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Friday Morning Rant: Police As Home Invaders

The family of that girl who shot at a SWAT officer during a pre-dawn raid on her home is saying she thought it was a burglar and not police. Hard not to give that claim some credence. When police start using the same tactics as violent home invaders, how do you tell the difference?

The fact is, these no-knock raids and dynamic entries do little but escalate the potential for violence and militarize the police. What’s more, the number of botched SWAT raids where innocents are hurt or killed is alarming. The head of Dallas’ SWAT team has said time and again he wants to cultivate a “warrior mindset” among his officers. Think about that for a minute. The job of a warrior is to kill his enemy. The job of a police officer is to look at everyone — yes, even suspects — as citizens who have rights that must be respected. When you try to blend the two, what could possibly go wrong?

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76 comments on “Friday Morning Rant: Police As Home Invaders

  1. At home, the suspect is likely to be surrounded by people he values, rather than random people he’d just as soon use as human shields, or kill if they get in his way.

    So the cops are using the suspect’s babies as human shields for themselves.

    And bragging about it.

    Un-freaking-real.

  2. Point taken, but it may be the only way to stop these raids.

    To whom much power is given, much responsibility is required. I have no sympathy at all when they pay the consequences of ruthless behavior. If the only way cops learn that they are not supposed to be acting like the Gestapo is for a few to get shot, then so be it.

    I’m not encouraging people to knowingly shoot cops, but I don’t want people not to defend themselves against sudden violent invasion. I’d rather people feel free to kill violent intruders immediately than to have to worry that it might be cops too hopped up on macho to double check the address. As it too often is.

    Our communities are rapidly becoming a first person shooter for cops who couldn’t make it into the Rangers or SF, but are equipped the same and have little accountability for mistakes. This has to stop.

  3. Incidently, police DO share many tactics and training schools with military special operators.

    This is really pushing at the edge of the envelope of the Posse Comitatus Act.

    If I were a criminal planning a forceful home invasion robbery, I would certainly break in to the house shouting “Police! Drop your weapons!”

    This actually happened to me. As a result, I would not believe someone saying that unless I could see that they were in uniform – and if I am subjected to a flashbang at 4am, and thus am disoriented, I may not be able to make that split-second judgement; I’d have to assume it is a home invasion robbery and act accordingly to protect my family.

    As the police become more and more violent, and behave precisely like thugs on a home invasion, they will find themselves in ever more tragedies. Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results”.

    It is long past time to change tactics.

  4. But violence is apparently what these thugs in blue WANT.

    Then why is Miss Villa still alive?

    She shot a cop in the neck. He almost died. If they were looking for an excuse, there it was. Yet the initial report indicates that she was apprehended without the police firing a shot.

  5. So the cops are using the suspect’s babies as human shields for themselves.

    And bragging about it.

    Un-freaking-real.

    Bragging? I’m explaining; please reread what I wrote, but this time do it without a chip on your shoulder.

    The police aren’t using anyone as shields or hostages… the suspects, however, have no such reservations. They’re much less likely to pull that stunt with their own wife/kids than a total stranger.

    The police would love to be able to take them alone, with no chance of bystanders getting involved… but that’s not always possible. As with many things in life, you do the best you can when faced with a set of unsavory choices.

  6. Give me a break…. Do you think these people really cared about that child. NO, what parent that truely cares puts their child in a drug infected, crime scene? These people that deal in this type of behavior have look outs that know what is going on 24/7. Warrants on people like his take planning. I applaud DPD and all other agency that attempt work to clean up these drug infested areas. I only wish that the had enough resources to make a difference. The world we live in today to much to LIBERAL for it’s own good. Gone are the days of safe living. Our children can now longer run and play as they did 40 years ago. Our children can no longer trust people. IT IS TIME TO MAKE OUR WORLD SAFER… IF THAT MEANS RUNNING ARREST WARRANTS AT 6 AM TO GET THESE DRUG DEALERS OFF THE STREETS…. LET’S DO IT NOW. To any Dallas Swat officer reading this. Do not let the words of these liberals get to you, continue cleaning up the streets of Dallas knowing, that the people here would want you doning the same thing in their little world if a multi million dollar drug operation was in thier neighborhood selling to their children!

