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By Phillip Smith [Article reprinted with permission from StoptheDrugWar.org]

A Volusia County sheriff’s deputy on a dawn SWAT team pot raid shot and killed an unarmed resident of the home Tuesday. Derek Cruice, 26, becomes the 10th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year. According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Cruice was unarmed and no weapons were found in the house. Police did find about nine ounces of marijuana, as well as a scale, a drug ledger, marijuana smoking pipes, plastic bags and about $3,000 in cash. Sheriff Ben Johnson said that Deputy Todd Raible, a member of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, shot Cruice in the face as the SWAT team came through the door of the residence at 6:30 a.m. . . .

“They (deputies) were met with resistance and a shooting occurred,” Johnson said without offering further detail. He said he could not elaborate because his office had not yet interviewed Deputy Raible.

But sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson added that Raible fired his weapon after perceiving Cruice’s actions as a threat.

Cruice was pronounced dead at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City.

“The deputy, he’s all right, actually he is very shaken,” Johnson offered.

Sheriff Johnson said Cruice was listed in the search warrant as the subject of an ongoing “narcotics” investigation. He was one of six adults—four men and two women—in the house when deputies arrived.

Matt Grady, 24, was another one of them. He said he was awakened by banging on the door and opened it.

“A bunch of guys came around the corner and they are pushing me down,” Grady said. “And as I was going down on my knee I heard gunfire,” he told The News-Journal.

Steven Cochran, 24, was another resident. He said Cruice was not resisting anything.

“He had no weapons on him or in the house,” Cochran said. “Nobody was making any kind of resistance or keeping them from doing their job.”Cruice had been working as a delivery driver at Monster Pizza in Deltona. His co-worker, Thomas Figueroa, who had known him for nine years, stopped by the scene and broke down crying behind the yellow crime scene tape.

“He is not the kind of person that would do that (attack a deputy),” he said, adding that the pizza shop had closed for the day to mark Cruice’s death.

Deputy Raible, 36, is now on administrative leave, as is standard for deputy-involved shootings. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the death because a police officer was involved.

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276 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if the deputy was practicing safe weapons handling or if he had his finger on the trigger and tightened his grip on his weapon when he saw the guy, causing him to squeeze the trigger without meaning to?

    • MUCH more likely he’s a half-assed self-styled “operator” like 99% of urban SWAT guys and was relying on his “qualified immunity”. There is NO damned reason for a MINOR drug bust to use SWAT. SWAT was developed solely for barricaded hostage situations and large scale offenses like bank robberies. Then about 30 years ago they started to deploy SWAT against “those people” until we became complacent with the routine use of SWAT. NOW that SWAT is gunning down civilians over minor offenses or to serve warrants we begin to complain?

      Ray

        • That IS sensible. That’s why Mr. & Mrs. America will not complain. Until their “precious little snowflake” catches one in the front hall from one of these “operator as fsck” cowards.

          Maybe more training and less late-night partying would help things improve. Along with some trials, jail time and pension loss.

      • i’ve been complaining as long as I’ve been an adult. 24 years and counting.

        “THEY” just don’t listen.

    • I wonder whats so hard about putting out a warrant for his arrest, wait till he leaves to go somewhere, and then simply pull him over with a regular black and white. There really is no reason for 90% of “swat” teams to exist, there’s plenty of routine police practices that can account for what they’re often used for these days.

      • But then the cops don’t get the excitement of clearing a house, throwing people to the ground, and shooting a guy in the face.

        • It’s more than excitement. They also get a lot more fodder for asset forfeiture that way.

          For the same reason, they often wait until the drug dealer actually sold off the drugs before doing a raid. Drugs, being illegal, cannot be forfeited, but money from selling them can!

      • It’s like what the founders said of in opposition of having a standing army: “standing armies get tired of standing around.” SWAT teams also get tired of standing around.

      • “But sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson added that Raible fired his weapon after perceiving Cruice’s actions as a threat.”
        I would suppose that this means that we can use deadly force against them when we perceive them as a threat. That sounds absolutely fair and reasonable to me.

          • Darren,
            You leave out a lot of facts about the texas shooting. The cops deserved getting shot and I don’t say that lightly. Instead of peacefully serving a search warrant during the day, the cops decided to storm the guys place at night. The cops tossed in multiple flash bang grenades and stormed the guys house. He responded in kind and the courts found him NOT GUILTY.

    • There is nothing safe or sensible. These guys had 9 ounces of pot. They are calling them dealers. Maybe but very small time. I grantee they would not get approval for that kind of man power to recover anything less than several pounds here. I believe agrivated possession in my state(Tx) is 25 pounds or more. The feed consider 50 pounds or more a big enough deal to get involved with.
      To have swat team in this guys house made no sense. They should have waited outside to catch any runners and then he a couple guys order people out of the house for a search. The kids yes kids in there would not have given them any trouble.

