Crime

A Drug Raid Goes Viral

A violent police raid posted on YouTube sparks outrage-but the only thing unusual was that it was caught on video.

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In May a Missouri police raid that was captured on video went viral. As of this writing, the video had been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube. It lit up message boards, blogs, and discussion groups around the Web, unleashing anger, resentment, and, regrettably, calls for violence against the officers involved. I've been writing about these raids, including some that claimed the lives of innocent people, for five years. There's never been a reaction like this one. (You can see the video at youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwvUaRqc.)

Despite all the anger the raid has inspired, the only thing unusual about it was that it was captured on video. Everything else was routine. Raids just like this one happen 100 to 150 times every day in America. Those angered by the video probably should look to their own communities. Odds are pretty good that their local police department is doing the same thing.

On February 11, the Columbia, Missouri, police department's SWAT team served a drug warrant at the home of Jonathan Whitworth and Brittany Montgomery. Police say that eight days earlier they had received a tip from a confidential informant that Whitworth had a large supply of marijuana in his home. They also say they found marijuana residue in the family's garbage.

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During the raid, police shot seven rounds, killing the family's pit bull. At least one bullet ricocheted, injuring a pet corgi. Whitworth, Montgomery, and their 7-year-old son were at home at the time. Police found a tiny amount of marijuana, enough only for a misdemeanor possession charge, which was later dropped. Whitworth pled guilty to one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, which earned him a $300 fine.

In an email message she sent me in April, before the video went viral, Montgomery said she was reading to her son in his bedroom when the cops came in. Police fired on the dog within seconds. "I've never felt so violated or more victimized in my life," Montgomery wrote. "It's absolutely the most helpless and hopeless feeling I could ever imagine. I can't sleep right…and I am constantly paranoid. It's a horrible feeling…to lose the safety and security I thought I was entitled to in my own home."

According to Montgomery, when the couple's neighbors inquired about the raid, they were told that the SWAT team had merely conducted a drill and that no shots were fired. When neighbors learned from the family this was a lie, they began writing to the department and to the local newspaper. When the couple first requested the video, they were given a copy with no audio and with the inflammatory portions deleted.

The full video was later requested and posted online by the Columbia Daily Tribune. The police department has since said it was unaware there were pets and a child in the home at the time of the raid. A city spokesman initially said police had to conduct the raid immediately, before the drug supply could be moved. Police later revealed the raid had been conducted eight days after the initial tip.

Yet this raid was far from the worst operation of its kind. No one was killed. The police got the correct address, and they found the man they were looking for. It isn't unusual for an informant's tip to be the main source for a raid, nor is it unusual for raids as violent as the one in Columbia turn up little in the way of drugs or weapons. (Although Whitworth had prior drug and DWI convictions, he had no history of violence, and there were no weapons in the home.) Shooting the dogs isn't unusual either. To be fair, that's partly because some drug dealers do in fact obtain vicious dogs to guard their supply. But there are other, safer ways to deal with these dogs besides bullets, such as tranquilizers or grasping poles. In the Columbia case, a bullet fired at one dog ricocheted and struck another dog. The bullet could just as easily have struck a person, as has happened in other raids.

The Columbia video wasn't even a "no-knock" raid. The police clearly announced themselves before entering. The Supreme Court has ruled that police must knock and announce themselves before entering a home to serve a search warrant. If they want to enter without knocking, they have to show specific evidence that the suspect could be dangerous or is likely to dispose of contraband if police abide by the knock-and-announce rule. As is evident in the Columbia video, from the perspective of the people inside the home, that requirement is largely ceremonial. If you were in a back room or asleep, you would have no idea that the armed men breaking into your home were police officers. The first sound you would have heard during the Columbia raid would have been the battering ram, followed by gunfire.

According to the Eastern Kentucky University criminologist Peter Kraska, the frequency of SWAT raids, mostly to serve search warrants on suspected drug offenders, has increased by about 1,500 percent since the early 1980s. Several policies have militarized America's police departments, not least of which is the ill-considered "war" rhetoric our politicians continue to use when referring to illicit drugs. Repeat the mantra that we're at war often enough, and the cops on the "front lines" will soon begin to think of themselves as soldiers. That's especially true when you outfit them with war-appropriate equipment, weaponry, and armor, as cities do with SWAT teams. The objectives of a cop and a soldier are supposed to be very different. One is charged with keeping the peace, the other with annihilating a foreign enemy.

