Drug Policy

Live Chat With Cheye Calvo


Yesterday at my personal blog The Agitator, readers had a live chat with Cheye Calvo, the Berwyn Heights, Maryland mayor who last summer was the victim of a particularly violent mistaken drug raid on his home by Prince George's County police.

Calvo's now pushing sunshine legislation that would require every police department in Maryland to track and report when and how it uses its SWAT team.

You can read the chat here.

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  1. Calvo is a complete statist.

    Too bad they stopped at the dogs.

  2. Shocked is a complete statist.

    Seriously, what are you basing that assertion on? I was surprised that he chose to answer a question on drug policy, though it was a pretty tame on and he gave a safe answer, would have been nice to see him say that if MJ were legal this never would have even happened, but the proposed legislation is promising.

  3. shocked,

    Calvo is an ally. It would be foolish to push him away because he isn’t an absolutist on drug policy. And frankly, I think his statement about taking a federalist approach to drug policy is probably the right way to go, at least in the short term.

  4. “Seriously, what are you basing that assertion on?”

    a.) The worst thing I could have done was defend my home.

    b.) We practice community policing. Our officers must patrol every foot of street every shift. I ask them to visit the school, community center, and boys and girls games and practices daily. I want the kids to know their names.

    c.) I have a philosophy of policing and this has reinforced it

    d.) SWAT teams are necessary

  5. a – If he defended his home, he would have been shot. He wasn’t denying the right to self-defense as a principle.

    b – Are you an an-capper, shocked? Police in many areas have been twisted by 30 years of the WoD into a near Gestapo-like force, but that doesn’t invalidate the need for the police, (or a police like defense force). Calvo was drawing a distinction between the occupational force cops have become, versus being part of the community.

    c – see b

    d – There are potentially valid SWAT roles; hostage situations at banks come to mind. You can say these situations are rare enough that SWAT is not really necessary, but the situations do happen.

  6. a.) Mayors Daly defend their homes and never even get raided. And he was spewing the typical government line that you shouldn’t defend your home.

    b.) Look, its Gestinja (combination of Gestapo and Ninja). And the Gestinja doesn’t need to interface with kids.

    c.) His philosophy is civilians should learn as early as possible to obey the nice policeman. Learn the importance of government in their lives. He is the fucking mayor, do you think you get that job by being pro freedom? He is in charge of an occupational force.

    d.) Potentially valid my ass. Only disarmed serfs become hostages. The next time you get taken hostage at a bank you can be sure your local friendly SWAT team will save you.

    Three things will happen with the proposed legislation.

    1.) SWAT teams will kill more/less/same amount of dogs.

    2.) Membership in the police union will increase commensurate with the number of new hires needed to administer the legislation.

    3.) The members of the SWAT team will get fancy new equipment to make videos that will ultimately be lost or destroyed prior to introduction as evidence against members of the SWAT team.

  7. I won’t go as far as ‘shocked’, but color me unimpressed. My opinion of Calvo went up a bit as the chat went on, but only a little. Shit, how hard do you have to get hit in the head to take notice?

    He KNOWS the Sheriffs are corrupt? That’s a hell of a comment by an elected official on the state of Maryland LE.

    If someone who literally has every expectation of protection by the state, becomes a victim of it, he should be riding a crest of outrage. Creating a little more transparency on the rape of civil liberties falls under Goldwater’s admonition on moderation.

  8. I think shocked and imprudent need to calm down. Most people who study the war on drugs beyond what DARE officers tell kids are aware of how problematic it is and the desperate need of reform. The thing you fail to realize is that most citizens are simply unaware of how pervasive the problem is and how terrible the consequences are. This is not helped by mainstream print media and populist right wing media that either never question it or believe every person with a badge is some sort of folk hero.

    The minute you start accusing moderates like Mr. Calvo who are coming around on the issue of being no different than the gestapo is the moment you start to alienate the very people whose minds need to be changed on paramilitary police tactics and the drug war in general. Behaving like a fanatic is short sighted and shoots the reform movement in the foot.

    I am a Marylander from the Dc-Balt. metro area and I think Mr. Calvo is a great asset to our community. The legislation he is proposing will hopefully at least start a real debate which is more than I can say any Montana militia extremists have done lately. Trimming back government intrusion and re-instituting real liberty is not something that gets done by calling people Nazis on discussion boards. If every “shocked” of the world out there was doing as much as Mr. Calvo is then maybe the side of rational drug policy would already have the upper hand in this debate.

