Militarization of Police

This Is Your Country on Drugs

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Another day, another wrong-door drug raid terrorizing an innocent grandmother:

An elderly Polk County woman is hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a heart attack when drug agents swarm the wrong house.  Machelle Holl tells WSB her 76-year-old mother, Helen Pruett, who lives alone, was at home when nearly a dozen local and federal agents swarmed her house, thinking they were about to arrest suspected drug dealers.

"She was at home and a bang came on the back door and she went to the door and by the time she got to the back door, someone was banging on the front door and then they were banging on her kitchen window saying police, police," said Holl.

Holl says her house was surrounded and she was scared to open the door.

Radley Balko's must-read column on this unconscionable and ongoing American outrage here.

Hat tip to reader Nick West.

NEXT: Congress Accelerates Out of Control

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  1. End sovereign immunity. Imagine if the actions of a private company resulted in an old woman being scared into a heart attack. Big money. Make the person responsible personally liable for these kinds of mistakes. Make them carry liability insurance just like any other professional. It would end this shit very fast, since a single mistake like this would result in you becoming uninsurable.

    You would think the Democrats would buy into that. It would be a boon to the trial lawyers.

    1. +1. If nothing else, hearing the arguments that the opponents of such a measure would gin up would be vastly entertaining.

      1. The response would be simple. “Evil hippie loving candidate John wants to let criminals sue the cops who arrest them”. I would like to think people would see through that. But I doubt it.

        1. I am interested in what you have to say John, and I would be interested in subscribing to your newsletter.

          I’d vote for you.

          1. Would you subscribe to the I love Paul Krugman Newsletter?

            1. No, I recently invested in a boat. I have a fear of heights, so helicopters are out.

        2. You mean like this?

          [scene shows prisoners going in a revolving door and coming out
          immediately]
          Voice: Mayor Quimby supports revolving door prisons. Mayor Quimby even
          released Sideshow Bob — a man twice convicted of attempted
          murder.
          [scene shows prisoners leaving on escalator and ski lift]
          Can you trust a man like Mayor Quimby? Vote Sideshow Bob for
          mayor.

          1. That’s why i have no hope left for America. The Simpsons have been pointing out what idiots we can be, for 20years now, and nothing has improved. What season was that episode from, 6-8, somewhere in there? So like 1996ish?

            14yrs later, you could actually run that add with real politicians names and people would think it was legitimate. Hell, you could run it without changing the names, and the next election would have a bunch of “Sideshow Bob” write-in votes.

            1. That’s why I laugh when groups like the Brazilian tourist board get offended by the Simpsons. While they take pot-shots at others, their ultimate target is US. And yes, we don’t learn…

        3. Despite being abused, sovereign immunity is a necessary for functional law enforcement. You can’t have prosecutors or police worried about getting sued for performing their legitimate duties.

          Of course, I’d favor removing “bursting into someone’s house in the middle of the night” (in the absence of justified suspicion that someone’s life was in danger) from their legitimate duties. That’s the root of the rotten tree, not sovereign immunity.

          1. You can’t have prosecutors or police worried about getting sued for performing their legitimate duties.

            Why not? Just because you deem it so does not make it true. Every private sector employee must worry about lawsuits, and society hasn’t crumbled…yet.

            1. And private sector employees shy away from actions that might get them sued. Prosecutors and police don’t have that choice — they necessarily have to use force as part of their legitimate duties, providing ample lawsuit material.

              1. Bullshit. Some private sector jobs are by nature the kind of actions that will get them sued. What action does a doctor take that isn’t likely to result in a law suit if it if botched? Practicing law is a legal minefield. If you mess up and don’t take care of your client you can be sued and lose your law license.

                Law enforcement is no different than those.

                1. What action does a doctor take that isn’t likely to result in a law suit if it if botched?

                  Prayer. YMMV, as per the faith healer, who ironically has no such constraints.