Our police officers have begun to see drug suspects not as American citizens with constitutional rights but as enemy combatants. Pets, bystanders, and innocents caught in the crossfire can be dismissed as regrettable but inevitable collateral damage. This is how we get images like those shown in the video. This is how law enforcement officials can view the video and wonder what all the fuss is about.

It's heartening that more than 1 million people have seen the Columbia SWAT video. But it needs some context. The officers in that video aren't rogue cops. They are no different from other SWAT teams across the country. The raid itself is no different from the tens of thousands of drug raids carried out each year in the U.S. If the video is going to cause any change, the Internet anger directed at the Columbia Police Department needs to be redirected toward America's drug policy. Calling for the heads of the Columbia SWAT team isn't going to stop these raids. Calling for the heads of the politicians who defend these tactics and promote a "war on drugs" that has become all too literal—that just might. 

Radley Balko (rbalko@reason.com) is a senior editor at reason.

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  1. Whenever I see the byline “Radley Balko,” I know what follows will make me burn with anger and frustration, and also will be worthy of a Pulitzer.

  2. Thread jack. This is just unbelievable.

    Sources tell ABC News that Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, has informed the White House that he would like to consider remaining in public service after his Senate term ends at the end of this session, and White House officials are keeping an open mind about possible job openings for him.

    Specter, who was defeated in his March primary by Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pennsylvania, is a close friend of Vice President Joe Biden and someone praised for his leadership in pushing for greater funding for the National Institutes of Health.

    Sources said the job discussions are far from anything other than preliminary, and were not part of any “deal” when Specter switched parties and began supporting President Obama’s agenda in earnest.
    Neither the White House nor Specter had any comment.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/polit…..ecter.html

    1. Spector must look after his retirement, after all.

    2. I’m not sure what is so unbelievable about this.

      1. No administration, not even Nixon or Johnson has ever been so blatant about buying votes with promises of jobs as this one. Offering Spector a job in return for his vote is a crime.

        1. Certainly it’s not uncommon for defeated Congresscritters to go work for a friendly administration.

          1. No. But it is a crime to offer a soon to be retired Congressman a job in return for his vote.

            1. But your own report denies evidence of that.

              “Sources said the job discussions are far from anything other than preliminary, and were not part of any “deal” when Specter switched parties and began supporting President Obama’s agenda in earnest.”

              1. He just happened to inquire about a job right before the vote. And his vote just happens to go their way. And he will just happen to get a job. That is unbelievably blatant.

                Jesus MNG, is Obama’s cock so far down your throat that you can’t believe he is ever guilty of anything?

                1. “before the vote”

                  What “the” vote? Spector voted with the Dems on many votes, and not with them on some.

                  Spector would have had little trouble finding some kind of work you know. Ex-long time senators can always find a university or think tank to relax at post-job.

                  1. But he can’t get a job in the government without Obama. And that is what he wants. Only someone as depraved and dishonest of you could defend this. There is nothing Obama could do no matter how crooked that you wouldn’t defend.

              2. I mean, there is no need to conjure up malfeasance to explain Spectors switch. He faced a tough primary and tougher general election campaign in a state which has become increasingly Democratic. He had long been hated by the base. He had a history of switching parties.

                1. Stop changing the subject. Spector is uncommitted about Keagan. He is selling his vote for her in return for a job. We are not talking about him switching parties. Quit being a hack and stop changing the subject.

                  1. Sorry John,

                    this is hardly unbelievable and this is much ado about nothing.

                    Specter lost an election, and is looking for a position in public service.

                    Whooptie dooo.

                    How is that any different than when other congress critters get appointments while they are still serving and haven’t even lost an election?

                    1. I’m guessing Specter only pretended to be leaning against voting yea on Kagan so he could use that as a bargaining chip for an administration job. He is, like the vast majority on Capitol Hill, a political opportunist. I doubt he was even listening to Kagan’s “testimony”.

                    2. And if the Whitehouse told him to go fuck himself he would still vote for her? Hell no. So in other words he is selling his vote.

                    3. …he would still vote for her?

                      He’s been on of my senators since forever. Arlen Specter will vote for whatever gets Arlen Specter something. Now that he’s a lame duck, I have no idea what personal political consequence will cause him to vote one way or the other.

                    4. “How is that any different than when other congress critters get appointments while they are still serving and haven’t even lost an election?”

                      They are not taking those positions in exchange for a particular vote. This may come as a shock to you Tom, but even Democrats can be corrupt. You will never admit the possibility. But it is real.

                    5. Is Arlen THAT broke, that he can’t get by when his current job ends?

                  2. “”He is selling his vote for her in return for a job.””

