Drug Policy

Columbia, Missouri Police Chief: "I Hate the Internet"

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Columbia, Missouri Police Chief Ken Burton is apparently frustrated. At another press conference yesterday, a reporter asked the chief what he has learned from the international attention generated by the YouTube video of his department's SWAT team conducting a drug raid last February.

His reply: "I hate the Internet."

I'll bet he does. For two-and-a-half months, Burton and his department were quiet about the raid. That's likely because, as I wrote yesterday, the raid was really no different from the tens of thousands of similar raids conducted every year, and that are probably conducted by his own department a couple of times per week. Within days of the video hitting the web, Burton was forced to hold several press conferences, and has now laid out several reforms to the way SWAT raids will be conducted in Columbia in the future. I suppose it's possible those reforms were brewing all along, and the timing of him announcing them after the video went viral was mere coincidence. It seems at least plausible, though, that the dread "Internet" sparked some actual policy changes, here.

Unfortunately the changes—while small steps in the right direction—still miss the point. Burton says his department will no longer conduct SWAT raids at night. They won't conduct raids in homes where children are present. Suspects will be under constant surveillance until the raid is carried out. And raids will be conducted within a shorter period of time from when police get the initial tip about a suspected drug dealer. But the Columbia Police Department will still conduct volatile, violent, highly aggressive forced-entry raids on people suspected of consensual, nonviolent drug crimes. That is what's wrong with the YouTube video. Changing the time of day of the raid doesn't change the wildly disproportionate use of force.

Burton and his department have also criticized web commentary on the video, citing both death threats aimed at members of the SWAT team and an abundance of what Burton calls "misinformation" about the raid.

He's right. I saw both. In particular, the description that accompanied the YouTube video (which today topped 1 million views) described the pit bull the police killed as crated when it was shot. It wasn't. (I should disclose that I passed on this bit of incorrect information to several people while discussing the raid before discovering it was incorrect, though I didn't put it in print). And death threats, even from keyboard commandos posting on Internet discussion boards, are inexcusable.

That said, Burton is deflecting. When the video first went viral, his department's spokesperson acknowledged that the police didn't know a seven-year-old boy was in the home, but explained that the department has to carry out drug raids quickly before dealers can move their supply. That was, as Burton would put it, "misinformation." You might even call it a lie. At the very least, it was another example of a police spokesperson reflexively defending the department before knowing all the facts. Eight days passed between the time the police were tipped off to the alleged marijuana stash and the time they conducted the raid.

As I reported yesterday, according to Brittany Montgomery, the mother and wife in the home at the time of the raid, the police initially gave the family a copy of the video in which the audio and portions of incriminating video had been removed. That sounds like "misinformation," too. Montgomery also wrote that when her neighbors inquired with the department about the raid, they were initially told it was a drill, and that no shots were fired. That too was "misinformation." (The department didn't return my call, so I haven't been able to get their response to these two allegations.)

"Misinformation" coming from police department officials acting in their official capacity is a hell of a lot more troubling than misinformation disseminated on Internet discussion boards and in blog comment threads.

As for the death threats, yes, they're an unfortunately ugly part of often-anonymous Internet discourse. But Burton's men were just captured on video firing off seven rounds into a home just seconds after they'd broken into it. This, despite the fact that there was nothing in the home that posed a lethal threat to them. (Yes, some pit bulls can be dangerous, but not to an armed SWAT team bedecked in full body armor.) One of those rounds missed its intended target (the pit bull) and struck an unintended target (the Corgi). According to Montgomery, there are now bullet holes in the walls of the house. There were other people in that house who weren't suspects, people the cops weren't aware of before they started firing their guns, including a child. That seems like a pretty reckless disregard for human life.

But Burton would have us believe that the real outrage here is the faux "if they try to come to my house and do that, I'll kill them" Internet bravado that came in response to the video, not the very real violence actually depicted in it.

NEXT: A Good Question for Elena Kagan

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  1. A public official who knowingly misinforms should be fired and excluded from “public service.” Period.

    1. “” excluded from “public service.” Period.””

      The public doesn’t really mind being fed mis-information from public officials. Look how much misinformation the last President put out between 2001 and 2004, and the country re-elected him. Then pretending to care, those who hated Bush’s bullshit elected Obama. I would say there is evidence at hand that America loves being fed bullshit.

      1. TGI Fridays. Need i say more?

      2. What does the President have to do with this. Man typical republican bs, point the finger at someone who had nothing to do with this. What is your problem??? IDIOT!!!

        1. I think what he was saying is the most Americans are stupid and will believe the crap government and state officials say without looking for the truth themselves.

        2. YOURE THE IDIOT AMERICA LOVES BEING FED BULLSHIT LOVES IT GO READ BOOK YOU IGNORANT EXCUSE OF A HUMAN BEING.

      3. Very true tricky!. Sheeple are disgustingly predictable and all politicians have made an art form leading them in/out of paradigms without changing any of them

      4. Don’t forget: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”, and “We will begin a phased step down of the number of troops in Iraq within 6 months of my taking the office of the presidency”, and “this will be the most open congress this country has seen”, and “he was born in Hawaii”

        I know, the birther thing is crazy, unless you listen to his very own wife caught on tape saying that he IS A KENYAN…. on two separate occasions. But why concentrate on that, they are just ignoring the most important document we have to protect us from abuses of government. This is a call to action for the people in this “man’s” city, get rid of him and all the other complicit idiots.

