Militarization of Police

Maryland Man Killed in No-Knock SWAT Raid Was Shot While Asleep, Family Says

Montgomery County police say Duncan Lemp "confronted" a SWAT team executing a search warrant on his family's house. His family says he was shot in bed.


Lawyers for the family of a young Maryland man killed during an early morning police raid last week say officers opened fire on him while he was sleeping.

The Montgomery County Police Department said Friday that 21-year-old Duncan Socrates Lemp was shot after he "confronted" officers executing a search warrant on his family's house in Potomac, Maryland, for alleged firearms offenses. But Lemp's family says the young man was asleep in his bed when police opened fire from outside the house, killing Lemp and wounding his girlfriend.

"The facts as I understand them from eyewitnesses are incredibly concerning," Rene Sandler, an attorney for Lemp's family, told the Associated Press.

"Any attempt by the police to shift responsibility onto Duncan or his family who were sleeping when the police fired shots into their home is not supported by the facts," Lamp's family said in the statement released by Sandler.

The Montgomery County Police said in a press release that a tactical unit executed "a high-risk search warrant related to firearms offenses" at Lemp's house at 4:30 a.m. last Thursday. "Detectives were following up on a complaint from the public that Lemp, though prohibited, was in possession of firearms," the release continued.

The Montgomery County Police claim Lemp "confronted the officers." The statement did not elaborate on the circumstances. Police said they recovered three rifles and two handguns from the house.

A friend of Lemp told ABC News that Lemp was a libertarian. Lemp's social media accounts show an interest in cryptocurrency and guns. ABC News also reported that Lemp posted on militia forums, although Lemp's attorneys denied he was a militia member.

"The family is grieving the unimaginable loss of their loved one," Lemp's family said in its statement. "We will be investigating Duncan's death and will hold each and every person responsible for his death. We believe that the body camera footage and other forensic evidence from this event will support what Duncan's family already knows that he was murdered."

In a tweet Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland demanded that the Montgomery County Police Department release body camera footage of the incident.

Maryland has a long history of controversial SWAT raids. In 2008, a Prince George's County Police Department SWAT team executed a botched narcotics raid on the house of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, and shot his two black labrador retrievers.

Public outrage over the debacle led the state legislature to pass a law in 2009 requiring police departments to collect and report data on SWAT team deployments. That data showed Maryland law enforcement conducted more than 8,000 SWAT team raids between 2010 and 2014, resulting in nine deaths. But the law expired in 2014, and legislators have yet to renew it.

Reason has covered the disastrous consequences of unnecessary, hyper-militarized police raids for years. Last year an Illinois family filed a lawsuit after a SWAT team officer shot a 12-year-old boy in the kneecap while executing a narcotics search warrant.

In 2016, two Georgia counties paid a $3.6 million settlement to the family of a toddler who was maimed after officers on an anti-drug task force threw a flashbang grenade into his crib. A federal jury acquitted the only police officer who was prosecuted for the incident.  

In 2006, former Reason reporter Radley Balko covered the case of Cory Maye, a Mississippi man who was sentenced to death after shooting an officer during a no-knock raid. Maye was eventually released from prison in 2011.

In Lemp's last tweet, he wrote, "The Constitution is dead."

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  1. “But the law expired in 2014, and legislators have yet to renew it.”

    Maryland’s legislature has been majority Democratic for quite some time. Democrats – feh.

    1. HOGAN!!!!

      -Dems doing their best Colonel Klink.

    2. are you honestly suggesting Democrats are bigger law-enforcement bootlickers than Republicans?? lol

      1. Idiot. You don’t get to socialist utopia without the jackboots.

        1. This is the fact that my progressive friends just can’t seem to understand. Those who engineer society through regulations, rules, and laws have to enforce those regulations, rules, and laws by means of people with guns.

          1. Lefties really believe that people will just willingly give up all their wealth.

            That have literally never happened. It is always taken by the Commies or Socialists.

            1. As I keep saying, The Revolution is murderous and violent. And then it gets worse.

        2. Why don’t you visit some south American countries with dictators that are not socialist. How about Franco in Spain, he was not socialist, but sure killed quite a few of them to keep himself in power. He was not a socialist.