                    Do you have any evidence? Just because you say so, and back it up with personal attacks for those who disagree, does not make it a win.

                    1. I think the timing of it is the evidence. Do you honestly think Spector had a change of hear just when they started talking to him about a job? Seriously, you really give Spector the benefit of doubt here?

                    2. Innocent till proven guilty. That applies regardless of my opinion of them.

                      The guy is doing what most do when they get ousted from Congress. You will need more than just timing to convince me.

                      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never seen a case where timing alone convinced you of anything either.

                    3. Democrats know that Specter has a long history of saying one thing and doing another. This is nothing unusual or special.

                    4. You could use the same line of argument to say that anybody which belongs to a political party and hold office is guilty of honest service fraud, couldn’t you? Not that I’d be against that.

                    5. Hmmmm . . . Isn’t Specter the main enemy of Bond?

  3. Why is calling for violence against the uniformed scum “regrettable”? If the courts can’t or won’t hold these lawless assholes responsible when they commit unreasonable acts of violence against “We the People” then they leave us no alternative but to seek “Natural Justice”. Maybe then these fucks will think before bursting into somebodies home. If not, fuck’em, no loss to the rest of us.

    1. Tim, while the “natural justice” route may seem tempting, I’m afraid that would lead to even less restraint (if that’s possible) on the part of these SWAT teams. They won’t even keep up the appearance of knocking and announcing before entering. They’ll just barge in and start firing at what/whomever moves.

      1. And maybe folks will be ready for them. One has a right to defend oneself against the depradations of those wearing Caesar’s clown suits.

      2. Let’s see how they react when it’s their home being attacked in the small hours. Firebombs are cheap and easy to make. If the pigs want a war I, for one, say we give it to them. Their wives and kids can be in the cross fire like everyone elses.

      3. As a further refinement, if you are the home owner, make your foyer a “kill box”. Then let the fun commence.

    2. This is what the voted for, strong leadership in the war on crime. This shit won’t start to change until we stop electing ex-prosecutors and ex-LEOs to office.

    3. It’s great to see libertarian thinking has not only captured the conservative and right side but is now capturing the bottom authoritarian populist side as well. If you use violence, they can replace their “dead soldiers” When you keep the merciless spotlight of truth on them 24/7 they defeat themselves, and no one wants to replace them.
      Millions of us are watching them break into homes to take videotapes of cops, tase grannies, imprison millionaire celebrities, etc. They are hopelessly discredited. Iran govt is really no worse than US govt. It’s “we the people” who force them to act “better” towards us.

      First, they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they attack you. Then you win. ? Gandhi

      1. First, they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they attack you. Then you win die.

        FIFY.

    4. Why don’t you focus your anger on the politicians WE KEEP ELECTING that CREATE the policies the SWAT teams enforce??

  4. “The objectives of a cop and a soldier are supposed to be very different. One is charged with keeping the peace, the other with annihilating a foreign enemy.”

    And yet our police are becoming more militarized while our military is conducting two “peacekeeping” missions. Bizzaro world!

    1. Given the current rules of engagement in Afghanastan, I wouldn’t be shock to learn that they aren’t allowed to do “no knock raids” there.

      1. It was pointed out in an earlier post on this subject, by a soldier in Afghanistan, that such a raid would not be allowed under the ROE in either Iraq or Afghanistan

  5. Calling for the heads of the Columbia SWAT team isn’t going to stop these raids.

    I suppose, but

    (1) They should be fired, just on their own merits (or lack of them).

    (2) We start firing these paramilitary types, perhaps it will encourager les autres.

    So, it can’t hurt, and it might help. Good enough for me!

    1. The problem is not the paramilitary types, but those above them, particularly legislators who allow this to go on.

  6. One (potential) negative side-effect of this is that police are probably going to ramp up efforts to stop videotaping of SWAT raids, and if they take any videos of raids, they will only release them when they show the police in a completely favorable light, a la COPS.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some “law-and-order” legislators start putting out bills restricting the non-police from taping raids, or police in general.

    With no similar restraints placed on LEO’s, naturally.

  7. I’d say the only natural response is to start shooting first, asking for badges later.
    The only regrettable part is if I die before the cop does.

    1. I approve this message.

  8. Why are the SWAT teams so afraid of the Public?

    The American people must really be dangerous for the Police to need that kind of firepower and armor.

    What if that couple and been growing and importing Orchids? Would SWAT have been prepared for that kind of threat?

