Militarization of Police

Cops Destroyed This House To Arrest a Shoplifter. A Federal Court Says Police Don't Have To Pay for the Damage.

Are there any limits to what police can do in pursuit of a suspect? The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals apparently doesn't think so.

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A federal appeals court ruled this week that the Colorado man who had his home destroyed by a police raid in 2015 is not entitled to compensation for the damage, which was severe enough to require a complete demolition of the house.

"Under no circumstances in this country should the government be able to blow up your house and render a family homeless," Leo Lech, the homeowner, told NPR after the court ruling on Wednesday.

The raid that left Lech and his family homeless had nothing to do with any of them. They weren't even home when an armed shoplifter broke into their house on South Alton Street in the leafy Denver suburb of Greenwood Village. Although the burglar was armed only with a handgun and was fully barricaded inside the home, local police responded as if they were confronting Osama bin Laden.

"Unleashing a display of force commonly reserved for the battlefield, the tactical team bombarded the building with high-caliber rifles, chemical agents, flash-bang grenades, remote-controlled robots, armored vehicles, and breaching rams—all to extract a petty thief with a handgun," wrote Jay Stooksberry in the December 2017 issue of Reason. At one point during the two-day operation, the cops drove an armored vehicle through the home's front door. When it was all over, the house was unlivable. Greenwood Village condemned the structure, forcing Lech to have it torn down, and the city offered a measly $5,000 to cover the damage.

That prompted Lech's lawsuit, which has been winding its way through federal court for several years. Lech claimed the city was liable because of the Constitution's takings clause, which forbids governments from taking private property for public use without "just compensation."

A federal district court ruled in 2016 that the city wasn't liable. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed; in the ruling issued Wednesday, three judges said police cannot be held liable for damage caused while trying to apprehend a suspect.

"The defendants' law-enforcement actions fell within the scope of
the police power and actions taken pursuant to the police power do not constitute
takings," the judges wrote.

Lech did get a $345,000 payout from his homeowner's insurance, but that was not enough to cover the full value of the home, which was appraised for $580,000. And this payout did not cover the costs of demolition or the loss of other property inside the home. Lech ended up having to take out a $390,000 loan to cover the costs of rebuilding, Stooksberry reported in 2017.

Lech and his attorneys told The Denver Post that they plan to appeal the decision to a full panel on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and could eventually take the case to the Supreme Court.

In a statement to the Post, Greenwood Village's attorney pointed to a review of the incident conducted by the National Tactical Officers Association, a nonprofit that trains SWAT teams. The police raid that destroyed Lech's home, the group concluded, was carried out in "in a highly commendable manner."

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  1. They don’t get all of these cool toys just to have and never use.

    1. They are not “toys,” they are important law enforcement tools. Once you start limiting our ability to use them, then the seedy, European-minded defense lawyers would argue, for example, that it would be somehow “disproportionate” for us to arrest certain recalcitrant trouble-makers for inappropriate “parody,” that it would “fall outside the scope” of our authority to charge them with multiple felonies in order to obtain a guilty plea or a conviction on a few misdemeanor counts. But how then would we enforce the criminal laws against our nation’s leading criminal “satirist”? Clearly there must be no limitations on our power, so we can get the job done, in New York and elsewhere across America. See the documentation at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      1. Dude the case is basically over yeah it sucks it didn’t get the attention it deserves, but there’s no need to spam every single comment section with this stuff it is extremely tedious

        1. Hey wait a minute here! Didn’t you know that, in this case here, Leo Lech, the homeowner, was ALSO guilty of BLOWING ON A CHEAP PLASTIC FLUTE W/O PERMISSION?!?! THAT, I happen to know, from inside information, is the REAL reason why they destroyed his home!!!

          To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

          (And PLEASE don’t call me “extremely tedious” about this; it is Government Almighty that is “extremely tedious”!!!)

          1. With respect to commentary (not, incidentally, “spam”) that Sansos finds tedious, he’s perfectly free to ignore it if he doesn’t want to read it. Sansos may feel that our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case is “over,” as he puts it, but we must continue to build on its precedent and, above all, to exercise absolute vigilance.

      2. What was that case about? I forget…

        1. Wikipedia has a goodish write-up on the case here:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_v._Golb

          1. Not up to date, as it doesn’t include any analysis of the Second Circuit’s decision or of the criminal court’s final, outrageous decision to allow the perpetrator to remain at large; and insufficient in that it doesn’t make it sufficiently clear how serious these crimes were. Perhaps Eugene Volokh could submit some material to clarify these matters?