          1. Yes, some murderous governments are not socialist, but that doesn’t refute what Freddy wrote. Saying that jackbooted thugs are needed to get to socialist utopia, doesn’t imply that non-socialist governments cannot have their own jackbooted thugs – even a cursory review of human history would confirm that.

          2. All socialist governments inevitably become totalitarian and violent. Some non socialist regimes become totalitarian and violent as well.

            As for Franco, his “white terror” followed the “red terror”. Yes, socialist violence begets violence from people who don’t want to be terrorized or killed by socialism. There are many instances of that in history where socialist revolutions plunge countries into decades of violence.

          3. The difference that always seems to elude your side is that that capitalism never claimed to be a utopia on earth.

      2. He’s not suggesting it. He is confirming it.

        1. Republicans are much bigger bootlickers when it comes to the cops. The guy with the blue stripe perverted american flag is almost certainly GOP. The guy who defends police shootings no matter what is 100% GOP or some variety of the ‘alt right’.

          1. Wait until you through other government agencies into the mix rather than just your stereotypical police office. I mean, does the department of education really need a SWAT team? On a base level, Repubs support police more than Dems, on a policy enforcement level, Dems need police much more than Repubs.

          2. “having confidence in police” is distinctly different then “supporting no-knock raids and police militarization”

            The poll says nothing of value.

          3. Law abiding citizens supporting local law enforcement is totally the same as Lefties supporting Securities and Exchange Commission SWAT teams.

          4. Ask yourself why these stories always happen in localities where the dems have had a ruling majority for decades. Guess which party has ruled that county/area for the last 40 years?
            All politics is local and its the local dems who fund, support, and most importantly, do not make accountable, the law enforcement activities there.

            1. Nice theory, but it doesn’t really hold water when you consider that two of the atrocities mentioned in the article occurred in historically predominately Republican areas.

              For example, the flashbanged baby story mentioned in the article involved a task force comprised of cops from Rabun, Habersham and Stephens Counties in North Georgia. All three are Heavily ‘conservative’ (read: statist) Republican areas. I know this because I live here, but rather than take my word for it, you can easily verify this by doing some light reading. For example, in Rabun County around 80% of votes in the Presidential election were for Republicans:


              Or take the Cory Maye incident, which occurred in Mississippi and which is also predominately Republican. Make no mistake; both parties are heavily statist and both bear great responsibility for the police state. Republicans, especially, bear a great deal of responsibility for the failed Drug War which has resulted in the vast majority of these midnight ‘no-knock’ raids. Attempting to paint Republicans as some great champions of liberty is utterly ludicrous. They are, by and large, bootlickers who love the police state…as long as it isn’t directed against them.

              1. absolutely! it is by far my biggest complaint with the republican party and “conservative” judges. although to be fair most politicians regardless of party affiliation blindly support law enforcement even if thy give lip service to liberty.

              2. Republicans aren’t great champions of liberty, but that’sNot what we are talking about here. Republicans tends to live in areas and ways in which they simply don’t have anything to fear from police and that’s why they support police.

                By the way, it is statistically invalid to draw conclusions about individuals from aggregated geographic statistics.

              3. The same can be said of Democrats, though. They are government bootlickers as long as the government isn’t directing its physical force against them. As the party of Big Government, the Dems are much less likely to do anything about police brutality, especially at the federal level.

          5. Define “confidence in police.”

            For instance, I probably have more confidence that individual police are mostly good people trying to do the right thing. But that doesn’t mean anything, really, just that I won’t go out of my way to call them pigs or advocate violence against them. No knocks need to stop once and for all, police should be disarmed to an extent, qualified immunity is garbage, the blue wall must be dismantled, and the systems of policing that produce bias and violations of constitutional rights should be re-examined.

          6. Police violence and abuse of power tends to be a problem in Democrat areas, often in response to high crime rates.

            I have no problem with the police in our red town. They are nice guys who live in our community and you can chat with while they are mowing the lawn a few doors down. I wouldn’t trust police in Chicago or NYC with anything and wouldn’t even talk to them: you have to be a psychopath to work there as a police officer.

      3. Bigger no, equal yes.

        Republicans: cop=Hero=can do no wrong.

        Democrats: cop=Union Member=can do no wrong.

        Different paths, same destination.