  9. If you were in a back room or asleep, you would have no idea that the armed men breaking into your home were police officers. The first sound you would have heard during the Columbia raid would have been the battering ram, followed by gunfire.

    And then I would have died in a hail of gunfire, because I would have pointed my 12-ga pump down the stairs and blasted the first face I saw. At least I would have taken one out with me.

    But seriously, I’ve had this discussion with my wife – even though we give the police absolutely ZERO reason to come crashing in our door like this (you’ll find no illicit drugs in our house), they do sometimes get the wrong address, and who knows what my neighbors are doing? I live on a “Court” adjacent to a “Lane” of the same name.

    I’ve told my wife that if we are woken up by someone smashing in the front door in the middle of the night, I WILL be meeting them with my shotgun, and she will be holding the 9mm. I mean, I know the police have no reason to be kicking in the door, so if someone does kick in the door yelling “POLICE”, I will assume it’s a home invasion and the invaders are just claiming to be police to catch us off guard.

    This is just the sad reality. There’s just nothing right or good about these situations.

    1. That is what I would assume. And if that ever happens chances are I and at least one cop will end up dead.

      The irony of the whole thing is, they kick down the door allegedly for the “officers’ safety” yet that is exactly the least safe thing they could do.

      1. There were a series of home invasions in Central Florida in the early or mid nineties that used that exact MO.

      2. It is worth learning how to set booby traps.

        1. I can help you with that.

    2. Bail enforcement officers usually make collars away from the home to avoid violence.

      I think nobody knows what to do with these SWAT teams because they were created for an imaginary threat.

      1. Yeah they were created for the rarest of emergencies–hostage situations and barracaded, violent fugitives. Then the whole thing just caught fire and every podunk police dept has a swat team it seems. There are even magazines devoted to SWAT, schools that “teach you how to be a swat officer,” “tactical clothing” companies (which advertise on Reason and the Agitator, alas) et.

      2. The problem with bail comparison is that bail enforcement is exclusively concerned with the person. LEOs are more interested in the contraband.

        1. My point is that if they were concerned about public safety, they would develop a way of arresting people that insured public safety, but in reality what they are concerned about is cop safety, which is why so many of them advocate for gun control. It makes identifying the perp so much easier. Just shoot the guy holding the gun, and any dogs around.

          1. I understand. But catching the person isn’t the only goal. Getting into the home to sieze the stash is the entire point. Not only do they want the cash for funding and PR, they need it (plus the drugs and weapons) to prosecute as well. Arresting someone at WAWA doesn’t accomplish their goals, so it will never be a solution.

            The only solution is to reduce teh tactic back to its original use. To do that you have to get rid of the corrpution in the system, the rubber stamps and yes-men that make a mockery of the alleged controls over the warrant process.

            Let’s not kid ourselves that there’s an easy alternative. It’s a hard task even if you have top leadership committed to accomplishing it.

    3. I hope you’re loading slugs because I believe buckshot is stopped pretty easily by kevlar. Don’t get me wrong, it will ruin the guy’s day, but I’m not sure you’ll be :”taking one with you” like you plan.

      1. They don’t Kevlar their face, or their legs. A load of 00 to the crotch and pigboy bleeds out real quick. The femoral artery carries a lot of blood.

        1. Jesus, you guys give us all a bad name. No wonder no one takes libertarians seriously.

          1. What’s a “bad name” for advocating protecting oneself from home invaders?

            1. steel core 30-06 goes through body armor pretty easy – just be very careful where ya shoot it as it goes through just about anything minus mid-grade armor.

            2. This isn’t advocating protection. It’s fantasizing about killing cops.

              1. This is about putting a stop to the abuse and murder of innocent people by hyped up thugs with badges. Too long they have been able to beat, steal and murder those they took an oath to protect.

                Black uniforms, black helmets, raids on “undersirables” in the middle of the night. Now, I wonder where in history we have seen this kind of crap before?

                1. MadAsHell,

                  If that were true you’d be advocating actions which might influence future events. Instead you’re cheering death fantasies. Think about how close this is to what suicide bombers tell themselves.

                2. Instead of focusing your anger on the police, why not look at YOUR LOCAL POLITICIANS! You know, the ones you probably either don’t even bother turning out to vote for or whom you support in blind ignorance of their policy positions. Then VOTE THEM OUT!! Good lord, the Cops are just average shmoes asked to carry out laws THEY DIDN’T WRITE!! YOU control the law with your vote, YOU control the nature of law enforcement with your vote.