            1. Could you list that link one more time? I can’t find the last time that you linked it.

  2. I’ll bet they all gathered at the bar later and patted each other on the back. Then went home and beat the wife.

    1. I’ll bet they were so amped up on the successful raid that they even murdered some dogs on their way home.

    2. “Beat the wife”? I’m so behind on the new masturbation euphemisms.

      1. Apparently we aren’t checking phrasing again.

    3. Wouldn’t be surprised.
      I wonder how the cops would feel if someone they’d wronged like this systematically burned all of their homes to the ground?

      1. If I were on the jury for someone who did that, I’d vote not guilty.

  3. Not to diminish the story or anything – but why wasn’t his home insured for the full appraised value?

    1. My guess, the home was appraised by an appraiser hired by his attorney, who likely took the case on 1/3 contingency, with an incentive to play up the damages as much as possible.

    2. A lot of people insure it for the current value when they buy the house, and never adjust it. My insurance is supposedly for the rebuild value, but I suspect determining that would be an interesting and long process, and their goal would be to outwait me.

      1. This sounds about right. The home values in the Denver metro have nearly doubled in a decade. But just because its appraised value is now $580K, I wonder why it would cost that much to rebuild? He has land/location, utilities, plumbing, foundation taken care of already. Those are a huge part of the cost of a build.

    3. Most people just get enough insurance to get by for the purposes of their mortgage without realizing that their home isn’t actually insured for its replacement value.
      Lot’s of folks in Colorado discovered that after the Waldo Canyon fire that took out some really expensive homes.

  4. //Lech did get a $345,000 payout from his homeowner’s insurance, but that was not enough to cover the full value of the home, which was appraised for $580,000.//

    Ah, that’s the rub. Classic insurance boondoggle. I also would not be surprised to learn that, for tax purposes, Lech appraised the home at …. exactly what it was insured for, and not a penny more.

    1. I thought once that an interesting way to collect revenue would be a property tax based entirely on self-assessed values. The government would set a tax rate for everybody. The rub would be as here: you cannot collect any value beyond the self-assessed value; not for government damage or eminent domain, not for fire insurance, not for selling it. The biggest problem is the intrusiveness of verifying all transactions. When you sell a home, how does the government know you didn’t get a side deal for the difference?

      But I liked the self-assessment and self-enforcement idea.

      1. This is actually an interesting idea, much like the 24 hours of lemons. Essentially, you are free to assert that your race car is only worth $1000, but you have to be willing to accept $1000 for it.

        Likewise, if someone is absolutely absurd in saying that their house is only worth $100,000, then the government’s recourse is to buy it from you for $100,000 and flip it.

        1. It gets rid of all sorts of shenanigans with lowball appraisals. But verifying sales, etc is the kicker. I suppose it’s not as intrusive as income or sales tax, but it still sucks.

          You can ameliorate that a bit with whistleblowers. Anyone who can prove they paid on the side gets to keep the property without paying the side deal. I suppose people would find out who is trustworthy.

          1. But you also run into a problem of someone who doesn’t want to sell because it’s where they grew up. It might have a market value of $100K, but to them, it has a personal value of $500K because of the memories. Why should they have to insure at $500K just to prevent the government taking it for $100K? Or worse, if you do like the LeMons cars and let anyone claim the house for the self-assessed value, why should an old lady have to insure at some astronomically high value just to keep the casino next door from claiming it cheap for their parking lot?

            If you can get rid of all involuntary sales, it works much better.

            1. She doesn’t have to insure at that price, she has to pay taxes at that price.

              “Fair market value” has the problem that you may value a particular property more than another person – like the house you were born in, the one you raised your kids in, the one with that lovely view of the meadow….. none of that is captured in fair market value. So when the government seizes you’re House they get it for far less than you would actually voluntarily part with it. A solution is to allow homeowners to claim what they actually value their home at – at what price would you voluntarily sell? That’s the price the government will pay to seize it, and you must also sell to anyone who offers at that price, but you also must pay taxes on that amount.

              Insurance underwriting is based on the costs of demolition and reconstruction, and so doesn’t capture any of that additional value, so none of that apparent additional cost.

        2. much like the 24 hours of lemons

          Cave Johnson approves.

      2. How about abolish property taxes on houses, especially primary residences?

      3. Side deals will be easy to track once the government gets rid of paper money.

    2. I also would not be surprised to learn that, for tax purposes, Lech appraised the home at …. exactly what it was insured for, and not a penny more.