        1. Looks like you hate unions. Unions came into being because 12 year old kids were made to work 14 hours a day, six days a week, while the robber barons enjoyed their millions dollar cottages and country homes located all over the states and in Europe.

          Union are great for cops, firemen, actors, musicians, but bad for production workers. It is the same with drugs and prostitution…bad for the poor chump, but wall street, where the traders are geeked up on coke, the actors and music studios where they are strung out on heroin, you never see any of those palces being raided.

          Germany has far more unionized workers than the US and their products are sought after by all nations, they manufacture the best cars and their economy is doing just fine. No matter what system you have in place, if gangsters are running it, it will be corrupt and there are far more gangsters in the US.

          1. FDR called the idea of public sector (government worker) unions and abomination, and that’s exactly what it’s been.

          2. Unions came into being because 12 year old kids were made to work 14 hours a day, six days a week, while the robber barons enjoyed their millions dollar cottages and country homes located all over the states and in Europe.

            Jesus Christ did they slay all the dragons and ride off into the sunset with the fairy princess too?

            FFS I’d say you sound like a 6 yr. old, but even my 6 yr. old doesn’t take fairytales at face value anymore.

          3. Looks like you hate unions. Unions came into being because 12 year old kids were made to work 14 hours a day, six days a week, while the robber barons enjoyed their millions dollar cottages and country homes located all over the states and in Europe.

            The “robber barons” were people receiving massive subsidies from government, not industrialists in general; they didn’t rob workers, they robbed tax payers. And unions were not the cause of the end of child labor or 14h work days, capitalism and growth were.

            Germany has far more unionized workers than the US and their products are sought after by all nations, they manufacture the best cars and their economy is doing just fine.

            Germans are poor by US standards, their “unions” are a means for management to impose their will on workers, and Germany has outlawed public sector unions.

            The American left hates the actual German system, while promoting a fictitious version of it for the US.

          4. That’s a really good myth!

        2. I have no problem with our local cops. Nice guys. Small town.

          I have no doubt that anybody who goes to work for NYPD or LAPD must be insane, have irrational problems, or be a psychopath.

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  2. In Lemp’s last tweet, he wrote, “The Constitution is dead.”

    Shot in its sleep, apparently.

    1. Shot from outside the House.

      1. Um, no. More like death by a thousand cuts administered by those tasked with protecting it.

  3. “That data showed Maryland law enforcement conducted more than 8,000 SWAT team raids between 2010 and 2014, resulting in nine deaths”

    5 x 365 = 1,825 days
    8,000 / 1,825 = 4.4 raids per day (!?)
    Something is drastically wrong in Maryland.
    Speaking of which, exactly what where the “alleged firearms offenses”? That being Maryland, it is probably speaking favorably of the second amendment. But it would be nice if the article included the specifics.

    1. Maryland’s new slogan, “Our SWAT raids are not as deadly as Covid19”

    2. They said he was allegedly in possession of firearms when he was prohibited to do so. His busybody neighbors called the cops on him about it. Why he was prohibited is unclear, but it’s Maryland so it could be anything.

      Nothing good can come from living in Maryland.

      1. One article I read said that he had a patient ID card for medical marijuana and suggested that you can’t have firearms and weed.

        1. This is why both guns and marijuana should be purchased with cash and without documentation.

          1. He put pics with the guns on Insta.

            1. That was not smart but I stand by my statement.

        2. In PA, weed use is a listed question on the background check form. I have no idea what happens if you check ‘yes’, but I would assume it is disqualifying.

      2. We all know that the 2nd Amendment does not have exceptions. So unless this guy fell under the 15th Amendment because of being under state custody for a crime, he had a constitutional right to keep and bear Arms.

    3. And, for the millionth time, if you are worried about someone holing up in their house with a bunch of guns, don’t fucking arrest them in their house where they have all of their guns and the ability to hole up.

      1. This. It’s almost as if swat cops are hungry for action, and try to put themselves in situations where they can justify it.

        Almost as if giving a bunch of guys a bunch of expensive military hardware and training, then telling them they are immune from prosecution sets up a series of perverse incentives.