      • I don’t know what you mean by “aggravated”, but the last I checked (which admittedly was a couple years ago), anything more than 4 ounces of marijuana was a felony. Nine ounces can be quite a bit when you’re talking about dried leaves. The purpose of the raid is really kind of a side issue tho, the operative question is whether the deceased was any kind of threat to the officers.

        • The higher-grade dope isn’t the leaves, it’s the dried flowers (buds) that are heavy with the resin.

          Much more dense than dried leaves.

          As I recall from the ’80s.

          *cough*

      • Even if he had a ton of weed in his house, why would it justify a raid? Selling weed is not a violent crime (that it’s a crime at all is ridiculous, but I digress).

  2. Remember marajuana is a highly deadly drug. It kills all who smoke it. So those men from the government had to come and help. For the children.

    • People who smoke that demon-weed are prone to just go crazy and do radically violent things. Never take your eye off of the dope-smoking dude laying on the couch.

    • Really? I thought a slight odor of tobacco will kill all but smoking pot was really great?

      Babyboomer potheads.

      • Well each drug has their own dangers.

        Smoking cigerettes cause physical addiction and lung cancer.

        Smoking pot can cause you to get shot by a cop.

      • Do some research. Nicotine is a very powerful poison and tobacco use causes cancer and millions have died from its use. I lost my father and one of my grandfathers from tobacco related cancers.

        Cannabis has over 200 proven medical applications, but since the pharmaceutical industry can’t profit from its use it is illegal. You must think you have the right to dictate morality like the misguided people who gave us prohibition. All you accomplish is the enrichment of the drug dealers, as was the result of prohibition. Organized crime grew exponentially from the revenue from bootlegging.

        • Don’t laugh too hard…had an idiot buddy back in the early 70’s who boiled some pot down and shot it up-got deathly ill for about 3hours. Duh.

        • It’s a play on a meme.

          There are many things, once injected, do nasty things to the human body. The first week of pharmacology at medical school we were told that if aspirin were to come on the market today it would certainly be prescription only.

          But yeah, boiling down weed to inject? That’s some interesting thought process going on there. 🙂

  3. “The deputy, he’s all right, actually he is very shaken,” Johnson offered.

    Yes, most people would be shaken up after unjustifiably shooting someone else, and killing them.

    Someone please remind me: why are we sending SWAT teams to serve warrants for petty marijuana dealers?

    • When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. These teams are expensive to upkeep and they have to justify themselves.

    • Safer for the SWAT teams. Nobody wants to take on armed crack dealers. This way they can play dress up AND go home at the end of the day.

    • uuhhhmm, that would be, “surprise, overwhelming force, violence of action.” the cops are so pumped-up and afraid, that it may even be fatal to ask, “who are you?” we had an episode some years back in a smaller municipality, where cops stopped a speeder, and approached the car with cocked pistols. the driver was told,
      “look straight ahead, hands on the steering wheel, don’t move.” the driver turned to face the cop, and BANG. cop goes home safely that night.

    • At least the cop didn’t take the corpse on a 45 minute drive to his lawyer’s office.

    • It`s a money thing, as I understand it. The more drug offenses a swat /police dept. gets used on, the more money they lay claim to.
      Honestly, it`s like the New York thing,when the Police go so far overboard,they should be shot. It does wonders to make them(or anyone else) stop and rethink things.
      I`m all for law and order,but we are low on the order and close to zero justice these days. Just read the protests in WA had snipers covering them. Is that a mark of justice and a free nation ? (Tweets on Western Rifle shooters)

    • Let me guess….

      ….this TWAT team was wearing and carrying 100K$+ worth of gear and guns but couldn’t afford any 1K$ body cams. I’m not shocked.

  4. Nothing will happen because Grand Juries in Florida rarely bring charges. Use of force is stacked in favor of LEO doing such raids in this state. Using this kind of tactics to interdict 9 ounces of pot is insane. It sounds like a tactical team trying to justify its existence.

  5. Even this description sounds very much like murder, and I think the law would discover that the rest of the team are just as guilty of murder as the guy who pulled the trigger. I suspect, however, that they will be charged with investigating themselves, and will find themselves innocent of anything. Disgusting.

  6. The first reports from scene are always wrong. A couple of days ago the usual crowd was up in arms about the homeless man in LA murdered by the police. How did that work out for you? I am not saying that this was justified. I only want more information than is included in this post before rendering judgement.

      • The poor innocent homeless black man turned out to be a fugitive bank robber who had stolen the identity of a French citizen.