        Now for a dose of truth: “the only thing needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”

        1. Not sure what democrat or republicans have to do with this sad incident of an overly aggressive swat team that killed those poor dogs. It is the responsibility of the police chief to keep them(swat) under control, and the few I have dealt with do not like dealing with dogs, so to enforce that is difficult. Very sad situation. It was over the edge off the cliff in my opinion. And yes before I vote for a sheriff or chief I flat out ask that question – shows their character.

        2. Typical Republican bullshit. Defer away from the issue, and point the finger at someone else. You know, the bottom line is the officer/s who fired upon entry to the house should be fired, and never considered for Public Svc. It’s inexcusable, disgusting and pathetic. Pot is fucking harmless, what is the big god damned deal about pot that a person who has a “stash” should be raided. Most pot smokers are anything but confrontational, it’s so sad we get persecuted and treated like drug kingpins. infoWarrior : you are a pathetic, ignorant excuse for a human being. Go back to school, redneck. Go to another country if you’re going to bash mine, I don’t want you here. Most ppl hate being fed lies and “bullshit”….check your facts, I’m pretty sure no one likes being lied to.

    2. Yes, he should be fired, and also the SWAT team should be fired. With all the money poured into crime fighting, where was the technology that would have made them aware of the child in the house? Was there no pre-investigation before sending in the heavy artillery?

  2. And death threats, even from keyboard commandos posting on Internet discussion boards, are inexcusable.

    Youtube has the worst commenters on the internet. All video comments should be ignored. They are almost always inflammatory, and are always useless.

      1. So why did one create a link, but the other didn’t?

      2. It was a soundstage on Mars

        Priceless.

    1. Using absolute statements like “all” and “always” make you look like a fucking idiot, and one enpassioned internet user could find and hurt these people very badly. Point is, you shouldn’t ignore everyone. The internet gives us eyes, a voice, and information–like names and addresses.

      1. I am pretty sure that I should ignore them.

      2. RIGHT ON BROTHER INTERNET IS THE ONLY MEANS OF TRUTH LEFT.

      3. I agree: there is a ton of garbage as we all know; what is vital is having the discernment to recognize the truth and then follow it wherever it leads you– whether you like what you see or not.
        Getting into 2-way bickering on a board like this, hurling insults and using all upper case is really only feeding right into the shadow government’s agenda. Don’t tyou guys see: they WANT us to kill each other. Aren’t there points, germane to discussion, to which we can we can agree? E.G., look up World Can’t Wait. They’re the most militant abortionists I’ve ever seen. But– they are antiwar, and I am also antiwar, while happening to be strongly pro-life. The two of us can demonstrate shoulder to shoulder against this horrible war.
        Right?

    2. That is a true statement there, Paul. All four of them, in fact.

  3. FL@M3!!!

  4. the raid was really no different from the tens of thousands of similar raids conducted every year

    Well…it’s a little different, as most of the other tens of thousands of raids don’t result in dead pets and bullet holes and YouTube videos. But point taken. This one was awful.

    1. Fair enough. Most just result in dead pets and bullet holes.

      1. Not. Stories like this become sensational because of their rarity. When it’s commonplace, it isn’t newsworthy.

          1. No. But you’d have to be an idiot or very gullible to believe “tens of thousands” of drug raids have the same result as this one. Grow up, and take a pass on the Kool-Aid once in a while.

            1. You might be right, but there is only one, isolated incidence, of Radley Balko.

            2. The point is that tens of thousands of drug raids every year are disproportionately and unnecessarily violent like this one. Most probably don’t involve any shots being fired. But they all do create the conditions for things like this to happen, and that by itself is unacceptable. This sort of thing (and much worse, at least no people were killed here) is the predictable consequence of this type of raid being used inappropriately.

            3. &, the reason we don’t hear about most of these raids is because most of them don’t carry cameras and record what they do. These guys were either gutsy enough or stupid enough to record their raid.

        1. No, as Radley has shown, they are quite commonplace. It is the raid being videotaped and getting out to the public that is so rare.

        2. The video is what made it a rarity, not the bullets or dead pets. The story itself is commonplace.

          1. Sorry, I’m a dumbass who can’t correctly type “puppy.” Try this.

        3. Because of it’s rarity? I think not.
          http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

          1. Thanks for the link – VERY informative.

        4. Man. I really can’t distinguish between the trolls and the bootlickers any more.

        5. Not rare you naive person.
          If they info just does not get out…how can it be rare?
          try to find out how many children have been tazered by pOpO, how many killed. Your media will not diclose this any more that the thugs who commit those crimes

    2. actually those other tens of thousands of raids do, most of the time, result in bullet holes and dead pets (mainly dogs) please check your facts, police often view themselves as above the law, they let the power get to them and the result is corruption, illegal practices (such as this raid) These police are putting more people at harm than the drug users are. The fact that they killed the dog is what really upsets me, an innocent, defensless, and most likely well-mannered creature should not go through the anguish of that kind of pain, watch the video again, they shoot the dog one time and you can hear it yelping and crying in pain for at least 2 mins before they finally put it out of their misery. that is just cruel and every single policeman in that video deserves to be thrown in jail (not killed, that solves nothing) yes they are scumbags, immoral, assholes, conceited, and in every way shape and form worse than the criminals they apprehend

