Just before 9 a.m. on February 19, 2015, police executed a SWAT no-knock raid on Ray Rosas’ home in Corpus Christi, Texas. They had a warrant to arrest his nephew, and to search for drugs. Rosas had been threatened by gang members for testimony he had given. His house had been subjected to drive by shootings. At the trial, it was disputed if the police shouted “Police!” or if they did so before or after throwing a flash bang grenade through a window into Rosas’ bedroom.
Rosas responded to the grenade and the breaking down of his door with gunfire from a Glock .357 Sig with a .40 cal barrel installed. He fired 15 times and made five hits on three officers, all of whom survived. The hits were to extremities. The most damaging was one shot to the upper leg near the groin. From kristv.com:
Three Corpus Christi Police Department SWAT officers were shot Thursday morning while they attempted to serve a search warrant at a suspected drug house on the 3000 block of Churchill Street.
Police said the officers were trying to make entry to the home when someone started firing a gun at them.
Three officers were hit.
Senior Officer Steven Reubelmann, who has been with the department for six years, was shot twice in the wrist and hand.
Officer Andrew Jordan, a four-year veteran, was shot in the upper leg and forearm.
A bullet also grazed Officer Steven Brown’s leg.
Rosas spent nearly two years in jail. Bond was set at $750,000. The nephew was not present during the raid. Police found only small amounts of drugs. In what seems to be a use of targeted administrative vengeance, Code Enforcement was sent to the house. From kristv.com:
Small amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, prescription medications used for anxiety and pain, and some marijuana were found inside. Officers also seized $600 in cash.
Code Enforcement also had to arrange for the water and gas connections to be terminated. According to police the residents were stealing utilities. AEP disconnected the electrical service as the connection was deemed to be unsafe.
The original subject of the warrant, 30-year-old Santiago Garcia, is facing drug possession charges.
After 22 months in jail, on 13 December, 2016, Rosas was acquitted of all charges by a jury of his peers. An unusual instruction by the Judge about prosecutorial misconduct may have had an effect. From kristv.com:
He told the jury that the prosecution had mishandled 22 items of evidence crucial to the case.
“The state had constantly refused to hand over evidence material to the defense,” Judge Williams said.
That is called spoliation of evidence. Under the Michael Morton Act, prosecutors in Texas are required to share all evidence with the defense before a criminal trial starts.
However in Rosas’ case, some evidence was not preserved, and other evidence was not handed over in time for trial.
The defense attorneys say this is not the first time this has been a problem with district attorney Mark Skurka. They said the withholding of evidence had occurred in several other cases. The voters fired Skura and voted in a new district attorney, Mark Gonzalez, who will take office 1 January, 2017.
After the trial, the jurors spoke with the defense attorneys. Here are some of the reasons given for the acquittal.
Afterward, the jury talked to the attorneys and the following issues came out:
- The officers were not credible, their stories didn’t match
- The fact that the flash-bang is designed to disorient and distract, which it did
- That there was no video from body cams or vehicles
- That the police did not conduct pre-raid surveillance
- That Rosas was indicted for an assault committed by an officer
- That the officer wasn’t also indicted
- That the prosecutor dismissed half of the charges in the middle of the trial
These sort of cases are happening with greater frequency. The number of “no knock” raids has shot up dramatically. Cases like this fuel the call for reform. No knock raids should have a very limited role in law enforcement.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
How did this guy survive after shooting 3 officers? Where they ordered to take him alive at all costs?
I’m curious how many shots the SWAT team fired in return. It looks like the only shot they landed was a right hook.
What a bunch of Keystone Cops!
Did the dog survive?
They probably returned fire with every single round they had, none of which hit.
which would be dead on par, for most LEOs marksmanship.
“There was case where a guy fired 8 shots and hit 9 people. These cops fired 22 rounds and didn’t even hit the suburban! Give these guys a roll of quarters and drop ’em off the mall, that’s all I’m sayin’ “- Ron White
Shouting “police!” shouldn’t even be a factor. Whether the cops did or did not the reality is anyone could so why should it matter if somebody kicking in my door shouts “police!” or not?
No-knock needs to stop unless cops want to be shot at/killed more for what often amounts to no reason whatsoever.
Too bad they don’t die often enough for that idea to get through to their jackboot heads…
The sad thing is, no knocks are supposed to be for getting the drop on a suspect. It would be just as effective to surround the house, then do a regular search. Knock on the door, identify, announce you have a warrant. If no one opens up, then you break down the door.
If someone runs off at the realization the cops are there, they won’t get far. You’ve got the place surrounded.
This also increases officer safety. If you have a fleeing suspect, he’s not cornered defending in known territory, he’s instead running headlong into the police’s defensive position, giving them the upper hand.
While I don’t like the use of an unidentified no-knock, surrounding the house and calling out a potentially armed subject increases the chance of creating a barricaded subject which is an even worse scenario.
In most cases, the best thing to do is to wait until the suspect leaves the house. They have to go buy groceries etc after all, and unless they know they’re being hunted, there’s no reason for them to not do it themselves.
No-knock warrants should be reserved only for those situations where doing it otherwise would lead to a significant likelihood of bodily harm or death. Potential for destruction of evidence should not be considered valid grounds, given that no-knocks are so inherently violent and prone to deadly mistakes.