    4. Get an AR, a vest will stop the shotgun but not a well place high velocity bullet.

  10. There are so many safer ways to accomplish the arrest, I must assume these violent methods are used primarily as a form of extreme sport for men in need of such validation. Prove me wrong.

  11. The officers in that video aren’t rogue cops.

    I disagree. They are rogue cops. The problem is the norm has shifted. So now acting like rogue cops used to is no the norm.

  12. I think nobody knows what to do with these SWAT teams because they were created for an imaginary threat.Google

  13. …continue to cower in fright in their crates…

  14. Turks?

  15. I tuned into Police Women of Memphis last night, very briefly, hoping for hot police chicks (I was wrong, of course). Here’s the scene I watched:

    Suspect A and suspect B are being detained because some anonymous tipster said they were dealing. Suspect A has a big wad of cash, well over a thousand dollars. He claims that suspect B just walked up and gave it to him, out of the blue, and asked him to hold onto it. He claimed not to know suspect B. Suspect B says, “That’s exactly what happened” and also claimed not to know suspect A. No drugs were found. Eventually (after prodding both to confess) they were let go, since there was no evidence that any crime had been committed.

    The police kept the cash, of course, and said it was “going to be logged into evidence.”

  16. At least one bullet ricocheted, injuring a pet corgi.

    We’ll be back for the little dog…

    *fingers going from my eyes to yours, Dead Dog Walking Hobbling…*

  17. Broke into some dude’s house and killed the family dog over some fuckin’ weed?

    1. Not over weed… over residue.

  18. The real issue at hand here is that classic police work is no longer appreciated. Brute force has replaced the intellegent approach in the interest of “Git ‘R Done” and quick. That is what led to the Waco, TX debacle and we all know the outcome of that (also what led to the assination of Randy Weaver’s wife). What ever happened to the concept that we could surveil the suspect, effect an arrest off premisis by surprise when they are alone?

    That approach may not lead to confiscation of large quantiites of drugs and money, but enough to effect a felony arrest. There is also a good chance that an off premisis arrest will not result in attempts to destroy evidence, if it is available as the suspect is not there to perform the destruction. It also is safer and saner for the public and the suspect involved. Police officers need to understand what armed civilians clearly do; “every bullet has a lawyer attached to it”. The more bullets flying about, the more lawyers will get involved. However, it does not justify the expenditure in training and equipment that the SWAT team has; ie, if you have the toys, you must use them to justify them. I could not justify the use of full auto or select fire weapons or suppressors on firearms by civilian Law Enforcement agencies (yes, they spend mucho dollars on this stuff)and am not happy my tax dollars purchase equipment that, legally, is next to impossible for me to own. Conventional firearms, properly handled (training dollars well spent vs. equipment expenditures through the roof) are quite good enough.

    This is becoming a dangerous approach to Law Enforcement vs. Paramilitary Operations. I know of police departments that use Tactical Teams sparingly and only for barricaded violent suspect apprehensions and known high risk warrant service. The emphasis in Law Enforcement command training should be using Tactical Team deployment only as a last resort and using the least amount of force to effect the arrest. Frankly, with the technology available today (from Smith & Wesson, no less), it is possible to video ALL of these operations. The video should be required to be posted on YouTube for public review. Most SWAT team members like the black hood anyway, if anyonimity is the issue.

    Publically anouncing the desire to visit violence on Law Enforcement officers will only serve to justify thier desire to use Tactical Teams (and lots of gunfire) to serve their needs and is counter to a law abiding citizens philosophy. Those who turn thier residence in to a “kill box” ought to remember that one misstep with booby traps…….

    1. Police officers need to understand what armed civilians clearly do;”every bullet has a lawyer attached to it”
      Why would the police need to learn a lesson that doesn’t apply to them? For us regular folk, lawyers are the inevitable result of using a firearm. For police, their inevitable result is an internal investigation which clears the officer of any wrongdoing. Why need they be restrained? The rules are different for them.

      Publically anouncing the desire to visit violence on Law Enforcement officers will only serve to justify thier desire to use Tactical Teams.

      So your answer is what, to lay down and die? When the police break into your home, pointing guns at your children, you would have us grovel? Is that really the America you wish to have? That these government authorized clowns can act with impunity, while we can do nothing but be glad they didn’t kill us?

      Oh I know what you want to do. Vote, right? Or maybe sign petitions? Or maybe watch that YouTube video again, but this time get really angry!