        1. I think it is more like if you have a tool you find excuses to use in order to justify using it.

        2. Being able to legally kill people must be a turn on for them.

      2. It’s almost like cops are homicidal sociopaths who go out of their way to kill people.

      3. cops are just like everybody else. some are good people some are assholes.

        1. No. Cops who are good people wouldn’t look the other way while the assholes engage in misconduct.

  4. These officers need to go in front of a jury on murder charges. They are more of a danger to the public than any of their likely targets.

    If this does not happen, maybe we all need to install mine fields around our homes.

    1. Explosives are infringed.
      Try grenade netting on all windows, and metal door frames combined with two or three metal drop bars.
      That way you will be awake when the black ‘copter unleashes the missiles.

      1. Pbbbt. Infringed.

        I have it on good authority that banning the ownership of various weapons is not an infringement on the right to keep and bear them. You might have the English language on your side, but I have 9 guys who wear robes to work on my side.

        1. Nazgul always trumps Constitution.

  5. > A friend of Lemp told ABC News that Lemp was a libertarian.

    So now the cops are going around in gangs murdering libertarians. How long are we going to allow this?

    1. How long are we going to allow this?

      We will allow it until libertarians act collectively. Haaaa ha ha ha ha! Yeah.

      1. Libertarians – We won’t respond until they violate the NAP
        Cops *violates the NAP*
        Libertarians – Looks the other way

      2. Anarchists of the world, unite!

    2. “How long are we going to allow this?” until the problem is taken care of?

    3. Sooooooooooo…….

      Which one of us stopped posting that day?

      1. I posted! I did my part! Fighting the good fight!

      2. Roll call!

  6. What, are they dispatching SWAT teams to stop snoring, now?

  7. I’ve heard that some of the more Democrat-inclined areas of the country are trying to use the corona virus panic as an excuse to crack down on guns. I know that Volokh had an article about that Illinois town but from what I heard they aren’t the only ones using the opportunity.

    1. they want to shut down gun stores for now during the emergency which means forever because they will probably have to re apply to re open.

      1. Forever? Geez, just until all diseases have been eradicated. It’s just common sense.

        1. ok, how is it common sense? And our country has a history of installing “temporary measures” for emergency situations permanently. Examples include the draft (Civil War) and the income tax (WW1).

          1. I’m pretty sure that was a facetious comment.

            1. I am pretty sure it was too.

              1. Sorry, my bad. There are enough people I talk to who are serious about that stuff that I just figured you were too.

  8. Why was Lemp “prohibited” from owning firearms? Was it a prior conviction? I’d heard he didn’t have any. If it’s a red flag raid, then, he wasn’t “prohibited” because he probably didn’t even know there was an issue, that’s the cops trying to twist words to make it look like he was the bad guy.

    1. Maryland; constitution free zone.

    2. Because fuck him, that’s why.

  9. Step 1. Determine that address is not your own.
    Step 2. Apply ‘approved ‘ rubberstamp.
    / Judges’s warrant review process

  10. That’s all well and good, but what is the police union’s view on this?

  11. Though I want to be “outraged” at the actions of the police in this case. I highly suspect there is a lot more to the story. Thus, I shall reserve judgment.

    1. Their specific use of the word “confronted” says they know they fucked up.

      1. I don’t know. It’s a rare thing for SWAT teams to just start spraying the outside of a house with bullets rather than breaching and arresting.

        1. Why would we ever want a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team to ever not know who they are shooting at?

          If the cops shot at the outside of a building, it’s murder.

          Even the cops entered the building with the gay night club shooting in Orlando. They breached the wall and had a shootout where they shot him.

        2. Knowing your target and knowing what’s around/behind your target is gun safety 101. “Trained professionals”, fuck it, “professionals” who have extra training, because their SWAT, have no excuse. Logic and common sense say that these ass hats should be held to a higher standard, but previous experience says that they won’t.

        3. Don’t forget that we have only the claims of the lawsuit to go off of.
          There is one, and only one, reason to shoot at a building from the outside, if you have an armed person shooting back from a window.

          Fortunately, this should be relatively easy to prove one way or another.

          1. “Fortunately, this should be relatively easy to prove one way or another.”

            Yes, it should be. Simple question: Had any of the guns recovered from the house been fired recently?

            The fact that the cops are not jumping up and down with the answer to this leads me to suspect that the answer is NO.