As all the crack and heroin get flushed down the toilet.
When you use tactics deliberately designed to disorient, confuse and disrupt the the thinking process, do you really have a right to expect predictable, rational response?
“No knock raids should have a very limited role in law enforcement.” Agreed.
With all due respect to our uniformed friends out there: you are, and should, be held to a much higher standard than anyone else regarding the use of deadly force. A badge should never give anyone immunity from the law.
That said, these officers clearly didn’t have all their ducks in a row before the raid, shortcuts were taken, protocol was not followed and someone who was likely NOTa pillar of the community is now going home to continue harboring gang members and drug dealers.
So now we’ve all lost.
A badge doesn’t protect them from the business end of a firearm now does it! A little fact in the back of their minds for sure.
bloving, the fact is that cops are actually held to a LOWER standard.
I’m not anti-cop, but cops get off scott free for things that would put a non-cop in prison.
and cops get “qualified immunity” for all kinds of criminal, and/or cruel and unnecessary acts.
This is the sort of case that undermines my support for police. If the Powers That Be actually took responsibility for their errors, I would be more supportive. From what reports get out to we bumpkins, the Powers rarely own up to their mistakes.
A cop and/or prosecutor’s office can really f up your life if they view you on the “wrong” side (see above case).
There was a case in MA a few years ago where guy A was hassling guy B at a Boston block party. As I read, guy A threatened guy B. Guy B drew his handgun in response to the threat. Guy A turned out to be a cop. Guy B was arrest d and went to jail. Fun, fun, fun.
When did “peace keepers” turn into “law enforcement”?
Your comment is the reason that I cannot support the “blue lives matter” movement to make any disrespect of a cop a “hate crime”…
Let’s say a plainclothes cop starts a fight in a bar…the civilian adversary whips his butt…the civilian adversary is now charged with a “crime” for defending himself against a cop….
Christi. Corpus Christi. No “e”. That is the city in TX.
Christie is governor of a state behind enemy lines.
dh34, You wrote: “Christie is governor of a state behind enemy lines.”
So very true.
No-knock raids should have ZERO role in law enforcement. If you can’t sufficiently cover all exists before issuing a command for the occupants to exit the structure, you’re failing. Reconnaissance should be a requirement. “Where are the exits,” “How many are inside,” “Should we expect resistance” are all things that need an answer before blinding entering anywhere. This department recklessly endangered the lives of its officers, and of the general public, to which it is accountable. While I am open to possible reasons why no-knock should be logically used, I seriously doubt its efficacy.
“No knock” has a place if there is reason to believe evidence could be easily destroyed.
In this case, where the warrant was for the arrest of a person not in the home (as well as a search for drugs that I am guessing weren’t for sale or distribution, given the amount actually found), “no knock” was, IMO, simply not necessary, and was a grandstanding effort.
Even minimal reconnaissance would have shown the target wasn’t there. Using a “no knock” entry simply wasn’t warranted.
The prosecutor’s office did itself no favors, either. One has to wonder just how much collusion there was between his office and the police in order to make everyone look good.
Nope. That evidence destruction standard is bullshit and de facto gives the right to no knock raids for ANY search.
Computer files can be destroyed within seconds. If a department has “reasonable cause” to believe there was a spreadsheet, word document, email, or any electronic record of an illegal activity, then your “evidence destroyed” standard gives a de facto legitimacy to no knocks.
If drugs are involved at all, flushing toilets = reason for a no knock.
Historically speaking, the “destroying evidence” standard is very new, and not in keeping with the law. No knocks are OK for things like… provable belief that someone’s life was in danger, which was basically the only exception to castle doctrine. Evidence destruction can be “reasonably found” to apply to ANY case at this point.
Marco, Very well said, sir. And I completely agree.
“Flushing toilets”…it takes 10 seconds to turn the meter shutoff valve and kill water to the home. The Stasi used to do it all the time in East Berlin. They’d also cut the power right before the raid so if you were watching a subversive banned film it couldn’t be removed from the player. Smart.
Let’s be at least as smart as the Soviets.
I submit that preventing a few criminals from flushing some drugs down the toilet is not worth the risk to officers and innocent bystanders posed by no-knock raids. I’d rather see a thousand drug dealers walk free than another 18-month-old baby nearly burned to death in his crib by a flash-bang grenade.
Maybe if they got better at actual police work, they wouldn’t have to conduct paramilitary attacks on suburban houses.
NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!
Even the Nazis knocked on the door before gaining entry…
No-knock should be illegal in all cases…
I would think that the only justifiable purpose of a No-Knock raid would be to get in there and kill everybody with a quickness. If you give the suspects the slightest chance to respond, you risk situations like this, where a disoriented victim that you just woke up is able to fire upon your squad and as others pointed out, somehow survive.
I’m shocked they didn’t kill him.
When you use tactics deliberately designed to disorient, confuse and totally disrupt the thinking process and catch someone off guard or by surprise, do you really have the right to expect people to behave in a predictable, rational manner.
Why won’t you comply? We’ve woken you from your sleep. We’ve blinded you. We’ve deafened you. All twelve of us are shouting contradictory gibberish at you as loudly as we can while swinging strobing lights around the room.
