At the beginning of last month, I asked How Much Do You Trust The Police? Last week, we examined the explosion of SWAT teams. TTAG commentator reaganmarine84 defended their use.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: what would you do if the cops bust in without knocking? The whole point of a SWAT raid is speed, surprise and violence of action. So even if they did shout”Police!” you might not hear it. Not to mention the possibility that armed attackers could do the same thing. Or that you might not care if it’s the cops—at least in the heat of the moment. Before you answer, here’s an example where a SWAT team swooped on a homeowner based on hearsay evidence, he responded with three shots, killed a cop, went to Death Row and served ten years in prison (via reason.com) . . .

Cory Maye had settled into a chair in front of the television and was drifting off to sleep. It was around 9 p.m. on the day after Christmas, 2001, and the 21-year-old father had put his 18-month-old daughter, Tacorriana, to bed an hour earlier. Her mother—Chenteal Longino, Maye’s girlfriend—had left for her job on the night shift at the Marshall Durbin chicken plant in Hattiesburg, more than an hour away. The three shared half of a small, bright yellow duplex on Mary Street in Prentiss, Mississippi, a depressed town of 1,000 people in Jefferson Davis County, about halfway between Jackson and the Gulf Coast.

Later, in court, Maye would testify that he awoke to a violent pounding at his front door, as if someone was trying to kick it down. Frightened, he ran to his bedroom, where Tacorriana was sleeping. He retrieved the handgun he kept in a stand by the bed, loaded it, and chambered a bullet. He got down on the floor next to the bed, where he held the gun and waited in the dark next to his little girl, hoping the noises outside would subside.

They didn’t. They got worse. The commotion moved from the front of his home to the back, closer to Maye, and just outside the door to the room where he and his daughter were lying.

“Thought someone was trying to break in on me and my child,” Maye testified.

“And how were you feeling?” an attorney asked.

“Frightened,” Maye said. “Very frightened.”

One loud, last crash finally flung the rear door wide open, nearly separating it from its hinges. Seconds later, someone kicked open the bedroom door. A figure rushed up the steep, three-step entrance to the house and entered the room. Maye fired into the darkness, squeezing the trigger three times.

Maye says the next thing he remembers is hearing someone scream, “Police! Police! You just shot an officer!” He then dropped his gun, slid it away from his body, and surrendered.

One of the three bullets had found its way around Officer Ron Jones’ bulletproof vest, pierced his abdomen, and ripped through several vital organs. Jones would die of massive internal bleeding on the way to the hospital.

The Huffington Post reports that Maye’s being released after pleading down to Manslaughter. Meanwhile, would you have done anything different? Does this possibility make you hesitant about using lethal force to defend your home from armed aggressors? Could that hesitation kill?

[Also, does anyone have some guidelines for SWAT teams that members of our Armed Intelligentsia could take to the City Council to limit their activities?]

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37 Responses to Question of the Day: How Would You Defend Yourself During a No-Knock Raid?

  1. This is my nightmare. This has happened a few times in my city before–wrong address on warrant, family terrorized, pet killed (apparently for barking at the intruders). I remember reading of one local incident in which the home owner said how close it had been to a shootout. He simply had not had a chance to get to his gun.

    What would I do? Hell if I know. Hesitate and you might die at the hands of home invaders, resist and you might die at the hands of the local cops. Great choice, huh?

      • The craziest thing is that he is having to plea to manslaughter. For protecting his home. For protecting his belongings. For protecting himself. For protecting his daughter. One could say that someone must answer for a dead police officer. For the inadequate announcement, and not giving enough time for a citizen to realize it is the “law” coming in-I say the judge who signed the warrant. The team commander who orchestrated it. The training officer who did not teach them that all citizens have the right- to know it is legal authority who is bashing their doors and windows in, like a military operation. Where did you think these tactics came from? And I wonder if thermal imaging,which can tell them where occupants are in a house, is even being used. What is the worse that can happen if they don’t have the element of surprise? A standoff. And who always wins in a standoff? The police.

        • Reading more on this case, the raiders that night swore they announced themselves several times. Again, I question why video proof of the raids, from beginning to end, are not mandatory. Inmates in state and county detention, every where I’ve worked, have to be documented during any forced cell movement or stand off intervention. By law. The reason why, hearsay over important things like ultimatums and use of force. We, as citizens do not have the same protection in our own homes. Do you think any officer would stand up and risk his career and being ostracized to say they didn’t give ample,repeated warnings? I left the State Dept. of Corrections after blowing the whistle on a dirty Captain, Lieutenant and Sergeant-who all but orchestrated the escape of a convicted murderer. I was suddenly turned down for Sgt., denied full time Firearms Instructor status and faced threats daily. Suddenly, all those in power who had always praised my “honesty and solid character” wouldn’t even give me the time of day. The escapee had blown away a rival drug dealer with a shotgun. So, again I ask, do you think any in that raid would ever come forward? For those curious, the 3 dirty officers I turned in were fired w/in a week. The harassment started afterwards.

