Drug Policy

More on the Botched Drug Raid in Massachusetts

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Here's a statement from the Framingham, Massachusetts Police Chief Steven Carl on the botched drug raid I blogged about this morning:

At 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, the Framingham Police SWAT Team served a search warrant at 26 Fountain St. in Framingham. During the service of the search warrant Mr. Eurie Stamps was tragically and fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer's rifle. Despite immediate intervention by tactical medics, he died at the scene.

The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the District Attorney's Office's independent investigation into the justifiability of the shooting.  Our condolences are with Mr. Stamp's family for the heartbreak they are understandably enduring and we will await the findings of the investigation before taking any additional administrative action.

According to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the investigation will take three to four weeks and the identity of the Framingham officer who shot Stamps will not be released until the investigation is complete.

Interesting wording. Stamps wasn't killed by a cop. Rather, Stamps was "fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer's rifle." I'm also fairly certain that if Mr. Stamps had been the one whose gun discharged a bullet that fatally wounded a SWAT officer, Mr. Stamps' name would have been released to the public rather quickly. And Carl's initial statement to the press would have been less ambiguous.

It now seems clear that Stamps wasn't the target of the raid, and that he wasn't armed. These raids are dangerous, they're volatile, and they have a very thin margin for error. I report on a lot of wrong door raids here. But this one shows why they're an inappropriate use of force to serve warrants for nonviolent crimes even when the police have the right house, and they actually find their suspect with illicit drugs. SWAT tactics are appropriate when you're using their inherent violence to defuse an already violent situation. When they're used to serve drug warrants, you're creating violence where none existed before. The consequences are predictable. People die—cops, drug dealers, people mistaken for drug dealers, and bystanders.

Even if you support the drug war, it isn't any more difficult to get high in Framingham, Massachussets today than it was last week. So what purpose do the 150 or or so drug raids per day in this country serve, other than to inflict government-sanctioned violence on people suspected of consensual, ultimately political crimes?

If this case plays out like most of those before it, Eurie Stamps' death won't change a damn thing. His will be just another body on the growing pile of drug war collateral damage.

NEXT: Defending the Right to Offend

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  1. Mr. Eurie Stamps was tragically and fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.

    Allow me to clarify:

    Mr Stamps was shot and killed by a police officer, you prevaricating bastard.

    1. Thanks for the translation. You’re a national treasure.

      1. You’re the worst character ever, anonypussy.

    2. “Guns don’t kill people, cops do!”

    3. “Despite immediate intervention by tactical medics, he died at the scene.”

      It would also seem that police officers also tried to save his life. “Tactical medics” is a worse abuse of the language in my opinion. I wonder if it was just a cop with a box of bandaids…or did they bother carrying a gunwound kit?

  2. People die?cops, drug dealers, people mistaken for drug dealrs, and bystanders.

    In the eyes of more than a few, dogs are people, too.

    It’s too bad that, even if the DA finds any non-civilian blame, it won’t be with the Chief of Police or the District Attorney for the SWAT policies in place.

    But hey, isn’t publicly-expressed-condolences-before-blame-can-be-assigned admission of culpability enough for you people?

    1. No, we need someone to say they “fully accept responsibility.” Not that they’ll lose their jobs, go to jail, accept legal liability or anything, just say that they fully accept all responsibility.

      You know, the Janet Reno way.

  3. “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle”\

    I, too, have noticed that when cops kill someone, the passive voice gets employed with great gusto.

    1. “Mistakes were made”

  4. What, did they not have any dogs to shoot?

    1. I thought Mr. Stamps was a dog!

  5. the comments in the MA news link

    1. If you want to avoid either smashing your fist into your monitor or throwing your laptop across the room, it’s a good idea never to read the comments to a story Radley posts.

      1. The comments in this link are actually alright compared with the ones in the link in Radley’s previous post on this story.

  6. Rather melancholy summation. The frequent authoritarian killings are finally catching up to Radley.

  7. Gee, I wonder what Mr. Stamp’s race is and what percentage of the people “accidentally” killed in SWAT team drug raids share a similar hue?

    1. Wonder no more. Oddly enough, Mr. Stamp is black. Who’d a thunk it ?

  8. But everyone knows that all drug dealers are violent and heavily armed so of course the policwe have to use these heavily armed squads to apprehend these dangerous homocidal felons.

    And if a civilian related to these violent felons is killed or injured that’s just collateral damage in a just cause.

    Or something.

    And yes, that sounded every bit as stupid in my head as it looks on the screen.

    But to the the public at large it is impeccable logic.

    Don’t expect to see any more outrage over this than there was over previous incidents like it.

    God, I hate what this world has become.

  9. Friday nut punch came early. Happy New Year!

  10. People die?cops, drug dealers, people mistaken for drug dealrs, and bystanders.

    Im n yer hous, shootn yr dog

  11. You’re a national treasure.

    Truer words, et c…

  12. “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle”

    Come on guys. It just went off. This is a reporter who wrote this. Like they don’t think weapons just magically go off all the time. The cop pointing it at the guy and pulling the trigger had nothing to do with it. It just went off.