WHY WON”T YOU COMPLY!!!!!!!!!!
yeah no kidding. I was assaulted by an officer inside my home when they had no warrant and could produce no probable cause. I agree completely that when two or more intruders are yelling different things at you, you will almost always do the wrong thing in their eyes.
No knock… No welcome!
Are you trying to lose the Mandate of Heaven? Because this is how you lose the Mandate of Heaven.
“No knock raids should have NO role in law enforcement.”
Fixed it for you.
Nope. An imminent threat to the lives or safety of innocent civilians (e.g. a hostage situation), should be the test.
Most of this no knock crap is related to the “War on Drugs”(tm). We should just declare that over and half the REAL civil rights violations in this country would disappear.
A hostage situation isn’t really the same thing, is it? A no-knock is intended to catch the victim unaware. If a person has taken a hostage, he’s probably pretty aware of the involvement of police.
There might possibly be a justification in a kidnap scenario, like the dude in Cleveland who was keeping three women in his basement. But they’d better do proper recon and make sure they know what they’re going into, since you know for certain in such an instance that there are innocent people in the mix.
I think we are saying the same thing (in my view a hostage situation does not automatically presuppose that the police have surrounded the premises).
The reason that most no-knock warrants are issued and executed is to ensure evidence preservation in drug cases (i.e., avoid the suspects flushing the drugs down the drain while the cops are outside). In my view, the risk to persons associated with the execution of these warrants is often not justified based solely on evidence preservation (and really can’t you just turn off their water and surround their house?). I also think there is an element in LE organizations (as well as any other organization) that says if you have a tool (i.e. a SWAT team) you should use it. I think this leads to a lot of bad outcomes that could have been avoided if someone had used their brain rather than a SWAT team hammer. The most egregious example that I can think of is the Waco incident, where the ATF decided to go in heavy when they could have just as easily picked up David Korresh on one of his daily jogs that he took on the road outside his compound.
Just my 0.02.
Five rounds on target for fifteen rounds fired. Hell, a lot of police departments should hire this guy as a firearms instructor.
I was thinking the same thing. Had the SWAT team achieved such a hit rate they would all be getting promotions to instructor.
“Five rounds on target for fifteen rounds fired.”
Years back, on his ‘Radio Free D.C.’ radio show, G.Gordon Liddy told his listeners if the cops do a no-knock raid on your home, shoot the cops in the head.
Why in the head? because those doing the no-knock raid on your home will be wearing body armor.
“Liddy has drawn criticism for repeatedly saying that if one is confronted by hostile ATF agents, “I advise shooting them in the head.” He stressed yesterday that he was only talking about self-defense and that the unprovoked shooting of federal agents is “clearly unacceptable.”
Not just that but he did it while flashbanged, so temporarily vision impaired, deafened, and off-balance. And he was using a pistol against an overwhelming force using long guns. Goddam!
It shouldn’t even be a crime to shoot cops conducting a no-knock raid no matter what they scream at the last moment. No knock raids themselves should, maybe, only be used for a rescues and otherwise should be felonies themselves.
Good…after f##king up his life. Why don’t we see cops/prosecutors indicted? My neighbor(since gone) was dealing drugs out of his house next door. We regularly get mail from his address(stupid mailfolk and similar #). GOD forbid the local stumblebums pull that crap on my house looking for idiots like my former neighbor. No GLOCK but 8 or 9 blasts from my shotgun…
Could be worse.
Your PD could just decide they wanted your house to surveil your neighbor and when you say ‘no’ they contrive to bust into your home, ransack it, pepperball you, hog tie you, charge you, then claim they were in the right even though they had no warrant, you had done nothing wrong, and there were no exigent circumstances.
Welcome to Henderson:
At least homie didn’t have a BABY to flashbang in a crib?…and obviously the spanglish dood wasn’t an upstanding citizen. So what…and people get all defensive when you DARE criticize the boys in blue.
The guy in this case actually has something going for him… apparently, he was affiliated with a gang, but at some point he actually testified against a gang member in court. His house was shot at several times, assumed to be in retaliation for that. So he had a very, very good reason to be carrying a gun, and to start shooting as soon as someone broke down his door. Not to say that any citizen needs such justification – but this dude meets an extremely high bar for such.
There is much angst and consternation against prosecutors and grand juries who refuse to bring charges against police officers, even when incontrovertible evidence is presented. Even with incontrovertible audio and video evidence, prosecutors are loath to prosecute rogue law enforcement personnel.
Let’s examine the reasons why it is so difficult to prosecute thug cops:
Most prosecutors are former police officers or have extensive dealings with police departments and have ongoing relationships with police departments in their respective jurisdictions. They are friendly with the judges in their jurisdictions, as well. This, along with “absolute immunity” makes it easy for them to “cover up” police abuses and behavior. Prosecutors cannot be sued for malfeasance…it takes a judge (who prosecutors are friendly with) to bring charges on a rogue prosecutor (which almost never happens).
In addition, prosecutors guide the actions of grand juries. Prosecutors are not required to introduce any evidence to grand juries, (can and do) easily “whitewash” the actions of rogue cops. On the other hand, prosecutors can (and often do) go after honest citizens who seek justice outside official channels…prosecutors have ultimate power and are not afraid to use it…their immunity sees to that.