  2. It’s probably reasonable to assume that if the people coming in your door look like SWAT, they are SWAT, and your best move is to surrender and work it out later when everyone’s calmed down. Yes, anyone can get lookalike uniforms, but who’s going to all that trouble and expense to attack ..you? In fact, who’s taking the time and trouble to break into your house with guns drawn and clearly expecting to find people inside? Burglars generally try to come when nobody’s home, and crackheads would probably take long enough to kick in the door that you could be across the street calling the police yourself by the time they’re in. Ego aside, if my house is being raided by uniformed paramilitary troops, it’s a lot more likely that they’re illiterate public servants than, say, cartel lackeys who don’t like my politics.

    In other words, I think this is a silly debate. And I say that as someone who doesn’t ultimately have much sympathy for police who get shot by homeowners while conducting a gratuitous SWAT raid.

  3. We’ve had the “Cop Knock” late at night a couple of times. Fortunately it was more informational than confrontational, but there is no mistaking the “Cop Knock”. Best thing to do is answer the door and remain calm and cooperative IMNSHO.

    • I can only speak for myself. I’ve been awakened in the early hours of the morning and I know my mind is not computing like it does in the early hours of the afternoon. What would normally be a reasoned approach to the situation most likely would become an instinctive response.

      • Believe me, I understand. When we’ve gotten the “Cop Knock”, we’ve always been dead asleep. I’m just one of those people that hears a knock or doorbell or phone ring, and the first thing I do is retract my claws from the ceiling. I may not be thinking *clearly*, but my brain is functioning enough to recognize what attacked my senses and make efforts to answer.

        • There is also a big difference between being woken up by “the cop knock” and your door being kicked in. That said you should be aware of what you are shooting at.

  4. The title of this article seems presumptuous, inflammatory and slightly anti-LEO. An average Joe does not ‘defend against a no-knock raid’. He defends against a perceived home invasion or violent break-in. The title assumes the defender knows this is a SWAT/Policy raid and is choosing to defend (read resist arrest) against it rather than comply with the officers.

    The latter is not the case in the provided example. Maye immediately stopped his armed defense once he realized it was police. Maye simply took action to protect his family until he had more information to act on.

    I’m well aware of the examples where SWAT/Police have entered the wrong homes/addresses but hypothetically planning for a gun battle with SWAT/police under the current laws is, IMHO, a waste of time. Unless your a criminal and you know they are coming for you.

    If someone tries to enter our homes we will all act according to what little information we have at that time and based on the perceived threat level. As gun owners, that response will likely include use of deadly force with a firearm.

    • I like this line of thinking. We are never going to defend against the SWAT. They are on our side. But if you kick in my door and your NOT the SWAT, then all bets are off and we go back to my rules.

    • You have a right to be secure in your home. You have a right to freedom from unlawful search. You have a right to self-defense. If you bring a loaded weapon into my home after dark without showing me a warrant, you are stepping into a whole lot of trouble. Lapua .338 with tritium iron sights should do. Aim as carefully as you can with the first shot, center mass. Wont matter what body armor your target is wearing. Also, think about setting up a ‘kill-zone’ in your home. If you sleep upstairs, you know the armed intruders are probably coming up those stairs. Gravity plus some toys make for tough sledding. Finally, if you can, invest in several early warning perimeters OUTSIDE your home. Motion/IR sensors, and of course, audio and video recording

  5. There are some jurisdictions that still employ “peace officers.” They realize that SWAT teams are almost always unnecessary. They survail the suspect until he is out and about or otherwise vulnerable, then surround with a handful of cops. Not rocket science.

  6. We had a similar situation to that very thing here in central Florida back in the 80s. The local SWAT team decided to conduct a 3 AM “no-knock raid” on a DRUG DEALER’s home. They got all ninja’d up, busted down the door, yelling and tossing flash-bangs and running through the house. The dealer woke up from a dead sleep, pulled out a .357 and seeing an armed intruder at his bedroom door, he shot the officer through the opening in his vest arm hole, killing him.

    He was found NOT GUILTY of murder by the jury because the cops testified that the WHOLE PURPOSE for the early morning assault, the flash-bangs and the yelling was to create confusion and disorientation on the victim. The jury found that, for that reason alone, he was justified in the shooting because he was defending his home and family from unknown assailants who were deliberately creating the chaos. Even if he did happen to be a known drug dealer…..

    We haven’t had too many early morning SWAT invasions around here since then.

  7. “Cujo!” “Yes, Mother.” “Cujo, there are men at the door. It’s 4 AM. You know what you must do.” “Yes Mother. Hand me the nightvision and the knife.” “You’re such a good boy, Cujo. You always know how to get rid of Mother’s problems.” “Yes Mother.”

  8. Have a metal door (with the little holes) installed on the outside of all your doors.

    It opens outward and is constructed of steel. Will take at least two swings with the battering ram to get it bent enough to open.

    If they have a battering ram, they’re most likely LE. Short of a battering ram, no other way in by force.