      The police are destroying this country’s civil rights, and you are gassing on about “a law abiding citizens philosophy”. Well here’s my philosophy. Shoot the fuckers. Maybe if more citizens stood up, the police wouldn’t have such an easy time kicking us down.

      It matters not one whit to me if the person doing violence to me and my loved ones is a burglar, a king, a cop, or a beggar. I don’t care at all that this person attacking me wields legal authority to do so.

      The police envision themselves as the strength of the community. And as such, they respect strength. They respect nothing else.

      That is why these raids will continue. They will continue on and on, until people finally start firing back. The police know that now, they are the “overwhelming force” when they enter that door. But what if there was a REAL possibility that instead of meek submission, they were met with an armed, ready citizen? In the land where “officer safety” is first, foremost, and always; what happens when they go out on these raids with 10 cops, and come back with 8? And it keeps happening? Think they might start to re-evaluate their tactics?

      What did your father tell you about bullies? “Stand up to them. They’re cowards. I know it’s scary, but show them you’re willing to fight and they’ll back down.”

      Good advice, huh?

      1. Lousy advice. One of the prime needs of any government entity is to maintain a monopoly on the use of force. Whether it is local law enforcement or the Army of the Potomac, there can be no serious rivals to the official government when it comes to the use of force.

        Force used against government will result in more force used by the government to win. A citizenry that shoots at police will quickly become a disarmed citizenry, by the use of greater force if needed. Constitutional rights will count for nothing if the government is challenged.

        Violence against the power structure is simply suicidal. It will not get the police to “back down,” it will merely lead to dead libertarians and a justification for additional police powers.

        1. Yeah that’s what king george thought too. How’d that work out for him?

          1. King George did not live in our backyard. If it was not for the tactical problems of reaching across the ocean to fight a war we would have lost.

          2. You’re right, Tim. The present situation is totally analogous to the American Revolution. In the 1770s, we were fighting a war against an empire over 3000 miles away which had to keep its soldiers and sailors fed by continuously bringing supplies. The revolutionaries had local supplies. Also, the British became immersed in a global war against the colonies and their eventual French, Spanish, and Dutch allies and had to spend the vast majority of their resources fighting in Europe, distracting from the campaign in North America.

            Armed revolution against the British worked mainly because the British had to fight in the presence of terrible logistics and had many powerful enemies. The same does not hold true for the military or the militarized police forces.

      2. If the police of this nation continue to insist? upon acting like the military enforcers of a foreign occupation,it will only be a matter of time before the citizenry begin to play their part and use the force necessary for effective resistance.
        If this kind of behavior doesn’t constitute unreasonable search and seizure,I don’t know what does.
        Police-start treating Americans with the respect their God Given inalienable rights DESERVE,or keep on heading down the road to ALL OUT CIVIL WAR.

  19. LEGALIZE IT!

  20. The warrant was obtained 8 days prior to the raid, during which there was no surveillance of the house nor any effort to confirm who might be in the house, although they were briefed on the possibility that a child was in the house.

    The warrant was served 8 days late for a reason. If they’d served the warrant on time, the calculation is that you’re unlikely to seize money if the suspect was indeed trafficking. But if you wait till he’s got time to make some sales, he’s sitting on what you expect to be a sizeable amount of cash.

    This tells you two things. One, the Columbia police were more interested in making a seizure of cash than they were in appropriately serving a search warrant. Second, they didn’t care about the possibility that a large amount of cannabis might have time to be sold off in their community. You can have a lot of cannabis distributed in your community and it is rare that you’ll ever get an enforcement call to deal with consumers, so the police don’t have to presume that waiting will cost them anything in terms of potential complaints from people who feel it’s an issue they should deal with.

    Check out the paper I presented to the Columbia City Council on the subject: http://forfeiturereform.com/policy-work/

  21. I understand that Radley has to be diplomatic, but the anger against officers is completely justified. They seem to have no problem with a job that requires them to routinely visit aggression on peaceful individual–on a good day getting to kill a pet–all to limit the spread of the deadly weed, which has been decriminalized in DC anyway.

    “Just doing their job” is a meaningless defense when they chose their job.