Another aspect to a grand jury’s inability to prosecute bad cops is the fear of retribution…cops drive around all day, have nothing but time, have access to various databases, and can easily get the names and addresses of grand jurors…this, in itself can be a powerful deterrent against grand jurors who “want to do the right thing” and prosecute bad cops. There are many cases of cops parking in front of grand jurors’ residences, following them around, and threaten to issue citations to them, in order to “convince” them to “make the right decision”…the “thin blue line” at its worst…
The whole system has to change.
Eliminate absolute and qualified immunity for all public officials. The fear of personal lawsuits would be a powerful deterrent against abuses of the public.
Any funds disbursed to civilians as a result of official misconduct must be taken from the police pension funds–NOT from the taxpayers.
Grand juries must be superior to the prosecutor; ALL evidence must be presented to grand jurors. Failure to do so must be considered a felony and subject prosecutors to prosecution themselves.
No police agency can be allowed to investigate itself. Internal affairs departments must be restricted to minor in-house investigations of behavior between cops. All investigations must be handled by outside agencies, preferably at the state level.
Civilian police review boards must be free of police influence. Members of civilian review boards must have NO ties to police departments. Relatives of police would be prohibited from serving…Recently, the “supreme court” threw police another “bone”. The court ruled that police are not responsible for their actions if they are “ignorant of the law”…now, let’s get this straight–honest citizens cannot use “ignorance of the law” as an excuse, but cops can??
Revolution is sorely needed…..
That’s quite a list.
We all know what G. Gordon Liddy said don’t we…? Also, if it was a fire fight and I don’t know the particulars but seems Mr. Rosas got the best of the local “highly trained and highly motivated” SWAT squad. Doubt any of those squad members will ever go to a bar bragging about being on Corpus Christi SWAT.
Maybe they can get together with Agent Lee Paige (DEA Agent who shot himself during Show in Tell in an elementary school) and go on a speaking tour funded by Michael Bloomberg.
G. Gordon Liddy said lots of stuff.
Can you be more specific?
The G man said to tap them twice.
“Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they’re going to be wearing bulletproof vests. … They’ve got a big target on there, ATF. Don’t shoot at that, because they’ve got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots…. Kill the sons of bitches. ”
One of the reasons why I have so little respect for our justice system(s) in the United States is the constant disregard for the basic tenets of our laws by prosecutors. The right of the defense to see all the evidence presented in a civil or penal case is a basic and integral part of our system; it ranks up there w/ the presumption of innocence. I have seen too many instances where law enforcement and/or prosecutors have purposely chosen to not honor this precept.
“Mark Gonzalez, who will take office 1 January, 2016.”
So is Mr. Gonzalez already in office? Did you mean 2017?
Thanks for the correction. Fixed.
Ah the old, “We yelled “police!” just before busting the door down and storming in so he should have complied with our orders… routine.
Which begs the question, if you have real life home invaders who aren’t police but they yell “police!” should one just lay on the floor with your hands behind your back and wait for them to leave?
“No knock warrants” are a complete miscarriage and over reach of the justice system.
If you have crack in your house, you run those risks.
or if you happen to live NEXT to the “right” house when SWAT gets the house wrong; or if you happen to have a similar house number (306 instead of 603, 360 or 309); or if you happen to live on a similar road (Pine St instead of Pine Rd) or….
I’ve never experienced one but the impression I get is a no-knock is a great way to get someone killed regardless of guilt.
No knock raids are a military tactic, not a law enforcement one. While there are (rate) times when military action is appropriate (such as assaulting the den of a known drug kingpin after extensive surveillance) and mistakes will happen, the over-utilization of this sort of bullshit makes all cops look bad.
As far as I am concerned, everyone jacked up in this situation. SWAT went in half-cocked, the guy allowed a drug dealer in his house, the DA decided it was a good idea to go after the home owner with a shoddy case.
No-knock raids are fundamentally incompatible with the Fourth Amendment, and it’s time our courts began bitch-slapping our law enforcement into some basic respect for our Constitution. This case is further evidence that such raids are also fundamentally incompatible with our right to self-defense, and expose police officers to unnecessary risk.
Honestly, I’m surprised the police unions haven’t put an end to these obviously dangerous tactics.
My modest proposal:
1. No knock raids are permitted ONLY with an actual court order based on specific evidence presented (i.e., not just a rubber-stamped warrant) that includes why there is no reasonable alternative to a no knock raid.
2. Strict liability and no sovereign immunity for all “mistakes” during a no knock raid. This includes the judge if, for instance, he signs off on an order permitting the no knock raid at the wrong address or based on faulty evidence.
3. No knock raids MUST be video recorded. Failure to do so or to preserve such evidence results in strict liability for all involved under (2).
This would preserve the ability to use this tactic in the truly unusual and rare case where it is really necessary (e.g., hostage situation; drug kingpin takedown, etc.), but by making the participants personally and automatically liable for all screw ups, it would discourage them from resorting to it except in extreme circumstances (and even then with greater care). And, of course, it provides a real remedy for victims of police errors in such circumstances.
Make it three different judges and it has to be unanimous — and the judges don’t know what other judges are being consulted.