      Huh? The homeowner does not appraise his own property. And the assessment by the taxman is not at all based on any private appraisal.

      1. Government assessments are generally in the ballpark of what the house would fetch on the open market, though not always. If the home was insured for $345,000.00, then Lech likely used (a) a government assessment to derive that value or (b) a private appraisal value or (c) a value somewhere in between (a) and (b). I don’t know the laws in Colorado, but in many counties you can appeal the government assessment if it exceeds the market value of the house and you can throw in some insurance numbers for good measure. Of course, it all depends on the specifics of the policy and the law in the area. Generally, however, the three figures are close.

        Chances are, and I am speculating, if Lech’s home was insured for $345,000.00 it was (a) actually worth somewhere in that ballpark and (b) assessed somewhere in that ballpark as well and (c) cost that much actually replace. I doubt that Lech was paying taxes on an assessment of $580,000.00. I also find it difficult to believe that the repairs and replacement cost $735,000.00 (insurance plus the loan), while it was actually insured for just $345,000.00. That kind of disparity seems very unusual and, dare I say, suspicious. It seems to me like there is a bit of gamesmanship going on here.

        “Yea, sure, the government did destroy your house but … let’s be real, it wasn’t worth what you are asking anyway and, also, we’re not legally responsible.”

        What I suspect happened is that Lech had his attorney secure an appraiser

        1. Government assessments are generally in the ballpark of what the house would fetch on the open market, though not always.

          Right, not always. It depends on the jurisdiction. Sometimes the “assessed value” is usually well below the market value or the appraised value so they can calculate millage in their weird way. For instance, this house I pulled up at random in PG County, MD has an asking price of $389k (they’ll get at least $375k no problem). The “tax assessment value” is $293,467. Go over to Montgomery County next door and you’ll see assessment values that are much closer to the actual values, usually within a few thousand. *shrug*

          Anyway, my point was that the assessor doesn’t care what a private appraiser says. They do their own appraisal.

          1. Good buddy of mine used to do tax appraisals for the county. Standard practice is to lowball every house, but not by too much. The county wants to collect as much property tax as possible, so they want assessments to be as high as they can be, but what they really really don’t want is to go to court and argue about it with the owners. So they always try to pick a number that is low enough you won’t bother trying to make an argument to the tax court. Now, some counties or cities are different and different tax appraisers may be more or less aggressive but that’s the general idea.

            1. It makes perfect sense to do it this way. Every home I’ve owned has been appraised thusly by the town. If they need to offset the lowball assessments for revenue purposes, they increase the assessed rate.

      2. An obvious question to my Gen-X mind who might have loved a Mike Meyers film or two… How does this compare with compensation for police actions like commanding or compounding a vehicle due to a live operation?

        Is the problem here really just the *scale* of the destruction rather than anything on first principles? Perhaps a threshold for direct recovery from the state is warranted.

      3. I went “huh” too. I’ve never heard of a jurisdiction that relies on self-appraisal for property values.

    3. We don’t insure our home for its full market value, simply on the premise that its full market value includes the value of the property alone. Our thinking is to insure the value for reconstruction purposes, or to relocate, in which case we’d recover the sale value of the property.

      Still, that’s a pretty big discrepancy. What’s not clear is whether that $390,000 loan was to make up the difference between the $345,000 payout and the total construction cost ($735,000? that sounds like a pretty major upgrade), or to cover other miscellaneous costs.

      Some details are probably being distorted or misreported, or the guy is simply miffed that he doesn’t get some sort of bonus for being so grossly inconvenienced. The city offering $5,000 is absurd in any event. Why shouldn’t they be the ones who have to carry insurance for blitzkrieg collateral damage?

      1. Policies and the considerations that go into buying a policy vary, granted. But it seems *very odd* that the actual cost of replacement turned out being nearly TWICE the value of the insurance. Either he had crap insurance, or we’re talking Saul Goodman level grift on the part of Lech’s attorney.

        Should the government be liable? Eh, I’m not so sure. In order to find liability, you would have to conclude that the government’s approach in neutralizing the shooter was unreasonable and rose to the level of negligence, like any other tort. I don’t know that one could prove negligence without disputing the tactics of an entire police department, proposing viable alternatives, and then overcoming the presumption that the police need to operate with broad discretion under strained circumstances. The police force would be thrown into complete disarray. And, if one can’t prove negligence, then there is no way to prove a degree of unreasonable conduct sufficient to implicate the Takings Clause.

        It’s a screwed up situation but, I think, that is why insurance exists.

