Police Abuse

Ham-Handed Arrest at Pediatric Clinic Highlights Official War on the Powerless

Forget that "war on cops." Unaffordable penalties, incompetent courts, and heavy-handed tactics are all evidence of an official assault on regular Americans.

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The cops raided my wife's pediatric practice looking for a fugitive last week.

Actually, let's put the word "fugitive" in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It's also a glimpse at how business as usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people's lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.

My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic's parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it's a small town so we'll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.

When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.

"Who's in charge here?" she asked, demanding that they move the Fallujah reenactment out of view.

"We were already in the process of moving the vehicles at this time," Cottonwood Detective Sergeant Tod Moore insisted in a statement to me. "It should be noted only 1 marked police unit was in the main parking lot area of the business." (The clinic's staff dispute that point.) Moore also claimed that only 10 officers were present. They included three detectives dressed in civilian clothes—and tactical vests—who arrived to initiate the arrest, joined by seven additional officers, including SWAT members, who transported another suspect with them on the trip to deliver the arrest warrant that the detectives hadn't brought along.

C.H.'s crime? It was an eight-year-old "amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree," according to Court Clerk and Associate Magistrate Anna M. Kirton. Kirton signed C.H.'s release order after my wife paid $1,300 to spare her employee 26 days in jail. More accurately, C.H. was arrested for making only partial payment of the fines and fees she'd been assessed, and for missing a court appointment that she never knew about.

"I was young and stupid," C.H. told me about the day in 2008 when her 21-year-old self was pulled over for a broken license plate light. She and her friends had open beer bottles in the car, and a marijuana pipe that C.H. claims wasn't hers, but which ended up in her purse. The original arrest, then, was for open containers and "drug paraphernalia," which was pled down to an even lesser charge.

After a night in jail, C.H. went to court, only to discover that there was no record of her arrest or charge to face, so she was sent home.

Years later, she was pulled over again and arrested on the original charge after the court got its paperwork in order. As Kirton told me, "On January 19, 2011, the Defendant entered into a plea with the State. She plead guilty to an amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree, (13-3415A was dismissed per the plea).  She was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence required by law in the State of Arizona. Part of this sentence included fines and fees totaling $2005.00."

Actually, that was all of the sentence—provided she made her payments.

That's where things get a bit fuzzy. C.H. tells me she thought she paid in full. The court says otherwise. C.H. got married at that time, so things may have fallen through the cracks in the confusion. Court records show an official notice to C.H. returned because of a bad address on September 24, 2012 and a failure to appear recorded against her the next day. A warrant for her arrest was issued a week later.

The "bad address" in the court files is C.H.'s mother's house. It was the first place the police looked for her last week, so they have it accurately recorded somewhere as the place to find her. That house stopped being her official mailing address sometime last year, but it remains a convenient place to contact her—it was her mom who told police about C.H.'s job.

For whatever reason, the court notice of a command appearance never reached C.H., she remained unaware that the county thought she still owed $1,300, and last week a small army showed up to collect.

For all of its drama, the arrest was nothing special in itself—just part of a regular bureaucratic spring cleaning. In response to my (very pointed) query, Detective Sergeant Moore wrote, "a Verde Valley Wide Warrant Sweep was conducted by members of the Cottonwood Police Department to include SWAT Members, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, PANT [Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking], GIITEM [Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission], Camp Verde Marshall's Office, Clarkdale Police Department, US Marshall's Office and HSI [Homeland Security Investigations]. The purpose of this sweep was to try and reduce the large number of outstanding warrants currently held by the numerous agencies listed."

But why the small army? (Neither the U.S. Marshals Service nor Homeland Security responded to queries by press time.)

"The teams were tasked to apprehend people who had a variety [of] offenses," Cottonwood Patrol Division Commander Jody Makuch said in an email. "While we cannot predict the behavior of the people who fail to meet their obligations, we do have to be prepared for a worst case scenario to protect the public and the officers."

They had a quota to meet, so they went with one-size-fits-all.

Similar operations joining federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies occur frequently around the country. In December, Indianapolis's Fox 59 breathlessly reported "a coordinated series of raids aimed at whittling away at the individuals and groups linked to moving drugs and enforcing their underground business with guns in the city." A story from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, touts a sweep scooping up suspects wanted for illegal weapons dealing, aggravated assault, sex-offender crimes, DUI, theft, drug violations, and welfare/food stamps fraud. A sweep in Hawaii made arrests for "wanted for various crimes including drug offenses, sex offenses, robbery, theft, and probation violations."

The U.S. Marshals Service proudly advertises its cooperation in these efforts. "In fiscal year 2015, the Marshals apprehended more than 33,300 federal fugitives, clearing approximately 36,600 federal warrants. Working with authorities at the federal, state, and local levels, U.S. Marshals-led fugitive task forces arrested more than 66,300 state and local fugitives, clearing 82,557 state and local felony warrants."