  7. It is a class war. If you have money and standing in the community Drs. will provide meds that fill the exact same receptors that illegal drugs fill.

    If you are lower class the Dr. may not prescribe or you may not be able to afford such meds. Dealers of illegal drugs fill that niche market. Which seems to be large enough to support a whole infrastructure:

    Class War

    BTW any one remember how successful alcohol prohibition was in eliminating the illegal alcohol market?

  8. BTW I’m a conservative (FWIW). I voted straight Republican in the last election. Right down through dog catcher.

    Police acting like the Gestapo is not a conservative value where I come from. YMMV.

  9. On the somewhat lighter side for a moment, did anyone else hear that press conference with the police spokesman the other morning when the SWAT officer got shot? I couldn’t believe the ridiculous questions that some people were asking. Right after the spokesman said that there were federal warrants involved, someone actually expected the spokesman to reveal the nature of the warrant (not his job, genius…and some things might have been covert for a good reason).

    But the coup de grace was when, after the spokesman said that the people in the house were an adult female, three adult males and an infant, someone actually asked if all five people in the house were arrested. I admire the restraint of the spokesman when he explained that, obviously, the infant wasn’t charged with anything.

  10. All felons risk capture outside the home in doing their dastardly deeds. I remind you of the Waco incident. They had numerous opportunitys to take David outside the compound. Yet all those people died because maximum force was applied for no reason. Catch the bad guy in the act, if you come into the home in the dead of night you should be shot.

  11. “IF THAT MEANS RUNNING ARREST WARRANTS AT 6 AM TO GET THESE DRUG DEALERS OFF THE STREETS…. LET’S DO IT NOW. To any Dallas Swat officer reading this. Do not let the words of these liberals get to you, continue cleaning up the streets of Dallas knowing, that…”

    And don’t bother double-checking the address; if you smash into the wrong house and terrorize innocent people, you can’t be sued. You won’t even have to pay for the door. Anyone who disagrees or shoots back must be a criminal themselves.

    And don’t let it bother you that the drug war itself has done far more damage than drugs; you wouldn’t have the cool guns and get to act like Ultra-Badass-Special Forces without it. So get out there and kick in some nursery doors and don’t let reality spoil your fun….HooWaa!

  12. And don’t let it bother you that the drug war itself has done far more damage than drugs; you wouldn’t have the cool guns and get to act like Ultra-Badass-Special Forces without it. So get out there and kick in some nursery doors and don’t let reality spoil your fun….HooWaa!

    We live in a nation of laws, Dan… and as long as drugs are illegal (I get the distinct impression you feel they should NOT be), and the drug trade so violent, expect LEOs to continue arresting dealers and money launderers. Generally speaking, Police don’t get to pick and choose what laws to enforce.

    If you want the laws changed, then I’d suggest taking it up with your elected representative. Anything less is an extra-legal morass.

    As an aside, I dearly hope you’re not advocating expanding the scope of “officer discretion” to allow officers to only enforce the laws they like, or make/disregard laws whenever they see fit. That’s how it was done in the bad ole’ days of law enforcement (“street justice,” back-alley beat-downs, etc); I don’t believe any of us wants a return to that.

    Incidently, speaking as a prior-servicemember, there’s no “W” in “Hooah.”

  13. You come to breaak into my house without knocking, you will get shot. If you are a cop then it is your fault, not mine, too bad for you. When cops act like criminals, they get treated like criminals. This isnt the Soviet Union, it is the USA and we do not tolerate Stormtrooper behavior here.

  14. I never said I thought drugs should be legal, but the massive emphasis placed on the “Drug War” and the continual strengthening of the police arsenal is leading to a serious erosion in the rights of ordinary citizens and an increase in the militarization of the police. This is aside from the fact that it has had virtually no effect on drug availability….just fills up the prisons and has cops thinking of themselves as “warriors”. I think that’s scary. How long before they’re tossing frag grenades into houses?

    I have to think there is a middle ground between making drugs legal and cops running dangerous quasi-military operations in our neighborhoods. Stopping most dangerous and pointless high-speed chases has not led to an explosion in crime, but has reduced the number of citizens killed by police chases.

