Washington, D.C.

D.C. Police Raided Hundreds of Homes Based on Little to No Evidence

In 284 cases over two years, officers used "training and experience" as justification for obtaining search warrants.

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Violent raids are frequently conducted

DC Police
Rrodrickbeiler/Dreamstime.com

on the homes of almost exclusively black citizens in the nation's capital, with little to no hard evidence used to justify a search warrant, according to a recent Washington Post review.

The Post surveyed cases from January 2013-January 2015 in which a person had been arrested on a drug or gun charge and subsequently, a warrant was obtained to search a residence. Out of the 2,000 warrants examined, 14 percent of them (284 cases in all) cited officer "training and experience" as justification for searches on domiciles where no criminal activity was observed and that "The language of the warrants gave officers broad leeway to search for drugs and guns in areas saturated by them and to seize phones, computers and personal records." In the cases where a suspect's race could be determined, 99 percent were black.

In 12 cases, "officers acted on incorrect or outdated address information," leading to the dreaded wrong-door raid, and in 115 instances, no drugs are weapons were found at all. When drugs were turned up, the amounts "were usually small, ranging from residue to marijuana cigarettes to rocks of cocaine" and sometimes just paraphernalia. 

Former Reasoner Radley Balko noted in a separate blog post that a number of residents had "difficulty getting the city to compensate them for damage police officers did during these raids, even when it was clear they had raided the wrong home."

The process for obtaining a warrant goes like this, officers get their hands on a suspect's address "by relying on the person's word, a driver's license or databases from law enforcement, schools, utilities or courts." Then, they go before a judge to plead their case that a search on a residence would turn up drugs and/or guns.

But, Eugene O'Donnell, a former NYPD officer, prosecutor and current professor of criminal justice says, "Police are going to push the limit." He adds:

Police are not civil libertarians, and these types of warrants are counter to what the Fourth Amendment is all about…

It's a mass-produced, search-and-recovery operation. It's an assembly line. It's not a progressive policy, and it imperils police and people alike.

Alec Karakatsanis, a lawyer with the non-profit Equal Justice Under Law, told the Post that the reliance on what are essentially uninformed hunches by police officers to justify heavy-handed raids on private residences is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Karakatsanis says, "They have turned any arrest anywhere in the city into an automatic search of a home, and that simply cannot be." 

In the name of getting drugs and guns off the streets, law enforcement have been increasingly empowered by municipalities all over the country to crash the front door first and ask questions later. Such aggressive tactics have led to scores of deaths and injuries of both police and civilians, and not even babies in their cribs are immune from state-sanctioned violence coming invading their homes. 

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  1. In the cases where a suspect’s race could be determined, 99 percent were black.

    Why do you always have to make this about race when it is so clearly not about race?

    1. Maybe that’s because 99% of the intial arrestees are black because they violate the law more often, so that’s just who they request warrants on, becuase they are lawbreakers coming in contact with the police?
      /Irish

    2. It’s why they raid at night. Believe me, it’s all about race.

      1. Wouldn’t you raid in the day, so the officers Lilly white skin could reflect the light into the perp’s eyes, blinding him, thus making the beloved chokehold easier to execute?

        1. No bitch! When da negroe open is eyes dey see evera ting. [sorry, but that’s what those sorry LEOs believe] Besides, you get more kills in the cover of darkness.

          1. I guess I’m not very good at thinking like a blood thirsty thug.

    3. In the cases where a suspect’s race could be determined, 99 percent were black.

      Why are Democrat run cities such intolerant, racist hellholes?

      1. Because of Republican obstructionism.

      2. which came first?

    4. Why do you always have to make this about race when it is so clearly not about race?

      It is the way of the Social Justice Warrior, Grasshopper.

      Chief judge of the D.C. Superior Court, Lee F. Satterfield, is also 99% black.

  2. TOTALITY OF THE MUTHAFUCKIN’ CIRCS MUTHAFUCKAS

    1. NOBODY EXPECTS THE NEW PROFESSIONALISM

      1. + 1 Fourth Amendment

  3. It’s a mass-produced, search-and-recovery operation. It’s an assembly line. It’s not a progressive policy, and it imperils police and people alike.

    Even former NYPD officers know you can’t make Soylent Green out of policemen.

    1. Well, pigs aren’t kosher.

  4. Violent raids are frequently conducted on the homes of almost exclusively black citizens in the nation’s capital, with little to no hard evidence used to justify a search warrant…

    A kind of Three-Fifths Compromise applying to the Fourth Amendment?