    1. This is a reporter who wrote this.

      A wise woman once wrote “Government cock will not suck itself. That’s what a free and independent media is for”.

      1. My mistake. I guess it was the Chief who said this. But I am sure he thinks that weapons just “go off” all the time.

    2. That phrase just jumped off the page when I read this post. Looks like we all had the same reaction.

    3. This is a reporter who wrote this.

      Actually, no. It was cops who wrote it. This is the chief’s O-fficial Statement on the matter. An inanimate object sprung to life, and an innocent man is dead. The officer who held the inanimate object is traumatized, and is just as a much a victim as the dead ni__, umm, citizen.

    4. He thought he was pulling the trigger on a can of mace, I’m sure.

    5. You forget to mention that it wasn’t aimed at the victim – the rifle barrel just happened to be pointed at a location that the victim foolishly and provacatively jumped in front of at the last second – he probably was some kind of anti gubermint dude. He obviously was trying to discredit our noble anti drug crusaders. Well, I will not let unarmed old men dying dissuade me from the evils of drugs…we must destroy as many drug dealing villages as necessary to save the villages.

  13. Interesting wording. Stamps wasn’t killed by a cop. Rather, Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.”

    That’s because the bullet held a personal grudge against Mr. Stamps, and took the split-second window of opportunity to escape from its brass enclosure to deliver its revenge upon him with the might of 28 grains of smokeless powder… the heartless bullet!

    1. This is why police work is so dangerous. You never know when the gun you’re holding could go off. I think the officer deserves a letter of commendation for wrestling the gun down and making sure it didn’t hurt any one else. This is of course after the paid leave and investigation exonerating him.

    2. DEATH TO BULLETS!!!!

      1. Just another state homicide “justified discharge of a firearm by a brave Peace Officer?.”

        Move along, nothing to see here…

  14. Mr Stamps, an innocent man, is dead because of a paramilitary raid on a small time, nickle/dime, chicken shit dope dealer.

    Not exactly God’s work you’re doing there, Chief Carl, is it?

    1. But will this even be discussed? Not by hardly anyone but Radley and us…

      1. You are mistaken. People were plenty pissed in Atlanta when they killed that old lady. They also were very pissed about a recent cop shooting dog incident. This stuff is starting to wake people up.

        1. Well, not the dead ones…

      2. I’m sure there are a lot of people sitting comfortably in their suburban homes thinking this man living with drug dealers must have done something to deserve it and we just aren’t getting all the ‘facts’.

    2. He was 68 years old. He would have died soon enough anyway. At least this way his death had meaning.

  15. Whew, dodged that bullet. Glad I live with these black folk or my ass woulda been toast.

    1. or you could have been a threatening looking dog, like a golden retriever.

  16. I’m guessing they weren’t experts in CQB and dynamic entry, or firearms for that matter. So you can’t blame them. They have a great work ethic and are really moral people.

    1. Getting hyped up on adrenaline and charging into a strange house with an assault rifle. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Getting half-a-dozen combat-trained LEOs hyped up on adrenaline and charging into a strange house with an half-a-dozen assault rifles. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. A goat-fucking pig that had the temerity to call me a troll yesterday.

        Next question.

  17. If this case plays out like most of those before it, Eurie Stamps’ death won’t change a damn thing. His will be just another body on the growing pile of drug war collateral damage.

    All true, but don’t give up the good fight, Radley. All may seem lost now, but history shows no mercy when it judges the actions of the depraved.

    1. history shows no mercy when it judges the actions of the depraved.

      I don’t know: history has been pretty circumspect with Lincoln the Tyrant for 150 years.

      1. And it let the crazy slave holding South off pretty easy I would say. How many other places that enslaved 1/3 of the population and started a civil war over it get press like Gone With the Wind?

    2. James. Knox. Polk.

  18. At 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, the Framingham Police SWAT Team served a search warrant at 26 Fountain St. in Framingham.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  19. See, gun nuts? Guns DO kill people!

  20. a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle

    M4’s can AD when dropped so it is remotely possible that this statement is accurate. But it doesn’t change culpability at all.

    1. If you have a proper sling, the risk of your rifle discharging when it hits the ground is minimized.

      They are more likely to ND when you have your booger hook on the bang switch when you shouldn’t.

  21. “So what purpose do the 150 or or so drug raids per day in this country serve?”

    A bunch of guys get to dress up in some really tough-looking gear, carry around really cool weapons and threaten people with them, bash doors, wreck property, kill pets, and otherwise terrorize people. The adrenaline rush is fantastic, and the local PD gets to keep any valuable property seized in asset forfeiture. Occasionally they actually get to kill somebody, just like in the movies or a videogame. Afterwards the shooter gets a paid vacation called “administrative leave”.

  22. HAHAHAHAHA Radley! I didn’t RTFA – I just read the LAST LINE, which summed it up nicely.

    Therefore, my nuts don’t hurt.