        1. There was no “shooter”. There was an armed shoplifter.

        2. As a government entity, they are immune from tort actions due to gd sovereign immunity. Also, this is not a negligence action, this would definitely be an intentional tort if the owner were actually able to state a claim in court. Everything law enforcement did was deliberate, including the level of damage inflicted.

          1. I forgot to add that this is why the homeowner was forced to assert a constitutional claim.

        3. The police force would be thrown into complete disarray.

          What’s the down side?

        4. I think it was pretty clearly unreasonable. Destroying a house is not a standard police tactic, which is why you seldom hear about it. No special circumstances here to justify it (I think a hostage would warrant smashing through a wall for example). This was just a bunch of idiot cops hopped up on adrenaline who thought waiting for the guy to surrender himself peacefully was too boring.

  5. gonna require a shoplifter holed up in a judge’s house while he’s away.

  6. Apparently local police departments use the Paris scene from Team America as a training video.

  7. When it was all over, the house was unlivable. Greenwood Village condemned the structure, forcing Lech to have it torn down, and the city offered a measly $5,000 to cover the damage.

    Then the HOA fined Lech $13 Million for all the violations of the Code of Covenants his house had.

    1. how tall is that lawn dude?

      1. It’s not just the lawn. Do you see white curtains on any of the windows?

        1. maybe he shoplifted plutonium or Faberge eggs

    2. The joke is only so funny. HOAs actually pull crap like this. I’m surprised he wasn’t fined by the municipality; they often have that level of gumption.

    1. This was for one guy. If there were, say a dozen or so, would they wipe out the whole block?

      Oh, wait…never mind.

      In 1985, another confrontation ended when a police helicopter dropped a bomb on the MOVE compound, a row house in the middle of the 6200 block of Osage Avenue. The resulting fire killed eleven MOVE members, including five children, and destroyed 65 houses in the neighborhood. The survivors later filed a civil suit against the city and the police department, and were awarded $1.5 million in a 1996 settlement.

      1. watched that on tv.

        1. Me too, back in 1985. In the early 90’s I lived in Yeadon, about a mile away from Osage Avenue. The block was still a fenced in construction site, courtesy of all the government/union incompetence.

          1. if we weren’t on South Street or @the Spectrum or Vet we stayed east of Camden lol …

            1. I work in Philly and at the time was in grad school at Drexel, so the location made sense.

              1. i was a teenager when I lived there ’81-’87 and literally was breaking rules to leave my zip code … did not stop me

      2. That was Filthacrapia, so no harm, no foul.

  8. This is just awful.

  9. The Colorado Libertarian Party has, of course, been protesting this miscarriage of justice non-stop, right? Right?

    1. Yes. All 3 of them.

      1. I’m pretty sure there are more than 3. But whatever the tiny number, it will stay tiny as long as LP doesn’t get out there and win hearts and minds by opposing injustice like this.

      2. Colorado just happens to be the birthplace of the American Libertarian Party, wise guy.

          1. It’s actually a nice round 6. (We had another person interested, but we didn’t let him join. Odd numbers have weird colors to them.)

            We meet in my parent’s basement in Broomfield every other Thursday (alternating with our D&D schedule natch). And no girls allowed!

            1. D&D is politics by other means, so that checks out.

  10. Maybe the city isn’t legally obligated to compensate the homeowner but maybe they could do the right thing. I know, crazy!

    1. Hey, the right thing would have been for him not to aid and abet this dangerous felon by allowing him to hide out in his home.

      /cops.

    2. They may be unable to “do the right thing” by law, and can only pay out if there is an actual court judgment against them. I think this is most likely. Not that I’m saying that in the absence of such a law they would probably would. It’s probably “can’t and wouldn’t anyway.”

      1. I don’t think that’s true. The great majority of liability cases against municipalities end in negotiated settlements, not court judgements.

  11. three judges said police cannot be held liable for damage caused while trying to apprehend a suspect.

    Why the fuck not? Did they give a reason besides fuck you?

    1. “The defendants’ law-enforcement actions fell within the scope of
      the police power and actions taken pursuant to the police power do not constitute takings,” the judges wrote.

      So, not really. The same way, one supposes, that these clowns rule other “actions taken pursuant to the police power”, viz., asset forfeiture, do not constitute takings.

      1. Yes, it appears that the reason was “fuck you, and by the way, eat shit, and oh yeah, die.”

    2. If I recall the story, the thief is technically liable for all damages. However, he won’t make that much money in the entire rest of his life.