    1. [golf clap]

      1. [golf clap] is overused. Who started that anyway? It was pretty good when it started, I’m sure I used it once or twice. Cute innovation. If it were someone’s meme, like the pun-police’s *narrows gaze*, I’d be cool, but, I don’t believe it is. According with NAP, I won’t threaten anyone but maybe we can start a new annoying trend like [canned laughter]

        1. Whoa, dude. Way to overthink it.

        2. I don’t know who started it, but I’m one of the frequent users of that. Don’t like it? Scroll down, or filter me.

          1. I would normally scroll down, but I find your commentary compelling and epic. I just can’t do that. I’ll just cope with your ubiquitous [golf clap]s. Peace, I love you!

        3. Or you can be a annoying trend.I hope not.

          1. I might be today. But then I’ll go away. Until next time. But trendy. Never. I’m a libertarian fer fuck’s sake.

        4. You know who else complained about tropes?

          1. {narrows gaze}

          2. Tropes on the ground!

          3. Support our tropes!

  5. Section F, Subsection Y, Paragraph T, Clause W clearly allows these raids, haters.

    1. Ugh. When will this meme end?
      /falls on floor dramatically

  6. It was a household Terry Stop.

    /derphy

    1. I like how one unconstitutional search justifies another unconstitutional search.

  7. Hey, if you’ve got nothing to hide…

    In fact, I think the police should be housed and fed by these folks.

    1. They are.

        1. by the transitive property, wouldn’t it ultimately be citizens breaking into their own houses?

  8. “In the cases where a suspect’s race could be determined, 99 percent were black.”

    Okay, I’ll agree that this time the evidence seems to suggest racial motivations.

    99 percent is a tough number to end up with when a city is only 50% black unless you’re doing it on purpose. Although it’s possible it’s actually class discrimination, since the whites in the city are all rich people associated with the state, whereas poor people are less likely to have access to legal representation when thug cops raid their houses without justification.

    “Out of the 2,000 warrants examined, 14 percent of them (284 cases in all) cited officer “training and experience””

    Ah yes, the famed ‘training and experience’ clause of the constitution which does away with other warrant requirements. That may have been a mistake.

    1. That’s mighty white of you.

    2. Okay, I’ll agree that this time the evidence seems to suggest racial motivations.

      Indeed. There’s about as many poor Latinos in DC as there are poor blacks. Obviously the DC police need to raid more Latino homes… for the sake of equality.

      1. There’s about as many poor Latinos in DC as there are poor blacks.

        Um…no.

        According to this, DC is 49% black, 44% white and 10% hispanic or latino of any race. That doesn’t prove my point, but there would have to be an awful lot of rich black people to even those numbers out. Now, if you’re talking the metro area (which includes parts of Maryland and Virginia and maybe even NE WV), maybe.

        1. Yes, that was a mistake. The poverty ratio between the two races is about the same, the raw numbers are not. Good catch.

        2. The motivation doesn’t matter, the act is unethical.

        3. Either way, there should be a lot of poor white people being raided if criminality is even moderately distributed.

          1. +every episode of ‘Cops’

    3. ‘Strangers in the night\’.

  9. Then, they go before a judge to plead their case that a search on a residence would turn up drugs and/or guns.

    “Your Honor, I need a search warrant for this house. Because it’s in a low-income, black neighborhood, my training and expertise tells me there’s guns and drugs in it.”

    “So they’re too poor to afford an attorney?”

    “Yes, Your Honor.”

    *judge gets out rubber stamp*

    1. *judge gets out rubber stamp*

      You kidding? That thing is always out and ready to go. For the children.

      1. These masturbation euphemisms are getting kind of abstract.

  10. Was it a cold day?

  11. Isn’t the real blame with the judge who signs these warrants?

    1. Yes, but it is a chicken and egg problem. The judge can’t be a dipshit if the overzealous and often wrong police didn’t bring them bogus warrants to rubberstamp in the first place.

      1. The judge is on the *payroll* beyond his/her impartiality. Sadly, judges are rarely impartial.

    2. No. The real blame is with the judge who signed the warrant AND with the goon who kicks in the door.

      1. Goons are gonna goon and thugs are gonna thug. It is the job of the judge to check their power by requiring actual evidence for a warrant.