The implication is that the sweeps primarily target serious criminals. Some dangerous types obviously are arrested—though it's apparent that at least a few of even the higher-profile "criminals" aren't so much predators as artifacts of drug prohibition.

But sometimes local agencies seem to feel less of a need to impress. In its press release about last week's sweep, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office announced "a total of 65 warrants were targeted—55 misdemeanor and 10 felony cases. The effort resulted in 12 misdemeanor arrests and 3 felony arrests."

Were they at least desperate minor miscreants?

"In one case, the warrant subject was not home but his wife took the information. After notifying her husband, he went to court the following day, set up a payment plan for the fine and the warrant was quashed. The remaining warrant subjects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center."

The prisoner with whom C.H. shared her transport was six months pregnant and, she claimed, guilty of missing 20 hours of community service on a shoplifting charge. Her kids are patients at my wife's practice.

That's a lot of manpower to dedicate to minor cases that can often, apparently, be resolved by leaving a note—assuming the court can get the address right.

The official clusterfuck in C.H.'s case would simply be infuriating and damaging to the reputation of the cops and the courts if it was confined to small-town Arizona—but it's not. How common is C.H.'s experience?

"Citations are sometimes so deficient that court staff are unable to determine what the fine, or even charge, is supposed to be," notes a U.S. Department of Justice report that seemingly evokes C.H.'s experience after her initial arrest. "Evidence also shows that court staff have at times been unable to even find a person's case file."

Of court appearances such as the one that C.H. missed because the court sent a notice to a bad address, the same federal document notes, "Even setting aside the fact that people often receive inaccurate information about when they must appear in court, the in-person appearance requirement imposes particular difficulties on low-wage workers, single parents, and those with limited access to reliable transportation."

The Department of Justice report was issued last year in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri, riots and scrutinized the conduct of police and courts in that unfortunate town. The report also takes officials to task for stiff fines for petty offenses larded with high and arbitrary fees.

About those fees…

The receipt for the payment that got C.H. sprung details a "base fine" charge of $163.05. On top of that the court added a "probation surcharge" of $6.52, other surcharges of $130.43, a $500.00 contribution to the "prison construction" fund, and another $500.00 for "public safety equipment." (I asked the cops if that's how they paid for SWAT's battle jammies, but didn't get an answer.) The total came to $1,300—a pretty hefty sum, to be paid immediately on pain of "26 days in jail starting today. No work or early release," according to the court record.

"That the court is at least in part responsible for causing cases to protract and result in technical violations has not prevented it from imposing significant penalties when those violations occur," the Ferguson report continued. "The court continues to routinely issue arrest warrants for missed appearances and missed payments."

Ferguson may have rated federal scrutiny because of an eruption of violence, but the abuses the report found are hardly confined to that town, or to the treatment of minorities, or to small-town Arizona—they're common throughout the United States.

"Of the 1,000 people per month who receive citations and are unable to pay the fines, most will face subsequent arrest and jail, even though the original offense may have been littering or a pedestrian signal," Gary Blasi of the UCLA School of Law, noted in 2007 of Los Angeles enforcement efforts targeting the homeless.

"Imposing 'small fines' for our (often objectively harmless in and of itself) behavior as we move through the world or through traffic is one of the most significant ways Americans interact with the state. Even if the fines don't balloon to bigger fines and eventual arrest warrants, such interactions open up Americans to violations of dignity (like being publicly jacked up and handcuffed), privacy (you are supposed to identify yourself and give the cops a chance to look into your background), and possibly liberty," wrote Reason's Brian Doherty in a 2014 piece on the legal minefield that petty law enforcement creates for all of us—but especially the poor and powerless.

"The costs of the criminal justice system in the United States are paid increasingly by the defendants and offenders. It's a practice that causes the poor to face harsher treatment than others who commit identical crimes and can afford to pay," NPR reported in 2014 after a year-long investigation. The result, as in C.H.'s case, is defendants facing a choice between often unpayable bills and jail time for even minor offenses.

And not all of those arrested on petty charges have employers willing to front the money to purchase their freedom. Police encounters and jail stays can result in the loss of jobs, disrupted families, and even a life confined to the shadows if missed payments and appearances result in fugitive status. "People face arrest and go underground to avoid police," the NPR report added. "But this means they cut themselves off from job opportunities, welfare benefits or other programs that could get them on their feet."

C.H. is eager to move past her experience with the legal system. She told me that she even apologized to the police who arrested her. "She stated she knew we had a job to do and she was sorry for being upset with us," Detective Sergeant Moore wrote in his statement.

But it's impossible to see how the inclusion of petty offenders in warrant sweeps that use over-the-top tactics improves public safety. They may be effective revenue generators, assuming the money collected outweighs the cost of jailing grass-smokers, beer-sippers, shoplifters, and jaywalkers who are delinquent on their fines. And they probably make for impressive press releases about arrested fugitives. But there's a lot of damage done in the process. That harm is done to those whose lives are disrupted, and to relations with the community.