    I’m on to your game, Mr. Balko, and I have the antidote…just read the last line, and avoid the raised blood pressure and nutache. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  23. One of the things that Struck me in the Denzel movie about Steve Biko was the scene where the cops show up at his door and he is able to hold them at bay until he read the search warrant (yeah-I know it’s a movie, but I can think of a reason for the filmmakers to show the South African police in a positive light in this respect, so I’m going to assume it was true to life).

    Jeez-if the Apartheid era South African cops could show a search warrant, why is it such a hardship for a modern American cop?

    1. Grumble: “…but I can’t think of a reason…”

  24. Interesting wording. Stamps wasn’t killed by a cop. Rather, Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.”

    A few months ago I completed the training class for the Utah CCW permit. We were advised that, in the event of a defensive shooting, that the only words to come out of our mouths should be:

    “[some crime] took place. Shots were fired. I need medical assistance. … I will be happy to answer your questions in the presence of my attorney and once _you_ can guarantee mine and my family’s safety.”

    Never admit that it was you who fired the shots, never discuss it without an attorney present. Sound advice, and I bet the police follow it to the tee. In fact, the person who advised our class of this is a PA State Constable.

  25. Tactical medic? Now swat squads have their own medics?

    1. Yes, but don’t be too impressed. As they said on Red vs Blue:

      “Doctors cure people. Medics just make you comfortable… while you die.”

  26. Obviously a bunch of cop haters in here. Not even the slightest thought that maybe the guy pulled a gun on the SWAT guy. Or maybe, however unavoidable or inexcusable, it really was an accident that the cop will have to live with for the rest of his life.

    If you’re ever mugged or your house is broken into while you and your loved ones are in bed, try calling another cop hater.

    1. From the article linked to in Radley’s earlier post:

      Police wouldn’t say whether the shooting was justified. No weapons were recovered from the home, prosecutors said, and the suspects do not face weapons charges.

      So unless the grandpa’s gun vaporized like a Morgul blade, he didn’t pull a gun (or any other weapon for that matter).

      1. gramps ice gun melted before it could be retrieved.

    2. Or maybe, however unavoidable or inexcusable, it really was an accident that the cop will have to live with for the rest of his life.

      Oh, and there are plenty of cases of “civilians” who mistook a wee hours no-knock visit by a SWAT team for a burglary and accidentally shot a cop…and for some reason the state isn’t content with letting those civilians’ consciences torment them for the rest of their lives.

      But we know how it works — one rule for cops, another rule for “civilians”.

    3. If you’re ever mugged or your house is broken into while you and your loved ones are in bed, try calling another cop hater.

      Or, I could just, you know, defend myself instead of waiting like a scared sheep waiting for the agents of the benevolent State to come rescue me.

      1. And for those of us who live in large cities, we can usually count on our police chiefs pushing for laws to disarm law-abiding citizens.

    4. If you’re ever mugged or your house is broken into while you and your loved ones are in bed, try calling another cop hater.

      If I could guarantee his immunity from prosecution, I bet the cop hater would be at my house faster.

  27. I don’t like the amount of extremism that is present for this article. It is just far too radical. No knock warrants can certainly be dangerous and a problem with them is justified. To stereotype a SWAT member as a racist adrenaline junkie is as irresponsible as stereotyping every black man as a drug dealer with a gun. If you have a problem with the no knock warrant take it up with the no knock warrant, not the police officers. There are good police officers and bad police officers, just like in any other line of work. Don’t blame the troops for a war in Afghanistan or Iraq, blame the people who sent them there. 99% of police officers are decent human beings that do not wish to have their hands stained with the blood of the innocent, so do not make them all out to be inhuman monsters hellbent on killing every black person they see. Don’t forget, SWAT members can’t be black. The racism present in this forum is as poisonous as the racism seen on the police force.

    1. White men have been shot be police, but are surprisingly few in comparison. Let’s just say that even if police weren’t racist, they’re anticipating a higher level of violence from the black dealer than the white one…

      1. To you it seems like all police officers stereotype dangerous drug dealers as black men and that is wrong, yet you (and most everyone commenting on this) are stereotyping every police officer as a white man, but somehow this is perfectly acceptable. Hold yourself to the higher standard that you want police officers to adhere to and don’t profile.

    2. JiveTurkeySwag @ 1/7/11, 2:01AM,
      “Don’t forget, SWAT members can’t be black.”
      Huh?

      1. I was being facetious. People are calling police officers racist towards blacks. The implication is that all officers of the law are white. I don’t think it is fair to say police officers can’t profile if you yourself are profiling police officers.

  28. I was a victim of a search warrant served upon a visitor of my home in Framingham. The Police destroyed the storm door, the main door, the upstairs door and a bedroom door. They proceeded to dump everything, I mean everything out in every room and destroyed furniture. The police stole a watch and a PSP portable gaming computer. It was a horrific event with guns drawn. The police took the hand cuffs off all of us then left. If they rang the doorbell we would have let them in. Who do I report the stolen items to?

  29. It felt like a bunch of screaming dinosaurs looking to devour because they have not eaten in weeks.

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