      2. And the goon’s boss for not firing people who pull this kind of crap. And with the local politicians who pretend to be for the poor people but turn a blind eye to this kind of abuse. And with the local voters who are a bunch of assholes and idiots. Everyone is to blame therefore no one is to blame.

    3. Yep. The job of a judge is to say “Fuck you. Come back with some evidence.”

      Then again it is also the job of a judge tell legislators to fuck off and come back with constitutional justification for what they write.

      But in these days of judicial deference, judges have completely abdicated their duties as a check on legislative and executive power.

      1. Haven’t you heard? Democracy is awesome and the more of it we have the better it is. Just ask any ethnic minority in any economically depressed area ever.

  12. It’s a shame these wily cops are duping innocent, credulous judges into unwittingly violating the Fourth’s requirement for specificity in issuing warrants. Maybe judges should have some sort of legal training to up their game, put them on a more fair footing with those Constitutional scholars in the PD.

  13. Dem government for decades, majority black for much of it. Majority black police force for well over a decade. Black female mayor. Somehow this I’m thinking this is still whitey’s fault.

    1. You are indeed correct about the racial makeup of the DC government (mayor and council) and the po-po.

    2. Not that they are dyed-in-the-wool communists*, but smacking around the lumpenproles is a tried and true pastime of left-wing governments. Just because the politicians share a skin color and a political party with the people they are ordering/allowing to be harassed doesn’t mean they have any real sense of kinship with them.

      * = I could be wrong

    3. Crackers forced them to internalize their oppression.

    4. Worth noting that it can be racial bias without being whitey’s fault.

      There have been several studies showing that black people have a lot of the same biases about black people that white people do.

      1. you think they came up with those biases on their own? Im pretty sure they’re not smart enough.

  14. OT from ThoughtlessPoliticking:

    http://thinkprogress.org/econo…..s-prisons/

    On Monday, officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) will send a letter to chief justices and court administrators across the country warning them against operating modern-day debtors’ prisons and deploying other tactics that harm the poor.

    “Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape,” the letter says. “Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared not toward addressing public safety, but rather toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents.”

    1. Going after the poor is easier

      http://youtu.be/HmgeCeGk–I starting about 1 minute 30 seconds in

    2. What good is a warning? The only threat here is of withholding grant money. So what? Localities are usually very good at raising funds for law enforcement. They just need to add a few more civil forfeiture traps to make up the difference.

      1. Oh, they can always do a civil rights investigation and really fuck with them. As you know, the process is the punishment. And local government hates it when the feds show up and start nosing around.

        1. Given that they pass on charges 96% of the time, I’m sure local jurisdictions are sweating bullets.

        2. True, but isn’t the DOJ too busy investigating Trump supporters for hate crimes? /s

    3. I want to believe… But this is just Lucy setting up the football. “C’mon Charlie Brown!”

      1. Don’t talk about Lucy!

  15. “But, Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD officer, prosecutor and current professor of criminal justice says, “Police are going to push the limit.” He adds:

    Police are not civil libertarians, and these types of warrants are counter to what the Fourth Amendment is all about…

    It’s a mass-produced, search-and-recovery operation. It’s an assembly line. It’s not a progressive policy, and it imperils police and people alike.”

    David French’s other retarded brother?

    Am I the only one who read this and thought it to be despicable?

    Karma, if you believe in it, is such that someone close to him gets raided and perhaps even loses their life thanks to such acts of violent aggression by the state.

    1. They don’t do those raids in his neighborhood.

      http://youtu.be/HmgeCeGk–I starting about 1 minute 30 seconds in

      1. Sometimes they do. The raid on Cheye Calvo’s house was in such a neighborhood.

        However, people still don’t give a shit. The sheriff basically said “fuck you” to them and has won re-election multiple time since then.

        1. has won re-election multiple time since then

          Correction: he (Michael A. Jackson) retired from the sheriff’s office in 2010 to run for county executive, but lost that election; he is now “serving” as a Maryland state delegate for PG county.

          The current sheriff (Melvin High) was chief of police at the time and basically agreed with Jackson. So the point stands.

          Footnote: yes, we have both sheriff’s offices and police departments in most Maryland counties; the distinction between the two varies from county to county.

        2. The Cheye Calvo is black.

  16. “In 284 cases over two years, officers used “training and experience” as justification for obtaining search warrants.”

    That isn’t only a Fourth Amendment violation; it’s also “breaking and entering”.

    The judges that signed those warrants should be impeached.