    1. Just doing my job wasn’t much of a defense at Nuremberg so why should it be here?

  22. Where are Shriek and Max and Joe, defenders of the minions of the State?

  23. Revenge is never regrettable, unless you hurt innocent bystanders.

  24. The fact that this raid is considered “routine” has no relevance to me – the fact that the establishment launches raids like this on the homes of individuals (who I consider sovereign) over failed policies like the so-called “war on drugs” at *any time* is enough to to get my blood boiling. What this viral video shows is just how close to being a police state this nation has become: whne the government can terrorize its citizens with impunity via contrived excuses (read: policies that in *no way* serve the only two viable functions of government – that is a *basic* common order and defense) it has become a tyrrany.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m sleeping with a glock and a 12-gauge under my bed tonight – when no one watches the watchmen, everyone is fair game…

    1. “When the policemen break the law, then there is no law. Just a fight for survival.”- Billy Jack

    2. Brilliant move. I’m sure you with your Glock and 12 gauge will come out on top in a confrontation against a dozen men with military-style training who are armed with AR15’s and MP5’s. When they extract your corpse from the scene, you won’t be able to testify or talk to the news media about the police’s military powers. Instead, you’ll be a byline in a local newspaper. Maybe they’ll make some remarks about your so-called deranged libertarian views.

      1. Don’t get me wrong. I disagree with the excesses of the militarized police just as much as you do. I’m just asking you all to be realistic (I know, it’s something that gets me in trouble with my fellow libertarians all the time). You are not going to change anything by being the lone man standing up to violence and responding with violence.

        You have two options. If you wish to continue seeking armed confrontation, I’d suggest getting a bunch of friends to help. Strength in numbers, you know. Or you could try winning the hearts and minds of people through impassioned, reasoned argument.

        1. +1

          Can you say Ruby Ridge? How about Waco? Being ‘right’ won’t make you any less dead.

          The solution to this problem is to continue to highlight it. With enough exposure the public will come to realize law enforcement policies are written with more regard for preserving evidence than public safety. When that happens the public will demand changes to the policies.

          To that end, I wonder what we might learn if we were to contrast the numbers of law enforcement home invasions with the numbers of criminal home invasions? My guess is the former will outnumber the latter by far.

  25. Why are they raiding the house to start with. Guy has got to leave sooner or later.

    1. What is the fun in sitting around and waiting?

    2. What is the fun in sitting around and waiting?

  26. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

    End the War.

  27. [Quote]Brilliant move. I’m sure you with your Glock and 12 gauge will come out on top in a confrontation against a dozen men with military-style training who are armed with AR15’s and MP5’s.[/QUOTE]

    It’s not necessarily the size of the gun (although I *do* have plnas to acquire some assault rifes in coming months – you can never have too much firepower, you know…), but rather the nature of the terrain you fight on – I’ve built my home with personal defense in mind and have devised plans to take out about half a dozen men from well-shielded positions. The typical SWAT team has likely never seen a house designed like mine, hence will have no idea how to respond in the middle of a tight-quarters killbox (a situation in which shotguns are preferable to most assault rifes -wider spread patterns are prefered and there’s less chance of ricochet).

    I’ve thought this through – should the police state come to my door *I* will have the upper hand.

    [QUOTE]When they extract your corpse from the scene, you won’t be able to testify or talk to the news media about the police’s military powers.[/QUOTE]

    Trust me – it won’t be my corpse recovered from the scene…

    [QUOTE]Maybe they’ll make some remarks about your so-called deranged libertarian views.[/QUOTE]

    I’m not a Libertarian – you might call me a political Nihilist.

  28. [QUOTE]Don’t get me wrong. I disagree with the excesses of the militarized police just as much as you do. I’m just asking you all to be realistic (I know, it’s something that gets me in trouble with my fellow libertarians all the time). You are not going to change anything by being the lone man standing up to violence and responding with violence.[/QUOTE]

    My goal isn’t to “change” things in any greater sense of the word (as such a feat is all but impossible in a world dominated by special interests), but rather to put the police state on notice – that their power peaks right here and from here on out they can expect to take *huge* losses every time they violate the home of a sovereign individual. If nothing else the fear of impending death will make those thugs with badges think twice about violating the individual’s sovereignty (perhaps even enough to get them to disregard orders to move in – after all, survival instincts trump politics).

    [QUOTE]You have two options. If you wish to continue seeking armed confrontation, I’d suggest getting a bunch of friends to help. Strength in numbers, you know.[/QUOTE]

    Not a lot of people in my are interested in active defense against tyranny – they still buy into the lie that is the elections (all that’s accomplished there is that you decide which whip gets to beat you…).