  9. Some Idiot,

    If a cop bursts into my house when I haven’t done a damn thing and kills my two dogs, I will have his ballsack hanging from my rearview mirror. Not an apology, not compensation – I want the motherfucker’s balls. And his badge. This is not negotiable.

    You may be content to watch our civil liberties being raped (i.e. greater transparency). I want the rapist strung up.

    As for Calvo, I’m not angry with him, just disappointed that being violated the way he was he is so demure in his reaction. A little righteous anger and rhetoric would not be out of place.

  10. juis imprudent

    I think that reaction is understandable but you clearly haven’t read up on the issue. For one thing the Sheriff of PG county at the time of the incident is no longer in office. I also think that Calvo is now focused on the legislative process not dwelling on the outrage. There are a lot of quotes from him from immediately after the incident where he does express outrage, look up the articles

    Rosalind S. Helderman & Aaron C. Davis, FBI to Review Raid That Killed Mayor’s Dogs, Wash. Post, Aug. 8, 2008, at B01. at washingtonpost.com

    look up April Witt “Deadly Force” at washingtonpost.com



    I find your claim that I’m willing to just watch my civil liberties be raped extremely insulting. I simply think its foolish to make the good the enemy of the perfect and while firing some officers might be gratifying it does absolutely nothing to solve the problem of paramilitary raids hurting people and the evisceration of the 4th Amendment that the courts have done in order to justify it.

    No one serious about this issue thinks that the oversight bill is the final step. Its a building block so that when people want to challenge paramilitary police raids and to limit them they actually have hard data to go on.

    Your general lack of eloquence and “motherfucker’s balls” comments show that you want to take an emotion rather than logic driven approach to solving these problems. Susceptibility to that and other emotional “for the children” and “I’m so outraged” arguments are what got us in the drug war to begin with. Go watch Nancy Grace and blow a fuse if that is your bag but don’t expect to make any progress that way.

  11. Some Idiot,

    We don’t need “hard data” to stop paramilitary police raids. We have exactly what we need – the results. You want to wait for more so you can get an accurate tally of dead dogs? I don’t want this to stop in 2 or 3 or 10 years. I want it to stop NOW! And the only way you do that is to hold their feet to the fire.

    You hold someone accountable NOW, not after a study of the ill effects some years later.

    PG Sheriff is still in office by the way, and PG County Police Chief was apparently intending to retire independent of this incident. No one has been fired, suspended or even told they did a bad job.

    I agree that the courts have not done their job – so for this matter it is up to the people to do theirs. Hold the wild-eyed, irresponsible cowboys accountable – and in a way that is unmistakable and unapologetic.

  12. juris imprudent

    We both agree on the desired end result. I’m aware that the PG County Sheriff was planning to retire anyway, the point I was making was that it doesn’t do much good trying to use the issue against someone who wasn’t even in office at the time.

    Would it be better if all such raids ended immediately? Of course. The reality is though that most people in this state aren’t ready to support that yet. I mean if you want to see something disturbing check out an article the Baltimore Sun ran on Sunday about another recent botched raid in Elkridge, MD then check out the message boards. I don’t know if the people are cops or what but its clear to me that large segments of society aren’t ready to push back at the insane level of discretion given to police. Every one is a “hero” fighting a “war” and God forbid the people who pay their salaries have any say because we’re all just dumb civilians.

    Like it or not the democratic process is slow and the 4th amendment no longer exists in this country as far as many courts are concerned. I’m behind the MD SWAT team bill because I think its better than nothing and its keeping the issue in the press. I’m currently working on a law review type article on the issue and one thing you find is that these incidents are extremely hard to document unless they go horribly wrong and involve a middle class white person. Hopefully the idea of requiring documentation will spread and start the snowball rolling for real national debate outside of libertarian or libertarian leaning circles.

    Look I agree with you. I live in Maryland and police practices here can be frightening. The problem is they’re way too entrenched an interest to expect any heads to roll immediately. I’d rather commit to incremental change for the greater good if for no other reason than I don’t think its realistic to expect any consequences to the police overnight. Sorry for the long ass post.

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