    1. The judges that signed those warrants will be promoted.

      FTFY

  17. Anyone with a brain can see that this is class warfare, not racism. The numbers may lead you to believe the racism schtick but given the makeup of D.C.’s politics and its police force, this line of thought crumbles pretty quick, just like the racism argument for Baltimore.

    This is nothing more than the state fucking with poor people who have no way of defending themselves from the state. Physically defend yourself and harm one of the king’s men and you spend the rest of your life in jail, even if it was an illegal raid. Another option is to fight in the court, which you can’t do that because you can’t afford a lawyer. Your next option is the ballot box but the politicians in the Imperial City will never admit to any wrongdoing and so it will go on like this no matter who is in charge.

    It also helps that the dominant political party in this city has completely brainwashed black people into thinking that if they vote for someone else (not sorry ass GOP either) that slavery will be reinstated or they will be shipped to Africa.

    1. Another tidbit I’d like to leave here is also to stop thinking that black cops and black politicians wouldn’t do this to poor black people.

      White cops and white politicians have never had any reservations when it came to fucking with poor white people and they still do so, quite frequently, out here in the rural areas, where you’ll find a lot of poor white people.

      I see no reason why black people should be any different in this regard.

      1. I think you have made fair points. But race is a part of the equation somewhere even if it’s an unintentional association. Targeted or happenstance, one can’t ignore the fact that “99%” of the raids were on black homes.

        1. I see your line of reasoning and why it is extremely easy to think that way.

          I do disagree however. The reason that 99% of the of the raids were on black homes is not because they are black but because they have no power. Black people have no money, are pretty much confined to where they are, represent only 13% of the population (and stable) and are fiercely loyal to the Democrats (leaving the dems to do as they please and causing the Repubs to not give a shit about them one way or the other).

          Whites, Jews, and Asians have money. Hispanics are poor but are growing everyday. Also the politicians can’t treat Asians too badly because they don’t wanna piss off China, Japan, or India. Who’s gonna get pissed if they keep treating black people like shit, Cameroon?

          There’s a lot more that goes into this than the dreaded and extremely overpowered call of “racism”. At least in my opinion.

          1. Of course the fixes are rather elementary, but no one will talk about those because they involve a reduction of power and an adherence to the Constitution.

            All we will continue to hear is racism, because that word is so dreaded and so powerful that law and liberty will be thrown to the wolves to “combat” it.

    2. I’d say it’s caste warfare, not racism or class warfare.

      But race in the US is a large determinant of caste, hence these issues being seen as based in racism.

      Poor blacks make up the lowest caste in the US, so it’s easiest for anyone, regardless of race, class, or background, to do things like this to them without recourse — like you said, they have no way of defending themselves from the state. Whites resist being in the same caste as blacks — evident in so much overt racism from poor and working class whites, trying to maintain their status away from the very bottom; they need to be in a caste above poor blacks. One rarely sees poor and working class whites and blacks aligned together against the system. There is a lot of infighting among these groups, and a lot of support by poor whites (and some middle-class blacks) of this treatment of poor blacks (“because of course they’re criminals, so this is justified”). So to call this class warfare I think is inaccurate.

      If you look at America through a caste system, it explains why blacks and other minorities are treated worse than whites, and why poor whites are treated badly by whites in higher casts, and why some blacks in higher castes treat blacks in lower castes badly, but why blacks or minorities of any caste cannot get away with treating whites badly.

  18. It’s not a progressive policy

    Holy crap, I hate the use of the word “progressive” as a general catch-all for “right and good and just”.

    In this case he means to imply that progressive == liberty. There’s nothing “liberty” about progressives.

    Hey lefties: Stop screwing up words!

    1. If lefties didn’t screw up words, they’d have no culturally unpoisoned labels remaining to call themselves.

  19. Who reviews these judges and why aren’t they held to account? They are issuing warrants in clear violation of the 4th amendment.

  20. Funny, I fail to find any mention in the 4th-Amendment of either “training”, nor “experience”, as conditions for the issuance of a warrant.

  21. “This is just one more example of how a relatively benign situation (a routine welfare check) gets escalated into something far more violent and dangerous through the use of militarized police, armed to the teeth and trained to react combatively,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “The unnecessary use of force by police officers in response to a situation that should have? and could have? been handled non-confrontationally did not, in this instance, result in a loss of life, but that is small consolation to those who have learned to tread cautiously in their interactions with police.”

    https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/

    on_the_front_lines/

    citing_qualified_immunity_good_faith_

    virginia_police_justify_conducting_wel

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