"We'll always work to help children, and we'll do what the law requires," my wife notes in the wake of the arrest. "But the good relationship we had with the police and courts is gone."

Police and the courts don't appear especially concerned about the disdain of the people they "serve"—at least, it hasn't budged them so far. But the Ferguson report appeared in the midst of growing awareness of abusive courts, militarized cops, and abusive officials. Weak police insistence that a wave of public disgust constitutes a "war on cops" is unlikely to convince anybody who has ever been mugged by the justice system.

With confidence in the police at a 22-year low, government viewed as an "immediate threat" by half of Americans, and official misbehavior a YouTube staple, it's obvious that many Americans see cops, courts, and officialdom in general waging a war on them.

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  1. The problem is that the police are running out of crimes. So they make a big deal out of the ones they can still run after. I kind of feel bad for them. What will they do as the drug war winds down? They will have to incite some people to terrorism or human trafficking or something. It’s interesting how TV shows like American Crime try to model antisocial behavior. But they can only do so much.

    1. I think it’s the proliferation of technology, reduced work weeks and increased leisure time, increased mobility, all leading to far more ways for people to amuse themselves. Consider life before cars, when there were very few morality crimes. Cops policed society pretty easily, and if they caught the wrong murderer or thief, no one much cared, and there was very little physical evidence to prove or disprove any connection between crime and suspect. So people believed cops were good at catching suspects.

      Today, there are a zillion ways to upset the morality police, and real crime now requires much more effort to prove who the criminals are. It’s a lot less headache to catch prostitutes, speeders, and especially people who don’t pay their parking tickets. Courts have no incentive to take care of the paperwork, cops have every incentive to take the easy cases instead of finding dangerous criminals, and government bureaucracies have come to depend on the fines.

      It’s an inevitable outcome of coercive government.

      1. Courts have no incentive to take care of the paperwork

        There was a lot of paperwork connected with my legal issues, and I made it a point to not get beat on it. It took effort, so this shit is not surprising.

        1. Courts have no incentive to take care of the paperwork

          The incentives are to fuck your paperwork, because their fuck up is *your* fault, and you will be made to pay.

      2. I had an incident in Virginia a few years ago that fortunately didn’t need the SWAT team.

        I had a minor traffic offense, likely an expired inspection sticker, got a ticket and was fined. I forgot the court date (they often schedule months in advance) and although I intended to prepay there wasn’t an urgency and I forgot. The court sent me a letter and I promptly got down there and paid it.

        A few months later I rolled through a stop sign coming out of a convenience store parking lot and was pulled over by a state trooper. First he had to make sure the prescription bottles in my vehicle were actually mine – then he informed me I had a suspended license. I was on my way to work, but he did allow me to drive the two miles home if I went straight there, otherwise I’d be arrested. He took my license and physically destroyed it.

        I went to the DMV and they said I had never paid the original fine. Once I got a receipt from the courthouse it was, “Oh, sorry” but I had to get my license reinstated, which meant, in the wake of 9-11, I needed ID – even if they had my photo on their computer screen. So I had to get my birth certificate (even if it didn’t have my current photo!). Finally I got a new license printed.

        1. Their mistakes, your problem.

    2. States across the nation along with the feds are ramping the drug war into overdrive to clamp down on people who use opioids. In my state they’ve made a huge fanfare about hiring tons of new DEA agents and state troopers to combat this “menace,” and making a big show of the federal funds they are using to pay for it.

      The drug war isn’t winding down by a long shot.

      1. This, if anything it may yet get worse.

      2. It’s pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that the sudden “epidemic” of opioid use is the latest reefer madness, the Harry Anslinger’s of today looking for a way to justify their existence.

        I have a friend who pointed out that it’s bad business to kill your customers. Yet the dealers insist on adulterating their product with deadly amounts of fentynal. Hmmmmm. Like adulterating industrial alcohol during prohibition, or adding liver damaging Tylenol to vicodin ? It all is just too convenient.

        1. Industrial alcohol is still today denatured to prevent use as a surrogate alcohol and you don’t add Tylenol to Vicodin? Vicodin is a mixture of Tylenol and hydrocodone already.

          Fentanyl was added to weak heroin to cover up the poor quality of the heroin. That is one of the side effects of prohibition ? the arrest of skilled chemists and confiscation of high quality supplies results in unskilled chemist and low quality supplies being used to make popular drugs resulting in a desire to adulterate the product to make up for poor quality.

  2. Oh look, our “justice system” is actually a heartless machine designed to siphon money off of people and then employ fat thug scum to make them “comply” if they don’t pay, complete with total overkill in terms of proportion, costs, and response. And who is attracted to this machine? People who have zero problem with–or actually enjoy–15 militarily outfitted pigs showing up to serve a mistaken warrant on someone who may not have paid *all* of their blood money.

    This is government. This is what it becomes. Always.

    1. This is government. This is what it becomes. Always.

      Always and always, amen.