  12. Not sure why he owned guns. Not like he had anything to fear. Certainly not from the government.

    1. We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

      1. They helped him into the grave.

        They are also gonna help his heirs get a nice settlement. Shitty consolation prize. No changes to Police S.O.P either.

        1. Naw. Procedures were followed, and even if they weren’t, well at some point, somewhere, somehow, he broke a law, so we’re justified anyway.

  13. In 2008, a Prince George’s County Police Department SWAT team executed a botched narcotics raid on the house of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, and shot his two black labrador retrievers.


    For purposes of this post, any references to Led Zeppelin or Humble Pie constitute Godwinning.

  14. In copspeak, “confronted” means he kept breathing at them.

  15. Luckily every policeman and member of the swat team survived. (sarc)

  16. Another state-sanctioned murder that will go unreported by the bootlicking MSM, covering for their masters.

  17. “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs
    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

    1. Thank you.

  18. There might well be some legitimate value to SWAT Teams, and No-Knock Warrants/Entry. That said, and this is really important, the value and legitimacy thereof is in general, questionable at best. That being the case, such operations must be put under the closest scrutiny, and authorized with the greatest possible level of care and caution. Unfortunately, the requisite care and attention seems conspicuous by it’s absence.

  19. One additional thought might be all to appropriate.This Qualified Immunity business becomes ever more questionable, given it’s seeming use as a provider of cover for the sometimes questionable antics of “government”.

  20. Readers of Reason will be interested to know that Duncan Lemp registered just a few weeks ago with, a kind of national networking site for local militia groups (where I am on the staff). Nothing he posted there indicated that he held any sort of extremist views, unless being a libertarian is extremist. Some of the blame for this tragedy lies with the likes of the ADL and Southern Poverty Law Center, which smear all militia groups as ‘far-right anti-government extremists’, effectively nurseries for more Timothy McVeighs. The SPLC, despite recent scandals, still carries authority with some Law Enforcement, and their chracterization of militia-supporter Lemp may have spooked the arresting officers into expecting a firefight.
    We are going to be trying to report on and perhaps help co ordinate a massive protest around this atrocity. Reason readers are invited to visit our website to be kept informed of progress on this front: http/://
    A friend of Duncan’s has organized fundraising for his family to cover legal and funeral expenses, here:

    1. Cops get spooked by chihuahuas. They don’t need the SPLC to smear people before they wet themselves. It’s how they’re trained. They’re bullies by nature, and bullies are cowards. Train a bully to think that every soccer mom he pulls over for a turn signal violation is ready to cause his bloody slaughter and you get a department full of sociopaths who alternate between pants-wetting terror and wanting to see what it feels like to kill someone.

  21. The real victims are the poor cops who probably feel bad about gunning down an innocent man for no reason. Blue lives matter!

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  23. Epitaph: Once a Lemp, now a stiff.

    going to hell for that one

    But yeah, fuck the cops.

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  25. “We will be investigating Duncan’s death and will hold each and every person responsible for his death.”

    I suppose this is the best they can hope for, but the rest of the article goes on to show the “responsible for the death” for no knock raids that violate the 4th amendment is measured in dollars paid by the tax payer. Police lie, people die, and prosecutors and judges make excuses for the liars who pay for their crimes with the money of the tax payer. Murderous cops laugh, give themselves awards and go on murdering the innocent while the tax payer foots the bill. In fact, police criminality is regularly measured by how much the public needed to pay for lawsuits relating to their criminality.

    On the surface you might think that the criminalization industry might be running scared from this kind of bad press, but a quick purview of the comments here should put any police, prosecutors and judges concerns at rest. Rather than this starting a discussion of how we can hold public officials accountable for murdering the innocent, we get 1000 posts on:

    The republicans. No the democrats. No the REPUBLICANS. No, the DOMOCRATS.

    Go on, keep sucking the murderous authoritarian dick of your authoritarian party while they laugh at you. They know they can murder innocent people in plain sight and you will respond with argument over which party the murderer belonged too.

    “A person hears only what they understand.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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  28. Democrat reasoning:
    “Guns are dangerous – give yours up or we’ll shoot you with ours.”
    How is this helping public safety in the first place?

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