    And I doubt most of the Cop-Commandos know how to spell “Hooah”, either. After all, they aren’t soldiers….. and I’d like to keep them from acting like they are.

  15. If the SWAT team had the wrong house, then they deserve every bit of the firepower they get.

    I’m not sugar-coating anything here, but if the police want to barge on my property – with or without warrants – they better be ready for property rights protection.

    I don’t care if I’ve got 70 kilos of coke in my garage, the property rights protections still apply.

    And if that means a SWAT person gets shot, so be it.

  16. What the SWAT Team does not want you to know.

    From a study by Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. who teaches law in the University of Georgia
    School of Law

    STUN GRENADES

    “It is now a not uncommon practice for police effecting no-knock entry to detonate stun grenades in residences after they have broken open a door or window but prior to their actually entering the premises.

    This, of course, is exactly what happened in Alberta Spruill’s case. She was a victim of what might be called “explosive dynamic entry.” Alberta Spruill was not the first but, at a minimum, the fourth person slain by American police using stun grenades to execute a search warrant. On Dec. 13, 1984, Los Angeles police killed a woman who died of injuries resulting from the explosion of several stun grenades thrown into the room of her residence where she was watching television, and on Jan. 25, 1989 an elderly couple in Minneapolis, Minnesota died in bed of smoke inhalation after police threw a stun grenade through a window in their residence, starting a fire.”

    Stun grenades were introduced into the arsenal of American police agencies, and deployed for the first time, by Los Angeles, California police in 1982. Although there can be no doubt that the police tactic of using stun grenades to serve warrants on residences has been steadily increasing, or that the grenades are now used for this purpose by police throughout the United States, it is difficult to obtain reliable statistical information on the matter.( This is unsurprising. Although the government collects and disseminates gigabytes of statistics on crimes or acts of violence committed by citizens against other citizens, or by citizens against police, there are hardly any official statistics on crimes or acts of violence committed against citizens by police. Crime statistics do not, for example, tell us how many people are shot or clubbed or Maced by police, or suffer injuries while being arrested or while in police custody, or are subjected to a chokehold or fingerhold, or bitten by a police dog.) A 1987 California Supreme Court decision discloses that in 1985 the Los Angeles police deployed stun grenades on 25 occasions, and following Alberta Spruill’s killing New York City police announced that while executing search warrants in the late 1990′s the Emergency Service Unit used stun grenades 50 to 75 times a year, 66 times in 2000, 129 times in 2001, and 152 times in 2002. Between Jan. 1 and May 16, 2003 it used stun grenades to serve warrants 85 times.

    “It seems indisputable that during the past 20 years police have effected hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of explosive dynamic entries all over the country and that during the past five years there have been more such entries than in all previous years.

    A stun grenade, unlike the traditional grenade, the purpose of which is to kill or wound, is designed to stun and distract by producing a temporarily blinding light and a temporarily deafening concussion, but without the propulsion or dispersion of shrapnel.

    A stun grenade produces a sensory overload with a loud bang and a brilliant flash which disorients and confuses persons nearby.

    It also produces smoke.

    Stun grenades carry a warning label that misuse can cause physical injury or death.

    To downplay the sinister police-state implications of their growing use of these explosive devices, police refuse to call them stun grenades, preferring to use euphemisms such as “flash bangs,” “distractionary devices,” “diversionary devices,” “cylindrical pyrotechnical devices,” or even “a type of firecracker.” In 2000, however, a federal court of appeals, vigorously expressed its disdain for both these linguistic affectations and the increasing police use of stun grenades, remarking that “police cannot automatically throw bombs into the drug dealers’ houses, even if the bomb goes by the euphemism ‘flash bang device.’”

    Stun grenades are regarded as nonlethal weapons, but they are inherently dangerous and can, as the killing of Alberta Spruill proves, cause death. “The term ‘nonlethal’ refers to the goal which is to avoid fatalities,” Lt. Col. James C. Duncan writes in an article published in the Naval Law Review in 1998. “The public should be aware that the use of a nonlethal weapon always raises the possibility of serious injury, death, or destruction of property.”