      1. All dogs bark at intruders – that’s just what they do. To shoot a family’s pet when it is just following it’s natural instincts of protecting the home & family displays a grotesque disregard for common decency.
        If you’re going to pursue a living that requires you to thuggishly break into peoples houses scaring the bejeezus out of them, you need to make sure you have a NON-LETHAL method of dealing with barking / aggressive dogs that doesn’t involved BLOWING THEIR BRAINS OUT IN FRONT OF THE FAMILY’S CHILDREN! Maybe a stun gun?
        Or better still, maybe save these gestapo tactics for situations where you have a bona-fide violent offender you’re dealing with & let the sheriffs department handle search warrants for drugs.
        Or better still – legalize marijuana and put a stop to this pointless misery.

    3. If every one of them involved YouTube videos, you would see a MAJOR reduction in idiot SWAT teams busting in on houses. I wish that were the case.

  5. “I hate the Internet.” — Missouri Police Chief Ken Burton

    ‘The feeling is mutual” — The Internet

  6. As for the death threats, yes, they’re an unfortunately ugly part of often-anonymous Internet discourse.

    The pseudonymous murder advice is often quite fetching, though.

    1. You can visualize the impotent and frustrated and wholly incompetent death-threaters, sitting there in their boxer shorts, beer guts hanging over their waist bands, waiting for the microwave beep and its salty-fatty deliverance.

      1. Hey! I get the boxers a little bit bigger so they come up over my gut. The good ones come up almost all the way to my man-boobs.

        1. All you need now are boxer-suspenders and a Mansiere.

          1. You mean a Bro!

      2. I can picture you. roid head cop, playing with his shrunken testicles as you typed comment. wife cheating on you with a real man. that’s why you have to take it out on dogs.

  7. “if they try to come to my house and do that, I’ll kill them”

    QFMFT

    1. I’m actually more concerned they’ll kill ME.

      Honestly, if I hear my door being kicked in or similar noises in my house late at night, I will be 1) pants-shitting scared and 2) on the defensive and going for my gun.

      HOPEFULLY I will hear the word police but in all the adrenaline and confusion it’s quite likely I won’t. Assuming they even say it. If not, I don’t see my self being the victor in an armed shootout with several guys more heavily-armed and awake than I am.

      That’s the problem with these raids, it creates a hostile confrontation where there need not be one.

      1. Me, I’m hoping a series of makeshift traps created from household objects will be sufficient to drive the intruders away or incapacitate them. Unless cops are smarter than the crooks on Home Alone, but what are the odds of that?

        1. As a citizen of Columbia, MO I am outraged and disgusted by the blatant abuse of power that the CPD has shown. There is no reason to shoot the family dog, after all, SWAT is adorned in Kevlar body armor. If a bullet can not penetrate the armor, how is a dog going to harm them in any way? Also, the shots fired by SWAT occurred only seconds after entering the home. The bullets meant for the dogs could have easily been received by the innocent people inside the home (the child, the wife). This blatant disregard for human life (and life in general) is an atrocity. But, sadly, I do not feel that the Pigs responsible for this SWAT raid will see any punishment for their actions. Unfortunately, local government will protect these swine from any jail time, and if they are fired (and that’s a big, fat IF), they will find another town to terrorize somewhere else. All this over a pipe. What a fu**ing sham.

          1. Couldn’t have said it better myself Megan. Had they shot a child instead of the dog I bet the cops would still be making excuses because they are swine and won’t accept what they did was just downright disgusting and wrong.

            1. They would say it’s the parent’s fault the kid is dead because the parent’s actions brought them there.

              They only pretend to understand accountability when it applies to others.

            2. they would have then made sure the rest of the folks were silenced.. do like they do in Afghanistan drop a piece of evidence and call them terrorist…no witnesses no crime. People be careful, they will even more likey KILL everyone in the house now to cover the chicken chip butts…dead people cannot get them into trouble!

          2. Just to point out. Everyone in that house was innocent, until proven guilty of a crime.

            A nonviolent crime should not be met with violence, period.

  8. Death threats in YouTube comments are utterly fucking meaningless. Pigs shooting within seconds of dynamic entry is not. What if the residents were holding something that could be mistaken for a gun?

    1. True, but at least you don’t see cops engaging in anonymous internet threats. Especially not Missouri cops. Oh, wait…

      1. lmao

        I forgot about that…

      2. Yes you do. Remember the St. George Missouri videotape. The young man videotaping the officer’s outrageous threats of false arrest for simply waiting for his girlfriend in a parking lot. Law enforcement web sites lit up with death threats to the young man.

    2. Not even mainstream leftist cable-news creeps Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz have cited YouTube commentary as indicative of Right-Wing Tea-Bag Nazism. Yet.

  9. If they try to come to my house and do that, I’m running out the backdoor screaming “don’t shoot, don’t shoot!”

    1. +1. OK, I might be too scared to run.

    2. Or maybe a good panic room, and keep your dogs crated in there. Hell, just sleep in the panic room.

      1. The NYPD tried to raid the Hell’s Angels HQ, but the building was too secure, the cops were forced to wait for the Angels’s lawyer to review the warrant, and then negotiate for entry.