And if they get the wrong address, they all get prosecuted for criminal trespass, along with the judge(s) as participants in conspiracy to commit criminal trespass.
No-knock is one of the very things the Founding Fathers objected to, and is what the Fourth is supposed to protect against.
The knock part is for the police’s protection. They also should not have flash bangs, if you throw a flashbang in my house guess what I’m going to start shooting and won’t be able to hear if you said police are not.
The states need to outlaw no knock raids and have SWAT functions handled at the state level. If they don’t, sooner or later they will do this to someone armed with a rifle and there will be dead cops to show for it. Military tactics and raids are fine for combat, but not in American cities on American citizens.
Jeez, if the cops decide to mistakenly raid my house, all they gotta do is call me first or throw a rock with a note on it through a front window. I’ll be happy to meet them peacefully on the front porch. I suspect a lot of no-knock raid victims are of the same mind-set. But that ain’t as much fun for our SWAT boys. They get off on that shit.
It’s time to start calling these things what they truly are, police state terrorist attacks. There is no good reason for a “no knock.” If there is a known hostage situation, exigent circumstances has it covered.
Govt goons got shot? Where’s Josh harsh-but-true Wayner calling the guy childish?
Definite lack of LEO presence on this article’s comment thread. Not overly surprising.
Looks like one of those damned White Hispanics to me.
I’m glad the jury had the courage to find him not guilty in shooting three policemen.
No knock raids are immoral. The only need for a no knock raid is for a rescue mission, not looking for drugs of any amount or type.
One more reason to avoid Corpus Christi for me. No offense to anyone there, and I love the rest of our Texas coast, but I tend to avoid Corpus as much as I can these days.
Someone enlighten me here–Is it law enforcement’s position that if they knock on the door first all the evidence will be flushed before they can kick down the door?
When you weigh the potential dangers to all those involved, I’m having trouble envisioning the circumstances–other than a hostage or terrorism situation, maybe–where the no-knock stuff would make a lot of sense as a police tactic.
This makes me think of another point: the police should have to prove that there will be no innocent bystanders present if they want to do a no-knock, and if they get it wrong, then they’re all automatically guilty of felony reckless endangerment, plus any medical costs including counseling for said innocent bystanders comes out of their pockets.
Throwing people into the legal system and getting arrests and convictions is more important than civilian safety. Duh.
For great justice.
It’s one of the reasons.
But it’s not just the LEO position, unfortunately. It’s also a part of a Supreme Court ruling:
While the ruling was in favor of the defendant, the court also stated that:
“Nevertheless, the common-law principle was never stated as an inflexible rule requiring announcement under all circumstances. Countervailing law enforcement interests—including, e.g., the threat of physical harm to police, the fact that an officer is pursuing a recently escaped arrestee, and the existence of reason to believe that evidence would likely be destroyed if advance notice were given may establish the reason ableness of an unannounced entry. For now, this Court leaves to the lower courts the task of determining such relevant countervailing factors. ”
Worse yet, in 2006, SCOTUS ruled that violation of the no-knock rule is not automatic grounds for exclusion of evidence, because there are “other mechanisms” to deter law enforcement from violating the rule (and you may specifically thank Scalia for that piece of wisdom):
Good, no knock raids should not be a thing, police should absolutely be frightened to do them, and civilians absolutely have the right to defend themselves from intruders.
Also, yelling “police” after busting into someone’s home is in no way an excuse to save you from getting shot by the homeowner of the house that you are literally breaking into. Literally anyone can get a fake uniform and yell “police” when breaking into a house.
No-knock raids have always seemed a very dangerous tactic – for the police entering the residence. Along with some others here, I remain mystified that the officers’ themselves don’t protest these things. Flash-Bang a crowd of yelling guys storm through the door, and the shotgun sings it’s song…
Has Hollywood overcome common sense, again? If the supposed perps are that dangerous, bring a bunch of officers and cover all the exits. Hostage situations are different, but then, the bad guy already assumes the uniforms will come in eventually, no?
Severing illegal utility hookups is now “targeted administrative vengeance?” The anti-blue hue from those glasses you’re wearing may be blinding you to some basic moral failings of the victim, such as “don’t steal.”
Me thinks ye protest to much.
I mean cops wouldn’t know a legal electrical hook up from cable TV.
Why would they call code enforcement? That isn’t sop is it?
At least one police officer was shot by another police officer during this raid. They charged the home owner with attempted murder for it.
None of the police were ever charged for that or anything else
Never believed in no knock raids for any reason.
Prosecutors and Cops who play “hide the ball” with exculpatory evidence should be sent to prison and put in general population. In “Brady vs. MD” (1965, the case that establish the duty of the prosecution to release exculpatory evidence to the defense in a timely, forthright, manner) the Supremes held, “a prosecutor’s duty is not merely to get convictions, but to see that justice is done.”
When I was City prosecutor, I had an “open file” policy. I figured if one piece of paper or evidence was going to ruin my case, then why was I prosecuting the defendant in the first place ?
I totally agree. We have a prosecutor here who has been investigated more than once for ethics issues; one of those is that he has “disappeared” evidence that would have helped the defense. They haven’t been able to stick him with it because he’s very thorough about leaving no indication he ever had any such evidence.