    STUN GRENADES produce over 180 decibles of sound, intense heat, 8 million candle power, concussion and are designed to blind, deafen and disorientate. And the SWAT nazi’s then have the balls to say “well you should have seen and heard us yell police”. Yea Right.

  17. It also strikes me that SWAT raids involve a mentality where the police have already decided that the attacked person(s) and destroyed private property are already guilty and devoid of any constitutional rights.

    Cops are not supposed to decide guilt. A warrant DOES NOT mean a person is guilty. It means there is an allegation, which on its face seems reasonable enough to have the person(s) searched and/or brought before a magistrate.

    The dichotomy between our States Castle Laws and the use of SWAT teams (almost ALL are to serve warrants – not hostage or terrorist situations) is dangerously striking. We now have criminals (as in Carrolton a few weeks ago) dressing up as SWAT guys (you can legally buy all the trappings on the internet) making “dynamic entries” Yelling ” Police” and then beating, robbing and sexually assaulting people.

    And BTW – if you defend yourself from such a home invasion (as would any sane person) and it turns out to be the police (even if they are attacking the wrong address) YOU will be charged with first degree felony assault – worth up to 99 years in jail.

    Orwell’s “1984″ came a while ago folks – you are just starting to realize it.

  18. Well said, Nick.

    When the raid starts, the citizen has a split second to decide whether the invaders are criminals he can defend himself from, or cops who he’s not allowed to so much as talk back to. Making the wrong choice means your life is over…in the first case literally, in the second case figuratively.

    For cops, a wrong decision (wrong house) means…nothing. They just laugh at the victims (that’s what they are) and walk out through the wreckage and screaming children to the next free-fire zone. Too bad, so sad, no recompense, no investigation, no nothing.

    So no sympathy from us when grandma gets off a shot that takes down someone trashing her rights.

    Getting tough to see just exactly who the bad guys are these days……

  19. “Unless the person in the home is a Violent Felon with a RECORD of violence Dynamic Entry is against Texas Law.”
    “That is one thing that is great about living in Texas. If the police use excessive force you have the right to resist that force upto and including deadly force.

    Since Dynamic Entry is by definition excessive force. Unless you are a Violent felon shooting the police is quite legal during a Dynamic Entry. The SWAT normally kills anyone with a gun so you have to shoot first and a lot. If you survive you should be no billed by the Grand Jury because of Black Letter Texas Law.”

    WOW! I haven’t even read to the bottom of these post, but I had to stop and question this. What, exactly, is Black Letter Texas Law? Where can I find it? There is a man in McKinney that was shot 7 times by SWAT, who was “serving a warrant” to him on bogus charges. He was tried for Aggravated Assualt on a Public Servent, and received a 5 year sentence. He is an innocent man. His attorney has filed a motion for a re-trail and the hearing for this is coming up in a few weeks. I would like this information if it will help him. Please tell me what you can.

  20. A cite on so called “black letter laws”: http://www.answers.com/topic/black-letter-law

    Unfortunately the presumption that an explosive dynamic entry “is by definition excessive force” is not supported by the concept of “black letter laws” – although I wish that were true.

    Over the past 20 years the Posse Comitatus Act has been , in essence eliminated, Habeas Corpus obviated by simply (and without any substantiation) calling a person a terrorist. The Supreme Court citing Judge Scalia’s phrasing of the “new professionalism” of the police forces has removed virtually all restrictions on SWAT Raids — even allowing the infamous “no-knock and no announce raids” which DIRECTLY contradict the States Castle Laws. And no matter what the attackers do, if they are criminals and you don’t defend yourself — you are dead or worse — if they are cops you are dead or charged with first degree felony assault — even if they are attacking the WRONG HOME. Because MAGICALLY, in split seconds, you the terrified homeowner are supposed to figure all this out and make the “right decision” in about 3 seconds. Oh — and all the private property destroyed — to include you house burned to the ground? Tough. Insurance companies do not cover acts of the government. SO your only option is to sue and you better have between $250,000 to $500,000 laying around to take your case to Federal Court. Taking the case to the same county as the city and police department is from — shall we say — is a wasted effort.