      1. That’s: Forever and ever, Amen.

    2. I’d like to think the younger generation will eventually throw out all these oppressive policies, but it looks like the American Gestapo is killing off (or otherwise intimidating and inconveniencing) all the troublemakers, leaving the sheeple to become the next generation of law-and-order elderly eager to continue business as usual.

      1. Actually the elderly are going to become the most frequent lawbreakers as they need more drugs.

        1. Breaking Bad Elderly: Retired import/exporter begins smuggling morphine and heroin from his nursing home room to supply fellow residents.

          1. Plot line of Coccoon 3

      2. Are you kidding??!! The younger generation is going to pine for laws that put us away for saying he or she instead of xe.

    3. yeah, just ask Jos? Guere?a, formerly of New Mexico. Ooops, sorry, I almost forgot, You’ll have to ask his ex wife.. he was shot seventy times by the SWAT team raided their house at oh three hundred….. had the wrong address. The reason she is his ex wife is that he is dead. I suppose a better term would be widow. Yeah, Law Enforcement doin day jawb……

  3. Police and the courts don’t appear especially concerned about the disdain of the people they “serve”?at least, it hasn’t budged them so far.

    Nope. They don’t care if they are respected or feared, as long as they have the power to destroy lives. Because that’s the whole point of taking the job: to destroy lives.

    1. C.H. apologized to the detective, so he was satisfied.

      1. People have a natural inclination to apologize to someone who appears to be offended by something that they did. So it is natural to feel the need to apologize to cops, being that anything short of licking their boots will cause them to appear offended.

        1. There was some talk of pension reform here in New Hampshire….you wanna talk offended. I heard some union rep on the radio saying the cops are “always the underdog”. Yeah sure, they are so put upon, so unappreciated. The brave noble selfless protectors of society can turn into whiny little bitches at the drop of a hat.

  4. Verde Valley Wide Warrant Sweep

    This is the phrase they make you repeat 10 times fast to see if you’re under the influence or not.

    1. Demand the cop do so first. Then arrest him when he fails.

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    1. WHY is there no spam flag here? This garbage is obnoxious.

  6. I suggest that, henceforth, a group of police be called a “violence”.

    What sayeth the commentariati?

    1. I guess a “murder” is already taken, so yeah.

      1. How about an ‘oppression’ of pigs.

    2. It’s still a “sounder” as far as I’m concerned.

      1. ha. good one.

        “Sounder” is the name of my state’s feral hog newsletter.

    3. Too many syllables. I prefer a thug of cops

    4. Too many syllables. I prefer a thug of cops

    5. An arrogance of cops ?

    6. A “fuck you” of cops

      1. Oh, that’s better than my idea. I’m swiping that.

    7. Howza bout “swine?”

    8. “Misery” would work, too.

    9. A coercion?

  7. When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops

    The name for a group of pigs depends on the animals’ ages. A group of young pigs is called a drift, drove or litter. Groups of older pigs are called a sounder of swine, a team or passel of hogs or a singular of boars.

    1. Don’t insult bacon-bearers by comparing them to cops.

      1. I’ve thought this many times. We need a new slur for cops because this is all so degrading to the noble pig. Alas, I’ve yet to come up with anything low and insulting enough.

        1. Slur all you want, until you are getting your ass kicked, then I bet you’ll cry for some officers to save you.

          1. Wait. Are you suggesting that cops would turn on their fellow “brothers” to defend me, a lowly peasant?
            What are you even doing here? Aren’t you busy winning the war on drugs?

          2. if its coppers kicking my arse then more won’t be an improvement. If its anyone other than coppers, well, I have an “arse-kicker-terminator” handy and will not hesitate to use it. Then the coppers can come round and spend their afternoon taking pictures,making chalk outlines, talking to everyone and no one, measuring things, and looking for empty brass casings.

            1. Don’t forget shooting any nearby dogs.

  8. They may be effective revenue generators, assuming the money collected outweighs the cost of jailing grass-smokers, beer-sippers, shoplifters, and jaywalkers who are delinquent on their fines.

    Loan sharks don’t break the legs of every deadbeat borrower. But they have to show that they mean business when borrowers are late with the repayment and agreed-upon vigorish.

    In fact, gangster loan sharks seldom follow through with their threats. They just want to get repaid. The government doesn’t care so much about getting repaid as it does about instilling a sense of absolute fealty and obedience.

    Elizabeth Warren and crew are oh-so-much concerned about the practices of payday lenders and the like. She should at the usurious rates of interest charged by and the violent collection practices of her own criminal organization.

    1. Good point. The rates they charge are absurd given what they actually pay their lenders for their “safe” bonds. When will it end?

    2. AZ has added 85% SURCHARGE on all fines, fees, etc. Add the UNCONSTITUTIONAL CIVIL FORFEITURE laws, and our government is fleecing the poor at every turn.