                  1. If God doesn’t have sovereign immunity who does?

                    1. I’ll keep that in mind. Speaking of, I need to go slice and dice in 30.

              2. So do private security guards. Game. Set. Match.

            2. Because, “the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Constitution does not impose a duty on the state and local governments to protect the citizens from criminal harm.”

          2. “SHS Napolitano….we have this one under surveillance. We’re not sure about this one yet….”

          3. They do it by maintaining liability insurance just like everyone else. How are doctors and lawyers supposed to do their jobs if they can be sued for their mistakes? Do you want your doctor worrying about being sued instead of practicing medicine?

            That logic is just as applicable to any profession. Yet, every other profession does just fine without sovereign immunity.

            1. Actually John, now that you mention it…

    2. John: Praiseworthy idea. A GREAT idea.
      That will fucking go nowhere.
      I hate being a libertarian sometimes.

    3. What would you expect the liability insurance to cost for a cop relative to how much a cop makes?

      The way I understand it, doctors and lawyers for the most part pay for their insurance out of the income they get from free market transactions with their clients, which doesn’t compare all that well to how cops make their income.

      Is it reasonable to presume that this additional cost for being a cop will ultimately be paid for by the taxpayers in the form of higher salaries for the cops if the policies are for individuals or in the form of higher spending on police in general if the coverage is at a broader level?

      1. EMT’s have buy liability insurance & their pay is horrible.

      2. The department would have to cover it. While cops get away with almost everything, it would be an uphill battle for a chief of police to make the claim that he needs more budget because his cops went all gung ho on some old ladies and got sued…

        It would make the cops and their paymasters start looking really hard at what they were doing if they actually paid a price for their actions.

        1. it would be an uphill battle for a chief of police to make the claim that he needs more budget because his cops went all gung ho on some old ladies and got sued…

          They wouldn’t claim that, they’d blame the lawyers and it would probably work.

          Just take a portion (10-15%) of their pay and base it on the cost of the insurance premiums, and you have incentivized them to reduce those negative and reckless behaviors.

          Am I misunderstanding you or are you suggesting the equivalent of a 10-15% paycut for cops?

          Who do you think is currently on the hook?

          To the extent anyone is, it is already the taxpayers so I’m not sure what the benefit of liability insurance would be since it is the same liability with a different name, plus an insurance company layer added in unless they self-insure.

          Is there anything now that stops police officials or officers from being fired for creating or being involved in these kinds of situations?

          1. no, he’s saying make 15% of cop pay contingent on insurance premiums. If the premiums are super low – they get extra, a bonus. If the premiums are high, they get dinged. If the premiums are “acceptable” then they get the 15% like always.

      3. Is it reasonable to presume that this additional cost for being a cop will ultimately be paid for by the taxpayers in the form of higher salaries for the cops if the policies are for individuals or in the form of higher spending on police in general if the coverage is at a broader level?.

        Who do you think is currently on the hook? This gives an actual incentive for law enforcement agents to think about the consequences of their actions in the form of lower liability premiums.

        1. And you don’t actually have to pass the full cost back to the law enforcement agencies, either. Just take a portion (10-15%) of their pay and base it on the cost of the insurance premiums, and you have incentivized them to reduce those negative and reckless behaviors. Passing the full ticket to the cops won’t fly, but any incentive is a step in the right direction.

    4. I’ve been a proponent of private security companies to handle policing duties for years. It would get rid of the monopoly of state issues justice, and allow people some choice in how their communities are policed. If you don’t want dangerous drug raids in your neighborhood, hire a company which does not use them as a means to handle drug crime. If they do, terminate the contract (when it’s up) and find a security company that will.

      There’s no worse thing for business than going out of business.

      _________
      http://madlibertarianguy.net

  2. I’d ask, “When will they learn”, but that’s clearly rhetorical. They’ll never learn, and this will just get worse and worse (as it has).

