Reader Enzo sends this gem:

From arstechnica.com: “The long-standing, heavily documented militarization of even small-town American police forces was always going to create problems when it met anonymous Internet threats. And so it has, again—this time in Evansville, Indiana, where officers acted on some Topix postings threatening violence against local police. They then sent an entire SWAT unit to execute a search warrant on a local house, one in which the front door was open and an 18-year old woman sat inside watching TV.”

So, let’s get this straight – based on an on-line comment and an IP address, the police send in the SWAT team. And then they defend going into the wrong house that was, BTW, unlocked (the only thing preventing them from entering was a screen door) but still used two flash bangs.

The threats were found and reported to police by a local TV station, WTVW. See video of the raid here. More from arstechnica:

But the family in the home was released without any charges as police realized their mistake. Turns out the home had an open WiFi router, and the threats had been made by someone outside the house. Whoops.

So the cops did some more investigation and decided that the threats had come from a house on the same street. This time, apparently recognizing they had gone a little nuts on the first raid, the police department didn’t send a SWAT team at all. Despite believing that they now had the right location and that a threat-making bomber lurked within, they just sent officers up to the door.

“We did surveillance on the house, we knew that there were little kids there, so we decided we weren’t going to use the SWAT team,” the police chief told the paper after the second raid. “We did have one officer with a ram to hit the door in case they refused to open the door. That didn’t happen, so we didn’t need to use it.”

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47 Responses to Annals of Police Militarization: Evansville SWAT Raids Wrong House Over Internet ‘Threat’

    • On that legal theory? The cops can burn your house to the ground during a raid and you have no legal recourse.

    • joe is correct. one reason cops behave so badly in these type of raids is because they have complete immunity from any legal recourse.

  1. This was really about an open WiFi hotspot that some punk neighbor kid or the like used to send the threats.

    Put a WPA or better password on your router, folks. And set an admin password for the router. DO NOT use WEP encryption, that can be spanked in about five minutes…

  2. We don’t need the Second Amendment for self defense. Law Enforcement provides more than enough protection.
    Oh, wait… this was a threat, a vague one at that, against the cops themselves?
    Imagine what would happen if I responded like this every time someone made a snarky internet comment about me…

  3. Soooo…..when you knew you had the right house, you did a little police work, and didn’t have to flashbang somebody’s daughter who was minding her business at the time…….

    Are these guys for f***ing real?

  4. “The threats were found and reported to police by a local TV station, WTVW. See video of the raid here.”

    Hello we’re the Local Media, if we can’t find any news to catch your eye by-golly we’ll make something up, film at 11…… I hope they sue the pants off of them….

  5. Makes me realize all the militarization serves to protect the LEOs. Doesn’t do us civilians one bit of good!

  6. Rather than waste money establishing a paramilitary police unit which likely never will use their skills in the field, how about training the line patrol officer to shoot better, communicate better, and issue him or her better gear. This way when the situation doesn’t require an MP5-like it is 99% of the time-they can handle things.

    Should the patrolman encounter Rambo with an illegal machine gun and the will to use it, they take out the perp with their issue gun and solve things right there. Andy Brown didn’t need a SWAT unit or specialized backup to take down an AK wielding punk shooting innocents at a hospital from 70 yards-just a cool head and his M9 loaded with NATO round nose.

  7. Our well-trained police force at work. At least they didn’t shoot the dogs, although the woman who got flashcrashed probably has some nice hearing damage and a couple of good scorch marks in her carpet.

  8. Guys keep in mind it’s ok for SWAT to shoot and kill your kids, dog and wife and say oops wrong address. But don’t you dare threaten them or theirs in anyway. For that you will pay.

  9. I immediately thought about that poor girls hearing. Can you say premature nerve deafness. How about a lifetime of cop induced tinnitus. Not to mention post traumatic stress disorder. These jackbooted militaristic goons are out of control. What meatheads. If there was any justice in this world the SWAT boys would get some of their own medicine. And don’t you love their media enablers, what a bunch of slimy elitist media creeps. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s worse, the law enforcement establishment or the legacy media that works hand in hand with them.

  10. The most important thing is that they went home safely that night after a hard day of reminding an intimidated public to fear free speech.

  11. Give them some credit. At least, apparently, they realized that they had “g9ne a little nuts” on the first raid. There are police departments that would have doubled down on the second raid, and the hell with the children. Like the court case in the 9th Circuit where the DEA raided the wrong house and held two children with guns to their heads.
    http://reason.com/blog/2012/06/18/ninth-circuit-to-dea-putting-a-gun-to-an

    A police department that is willing to learn from its mistakes – even before the lawsuits – is a rare and precious thing. Unfortunately.

  12. One has to admit – cops in the US are scraping the bottom of the “barrel of stupid” with great diligence and fury.

    At this point, cops in third world countries look more competent.

  13. Wow. Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any more bizarre, dangerous or outrageous, it just gets worse and worse. Lord, how I hope those poor folks get a huge settlement out of this. Of course, the brave hero police will get off scott-free as usual.