        The end result was the cops did get who they wanted, and no shot were fired. They just didnt’ get their way about how to do it.

  10. What is depicted on the video strikes me as prosecutable, at least in Texas. The standard here is that cops may use deadly force:

    (a) under the same self-defense standards applicable to all citizens, and

    (b) when the suspect had committed a crime involving the use of deadly force or presents such an imminent threat to the public that the arrest could not be delayed.

    What this SWAT team did cannot be justified under either of those standards. Every officer who fired a weapon should be prosecuted. Every officer who was present when this violent crime was committed and did nothing should be written up, and probably fired.

    1. And they might be yet.

      1. If you’re placing bets, I’d put my money on “paid administrative leave” and “internal investigation reveals no wrongdoing.”

        1. Like Radley says, this is far too common. It’s been made routine as part of what they do. I worry about individual cops more when they act above the law OFF duty … and assault cute little bartenders.
          The politicians are maybe even more to blame.

        2. but surely there are organisations/lawyers who would launch a private prosecution in your country against the officers?

          1. What is this “private prosecution” you speak of? Does it involve hit men?

            1. That’s what it’s called here, I mean a civil suit I guess..

        3. Can I get in on that?

      2. Well, I’m not holding my breath. Any investigation will simply declare that they were “following policy”. There will be no consequences for the LEOs involved.
        The best we can hope for is that the local media takes a long hard look at the way SWAT is used. Maybe that could lead to some meaningful changes.

    2. Yeah, somewhere with a strong ‘Castle Doctrine’, semi legal MJ and enough public pressure.
      It is a perfect storm for decoupling the drug war, ‘soldier’ cops and their enablers.

    3. This is an excellent policy, all the way through.

  11. And I love the way the cops are reforming their violent assaults on citizens, here:

    (1) By shortening up the time for investigation/confirmation/reflection;

    (2) By admitting that these raids are extremely dangerous and not justifiable if children are present (as far as they know), but insisting on carrying them out anyway.

  12. “I hate the internet.”

    If you have nothing to hide …

    1. To be fair, I usually hate the internet too. Of course, I’m a nobody with very little to hide, so…

  13. Ah, once again we get to enjoy the fruits of moonopoly justice. It is absolutely irrefutable that the state’s monopoly on the administration of justice wreaks havoc on order and tranquility.

  14. One must be pretty fucking primitive and primordial to argue, with a straight face, that all hell would break loose if the state did not have a monopoly on the administration of justice.

    1. Libertymike, is there anything that can conceivably happen that wouldn’t be a slamdunk argument for anarchism that any idiot with two brain cells to rub together would have to bow in obsequious deference to?

      1. Hugh, not quite sure of your question.

        Are you conflating anarchy with a situation where the state does not have a monopoly on the administration of justice? The two are not one in the same.

        There are no good, never mind, slamdunk, arguments in favor of the state possessing a monopoly on the administration of justice.

        1. By that standard, having a state that controls all goods and money and distributes it to individual citizens as it pleases should not be conflated with tyranny.

          1. Tulpa, you can’t be serious?

            1. So you CAN write a post that doesn’t include the phrase “monopoly on the administration of justice.”

              But seriously – that’s something that I’d never thought about, and I’m genuinely curious what other systems are available and/or in use elsewhere in the world, and how they function.

              1. The way our justice system is set up is for checks and balances. When the state controls all… well, just look into history for the answer to that question.

                1. just to add to all that, no justice system has ever been perfect or will be. they always change and shift towards a hopefully better one. (amendments?).

        2. Monopoly power in administering justice is what defines a State.

          The ultraminimal state is one where police, courts, and military are provided for by taxation. The removal of monopoly control would reduce any entity with claims of statehood to a competing and voluntary protective association in a state of nature. i.e. gangs of thugs under anarchy.

          And while I agree that this incident (and those like it) shows a breakdown in the enforcement of Constitutional limits of power, that hardly implies that life under anarchy would inherently be an improvement.

          1. Hugh, competing protective organizations are superior to monopoly. Its just common sense that competition is always better than monopoly. One is just ignorant to thinik otherwise.

            1. Not with the Constituion we have. Some of our rights are protected by restrictions placed upon the state.

              Besides, it’s still the state creating the laws that would govern how those organizations would operate.

              1. Upon what empirical, factual basis do you make your assertion?

                BTW, the constitution does not grant the state a monopoly on the administration of justice.

                1. Agreed, Mike. That’s the whole point of JURIES guys… and let’s not forget the GRAND jury.

    2. Libertymike would like to have his own monopoly on justice, or no justice at all?

      1. Or maybe community rules set by the person with the quickest draw.

      2. No, its like the penultimate scene in For Eyes Only-where Roger Moore takes the Atax system and throws it off the mountain and says to Walter Gotell, “That’s detente, comrade. You don’t have it and I don’t have it.”

  15. Ah, the blue wall has been breached and Da Chief don’t like it. Though shit bub.
    Fortunately no people were hurt and no jail time for the so called ‘criminal’. They might even be able to file a civil suit. Some well known attorney may ‘take a shot’. With national attention who knows where this will lead. Being a pot bust makes it even ‘better’ considering it’s becoming de-facto legal. The general public will be even more sympathetic.
    I’ve watched the police act more like special ops soldiers with impunity over the years and it worries me.