      SWAT used in AZ for most all searchs. Warrant given based on garden hose, electric extension cord, and air conditioner. 22 cops showed, Including SWAT. Both residents had medical marijuana cards. Cost over $10K to taxpayer.

      What would end this disaster?? Legalization!!

  9. She told me that she even apologized to the police who arrested her.

    Stockholm syndrome, or pragmatic approach to dealing with an oppressor with superior firepower?

    1. Bend over or suffer the consequences.

  10. Just for fun, ask people why a “crime against the state” is considered more heinous than crime against a private citizen.

    1. That’s easy. When someone commits a crime against the state, they have shown themselves to be completely and totally immoral. That makes them capable of all kinds of crimes against private citizens. So much so that arresting people who commit crimes against the state actually prevents crimes against private citizens. Because of this, in the interest of public safety, the police should actually focus more on crimes against the state than on crimes against private citizens. This way they prevent more crime than if they wasted their efforts investigating crimes with actual victims.

      1. Unfortunately that’s largely true, a theory called legalism. But it works only up to the point at which the demands on avg. people become so numerous & obscure that the practice no longer serves to distinguish the law-abiding from the disobedient.

        1. “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
          -Bastiat

    2. why a “crime against the state” is considered more heinous than crime against a private citizen.

      People identify with the state and consider themselves part of the state. So, a crime against is a crime against them in some small way. A crime against another person, who gives a f*ck, they deserved it.

      1. Hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. If C.H. had just paid the fine that she owed (to us) then our police wouldn’t have to chase her down.

        1. This is why people think a tax cut has to be ‘paid for’ somehow. The state must remain whole.

        2. but dintchya read the article? She went to pay it and they couldn’t find the case, so told her there was no case or fine to pay. She was silly enough to believe them.

    3. A more interesting question is what are the criteria for a crime to be considered ‘a crime against the state’ and who decides?

  11. it was her mom who told police about C.H.’s job.

    Snitches get stitches. Which, hopefully, C.H. is qualified to administer as well.

    1. Be fair. Mom’s image of the cops is probably some melding of Andy Griffith and Mark Harmon. Seriously, prime time TV is 3 hours of pro-cop propaganda every night.

      1. This is why we need a TV show that highlights police abuse: “Cops Gone Wild!”

        It would be much more popular than “COPS”. I’m sure the libertariat here could supply the stories, and maybe someone here has the artistic flair to make it into something compelling.

        1. You wouldn’t even need to change the theme song.
          “Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do?”

        2. Will Grigg could probably supply at least a year’s worth of copper incompetence and bullying. The way he writes his articles its already halfway toward a good screenplay.

        3. Then it would be ni- I mean “thugs” getting what they deserve, per the standard audience.

  12. , we do have to be prepared for a worst case scenario to protect the public and the officers.”

    Tactical nukes?

    1. Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  13. Registered voters in that experienced half of Americans ought to be alerted of the third-party choice, and that a vote for the two looter parties is a vote for hemp-hunting lynch mobs–PANT and similar ku-klux derivatives to rifle their drawers and grope and kidnap their sons and daughters for ransom.

  14. My preconceived, biased, and all-around prejudicial notions of western states being our last bastions of individual liberty are really taking a beating.

  15. Police should hire a teenager to work for them to show them how to find people using this thing called the internet. I’m pretty sure C.H. had a Facebook account. One message and they could likely have caught their “fugitive”.

    1. BUT BUT BUT MUH TACTICAL VEST! I WANNA WEAR MUH TACTICAL VEST!

      1. I watch some British cop shows on Hulu. You hear about how their cops don’t carry guns, even the detectives. However, when those detectives want to arrest someone, they bring the SWAT team – ’cause, you know, they could resist

        I also recall an episode of “Luther” where the detective was murdered by a perp with a shotgun because all the detective could do was turn and run. He tried to talk his way out of it, to no avail.

    2. simply insert the victim’s name, front name back name, into the search bar and hit GO. I’ve found long lost friends that way, and they wondered how in the world I’d managed, as they had deliberatly tried to disappear. There has to be some trail unless she’s been tent camping under a bridge, or maybe way up on the ridge northwest of Cottonwood.

  16. And I bet all of this cost way more than what they got.

    1. Considering they only got 1300 bucks, I’m sure it did. It probably cost them more than that to pay all those pig’s salaries for the hour or 2 that I’m sure they all but shut Dr. Tuccille’s practice for.

      1. The salaries, wages, and benefits of this passel of hogs — as well as the costs of their equipment and tactical gear — are fixed costs.

        The variable costs of this operation were minimal.

      2. Call them pigs until you need them, then you cry, “officer, please help, they hurt me and my family…..or they stole my things….why oh why….?”