      1. Well, he’ll definitely have to upgrade from shoplifting. Bank robbery, perhaps, or murder-for-hire.

      2. What’s a kidney go for these days?

  12. I’ve seen this story, but for some reason it got my brain working on the problems associated with this case. There’s a problem with what’s happening here in the specifics and a general issue as well.

    The specific issue here is one of disproportionate use of force. The threat of this armed shoplifter was minor compared to the force used to stop him-he was contained within a house and simply encircling the area to wait him out was an option. We don’t authorized police to open fire on drivers for breaking the speed limit.

    But to illustrate the general issue, a hypothetical. Imagine that it wasn’t a shoplifter who fled into this home fleeing law enforcement, but instead 2-3 terrorists. Law enforcement knows that they have several pounds of concentrated high explosives and a willingness to use them. Are the police then justified with destroying this man’s home in order to prevent an at-large threat to the surrounding area?

    The solution, then, is that if damages caused to private property are in the interest of the public, then the burden of the cost falls also on the public. This should be the case regardless if the private entity is ensured to make them whole, as that only shifts the burden to a different private entity, ie, the insurer. The proximate cause of the damage is the perpetrator(s), but pressing their estates to cover the expense is a burden that should fall on the state instead of the private individual, since his property was destroyed as a public interest.

    It is therefore necessary to make the state responsible for all the damage it causes regardless if it’s justified. This prevents the possibility of police then overstating the threat to give themselves license to act recklessly. “I thought he had a bomb” can’t be the hook to clear police responsibility in the same way, “I felt threatened” has become.

    1. We don’t authorized police to open fire on drivers for breaking the speed limit.

      “We” don’t, but cops shoot people over nothing all the time and get away with it.

      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teen-flashed-brights-dead-family-lawsuit_n_5620005ce4b028dd7ea73d53

    2. We don’t authorized police to open fire on drivers for breaking the speed limit.

      The century is young.

      Of course, in a few years, your car will simply refuse to exceed the speed limit. Or, to take you anywhere you’re not permitted to go.

  13. The police raid that destroyed Lech’s home, the group concluded, was carried out in “in a highly commendable manner.”

    These are the 99% of good cops we’re always hearing about when the subject of one bad apple and one isolated incident comes up.

    1. Bah, I originally misread that. I thought they’d called it a “highly contemptible manner.”

  14. Although the burglar was armed only with a handgun and was fully barricaded inside the home, local police responded as if they were confronting Osama bin Laden.

    Surgically entering the home and killing the perpetrators inside, while collecting the intact evidence?

    I think you need another analogy. Try this one:

    Although the burglar was armed only with a handgun and was fully barricaded inside the home, local police responded as if they were confronting a group of religious men, women and children inside a house in Texas.

  15. LOL–the Front Range is turning into the same socially retarded dystopia that the California coast has become.

    1. Yeah, but where else is like Colorado?

      1. Utah? Wyoming? Northern Arizona and New Mexico?

        I’ll give you Denver, it’s a unique shit hole in North America, but if you’re willing to go a bit further abroad, La Paz, Bolivia, is both larger and more than twice the elevation of Denver at its trifling “mile high.”

    2. A good example of how unchecked immigration can destroy a culture. Import Californians, become California.

  16. The state isn’t liable for his choice to underinsured his house.

    His action is against the perp.

    1. His insurance company shouldn’t be liable for outrageous excesses by the police.

  17. I don’t like this situation, but I’m having a hard time distinguishing how this is different, legally, from clearing houses to create a firebreak

    1. I don’t see how it is either, both are being done for the public good to stop the spread of a threat to the community, and so both should be paid by the public.

    2. Um, in that in the firebreak situation your house is going to burn down anyway if they don’t act?

      1. Not necessarily. In both instances, the public should eat the cost.

    3. Um, how about that the perp here wasn’t a threat to the community? If I remember correctly, his crime was stealing a fucking $10 belt originally.

      Oh, and also there was no reason or need to destroy the house? They could have done any number of things that didn’t require them to play the Kool-aid man

    4. A moving wildfire is an immediate and serious threat. A shoplifter holed up in an unoccupied house is not.

  18. This reminds me of a case from the 1970s where the Philadelphia police, in order to apprehend a family of black power activists, dropped bombs from helicopters onto their apartment building and the resulting fire burned down the entire block. Looks like they didn’t learn anything from that.