    Some of us that understand civil liberties LOVE the internet.

    1. That’s the point, isn’t it – this would be an appropriate way of breaking into Osama bin Laden’s hideout but when did the government declare war on its own citizens?
      I don’t know if you in the US are familiar with Peelite policing, established in the UK (perhaps not anymore):
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_Principles
      The one principle that would transform society in many ways is this:
      “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

  16. I have another question for Chief Burton:

    “Why are you still here?”

  17. While anonymous Internet threats are almost certainly ignorable, it’s not just You Tube commenters who do this. How many of Radley’s posts on H&R describing police abuses are followed by commenters opining as to whether the cops involved deserve to be killed?

    1. Saying that X deserves to be killed is different from threatening to kill X. If I, for example, say that the cops carrying out this raid deserve to be sodomized by cellmates named “Tiny,” I’m not threatening to change my name, get incarcerated, and do the deed myself.

      1. Thank you for that visual this early…I spilled my coffee…..LOL

  18. As a graduate student at The University of Missouri in Columbia, I am very shocked that I have not heard any rumblings on the campus here about this incident.

    People are more upset about the students who threw cotton balls outside the Black Culture Center only getting charged with littering, rather than incidents like this.
    http://www.themaneater.com/sto…..-incident/

    1. Then spread the word and create outrage.

  19. Dang internet, it showed how bad we fucked upt.

  20. Another example of Columbia Detective John Short caught on police video spoon feeding a witness.
    Shocking Police Work

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCyKnc1BVV8

    1. Disgusting.

  21. As a citizen of Columbia, I do have to say that we should give Chief Burton some credit for his sensible take on the idiotic surveillance cameras that a stunning majority of my fellow Columbians voted to install downtown. Burton publicly came out against the cameras, but since the ordinance passed the vote, it appears so far that he will exercise some restraint and reason in actually using them. At least, I hope that is the case, because the number of cameras and the amount of money spent on them is largely up to him.

    On the other hand, though, he has been a big advocate of the license plate scanners that our city council just accepted from the county, despite serious privacy issues.

    … I think I’m still bitter about the April elections.

    1. My bad, I didn’t make it to the polls in time to vote.

    2. Perhaps he was against the use of the surveillance cameras because he didn’t want his swine cops to be recorded acting like asses. Bad cops don’t like cameras, and apparently don’t like the internet.

      1. This comment makes sense, so it must not be the Chony we know and love.

  22. The department didn’t return my call

    Yeah, Bradley, they fucking love you!

    Seriously, keep up the good work.

    … Hobbit

    1. Who is this Bradley person you’re talking to?

  23. I hate that fucking piece of shit.
    And I’m going to get a gun and kill him.

  24. Didn’t you get Obama’s memo? They are not death threats. They are threats to create man made disasters. 😉

  25. Looks like YouTube helped change the way they do things. That’s a positive.

  26. “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you lousy kids!”

  27. have calmed down some , but I ahte thugs in and out of uniform . this behaivior puts all officers at risk

  28. Does anyone know how the city of Columbia decides how many stars the chief of police should wear?
    I noticed he is wearing 4 on each side.
    Gosh how many stars would the police chief in St Louis or Kansas City have?
    What do those stars mean?
    Can he earn more?
    How many did the last chief wear?

    1. Why, Bill, it’s simple, really.
      The number of stars on his uniform indicate how special he is.

      Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
      0 stars = not special
      1 star = special
      2 stars = very special
      3 stars = very very special
      4 stars = very very very special

    2. Pretty much each police or sheriff’s dept decides this. Basically, stars indicate rank equivalent to an army general.

      Stars on the chief’s uniform are hugely pretentious for a small-town police dept since the chief doesn’t command anywhere near as many personnel as flag officer in the US military. But this sort of inflation is common in provincial LE organizations.

      Of all the things to pick on in this incident, the chief’s rank insignia comes in dead last.

  29. I see a lot of talk about the innocent child and wife. How about the man? Wasn’t he innocent too? Even if he had some weed – are you kidding me? SWAT team, dead pets and reckless endangerment of life is not a justified response. This was a tyrannical assault on THREE innocent people and two innocent dogs.

    1. They didn’t even charge him for pot possession – they charged him with possession of paraphernalia.

    2. You are correct, of course. Even if he had 10 lbs of weed in the house, he would still have been an innocent victim too (assuming that was his only infraction).

  30. I almost got banned from a bass player’s forum over this for calling out the jock sniffers and telling a general manager for a custom bass company that his thoughts on this wouldn’t be selling many basses to libertarian/civil liberties types.

    A BASS PLAYER”S forum. WTF? You’d think musicians would be hipper than that.

  31. I think it was John Gilmore who said (more or less) “sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the internet isn’t just sunlight, it’s the searing heat of ten thousand stars”. Next time I run into him I’ll ask him if he remembers the exact quote.

    -jcr

  32. BTW, it seems to me that there’s a market opportunity for better front doors. I think every household should have a door that will stand up to a battering ram long enough to call the press before the cops can get in.