    Thank goodness it’s for teh childrun.

    1. Why would they learn? Nothing bad ever happens. You only “learn” when there are negative consequences to your actions. What do they care that an innocent woman almost died? To them it is just a cost of doing business. Until someone is held accountable, the behavior will never change.

  3. Dodd says he has gone to the hospital to check on Pruett and apologize to the family for what has happened.

    Alrighty then.

    Hey, can I sue Dodd for second-hand smoke terror?

  4. Now is the time to post the daily Balko nut punch on that SC Youtube video page. Better yet the Cato wrong raid map. But people who are just beginning to see the truth about these raids need to see that these cases aren’t exactly rare instances.

  5. The woman’s daughter sounds like a fighter. I hope she raises holy hell.

    1. Holl remembers the Kathyrn Johnston, the elderly woman shot to death in a botched drug raid in Atlanta, and thinks thinks this kind of thing happens too often.

      The word is slowly getting out. LEOs are out of control, often crooked, and incompetent to boot.

      Is it any wonder that Columbia, Missouri Police Chief Ken Burt hates the internet?

      1. Yes, and in Minneapolis, they can get a court order to enter your home in order to inspect your natural gas lines for “safety reasons”. What’s next? A court order to see if you are replacing your furnace filters for “safety reasons”? Can’t have people risking CO2 poisoning.

        This shit has got to stop.

        1. At least they have to get a court order first. Most “regulatory searches” (which usually apply to businesses) don’t require anything except the regulator showing up on your doorstep.

          1. I wasn’t home. just my two dogs. The police PICKED MY LOCS to get inside. I found a copy of the search warrant a full TWELVE DAYS AFTER THEY ENTERED MY HOUSE in the form of a fax slipped into my mail-slot dated March 16, 2010 for a search that occured on March 4, 2010. Why did they not leave a copy of the warrant on THE FUCKING DAY THEY ENTERED MY HOUSE???

  6. In case you all aren’t pissed enough:

    http://hamptonroads.com/2010/0…..conviction

    1. man i hate reading comments on other sites. people fucking suck.

      1. My God there are some awful trolls on that site.

      2. You think that is bad check out the comments under “Get Off My Lawn” http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/ Ex-Marine shoots neighbor over a puppy pissing on his grass.

        1. I could kind of sort of sympathize with the commentators if they were in any way consistent. Basically they are saying that is okay to shoot someone who mouths off to you in your yard, which is crazy but at least based on the laudable sentiment that your home is your castle. But I guarantee you those same people would think it was horrible if someone shot cops kicking down a door on a no knock raid. Basically they are just assholes who think that the rules should apply to everyone but them.

        2. This story can’t be true, there is no such thing as an ex-Marine.

    2. From the comments section, in re the police:

      I trust them with my life every minute of every hour of every day.

      This ^, is the way a lot of people feel, and that is scary.

      The comment shown was in response to a reasonable query as to why a swat raid was necessary, and not a simple arrest. This illustrates the blinders that go up anytime law enforcement is involved in wrong doing.

      1. Some of the victims at Virginia Tech probably felt the same way until they found themselves alone with a killer while the SWAT team stood outside scratching their balls. See the SWAT team only likes to pull the Rambo shit on defenseless civilians. When they are really needed to take down a violent, out of control lunatic, they usually just wait until the perp offs himself.

        1. Yup. Wait around and then clean up the bodies because the safety of the officer is paramount. They are not there to protect you. They are there to do their jobs and get home safely. If doing that requires your death or injury, well better you than them.

          1. “Yes, SHS Napolitano….he’s in out sights….just say the word…”

          2. because the safety of the officer is paramount
            yup. fuck the civvies, we need to retire after 20 years and collect our pensions for another 30.

            1. I mean, so what if there aren’t enough civvies around by then to pay the taxes to feed my pension, but whatever.

              1. You know that $.38/h you make stamping license plates? We’re gonna tax the shit out of it. For every dime you make, we get 9 cents. Fuck you druggies.