  17. The important question, did any of the cops do a wicked barrel roll ?

    1. They do wicked jelly rolls…unless doughnuts are available.

  18. “The teams were tasked to apprehend people who had a variety [of] offenses,” Cottonwood Patrol Division Commander Jody Makuch said in an email.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that the vast majority of these “offenses” were of similarly non-violent didn’t pay the full fines and fees and/ or didn’t receive a court’s summons and so failed to appear (which, of course, is somehow the prole’s fault for not staying at the same address their entire life and not the court’s fault for being incompetent morons). Therefore it’s probably safe to assume that the full SWAT treatment is to justify the Cottonwood AZ police department having a SWAT team, and of course a show of force to keep the peasants in line. Seriously, Cottonwood is a nothing town, there’s no reason for them to have a SWAT team.

    They had a quota to meet, so they went with one-size-fits-all.

    An arrest quota, and probably a budget shortfall, so time to go extract some more money from the peasants to pay for the King’s Men’s fancy toys.

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  21. Using the term ‘police state’ used to feel like an overstatement, an exaggeration that non-libertarians would dismiss out of hand. Not any more. Evidence of a police state is so plain, no one can miss it. The end of this story is similar, no matter where it plays out: ‘At last they came for me, and no one was left to stand up for me.’

    I like the reference to ‘battle jammies’ early in the article. It’s perfectly descriptive, and makes fun of these jokers in a way that shows the power of ridicule. The problem is, as we all know, these people are not jokers. They will shoot you on sight if you try to escape, or if you _appear_ to threaten them. These arrests are high stakes events for the victims, because you can wind up dead in a second. Psychologically, battle jammies not only intimidate victims, they make arresting authorities ready to kill.

    Keep making fun of these people. Keep reporting the way they act. As Tucille observes near the end, few people regard police as their protectors anymore. Authorities who lose their moral legitimacy eventually fall.

  22. “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” ~ Bastiat

    Good quotation: Bastiat’s word describes our situation. I’d add that the state has made a choice between the alternatives easy for U. S. citizens, post-9/11. Once the state tortured people under cover of law, many citizens lost respect for the state, and for the law. This was by no means an unplanned outcome for the state, for when power rather than morality or law becomes your primary measure, you will choose fear and intimidation over legitimate authority in every case. The state demonstrated its preference for raw power here and everywhere else after 9/11. We quickly came to see that securing the state’s ability to exercise power without restraint, domestically and overseas, was a key reason 9/11 occurred in the first place.

    Yes, it is a long way from Manhattan’s towers blowing up in 2001, to a SWAT deployment in Arizona at a clinic to serve an eight-year-old warrant, but a connecting thread exists. You need a show of force to assert your power when you have forsaken the law. Authorities have what they sought when they chose fear to ground their actions. With that foundation, they use force to control citizens, and to extract from them what they need.

  23. That should be: ‘Bastiat’s words describe our situation.’

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  26. You weren’t there, were you? Apparently not, because the scenario you attempt to describe bears no resemblance to what actually occurred that day. The officers were as discrete as possible under the circumstances. The only scene made was that which the wanted person created in order to draw attention to the situation. You may rant about whatever you wish, but at least make an attempt to keep that rant somewhat factual. Your repeated reference to “tactical jammies” is obviously an attempt to inflame the emotions of an already “sensitive” public. SWAT officers only brought a copy of the warrant to the back of the office building and then left. The detectives on scene were under no obligation to produce a copy of the warrant there, only at the jail. They knew of the warrant ahead of time and confirmed it again in your wife’s presence to satisfy her inquiry. Just because you are a person of privilege and your wife runs a pediatric practice, that does not exempt you, her or any of her employees from being contacted by law enforcement when there is a perfectly reasonable reason for them to be there. People with arrest warrants frequently do stupid things when officers try to serve them. Two Indiana officers were shot last week, one killed, doing just that. Body armor excessive? No. You’ve never been a peace officer, so quit judging those who would gladly step between you and those who would do harm to you or your family.

    1. In AZ a warrant MUST be delivered to the person’s or property AT THE TIME OF ACTION. And contain all parts, Including the affidavits supporting it.

      Otherwise it will be tossed.

      1. A search warrant must be delivered at the time of the action. An arrest warrant is already in the system for any officer or agency to access and knowledge of the warrant at the scene, such as during a traffic stop, is all that is needed to arrest. A hard copy is provided for viewing at the jail. Get your facts straight. Try doing a ridealong with an officer or shadow a detective for a day and see what it is really like on their side of the badge. I bet your perception and opinion will be changed for the better by the end of the shift.

      2. Oh, and your rant about the warrant and all affidavits being delivered is incorrect. Only an arrest or search warrant must be shown. The other information may later be obtained, but there is no duty to produce a search warrant affidavit or report of probable cause for an arrest warrant at the time the warrants are served. Please, if you want to rant, know something about that which you intend to rant.

    2. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because the police are never sure when or where they will be attacked, they are increasingly paranoid and hair-triggered, ready to “defend’ themselves against anyone and anything. Nonetheless, the number of police deliberately killed is still astonishingly small, and more police are killed due to accidents, disease, and other non-deliberate reasons.
      https://www.odmp.org/

      The number of people killed by police far outnumbers the number of police deliberately killed. How many of them deserved it?

      http://killedbypolice.net/

      1. and how many of them voluntarily put themselves in that situation, cuz 100% of the cops did.