    1. Why would they learn anything? They suffered no consequences, the taxpayers did.

  19. “In a statement to the Post, Greenwood Village’s attorney pointed to a review of the incident conducted by the National Tactical Officers Association, a nonprofit that trains SWAT teams. The police raid that destroyed Lech’s home, the group concluded, was carried out in “in a highly commendable manner.””

    Assuming this self-serving statement is true, then like other commenters (and a post at Volokh) say, the public should pay for the expenses of promoting the public safety. If promoting the public safety means tearing down a house to get at an armed suspect, then the public which benefited from having the perp taken down should pay for the costs of taking him down, including the costs of destroying the house.

    1. And like the guy said at Volokh, if the cops make a habit of overkill, then the public which pays for the overkill could insist on some restrictions on the cops.

    2. That seems patently obvious. I cannot fathom why it is also not reality.

      1. It’s patently obvious and clearly makes sense. Therefore, no government is capable of doing it.

  20. Another thought: maybe the homeowner could link up the perp with an agent to sell his life story to a publisher and a Hollywood producer? Or get the perp a ghostwriter to write his memoirs. Then sue him for the destruction of the home and go after his royalties – if the story is popular the homeowner might be able to make some money.

    This is kind of a joke, of course, but wouldn’t it be nice if it could actually go down that way?

    1. A more direct route – the homeowner himself could sell his story to Hollywood. I mean it has everything Hollywood wants (except the sex, which they could fill in as they tweak the script).

      1. Easy-peasy. Get Harvey Weinstein to make it and he can have men mindlessly having sex with a random woman from behind while discussing things with other men a la Shakespeare in Love.

  21. I don’t understand this at all.

    I get that the police get to do things in pursuit of justice. Like they can trespass. Or knock your door down. Even shoot people.

    But how do you escape all liability for damages? If you were trimming a tree on your property and you accidentally damaged your neighbor’s fence, you would be perfectly within your rights… but still liable for the damage you caused.

    I even get why they might not have to pay if you refuse to open the door and they smash it in – having taken responsibility for the door smashing by refusing a lawful order.

    But the police can wreck your property in pursuit of a criminal, and they don’t have to fix it? How is that possible? If a Sheriff’s deputy is rushing to a call and he smashes into your car, do they get a pass on that too?

    This is just too much. This is not how the law should work. The cops shouldn’t have to face charges for destroying his property if they were properly executing their duties.. but the department should absolutely be on the hook for fixing the damage they caused. Where is the limit here? Can they set fire to the building in hopes of smoking out a shoplifter who runs into your garage and just walk away?

    Unless I am missing something, this is insane.

    1. Yeah, this is insanity. I hope this guy takes this all the way to the Supreme Court

      1. The problem is that this is something the state should do, but is not something the state actually does. And there are limits to what the federal government can force the states to do.

  22. Did they say how they knew he was armed? Usually shoplifters don’t pull a weapon and demand loot. They just quietly and discretely “lift” it and go on their way.

  23. Stories like these make me want to blow up the houses of every cop involved and every house of everyone in the “National Tactical Officers Association”, whoever the fuck they are.

    I’m reminded of a line from the second Hunger Games movie: “Well, fuck that, and fuck everyone involved with it.”

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  25. Lech claimed the city was liable because of the Constitution’s takings clause, which forbids governments from taking private property for public use without “just compensation.”

    He’s got a shitty lawyer. A takings clause claim is stupid from go.

    1. It was his only route. Due to sovereign immunity, the only recourse was a constitutional claim.

  26. Reason is always doing this sort of thing: “Cops Destroyed This House To Arrest a Shoplifter.”

    He started out a shoplifter. Then he broke into the house, at which point he was a shoplifter AND a burglar.

    Then he refused to surrender. Shoplifting, burglary, and felony resisting arrest.

    Then he fired on them. Shoplifting, burglary, resisting arrest, multiple counts of attempted murder.

    So, no, the cops did NOT destroy the house to arrest a shoplifter. The destroyed the house to arrest a dangerous felon with a list of offenses as long as your arm.

    This sort of thing is why I don’t trust Reason’s accounts of legal cases. They’re always pulling this sort of garbage.

    1. I don’t care if he was a serial killer. The police response would still be grossly disproportionate overkill.

      1. I agree, as it happens. What I care about here is the way Reason is always misrepresenting the facts of these cases, instead of giving it to us straight.

        It’s never enough that the police went too far. They have to have gone too far while going after a shoplifter.

  27. As mandatory training, all police should be forced to play Astral Chain. Knock over a vase while investigating a crime scene? That’s literally coming out of your paycheck.

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