    3. That’s fucking horrifying.

      Strange thing to notice but Frederick seems to have gotten fat in jail.

      1. Prison food is all sodium & fat. My old man had two heart attacks in jailas a guest of the state, and he weighed 90 lbs soaking wet.

      2. A columnist actually mocked him for that a few months ago.

  7. This is really sad what happened to this poor woman. The police need to be better at getting the right address when they do these raids.

    1. Let’s hope the next one is yours Jaunita. I know you are a troll, but enjoy the fruits of your evil labor.

    2. Reply from 10.0.40.254: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=126
      Reply from 10.0.40.254: bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=126
      Reply from 10.0.40.254: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=126
      Reply from 10.0.40.254: bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=126

      1. Did you just ping Juanita?

    3. Juanita is back! Sweet!

      1. Juanita is far better than most of our other trolls.

        1. it’s performance art, which makes it better than trolling. Juanita has to be a regular H&R poster with a sense of humor. No one can be that vapid and be able to use the intarwebs.

        2. That’s why I’m so smitten.

          Why is it that some people who find love,
          handle it with such carelessness?

          Some people search for love all their lives.
          When it is found, why put it down and forget about it,
          only to realize how much it meant when it is gone?

          When you find love, hold on to it,
          celebrate its feelings,
          drown in them every day,
          be consumed by them…

          I am consumed by you Juanita.

          I will never set aside my love.
          I will never look for it only when it is lost.

          I love you.
          I will show you and tell you every day.

  8. It’s not like no good came from it. I bet that old lady will think twice about becoming a drug dealer now.

    1. Yes, God forbid she tries to peddle her extra allopurinol, KCL, or water pills.

    2. I like it. “Scared straight” isn’t just for kids anymore.

  9. I’ve read a couple of articles on this latest outrage. Do we know whether the cops even tried to determine who actually lived at that address before they barged in waving their guns?

  10. My officers showed great restraint in this matter. At no time did they taze the suspect. They did have to shoot the pair of finches in the birdcage, since those birds were a clear danger to officer safety.

    1. Bake ’em away, toys!

  11. Wow pretty scary stuff when you think about it.

    Lou
    http://www.isp-logging.eu.tc

  12. A letter of reprimand complete with supporting documents, hell, video if they have it, should be placed into every officers permanent file. Everyone! Right to the top!

  13. My God there are some awful trolls on that site.

    Not trolls, John, just typical Hampton Roadsians or whatever it is we’re supposed to be calling ourselves. I’d be ashamed to be from here, but i rather suspect it’s much the same anywhere else in the country.

    1. NO. Sadly they are not unique. I don’t understand how someone could be so stupid as to think “if you hadn’t been doing something illegal it wouldn’t have happened”. Even if you think pot should be illegal, that doesn’t give the police the right to kick down your door without identifying themselves. Those people are truly troglodytes.

    2. NO. Sadly they are not unique. I don’t understand how someone could be so stupid as to think “if you hadn’t been doing something illegal it wouldn’t have happened”. Even if you think pot should be illegal, that doesn’t give the police the right to kick down your door without identifying themselves. Those people are truly troglodytes.

      1. Worth repeating twice.

        1. He only repeated it once.

          1. Yeah, but GM’s point was that it was worth repeating twice.

    3. This is true. Most places are reasonable with some things and insane on other things. Pick your poison. Or, even if they’re really good on a lot of things, that draws in ironic idiots who end up changing it to what they escaped. Think southern New Hampshire over run by Massholes.

  14. people fucking suck.

    Yes.

    Yes, they do.

  15. As Balko pointed out previously it’s the law, lawmakers and judiciary we should be furious with. If you give someone the power to do these things they will most certainly use that power. It’s why our government has separate branches meant to check the power of each other as few men will check their own when unrestrained.