    3. I feel like I need body armor in case I have an encounter with the police.

      1. Don’t do something stupid and you will never need to worry.

        1. Don’t do something stupid? You mean like attempt to follow instructions?

          http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/25/…..-shooting/
          This guy is lucky to have survived.

          Or maybe you meant follow every single law with perfection every single time.

          There is something about that Indiana Officer killed serving a warrant that you neglected to mention.

          The warrant was being served after midnight, the sort of time when people who hear loud and unexpected noises around their property get rattled quite easily. Its not at all unreasonable to conclude that the late night banging on his door scared the shit out him triggering the fight or flight response. You know, that automatic response that releases all kinds of adrenaline, suppresses rational thought, and makes every moving thing seem a threat to life.

          But they were yelling “Police, search warrant” you say. So? Anyone can go bang on people’s doors in the middle of the night and shout that. Doesn’t mean they really are police.

        2. OK, you’re just a troll, right? I thought you might be trying to pass yourself off as a cop lurking in the comments, but no one is stupid enough to believe that statement.

        3. one stupid thing I did a few years back was to drive eastward on a major thoroughfare in northeast Portland in my (admittedly less than concours condition) old van. Speed limit, no other traffic, straight line, noticed a cop car parked at a loading dock for a rather large store on my right as I passed. Duly noted, minded my speed for certain… split the line for 35 with the needle. Sure enough he fell in behind me…. my destination was about half a mile then turn right, so I did that. He followed. Quiet residential street, he waited four blocks and lit me up. I instantly pulled over, lights out, shut it down…. as is normal in some places, I exited the vehicle and began walking toward the ossifer, hands empty, visible, well off to the side, clear of my waist. He instantly began cursing at me GET BACK IN YOUR VEHICLE NOW!!!!! Oops….. I did.

          1. He sauntered up and commenced chewing in me.. yes sir, sorry sir, I’ll be a good boy sir. Took my papers, went back to run the make on me…. soon two other patrol cars pulled up behind his…. six coppers, all out, walking about, it was cold out but I was seething, and so rolled down my window to get some cool air. They were discussing amongst themselves what they could do to bait me into taking a swing at one of them so they could all have the fun of grounding and pounding me, then arresting me for assaulting an officer True story, I was able to hear their banter but they were not aware my window was open and I listening. He wrote me a moving violation for inoperative headlamp…. they never went in front of the van to verify, refused to let ME get out and look…. sit there and shut up[ kid….. I showed up in court, pictures in hand showing all the lights working, and parked right where they had stopped me. Happened to have a camera with. The copper never showed, I did, so the judge dismissed. So, no, “don’t do something stupid and you will never need to worry” is false. What planet do YOU live on?

            and that’s not the ONLY such atnagonistic encounter I’ve had with Portland’s Police Bureau when I was minding my own business and being a good boy.

    4. “Comrades!’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples.”

    5. “Peace Officer” is a misnomer, and I would never expect one leo to protect me from another.

  27. I once received a citation where the address it supplied for my court appearance was a post office box. How does that work exactly?

    1. You’re fucked. That’s how it works.

      They will record you as a no show. Fines will escalate. A warrant will be issued.

      Someday a dozen guys in body armor and guns drawn and safeties off will show up to “apprehend” you. They will burst into your home screaming, and if you do not immediately do exactly what all of them expect, you will immediately be gunned down.

      No officers will be harmed in the incident. Mission Accomplished.

    2. think small. Think VERY small.

  28. “While we cannot predict the behavior of the people who fail to meet their obligations, we do have to be prepared for a worst case scenario to protect the public and the officers.”

    “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    This is probably the single most dangerous idea that cops have. They use overwhelming force in situations of minimal actual risk to themselves, but some larger *conceivable* risk to themselves, *as a policy*. That overwhelming force astronomically increases the risk, and resulting harm, the cops do to citizens. Acting according to the “worst case scenario” inevitably gets people needlessly killed.

    It also is likely that force escalation actually increases the net risk to police as well.

    Anyone who knows anything about risk management knows that their statement is simply *insane*. And yet it is policy everywhere.

  29. I’ll lay some pretty high stakes at long odds the thirteen large they collected that day was more than spent by the dog and pony show they put on. Those SWAT guys cost $150/hour and more to deploy, fed agents are likely a CNote/hour each, the big rigs that roll with SWAT cost a pile too. So it was either a net loss or, depending on how one calculates, a pretty high percentage cost recoup for some welfare payments to support the costumed operatives sucking on the public teat.
    If I were here I’d have gone back to the beginning when she tried to pay the fine and they could not locate her case, turned out there was no record or file… had she seized on THAT appropriately she could have beat the whole thing before it even started. WHY do they let stuff like this simmer for years, then roll out the Big Guns and High Hats to make a big show over it all?