    For just one example, you would think a judge signing a warrant would have to review and approve the execution of a pre-planned (i.e. no exigent circumstances at the scene)”no-knock, no knock” violent explosive dynamic entry wouldn’t you? WRONG!

    In McKinney, Judge Curt Henderson received a subpoena to testify about the McKinney Police departments claim that they don’t even have to inform the judge about SWAT raid plans — (no matter how ridiculous and unwarranted.) Believe it or not, Judge Curt Henderson testified that it absolutely correct. His “policy” which he has made known to the MPD is they have his approval carte blanche — don’t even bother to tell him about it.
    So, the police write the warrant, they decide AHEAD OF TIME to go in to f*ck somebody up and the judge’s policy is a “rubber stamped don’t ask — don’t tell”. Wanna bet who the MPD takes all their SWAT attack warrants to for “approval”?

    The saddest thing for our Constitution and Bill of Rights is to see SWAT shows like Dallas SWAT which glamorize what used to be violations of our most basic rights. Does anyone remember “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?” Unfortunately, people have become so uneducated these days about what our country is supposed to be about (the rule of law for one thing) that they don’t even see or understand the irony.

  21. Dan Hamilton:

    First, I agree with your point of view showing disdain for SWAT attacks.
    But could you please cite an actual legal reference for your statement:

    “HE BROKE TEXAS LAW BY USING EXCESSIVE FORCE!! Unless the person in the home is a Violent Felon with a RECORD of violence Dynamic Entry is against Texas Law.”

    I can find no such record or case law – ANYWWHERE.

    For the record, I am hoping you CAN provide it. But I’m more than certain that your statement is simply wishful thinking and, unfortunately, just plain wrong.

    I am not trying to pick a fight. I just have a very strong belief for backing up statements with facts and a strong aversion for opinion stated as fact. Like I said, I hope you can prove your statement – it would make my day!

  22. My heart truly goes out to this girl. I know what she is going through. I will follow her case closely.

  23. JS @ October 19th, 2007 at 9:26 am wrote:

    “Gimme a break. Why did that house have a home security system with cameras and video monitors? Why did they have a loaded gun right next to the bed?”

    —————————————
    JS with respect that is one o f the dumbest pieces of “non-logic” I have ever read.

    First of all neither is illegal.

    Second of all doing so is a Constitutional right.

    Third, I keep (and know many LEO’s who do the same) a loaded ready to go firearm at my headboard and always have.

    Fourth, my home came equipped with an external home security system.

    Fifth, and best of all (just wait) When I had every single one of the standard smoke detectors in my house (every room, every hallway, every stairwell) upgraded to ones containing mini surveillance devices.

    Sixth, both external and internal security systems are hardwired and wirelessly connected to my DVR server – backed up on site and off site containing days of video.

    (You’d be amazed what they contain and how useful those images are going to shortly going to be! In fact they are worth many millions!)

    In any case, your statement that people who have security systems and avail themselves the protections of the 2nd amendment are ludicrous.

    It sounds to me as if you are simply jealous that you can’t afford to have had such a system installed in your house or apartment.

  24. I know this girl personally and have to believe that she must have been scared to death. Something to ponder also is… alot of people don’t wake instantly alert, especially when being awakened abrubtly. With that in mind, I can understand her mind set. Protect first, ask questions later. Neither of them are violent people, nor do they have a violent history. So, that being said, until you walk in her shoes, you can only speculate what you would truly do in the same situation. Regardless, she is only 19 and a new mother with her whole life ahead of her.

  25. She is not alone in what has happened to her. Many recipients of SWAT attacks have thought to defend themselves from intruders, only to be brought up on charges like hers. I wish I could help her. Look at the Urquiza case in McKinney. Only he was horribly wounded.

  26. first of all if you have a home surrounded why not let your self known where can the suspects go and who can tell the diff between flash bangs and gunfire during something like that if you ask me the cops are wrong Guns are for protection of your home where she was at this was not on the streets she did what anybody else what have did SWAT is suppose to apprehend all suspects with lil or no gunfire they are suppose to be professionals what they did makes them just like the criminals they go pick up during these raids like i said b4 if the home is securely surrounded why not knock where can they go to the bat cave