cops to correct/overhaul/fly in the face of the so-called endemic badness of copdom. They are law enforcement officers, so to a man they are responsible for enforcing the law, even if that means blowing the whistle on their peers. This is especially true when they are expected, whether rightly so or not, to be held to a higher standard because of their badge.

    Cops should not barge into people’s homes. If someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the cops when serving warrants should not act as if it is acceptable to kill the suspect. Their job is to serve the warrant and bring the suspect before a judge, not to get into a gunfight with the suspect when the suspect is not in the act of committing a crime.

    Incidentally, that is one problem with “possession” of anything being a crime in and of itself. Just by having something, you are automatically in the act of committing a crime even if the thing you possess is in a locked box in your closet at the time of the raid.

  66. Nick,

    Good observation and I agree with your refutation of one of my points (first paragraph of your post).

  67. Andrw Lynch,

    Cops form unions and have used their political clout to make it virtually impossible to fire a bad cop or hold a cop responsible for anything short of a felony conviction. In that sense, yes, the good cops who support the union system deserve some of the blame. Further, you assume that Radley’s posts are the only cases out there. In fact, I doubt that Balko is necessarily that great of a reporter. He picks up on the egregious ones that come to his attention. For everyone we hear about, there surely are ones we don’t. These types of raids are frequent enough in New York City that they have a special team that does nothing but go around and fix people’s apartments and homes that have been messed by cops. It seems to be pretty frequent. More importantly, when it does happen, nothing ever happens to the cops responsible. In PG County maryland, they broke into the house, shot the family dogs and held them at gun point for two hours. No cop was so much as reprimanded over it. You can defend that all you want. But until I start seeing cops fired, as opposed to just going to jail when their behavior becomes so egregous that even the courts can’t ignore it, I will continue to hold all cops responsible for these actions.

  68. Yeah, John, Radley’s “reporting” took a hit when all of his updates on the Ryan Frederick case were based on the reporting of others. It made me aware he is more of an advocate for things a lot of us here agree with, not a reporter. He’s a writer. And a damn good one.

  69. Doc: My husband and I have refitted our front door with a sliding steal bar. It looks a little medieval, but it can hold and stop the door from being kicked in.

    Its a shame that we have to arm and protect ourselves from the very people we pay with our tax dollars.

    While I do agree with you Doc, unfortunately any aggressive action taken with cops bursting into your home may end up in a death, and more than the dogs.

    No I’m not saying take it laying down, but be wise about the battles you choose.

    If you safe guard your entrances, it’ll make it harder for an “oops”

    We also have it clearly posted at EVERY window and door that there are dogs on the premises.

    Everyone should be contacting their local Congressional office and express your fears or vigilante cops.

    That’s my 2.50$

    The Medic

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