  9. Unless dire circumstances there should be no NO-Knock Warrents
    They are over used and dangerous for LE and citizens

    • Exactly this. Anyone starts battering on my door after dark, I’m going to assume they are trying to kill me and my family.

  10. My doors have a type of lock which would take a few knocks to get past, and the doors are steel core. That doesn’t stop intrusion by the windows. I would hope if it was legit I would have time to safely secure my dogs in the bedroom with my girl. If it was uncertain I would have Sheri on the cellphone to confirm, close her and the pups in the bedroom, and go to an opposite end of the house to do what I needed. I do have OC dispersal grenades, saved from contract security work. If I thought it was not legit, the den would be a blinding cloud of fog. If I heard multiple voices, “Painless” would be on standby. The question is having confirmation or seeing police cars.

    • Sportsmansguide.com Home section under Security. size 2oz and 6oz pepper spray, dispersal grenades, available in 2 packs. Completely nonflammable.

  11. I have a friend who had this happen to him out in CA. Him and his wife are prior Marines and live in an middle upper-class neighborhood. He said that in the middle of the night there was a house shacking boom. They both woke up to see people walk by their window. So he grabbed his 870 and a flashlight while his wife got their AR15 and cell phone. Long story short, his wife called the police then filmed as they flanked the SWAT team and had them surrender until other police showed up to verify that they were law enforcement. It turned out they had the wrong address, sound familiar, and in their zeal had accidentally “bumped” the house with one of their cruisers when they pulled onto the lawn. He got a formal apology letter from both the city Mayor and the Chief of Police and eventually they fixed the damage done.

    I’m retired a Army pilot and have prior law enforcement experience and without a doubt, I would have done the same thing. I live in AZ along a “coyote” smuggling route and in the last year, I had three attempted break-ins that involved police having to come out and two that involved calling them. The police told me after the first time to just shoot them and they’ll come to collect what’s left, with the warning to shoot them in the front. All my neighbors have had attempted break-ins or been thoroughly robbed. Everyone has huge dogs, but that doesn’t help (and I live in a nice neighborhood).

    The other problem here is that the Mexican Drug Cartels drive around in police interceptors that are marked correctly, wearing correct uniforms, and rob/kill people or just kidnap them. Warnings come over the radio stations from time to time, put out by the local police, that if a cop pulls you over to stop in a well lit, well populated area, and possibly call to verify that it’s law enforcement. There’s a whole slew of these terrorist in a military compound, they built, in a national forest that neither police or law enforcement can move upon. Politics is preventing or worsening law enforcements ability to do their job by penalizing them for doing what’s necessary or by holding them to a different standard than what the law dictates.

    I’m behind law enforcement officers all the way, but I will defend my family to the fullest of my ability. Considering how many blunders are going on I’m surprised that more officers aren’t getting hurt/killed.

    • ~~~The other problem here is that the Mexican Drug Cartels drive around in police interceptors that are marked correctly, wearing correct uniforms, and rob/kill people or just kidnap them. Warnings come over the radio stations from time to time, put out by the local police, that if a cop pulls you over to stop in a well lit, well populated area, and possibly call to verify that it’s law enforcement. There’s a whole slew of these terrorist in a military compound, they built, in a national forest that neither police or law enforcement can move upon. ~~~

      Just WOW! That’s frickin’ scary.

      • “Mexican Drug Cartels drive around in police interceptors that are marked correctly”

        This is BS. Proper police paint and decals cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Mexican Cartels are NOT running around California in marked patrol cars. Give me a break.
        You should be able to look out your window and tell if there are proper police on your lawn. Here’s a hint. THERE WILL BE MORE THAN ONE CAR.

        • Sssshhh! That’s where the Mexicans are keeping the aliens! And Jim Morrison. And Elvis. And Colonel Sanders. And The Three Stooges, minus Shemp.

        • I’m sorry that the facts of what happen in AZ aren’t fitting with what’s in the national news. Come live here for a year, somewhere from Phoenix down, and your mind will spin with the crap that happens and how it’s portrayed nationally. There was a video on the news last year about this time of the cartels performing a hit while in police uniform and when they were done they drove off in a correctly marked interceptor. My friends that are still in local law enforcement said the only way they can differentiate between them is that the cartels don’t have GPS and other transponders, while the car it’s duplicating does and can be accounted for. It’s not like this is a regular occurrence, but Phoenix is number two in the world for kidnapping, beaten only by Juarez, Mexico. I could go on and on…

          The Cartels are well funded, don’t be fooled by the media that wants to portray them as only back-alley gangsters and poor people trying to make a buck. Look at property (building, vehicles, etc) seized last year in Scottsdale alone that was tracked back to the cartels and you’ll understand.

  12. How about a trap door to a dungeon, you can keep them like the Monty Python bit about the milkman?

    • I suppose it is kind of funny in a way, but when I was a Deputy Corporal I had fellow deputies tell me that if they ever had a call out for my house, there was no way they wanted to try answering that call. I kind of still have some of that Special Forces mindset…a little….maybe? Given that, they would probably bring an armored vehicle. Molotovs anyone?

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