    “Makes me realize all the militarization serves to protect the LEOs. Doesn’t do us civilians one bit of good!”

    Of course that’s the case; cops regularly, shamelessly admit how they act for THEIR OWN safety. They don’t even pretend that their job is to “serve and protect” anymore. Sickening and cowardly.

  14. I don’t know if anyone looked at the whole article, but they site several more cases of uber SWAT at the wrong location including the FBI who held someone for several days before they figured out their mistake.

    The other funny thing is the town will pay for any damages but the spokesman said “they did not have to” – which if even true is an a$$hat statement- your tax dollars at work!

  15. A left of center political-science teacher at the University of Illinois once commented that on the side of Chicago Police Cars it says “to protect and serve”. He then asked us rhetorically “WHO do they (police) protect and serve?” At the time, I did not agree with his sarcastic implication. I do now.

  16. I have said it before: these SWAT raids — especially the no-knock raids — have to stop right now. If some armed dudes suddenly burst into my home yelling I am going to be shooting at them while ducking for cover or concealment. How the hell am I supposed to know they are law enforcement versus four criminals dressed up in black and using the same tactics?

    Did you catch the bit about the second home? The police surveilled the second home to gather intelligence before planning how to contact the home owners. Why didn’t they do that for the first home? Why not send an undercover officer to the door dressed as a pizza delivery person or something to get eyes in the home first?

    And the fact that someone found threats online and supposedly traced it to an IP address? And that is supposed to definitively indicate the person who posted something? Criminals get remote control of computers all the time. And of course you have fools who fail to secure their wireless routers like in this case. I have warned people about this very scenario.

    • That is one of my fears. I probably would make national news.
      I keep a 10 gauge pump handy.
      10 gauge slug hurts – even when wearing a vest.

  17. Sad thing is it happens everyday all over the country..Local cops put on their boots and black ski mask and get high on the power trip..the same thing happen to me..watchin tv on a sunday about noon and seen someone run by the window in black,looked out the door and seen a A.C.P rolling up the driveway and guys in black running everywere..they busted the windows in the back and teargas was thrown in..I step on the front porch and 20 guns came down on me..looked at my I.D and said wrong guy, wrong street LETS GO!!..took me 3 years to be reimbursted for damages..not a we’re sorry or our mistake……………….me my friends,wife and daughter (everyone who was there) still to this day distrust cops…so many dirty cops in this county they had to bring in the state police to do patrols and go to calls..think it might be time to move!

  18. One of these days they’re gona kick in the wrong door, and we’ll see if they replaced their Kevlar inserts recently enough.

  19. It just doesn’t matter. Listening to John Roberts explain that the Federal Government can basically tell you what to buy, what to eat, what to watch on TV, as long as they call it a tax, I realized that on June 28, 2012, individual liberty in America died. We are no longer a free nation. The Constitution that I have spent 23 years defending from all enemies, foreign and domestic no longer means a damned thing.

    The President can do whatever he wants as long as he calls it an executive order, he can kill whoever he wants by executive fiat, including American Citizens without charges or a trial. He doesn’t have to enforce laws he doesn’t like, in fact he can order Federal Agencies not to enforce the law. When the Supreme Court does something he doesn’t like, such as allow local police to check immigration status, the Attorney General can just order ICE not to communicate with Arizona.

    Secret Courts decide if the Government can read what I type in my emails and listen to my phone calls.

    We are done. The United States of America is more like the Soviet Union of 1990 than Russia is. It’s over. I won’t recognize the country my grand kids grow up in. Glad my kids are young so I hopefully won’t be alive to see it.

    The local police in Evansville are just getting a jump on the police state we’re living in. Get used to it Citizen. Just don’t complain too loud, or you’re next. Welcome to Amerika 2012.

  20. Just ran across an update story to this incident. Some notes:

    The grandfather (who was not home) of the teenager (who was home) had this to say:

    “I think it was a show of force that they are not going to tolerate this,” said Ira Milan, “But what about the residents and what they have to tolerate?” After noting he has lived there for 30 years, Milan said, “No one has ever been arrested at my house.”

    But the chief of police was in full CYA mode: Bolin said Friday that department records indicated relatives associated with the address had criminal histories.

    [The mayor] said police told him that the Milans’ storm door and window were being repaired at city expense.

    Laptops and a cellphone belonging to Stephanie Milan…were seized in the raid and remained in police possession on Friday. Why?

    The article goes on to say that, contrary to the original story linked here which said “threats against local police and their families,” this story said the only cop mentioned by name was the chief himself and reference was made to the area where he lives, and that “…no other officers’ names or addresses were identified.”

  21. Go to prisonplanet.com for more eye opening videos. Remember “Were from the government and were here to help”!!

  22. So did it turn out the second house was the site of the notes on topix? a router can be accessed 2 miles away with the right antenna and blocks away with a simple boosted antenna. They would have to look at the routers ip assignment table and hope it matched the mac of the computer in question. Which means time spent at the house with the router.

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