    -jcr

    1. That, and door-smash activated cameras.

      Seriously, after watching that video I’m thinking of putting almost my entire house on camera 24/7 with the video stream stored on an off-site server. I can’t possibly be the only one.

      This could be a big opportunity for somebody… If people can make money selling bomb-shelter food rations & seeds to paranoid Glenn Beck listeners, there ought to be a booming market for affordable home-surveillance equipment these days.

    2. This is a fabulous idea. Admittedly, bad guys will use them too, and then a scared, ill-informed public will start demanding more extreme measures for entry, will elect more ‘tough on crime’ people, who will expand police powers to more drastic measures…

      Blah. I do really like your idea. But I think what needs to be done is government needs scaled way the fuck back, people need to be educated on the non-evils of weed, and personal responsibility (including guarding your own castle) should take priority.

  33. Death threats are inevitable. Which isn’t to defend them, but just acknowledging the reality.

    And it’s not just LEO’s – I suspect that Tonya Craft got (or is still getting) death threats.

    And not just on the internet, in pre-internet times people used to send death threats via snail mail.

    The only thing the net changes is making it easier to both transmit and recieve info.

  34. One more thought on death threats:

    I think there is a distinction between saying SWAT personnel “deserve to die” and saying that lethal self-defense during a “dynamic entry” would be justified. My recollection is that at least some H & R commenters take the latter position. I know I do.

    I think there is a big difference between saying someone deserves to die (which implies that shooting them down in cold blood would be justified), and saying that self-defense is justified (which implies no such thing).

    1. That is a very important distinction. I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about who might deserve to die; that is not for me to decide. But I do think that people would be quite justified in using deadly force in response to anyone entering their house this way.

      1. “”But I do think that people would be quite justified in using deadly force in response to anyone entering their house this way.””

        Including a criminal with an expectation of cops showing up?

        I don’t expect cops to curb their behavior while going after criminals, and you can’t expect them to be perfect. What I would like to see is greater accountability when shit goes wrong, not promotions. Punishment for screwing up will curb some of this crap. But that’s not easy to get when the idea that cops shouldn’t have to second guess themselves prevails.

        1. I don’t expect cops to curb their behavior while going after criminals, and you can’t expect them to be perfect.

          TV, I agree with this. The major problem is police policy, and the minor problem is police tactics. A rational, and defendable policy would be to never use a “kick down the door with guns drawn, and shoot the pets for good measure” warrant unless the occupants of the criminal lair are known to be dangerous felons. If such a policy were adopted, I suspect 99% of these military-style raids would never happen in the first place. Policemen should NEVER dress like soldiers, this just reinforces the notion that policemen are not members of our society.

          The underlying problem, of course, is the “WAR ON DRUGS!!!!!!”, but even without changing the insane drug laws one iota, the police should be able to enforce the law (however much I disagree with it) without becoming the most violent offenders.

  35. Hating the internet is like hating the printing press.

  36. Chief Burton meant, “I hate the truth”.

  37. If this judge was worth 1/8 of her paycheck, he/she would really take issue with this.

    http://www.columbiamissourian……arrant.pdf

  38. I don’t care if the dog was in a cage or loose it didn’t have to be killed. These are SWAT officers in full gear. IF the dog was aggressive and any idiot would expect it to be aggressive in this situation they could have kicked it, maced it etc. They wanted to kill the dog PERIOD. How many dogs has CPD killed for no reason? I’ve heard of several since this went public. This is not the only thing wrong with this SWAT raid but I could write a book so I will stop here. They should all be fired and charged. I LOVE THE INTERNET!!

  39. The only thing to come of this will be stauncher state secrets requests to deflect FOIA requests. That is what the Chief meant. If no one knew about it, it wouldn’t be a problem. PUERCO!!

  40. End the drug war before you are brought up on war crime charges. The cops are the most dangerous gang in the USA! The most dangerous thing about using God’s gift Cannabis is getting busted by thug cops.

  41. As stated, all this on hear-say evidence of a personal stash of marijuana. So all that is needed is for anyone to make an accusation and a swat team will come your door and shoot up your house? This does not sound like the United States.

  42. This was as reckless act as I have ever seen.They are pretty lucky one of those bullits didn’t strike that kid through the wall this would be a very different ball game then. People say pretty stupid things all the time but to put lives at risk is unforgivable behavior. I support the Police but this was a bad job by the Columbia Police Department in my opinion.

  43. Hey-

    Good article. This reminds me of the college park MD riots of this year. Police acted so so so inappropriately. Finally, youtube actually performed a civic duty by catching these pigs in the act, and finally there is some accountability.

  44. You are right, we need to stop the internet bravado and sleep with automatic rifles near our beds. This of course is to defend against crimminals and the definition of crimminal is subjective. Its our duty to protect our families from all threats foreign and domestic.

  45. Also, get video cameras installed they are pretty cheap and the footage could end up saving your reputations and freedom.

  46. I wonder what would have happened had they not found any drugs (a joint)? So the Chief hates the internet? Perhaps he should tame his steroid fill police and then realize that the war on drugs is a billion dollar business for the ones fighting it.