He’s all about winning, and doesn’t care one whit about justice — I was in a courtroom when he practically said as much to the defense attorney at the end of a trial.
(Though I will give him one thing: he fiercely goes after anyone abusing older folks, something I saw up close when there was an issue with a squatter on my mom’s property.)
In this case the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a conviction of shooting officers during a botched raid because on the facts NO “reasonable jury” could find that the prosecution disproved self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. State. v. Riley B. Thompson (Minn. 1982).
Just one fail after another here…
– Failed planning
– Failed judgement (how about you raid the house when it’s empty? Not as good for convictions, but avoids these problems)
– Failed action (if someone shoots three of you and he ends up walking out with a black eye instead of being dropped, that’s a fail)
– Failed prosecution
Failed prosecution of the cops for attempted murder
WACO started as a no-knock raid. Remember the FEDS retreat of shame with their hands up when they were allowed to leave because they ran out of ammo? But then you probably don’t remember or care to educate yourself of the facts.
If you aren’t prepared to defend yourself at any given minute then you deserve to lose. Have a nice day.
The “thin blue line” protects the bad cops. My relatives who are cops cannot understand my dislike for many “practices” that they consider “normal”. Attempts to engage them in Constitutional principles are met with deaf ears. THE LAW IS WHATEVER THEY SAY THE LAW IS.
Their unwavering allegiance to those (bad) cops who exhibit “abnormal” life-threatening behavior (to us mundanes) and their “making excuses” for such aberrant behavior is sickening.
You see, all police officers’ ultimate goal is to make it to retirement with as little friction as possible. In many departments, it is possible to retire after 30 years AND to start collecting Social Security at age 55–NOT 66 like the rest of us. In addition, disability claims (too many career lifetime donuts) quite often enable them to live a much more comfortable life than most of us taxpayers who provide these “centurions” with their comfortable lifestyle.
Police work is not inherently dangerous IF they follow Constitutional principles.
The militarization of police forces is another big problem. Police departments routinely recruit former military and do very little to change the “us vs. them” mindset that is a staple of military (combat) service.
In fact, most department actually admire their “special” status and encourage such behavior with “no-knock” midnight SWAT raids and other unconstitutional behavior.
A small point (but valid, nevertheless) is that EVEN THE NAZIS KNOCKED ON THE DOOR BEFORE GAINING ENTRY.
If anything, police should be held to a higher standard than that of the public…As it stands now, police can commit crimes with impunity because, in most situations, they investigate themselves…Behavior that would get an ordinary citizen charged, convicted and incarcerated is routinely ignored by “the powers that be” because police are considered to be “above the law” as the “law” is whatever they say it is, the Constitution be damned…
Ever notice that police unions are “fraternal”? This should tell you something. The “thin-blue-line” is a gang, little different than street gangs–at least when it comes to “covering-up” their questionable and quite often, illegal and criminal behavior.
In today’s day and age, “officer safety” trumps de-escalation of force. This, in part, is due to the militarization of the police along with training in Israeli police tactics. This becomes a problem, with the “us vs. them” attitude that is fosters, along with the fact that Israel is a very different place, being on a constant “war footing”, and by necessity, its police tactics are very different.
There are too many instances of police being “given a pass”, even when incontrovertible video and audio evidence is presented. Grand juries, guided by police-friendly prosecutors, quite often refuse to charge those police officers who abuse their authority.
Police officers, who want to do the right thing, are quite often marginalized and put into harms way, by their own brethren…When a police officer is beating on someone that is already restrained while yelling, “stop resisting” THAT is but one reason police have a “bad name” in many instances…this makes the “good cops” who are standing around, witnessing their “brethren in blue” beating on a restrained suspect, culpable as well…
Here are changes that can help reduce police-induced violence:
1. Get rid of police unions. Police unions (fraternities) protect the guilty, and are responsible for the massive whitewashing of questionable police behavior that is presently being committed.
2. Eliminate both “absolute” and “qualified” immunity for all public officials. This includes, prosecutors and judges, police and firefighters, code enforcement and child protective services officials, and others who deal with the citizenry. The threat of being sued personally would encourage them to behave themselves. Require police officers to be “bonded” by an insurance company, with their own funds. No bond= no job.
3. Any public funds disbursed to citizens as a result of police misconduct should come out of police pension funds–NOT from the taxpayers.
4. Regular drug-testing of police officers as well as incident-based drug testing should take place whenever an officer is involved in a violent situation with a citizen–no exceptions.
5. Testing for steroid use should be a part of the drug testing program. You know damn well, many police officers “bulk up” with the “help” of steroids. Steroids also affect users mentally as well, making them more aggressive. The potential for abuse of citizens increases greatly with steroid use.
6. Internal affairs should only be used for disagreements between individual officers–NOT for investigations involving citizen abuse. State-level investigations should be mandatory for all suspected abuses involving citizens.
7. Prosecutors should be charged with malfeasance IF any evidence implicating police officer misconduct is not presented to the grand jury.
8. A national or state-by-state database of abusive individuals who should NEVER be allowed to perform police work should be established–a “blacklist” of abusive (former) police officers.
9. Most people are unaware that police have special “rules” that prohibit them from being questioned for 48 hours. This allows them to “get their stories straight” and makes it easier to “cover up” bad police behavior. Police must be subject to the same laws as civilians.