    Millions of people have bought into the fallacy that where drugs go violence follows. Black markets are violent, period. With no legal recourse to resolve disputes violence becomes the only arbiter. Make gasoline illegal and violence will crop up around the sale and manufacture of the product. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy that the executive and legislative branches love to use to justify my spending, more laws, more jails, and more encroachment on the life, liberty and property of the people.

  16. This is just the price we pay for our freedom. Stop being a buncha damn commynists.

  17. It’s not just the drugs, either, as their tax revenues fall, they have to lean on us, their li’l revenue streams to make up the shortfall. Our local muni cops are all fighting over their little strands of interstate like the cash cows that they are.

  18. This is just the price we pay for our freedom.

    Very nice. I think there’s an effective PSA in this.

    Subjugation is Freedom.

    Surrender to the state, and live worry free.

    1. Prop #1: Surrender to the state and live worry free, passes with 55.3 percent of the vote.

      1. We’re allowed to go all civil-war on their asses at that point, right?

        1. Who’s this “we”?

    2. We can’t call it IngSoc, tho. AmSoc?

      1. Please. AmProg don’t call it socialism, that word was tainted the small-minded who don’t understand what a utopian visionary Orwell was.

  19. See the SWAT team only likes to pull the Rambo shit on defenseless civilians.

    “I only hunt chipmunks. Lions, and bears, and stuff… they’re dangerous.”

  20. I noticed Radley didn’t post this.
    I assume he has committed suicide out of sheer depression from covering this brand of fuck.

  21. I assume he has committed suicide out of sheer depression from covering this brand of fuck.

    That, or he’s winding up for a real kick to the nuts later on.

    1. “SWAT Raid Leaves Ten Suit-Wearing Chimps, Bill Shatner Dead. President Promises Ban on Chimps, Star Trek”

    2. This.

      I think the story gets worse, and Balko will drop it on us tomorrow afternoon as per usual. Why does Radley hate fridays?

  22. DAMN! We almost had him!

    1. And we missed the reply to Jamie Kelley too! God our aim really sucks!

    2. What, the way you tell the story and everything? …. Get the fuck out of here! …. Tommy …

  23. You would think in this day and age, it would be reasonable to require photographic evidence to authorize a no-knock warrant. But that would require actual police work, not just paying junkies, kicking down doors, and shooting household pets.

  24. So, Breaking Bad fans, who else laughed out loud when the DEA agent dude got suspended without pay for kicking the fuck out of Jesse? Those writers clearly don’t read Radley.

    1. I’m rooting for Skyler, her sister, and Hank to get killed by the Laconic Duo. Show will be much better when Walt’s bring his infant daughter to the meth lab with him.

      1. You must not be up to date.

        1. Yeah. Missed Sunday’s. Its somewhere on the DVR. I’ve been pretending I have a life this week.

    2. The scene when Hank was trying to justify entering the RV was funny. The junkyard guy really knew the law.

    3. DEA agent dude got suspended without pay for kicking the fuck out of Jesse

      That happened because Hank owned up to what he had done — not because the DEA admin was particularly scrupulous.

      1. Yeah, even guys in the DEA can still get in trouble if they’re dumb enough to CONFESS to breaking the law.

        1. I remain skeptical. Both that a DEA agent would confess, and that he’d get actual punishment.

    4. I have never watched that show. But I watch the previews and the actor who plays the meth making lead just makes my flesh crawl. Something about his looks that just annoys me.

      1. “You’re a rabid anti-dentite!”

      2. He’s Malcom in the Middle’s dad. That’s what creeps me the fuck out. He should be playing a slapstick buffoon, not becoming a drug kingpin.

        1. He’s a bit of a buffoon as far as kingpins go. Or at least a naive drug kingpin. And he’s back to just being a nerdy chemist; Gus is the real deal.

          1. Yes, but Walt will eventually have to kill Gus.

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