    According to Barry Cooper (former cop) drugs are then planted. See Barry’s website and check out the video on the front page with the caption “Pretend This Is Your Daughter In This Video While Drafting An Email To The Sheriff” below

    http://www.nevergetbusted.com/kopbusters/index.php

  47. Chief you are a piece of trash you are not Police you are a bottom feeding maggot f— you!

  48. “But in the interest of trying to establish credibility and transparency, I can admit that the deceased dog was wearing a pink sweater at the time it was killed.”
    Deputy Chief Tom Dresner, Columbia Police Department

    http://www.columbiamissourian……d-meeting/

  49. Sgt Joe Friday and his partner (Dragnet radio and TV show) would have solved this case in 48 hours, not eight days. They would have done surveilence, talked to the neighbors, found out about the child and the dogs beforehand, checked with the childs school, the man’s and women’s employer. They would have taken the man and the woman into custody outside of the home during the school day and searched the house in the daylight. They would have had animal control officers there to help them. Not as exciting as a nighttime raid, perhaps, but a lot better for all concerned. (Including the police)

    Has “To protect and Serve” become “oderint dum metuant”?
    (Let them hate so long as they fear)

  50. SWAT teams are very, very rarely needed or necessary. They mostly serve as ego-gratification exercises and fund-wasters. The average suburban town has no need whatsoever for “tac” teams armed with hair-trigger weaponry to kick in doors and go completely berserk in the name of keeping cops safe. Most of the excuses they use to justify themselves are urban myths and flat-out lies. They’re a bunch of guys playing army instead of doing their jobs properly.

  51. I thought one of the “General Orders”
    was to use the minimum amount of force
    to deal with a situation.
    I guess the maximum is to kill everyone
    and torch the premises.
    All this for a min. nonviolent offense.

  52. He hates the INTERNET because it shows them for the criminals that they are, if we assaulted a police dog we would be charged with assault on a police officer or killing a police dog is murder of an officer, they should be charged with murder of a child (the family dog)our family dogs are as close as any family member if the laws work one way they have to work the other beyond the dogs they messed up the family they are all are screwed mentally with this imprint in their minds of a Nazi type raid

  53. in southern VA a police officer killed a mini dachshund a real threat to a man with a 9MM and kevlar, I say PUSSY

    http://www2.godanriver.com/gdr/news/
    local/danville_news/article/danville_family_grieves_after_they_say_dog_is_shot/11650/

    Your family dog is lights out if they growl at this standing army during times of peace and contrived wars

  54. There hiding the court case in the judge’s chamber? Something to hide I say. They need a conviction to invoke immunity. This how courts all over the country operate . They trump up charges offer a good deal so that you will take it and not sue them for false arrest and malicious prosecution. I only wish people knew there rights. And not the one’s the police tell you that you have.

  55. So chief, when are those boys of yours gonna be locked up for their criminal actions?

  56. Wow.
    You really need to stop using the word misinformation mr. reporter.

    When someone cuts out portions of video with incriminating evidence either against the suspect OR the police that is lying because half a truth…is STILL A LIE.

    Simple as that.

  57. isn’t FOIA and the INTERNET a bit bothersome when you are trying to smooth over the truth

  58. This is the same thing as Iraq, that 7 year old kid will remember what happened for the rest of his life. Just like i’m sure most of you remember tidbits of information from your childhood. What will that lead to? Will he forever hate the police with such a passion that he goes postal one day? Kinda like in Iraq, we are there to kill terrorists, sometimes we kill civis, their children will then hate us thus future terrorists are created.

    1. @jack – you got it, the situation keeps escalating and is bound to sink further down a slippery slope until either LE backs off or social counter moves results in anarchy (bolted steel doors, cameras all around, costly unending lawsuits, and yes: a few dead cops). The US should have left Iraq right after Hussein got hanged. Afghanistan is a failure, the US still does not control the second largest city there … its about making money doing the wrong thing … a fully decked out SWAT team on steroids ($1 million) to stop a pot head smoking $100 worth of dry weed.

  59. Nothing in the search warrant affidavit mentioned anything at all which justified SWAT’s participation in this raid. There was no mention of any weapons, or violent history of the person being raided.

    Furthermore, this sort of raid is simply destined to result in horrible consequences some of the time. People have to make split-second decisions, while still groggy from sleeping, as to whether the person yelling “POLICE!” is really a police officer.

    How many criminals will bust into homes and yell the same thing, in order to simply keep the victim from legitimately reaching for his/her gun to defend him/herself?

    1. ‘Roid Rangers got their jolly’s by doing it this way…kill the civilian maggots
      “Roid Rangers here to kill your dog…….. ”
      Sick

  60. Every one of you are so conditioned with black, white ,left, right, can’t you see ,they see us all as ONE. They don”t care who you are. You could be next.

  61. Why conduct raids? Knock on the door, talk to people. The police are the ones creating the violence.

  62. On the jury, if the homeowner left the entire SWAT team dead on the floor from gunshots to the head, I find the homeowner NOT GUILTY, and also get him a $ reward from the city. Bravado? Hardly, just too many people understand the truth the media wont ever tell you. IF the SWAT TEAM did murder that WHOLE FAMILY? what would have come of it? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. and We all know it, (just lie about it). They would plant weapons, say they were attacked, say the father murdered his own kids. The ABSOLUTE WORST? MAYBE some of the police might be fired (only to get the same job in another city). They exist to collect money, and abuse the public. They are organized crime.