10. All police should be required to wear bodycams and utilize dashcams that cannot be turned off. Any police officers who causes a dash or body cam to be turned off should be summarily fired–no excuses. Today’s body and dash cams are reliable enough to withstand harsh treatment. Body and dashcam footage should be uploaded to a public channel “on the cloud” for public perusal.
11. All interrogations must be video and audio recorded. Police should be prohibited from lying or fabricating stories in order to get suspects to confess. False confessions ARE a problem in many departments. Unknown to most people, police can lie with impunity while civilians can be charged with lying to police…fair? I think not…
12. Any legislation passed that restricts the rights of ordinary citizens, such as firearms magazine capacity limits, types of weapons allowed, or restrictive concealed-carry laws should apply equally to police. No special exemptions to be given to police. Laws must be equally applied.
Police work is not inherently dangerous…there are many other professions that are much more dangerous.
A little “Andy Taylor” could go a long way in allaying fears that citizens have of police.
That being said, I have no problem with police officers who do their job in a fair, conscientious manner…however, it is time to call to task those police officers who only “protect and serve” themselves.
On no-knock raids: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Also applies to owning & using right to prosecute, and guns, whoever has them.
This is why shot placement is so important.
If a Corpus Christi man has any sense, he’ll become a [insert city other than Corpus Christi] man. La policia are a vengeful bunch.
I’m not going to get into the whole legal and ethical thing here I think that’s been pretty well covered by other commentators. Instead I’m gonna say something about what’s happening rather than the root causes of why.
The major issue that I see here with police is a reliance on gear rather than skill.
People here all own guns. What do we do when we buy a new gun? Take it to the range ASAP right? New toy, time to play with it! Well, IMHO, that’s what police departments are doing with their SWAT gear. They’ve sunk a lot of money into their SWAT teams. Vehicles, weapons, gear… shit’s pricey and requires upkeep. That expense needs a justification and using the SWAT guys as SWAT guys provides that justification. This is why they’re willing to ignore logic as covered by other commentators: because they have a larger goal, justification of what they’re doing in the first place.
This use of military grade gear has led to the adoption of military tactics in ways that don’t really make sense because generally the people doing this have no military training. Combining that with an overpower desire to use their gear gets the results we see. Generally if you want to go into a house you want to know a few things, layout if possible, if the person you’re looking for is there and how many other BG’s there might be. As far as I can tell the cops rarely know any of this which reeks of piss poor planning.
Instead of pulling blueprints and watching the house they just roll up on it at 0400, break down the door, throw flashbangs and go full COD-tard on the place. They hit the wrong address more often than I’d like to think about. The real reason for most of this is a lack of basic police work. Putting the house under surveillance isn’t sexy or glamorous. “Hitting” it is.
Really I think the root of this problem is as follows: Doing things “right” will usually eliminate the need for SWAT. It will cut the “risk” in “high risk” warrants by 80% or better. That reduces the justification for having the SWAT guys kitted out the way they are and that’s why they don’t do it “right”. Smarter policing reduces the need for gear which isn’t as fun and it reduces the need for money and what government agency doesn’t want more funding?
As for me, I’m the vindictive type that holds a grudge. There is nothing illegal in my house. If you kick in my door and shoot my dogs don’t be shocked if you all suddenly have house fires. As odd a coincidence as it might be, all you dog shooters might just find out that there’s a fault in your house’s electrical system. Sure would be a shame if something were to happen while your family was sleeping…
There are several roots of this problem. What you describe is one, but it is connected to others.
In most developed countries, their local equivalent of SWAT is a full-time job. They are nominally police, yes, but they don’t go around writing speeding tickets or walking the beat when they’re off SWAT duty. They train for the actual SWAT missions, and they’re only activated when a mission like that is on the radar. This, generally speaking, doesn’t mean serving search warrants for drug possession, and other similar crap. It means hostage situations, active shooters, terrorists, armed gangs etc.
What this does is keep the “SWAT mentality” and the “cop mentality” separate. The guys who kick in doors for a living are not the same guys who do community policing. They train differently, use different gear and tactics etc. And, most importantly, people on the SWAT team don’t decide whether activating them for a particular purpose is worthwhile or not! They get a job, they go do it, and that’s that.
The only problem with this is that having a separate SWAT team is expensive. And hard to sell to the taxpayers, because these are the guys who spent most of their time doing seemingly nothing, and very rarely get activated for like 15 minutes of busting doors and shooting – while getting paid more than your average cop. It’s very easy for politicians to sell it as “government inefficiency”, and propose to “optimize the use of our taxes” by combining SWAT with regular police duties – where some officers in the PD are assigned to SWAT, but still perform their regular duties.
The result is, first and foremost, cross-pollination of tactics and equipment between the two. For starters, it’s not like there’s a switch in a person’s head that goes on and off when they’re on SWAT duty. What they learn there, they will also apply while walking the beat etc – and this means, for example, seeing everyone and everything as a potential threat, and the whole “overwhelming force” approach to dealing with threats. But they don’t work alone, and so this approach spreads to other cops, even those not on SWAT.