    Furhter, WHY were FEDERAL agents involved? They are prohibited by the Constitution to do any law enforcement… and nearly every federal law they try and enforce is illegal. FedGov coppers have no business being involved in such things.

    1. You are so far out of calibration it hurts. Instead of being properly informed before speaking (writing), you rant incessantly about expenses that were not incurred, fictional income from arrests going to police departments and the presence of federal agents being unconstitutional. First, little or no overtime was paid that day because of pre-planning to minimize said expense. Second, Monies collected from bonds on warrants are never given to police agencies. Third, Federal law enforcement agencies, I.E. the FBI, HSI, USMS, are all free to enforce federal laws and to render assistance to any local, county or state law enforcement agency which may request their assistance. Your mis-spoken reference to the constitutional prohibition of law enforcement would refer to the military being prohibited from such enforcement under the Posse Comitatus Act of the constitution. And again, you fail to educate yourself, because there are provisions for the ordering of federal military intervention under extenuating circumstances. But that was not an issue in this case.

      1. I think we can all agree that when police overstep their bounds and the department settles financially (via negotiation or court decision) against someone that they have wronged that those monies should be paid for outbof the police pension and nothing else.

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  31. One of these calls the office almost every day. Had a jail dump someone on county line because they didn’t want to be responsible for his medical needs on a DWI arrest jail hold. He was charged half a dozen years later, despite the Statute of Limitations clearly being limited to one year in this situation.

    When police decide (cuz they KNOW, ya know?) someone is guilty of whatever, they get that search warrant easily. Then an 1/8 of marijuana or a totally legal item gets turned into a felony. Then it is enhanced due to being within 1,000 yards of school, church, etc. (You are there!) Then they go for civil forfeiture. Then the prosecutors get told by the cop to keep charges alive because they are totally sure they were guilty of worse stuff than they discovered. Prosecutors eventually fold, after you spend money on a good lawyer – or they don’t when you hire the wrong one. (Lots of judgement calls, it is not black and white.)

    Still on soapbox, if you are arrested for DWI in a traffic stop – I can write 75% of the officer’s police report without knowing anything about the stop. It’s formulaic life-destroying bullshit. But hey, we are all better off when people lose their jobs for the crime of cop thinking they are guilty, right?

  32. Was the cop’s name Lewandowski?

  33. When you send heavily armed, militarized SWAT teams to serve arrest warrants, the purpose isn’t “to reduce the large number of outstanding warrants” any more than the purpose of violent drug raids is to seize drugs. The purpose is to instill fear in the populace.

  34. Folks, there are bad cops out there, no doubt about that. I know because I’ve had to work with some over the years. But they are very few and quite far between. What has happened is that those few, because of their actions and the repeated re-broadcast and re-posting of the circumstances surrounding those actions, have caused even law-abiding citizens to question the validity of police authority and the necessity of many of the tools employed by law enforcement in this day and age. Ask any of the doubters in Colorado Springs who were recently saved by officers using armored vehicles to rescue them, if their perceptions changed after that incident. I bet you will hear resounding praise for the actions of those officers. We are good people, with lives we want to share with our families and friends, life goals, dreams for the future and all the same desires as those we serve. Please remember that those of us who swore an oath to serve you did so out a sense of service. Yes, some fall through the cracks, but they do not last long and are usually weeded out by their peers and their agencies early in their careers. I would willingly step between any of you and a bad person who intended to do you harm. Please remember that. Don’t hate all of us for the actions of a very few. You would expect the same.

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  38. RE: Heh

    Glad to see others are twigging to what’s going on around them.

    It’s a shame that it took a serious personal experience with them to get even a slight ‘clue’.

  39. And the police are baffled why malcontents targets them. With crap like this going on all over the country the general public is loosing more and more faith in law enforcement. Most already view them as an enemy and it seems the police are more than happy to get in citizen’s faces just to show who is boss.

    1. “Thus, not by others, but by means of our own plumage are we slain.”

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  41. every organization needs to fundraise from time to time.

  42. RE: Ham-Handed Arrest at Pediatric Clinic Highlights Official War on the Powerless
    Forget that “war on cops.” Unaffordable penalties, incompetent courts, and heavy-handed tactics are all evidence of an official assault on regular Americans.

    Isn’t Big Government wonderful?

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  45. “Imposing ‘small fines’ for our (often objectively harmless in and of itself) behavior as we move through the world or through traffic is one of the most significant ways Americans interact with the state.”

    Come on. You’re allegedly a professional writer. Americans do not interact with he state by imposing small fines. The state imposes ‘small fines’ on us.

  46. Without question, policing of this kind of minor infraction is out of control and a national shame. However, the “I didn’t know my court date” excuse is nonsense. The type of people who routinely find themselves facing municipal charges requiring a court appearance are just too lazy and disorganized to show up.

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  49. Cops aren’t in the ‘protection’ racket. They’re in the collections department.

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