  63. This incident is unjustified. No amount of lies, [misinformation] can excuse what the criminal “goon squad” did during this travesty. These thugs are moronic cowards and bullies. Blaming the internet for exposing their criminal thuggery is silly and putrid.

  64. death threats? if a cop broke in my house and killed my dog, i’d right down his badge number and kill the person closest to him.

  65. There is a substantial distance between the serving of a warrant, and an all-out assault on a home. If the concern is destruction of the drugs, then certainly the police have access to turn off power, water, etc, before a serving of the warrant. Sans power, and water, the destructive methods are far more limited.

    There are other concerns as well. Even with that identification, how may one be certain that it is an actual police raid? I can order uniforms, badges, and gear. I can organize a group to invade a home…

    Lest people forget, we’ve already had these trials:

    “When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.

    “These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.

    “Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.”

    The police have no lawful power to enter that home without serving the warrant. Breaking down the door is not a service of said warrant.

  66. Yes the state of Missouri where a citizen, by having a mere 35 grams of pot, is committing a FELONY. If Arizona can be targeted, Missouri is a retarded state and should be boycotted. Missouri loves company.

  67. Send the SWAT team to capture CIA, there is your REAL drug dealer……

  68. Consider this raid in light of our American troops guarding the poppy (drug) fields in Afghanistan. Why are the police doing any kind of drug bust?

    http://rainbowwarrior2005.word…..py-fields/

  69. They should go after thee supplier uh in Afghanistan after the taliban was ousted but we know that is not going to happen.

  70. THESE PIGS DESERVE DEATH THREATS. I HOPE THE WHOLE DEPARTMENT GETS MORTARED. FUCKING PUSSY SHOT A DOG.

  71. In response to Rechoboam’s question of “when did the government declare war on its own citizens?”, that would’ve been in 1933: “As the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first official act ?on the day he took office?was to classify the people of the United States as an enemy of the federal government. This was done by covertly rewording the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1917 within the Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933…”. See http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind….._Enemy_Act
    “The Trading With the Enemy Act, Title 12, ?95(a) and ?95(b) of the United States Code, is considered by many to constitute a declaration of war made in 1933 against the people of the United States by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
    To connect this with the current discussion/case, also research the high-lited phrase (in above link) “Emergency War Powers Act (12 USC 95 a, b)”, which goes to another article.
    In essence, “These proclamations give force to 470 provisions of Federal law. These hundreds of statutes delegate to the President extraordinary powers, ordinarily exercised by the Congress, which affect the lives of American citizens in a host of all-encompassing manners. This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal Constitutional processes.” “Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.” [Senate Report 93-549. See also http://www.barefootsworld.net/…..oduction.]
    Thankfully, though, some brave researchers have figured a way out of this Servitude, which you unwittingly “consented to” when you got your Social Security (Membership) Number.
    See “Sovereignty Education and Defense Ministry” website (don’t be put off by the Christian basis; just look at the legal data, if nothing else.) There’s a whole lot to learn on how “they” get away with all this, bypassing the Bill of Rights. Good news is, when you learn the Truth, It really does set you free.

  72. My favorite bit was when the first shot was fired, the camera-guy was so unprepared for it they jumped. That was about the only thing I giggled at though.

  73. Yes, and somebody needs to educate these anti constitutional cops on miranda rights, they dont have a right to know somebodys name, that cop is makin shit up. Miranda says you have a RIGHT to remain silent, and there is nothing in the that say except for giving your name.

    1. Sorry but you’re wrong. Under Miranda, a suspect has the right to remain silent when questioned about the case at hand, he/she does however have to identify themselves when asked thus verifying the correct person is being arrested. There are other situations where one does have to identify to the police and can be arrested for not doing so, but once identity has been established, THEN they have the right to remain silent. God I hate people who got their law degree from C.S.I or some dumb ass ACLU article they read.

  74. I hate the state of MISSOURI I lived here all my life and I,am now 52 years old this entire state has lied to the rest of the country in regard to me they have cost me a lifetime of earnings in savings and or united to keep me from finding any life this state has made me hate labor their entire life here is General Motors and their work. I have to stay here now because of what they have cost me dont ever move to MISSOURI you will regret it for the rest of your life boycott everything made here or commerce here I hate the people here for ruining and wasting my life anything that has Missouri on it I dont want one word is Liars.

  75. ha he didnt know there was a child there, yet the subject is under constant surveillance…..cops and their undying need to lie to the public. You get a SWAT raid when they receive a tip of the possibility of drugs?? Sounds like ancient rome when people could leave “tips” on people hating on the emperor. WTF! how about I leave a tip that the chief of police had shit in his closet so he can swat screw his own damn house.

  76. and of course he hates the internet. the only place where cops can get in trouble for anything wrong they do… well not even really in trouble.. since all they have to do is deny everything and it is all good again. I wonder what will happen if I roll a stop sign and the officer asks me if I know what I did wrong and I deny everything…oh yeah that’s right, I get fucked.

  77. O’l Kenny is digging deep for something to say. What he should say is he (probably) never even knew the raid was going on or anything about it at all!! ALL his past history proves that!! He is one-smooth-talker though…just like every other dictator. Tons of things to say but never around when he’s needed….ain’t that right Kenny???

  78. I read your blog.interested blog such as great blog Thanks…..

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