Worse yet, PD is generally the one deciding what kind of warrant to obtain, and how to serve it. So now the people who are going to be serving it are also making those decisions! For the reasons you’ve listed earlier – because they want to play with their shiny new toys, or because they’re adrenaline junkies, or because they want to prove that SWAT is important, or because they know that they could use civil asset forfeiture (which will benefit their PD, and let them buy more shiny toys!) if it’s a raid on the residence – they tend to err on the side of a more violent approach. That’s how you get all those 4am no-knock warrants for people suspected of possessing a few ounces of weed.
As the culture of the police department changes, so does their approach to recruiting – they start to promote this door-busting side of policing heavily in their recruitment materials, and preferentially hire people who are attracted to this kind of thing. In other words, more adrenaline junkies. Here are some examples of relatively recent recruiting videos:
So this is a self-reinforcing problem. We made police into an army by making them do SWAT duties. Of course they will behave like an army, and then consciously reimage themselves in that mold even further.
The solution is to do what all other countries are doing, and keep cops and SWAT completely separate. Yes, it is more expensive. And yes, it does mean that reaction times might be a bit lower. But if it means that you no longer have to fear the guy in blue because of what he could do to you (or, say, your dog) and get away with it, isn’t it worth it?
A sandwich shop I frequent is often also frequented by members of the city’s SWAT team. It makes me want to laugh out loud every time I see them strut in wearing their OD green BDUs. OLIVE motherf*cking DRAB!!!! You’re Fort Worth, Texas cops, not Delta Green Force SEAL Rangers!
They’re Tier 1.5 operators, show some respect. That OD color is operationally imperative to their operations. You can’t operate if your clothing doesn’t give you a tactical advantage, and criminals can’t see OD green so to them it’s like the SWAT team is invisible, hence providing that tactical advantage. LOL.
I’ll wager they roll with leg drop holsters too. The “teams” around here do. I’m not sure what cracks me up the most. The WileyX glasses they all wear, the urban camo, the drop leg holsters from 1988 or their attitude.
Around here we shoot first and bury our mistakes.
It’s obvious from the booking photo the badgemonkeys, who were inept with firearms did manage to
hit the target with their fists/baton or whatever else they used to beat on this INNOCENT MAN. Just
MORE evidence of the criminality and corruption of the entire cult of ‘shiny badges and special privileges’.
“No Knock raids” are meant to be safer for the Police Officers, as well as anyone inside the house the suspect may take hostage (some criminals will take their own children hostage to avoid going to jail). They are also conducted so that the suspect doesn’t have time to barricade, escape, or destroy/dispose of evidence. Nothing is perfect. With that being said, in my 40 years, not one member of Law Enforcement has ever kicked in my door. And that is because they have NO reason to believe that I am a drug dealer (or any other such criminal).
The only reason why you haven’t had your door kicked in is because you’re lucky. Doors have been kicked in by mistake (wrong address, informant giving bad data etc). Or sometimes the drug dealers have a case of mistaken address, and ship you the goods intended for someone else. Here’s what happens then:
Note that the asshole cops didn’t even apologize for what they did. “Quite frankly, we’d do it again. Tonight.”
What int19h said.
Police, being human, make mistakes. Police, being well armed (increasingly with actual weapons of war, not just evil “assault weapons”), can have their mistakes turn deadly.
You would think this would lead their leadership to be extremely careful (and usually they are), but I have read of instances where a simple mistake, like just not reading an address correctly, has led to no-knock raids on homes of people with nothing to do with the intended object of such raids, with disastrous results.
At any given time, you (or I) may be the victim of such mistakes, and it has nothing to do with whether or not you provide the police with any reason to believe anything about you.
The biggest “problem” with “no-knock” raids is that innocent people often bear the brunt, quite often resulting in death of innocents. Official “immunity” absolves the individual officers of wrongdoing–even if they have an ulterior motive–asset seizure, etc. This immunity actually encourages misbehavior, as there are no consequences for their illegal answers. In the worst case, the municipality pays off the victims…
I could never get an honest answer out of any SWAT team or police department of why they find it necessary to destroy the contents of a dwelling (and sometimes the dwelling itself) in the course of their “raids”.
Please google “Donald Scott”…a rogue sheriff’s department along with corrupt public officials wanted Mr. Scott’s land, without having to pay for it. They contrived a scheme in which marijuana was “found” on his property. They then conducted a no-knock SWAT “raid” which resulted in Mr. Scott’s death. The county got what it wanted…
DID YOU HEAR THE JUDGE IS DATING THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY ON THIS CASE AND THE PROSECUTOR WAS NEWLY ASSIGNED THIS CASE WITH LITTLE TO NO TIME TO PREPARE??
I am a law-abiding citizen with lots of respect for law enforcement. You come through crashing through my door knock no-knock whoever you may be, will get fired upon period.
I google-fu’d a no-knock case I read about. This story is truly egregious:
Main problem – – And I speak from having “been there” (not this incident, but others). Adrenaline gets up.officers get into a hurry, and do not take the time to “slow down and take it by the numbers”. There often is a supervisor there urging the grunts on or appealing to the SWAT’s egos to “take the SoB out”. When these circumstances exist the officers’ academy training, in service training, and common sense goes out the window and they just “follow orders”.
Fortunately, no dogs were injured during the making of this raid. Just a few pigs.