    [QUOTE]r you could try winning the hearts and minds of people through impassioned, reasoned argument.[/QUOTE]

    People are more moved by action than words – we evolved to react to the alphas within a given tribe (just like gorrillas and chimps – which shouldn’t come as a surprise as they are our closest living biological relatives) and so far the state has taken up the role of alpha. If a sovereign individual is to take that title away from them, it must be through a show of strength: all the logical and well-reasoned arguments in the world can’t shake that monkey mentallity, so you just have to work with what natural selection has given you…

    1. If you’re willing to go through all this on the chance a cop will break down your door in the middle of the night, why don’t you install cameras instead? Near the doors to catch the entry, sound required to see if they do announce themselves. More in the hallways, transmitted and stored offsite. It would be far more effective in reigning in rogue police. What this movement needs is proof and emotion. Something people can see on the internet and on the evening news. Plus this tactic would reduce your chances of death from something approaching certainty to something materially less.

    2. The only way I could agree with a position advocating violence against the police is if I were convinced the ‘state’ were actively and maliciously seeking harm to me or my family in serving a baseless warrant. As egregious as it is, the case reviewed in this article does not illustrate police entering a residence with the intent to kill or harm the people inside, but to serve a warrant based on policies and using procedures I believe place the preservation of evidence ahead of public safety.

      Planning ahead to kill police officers serving a legal warrant will have the same chance of changing attitudes as thousands of years of vengence-fueled violence in the Middle-East has.

  29. Thank you for your comment that the public needs to look to the government heads who advocate the”war on drugs” to such extremes that we have incidents such as the one mentioned all over the U.S. daily. Ditto on the remark that getting mad at the cops on the video and wanting their heads is the wrong direction we need to be taking.

  30. I have all of your IP addresses.

  31. [QUOTE]If you’re willing to go through all this on the chance a cop will break down your door in the middle of the night, why don’t you install cameras instead?[/QUOTE]

    Cameras can only record events – they won’t do anything to repel the intruder (badge or no badge).

    [QUOTE]What this movement needs is proof and emotion. Something people can see on the internet and on the evening news.[/QUOTE]

    You mean like the many videos of police brutality that can be accessed via the internet? The information is already out there – what’s lacking right now are people willing to make a show of power against the tryrrany that our psuedo-republic has become.

    [QUOTE]Plus this tactic would reduce your chances of death from something approaching certainty to something materially less.[/QUOTE]

    I don’t fear death as death is a certainty (we all die eventually) – what I *do* fear is a life devoid of sovereignty as the social establishment strips the individual down to a mere instrument to serve its will.

    1. Sure, sure. That’s why you’re posting on the internet. You’re choosing to act a child rather than fighting to win.

  32. [QUOTE]The only way I could agree with a position advocating violence against the police is if I were convinced the ‘state’ were actively and maliciously seeking harm to me or my family in serving a baseless warrant.[/QUOTE]

    The warrant is being served for a “crime” that the state has no business policing in the first place – that right there *alone* is interference with the sovereignty of the individual (read: tryanny). The rest of the actions seen of the video is just the proverbial icing on the cake…

    [QUOTE]As egregious as it is, the case reviewed in this article does not illustrate police entering a residence with the intent to kill or harm the people inside, but to serve a warrant based on policies and using procedures I believe place the preservation of evidence ahead of public safety.[/QUOTE]

    If the state minded its own business (and it has *plenty* of skeletons in its own closet to clean out), there wouldn’t be a need for the “preservation of evidence” in cases like these because the “crime” of possessing/using drugs would simply not exist. If the state *really* cares about stopping “criminal” activity, they would be turning those SWAT teams on the corrupt political class and the special interests that buy favors from them rather than normal citiznes looking for a vice to fritter their time away with.

    But alas, I ask too much of this rotten institution…

  33. [QUOTE]Sure, sure. That’s why you’re posting on the internet. You’re choosing to act a child rather than fighting to win.[/QUOTE]

    Tell me, how is it “acting like a child” to voice discontent with a corrupt establishment? Furthermore, you have no idea what I do offline – so you are in no position to judge what I’m doing.

    Besides, my goal isn’t really to fight so much as putting in place the means to fight should the police state come to my door – as the old Roman proverb says “sic vis pacem, para belum.”

    1. You’re not voicing discontent. You’re voicing cop killer fantasies.

  34. [QUOTE]You’re not voicing discontent. You’re voicing cop killer fantasies.[/QUOTE]

    This is no fantasy – the police state is real and anyone who values his sovereignty will take measures to defend himself from it (and sometimes such measures involve violence – just ask anyone who ever actively resisted a police state). And as I said before, I don’t plan on fighting so much as having the means to fight should the agents of this corrupt institution come to my doorstep: out of a desire for peace I prepare myself for war (also stated above).

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