        Tell you what. I will give anyone $2 for every news story claiming police murder that turns out to be true and you pay me $1 for every one that turns out to be justified. Given the statistics I expect that my ammo fund to get rather fat.

        Given recent events it is wise to wait for all the evidence rather than jump to your preconceived conclusion.

        • Hold off a bit. I was just asking. I thought the vid in the original post gave some indication that the guy had or had grabbed a gun. That still seems to be the story, and if so, then the shooting looks justified. I will say the facts that the guy had a bank robbery conviction and was an illegal immigrant do not, in themselves, add anything to whether or not the shooting was actually justified.

        • If the cops (whether the same department or not) get to decide whether it’s justified, then yes, you’ll get rich. If not you’ll be in the poor house in a week.

          The LA shooting isn’t justified just because the guy was a suspected felon. The only thing that would justify it would be if he actually grabbed that cop’s gun. I could hear the cop screaming about his gun, but the video was too blurry to see if it was true. But a simple fingerprint test on the gun and holster could clear everything up.

        • And just to add, according to a subsequent report I read, the involved officer’s gun was found on inspection to have a stove pipe and another round jammed in the throat. Which suggests that the officer’s gun was the first shot heard, and that one of them had his hand on the slide when it occurred, with the other four shots from another officer following immediately thereafter.

    • While I believe in waiting for as much evidence as possible before passing judgement. There’s no reason for these swat team raids looking for pot.

  7. “The deputy, he’s all right, actually he is very shaken,” Johnson offered.

    And the unarmed guy who answered the door and got shot in the face? Screw him. 🙁

      • My America is different from the Swat team’s America.

        In my America we have freedom of expression and each person has the right to decide their own right and wrongs as long as it doesn’t endanger anybody else’s well being.

        In my America we have the attitude of ‘live and let live’.

        In my America we have the attitude of ‘no harm, no foul’.

        In THEIR America laws get enforced even if the laws are immoral, useless, or arbitrary. In THEIR America they will support a women’s right over their body to kill a unborn fetus, but will violently react and kill/imprison people when somebody uses their body for recreational drugs or smoking indoors. They will fight for their right to have their marriages recorded, regulated, and taxed by the state and force other people to honor them even if they have religious convictions.

        I really don’t know what THEY want in THEIR America, but I sure as hell wish they’d just fuck off. I don’t want to have anything to do with them.

    • The AI is found of blaming the residents of places like CA for the mess the politicians have made here. So, using that logic, yes, this is the country we want. Or we’d change it.

  8. Whew, I feel so much safer knowing that 9oz. of marijuana has been taken off of our streets by our brave police officers!

  9. Devils advocate:
    They had a ledger. (according to the article)

    Could have already moved it all.

    No weapons were found… Some deals without protection??

    Could be a “shell house”.
    I also agree with tdiinva…. To little info.

      • I am as of 2015 against the war on drugs. I am not all in on legalizing drugs though. Here is my take. I would not make it a crime, misdemeanor or otherwise, to induce any substance into your own body. On the other hand I would not allow business licenses to drug dealers. Of course that would be up to the local City and State. But if my community does not allow a brick and mortar business selling non prescribed drugs across the street from the middle school, don’t go all law suit happy screaming unconstitutionality.

        • Decriminalization promotes drug use more than legalization because there is no taxation and no risk. If you can get drunk for $20 or get high for $5 there are a lot of people who will choose to get high instead of getting drunk. Not that getting drunk is a good thing, but getting drunk has immediate and unpleasant consequences. Anyway, when I buy a case of beer I pay alcohol tax and then I pay sales tax on the alcohol tax and I pay income tax on the alcohol and sales taxes. I’d personally be offended if we just turn a blind eye toward people taking tax free drugs.

        • The Governor is correct. I’ll give him a harrumph for that.

          Additionally, full legalization reduces usage by the underage (think of the children!!). Ask a 15 year old which is most difficult for him to buy: pot, cocaine, meth, ecstasy, or beer and you’ll be surprised. Circle K doesn’t want to risk huge fines and losing its beer license by making a risky sale, but Jimmy selling weed on the corner doesn’t care.

        • I’m not offended that other people might not have to pay taxes, I’m offended that I do, and taxes on taxes to boot. Why give stoners a tax break when I can pick up the tab?

        • @Jason: You know, you may be right. But I keep thinking about that rash of kids showing up at school with marijuana candy in Colorado.

        • The correct solution is to fight for removal of your taxation, not to force others to pay up. Hate the game, not the player.

        • Legalization doesn’t mean no regulation. If you look for the rules regarding growing and selling weed in WA, for example, it’s a lot of red tape (and a lot of taxes). I don’t see a problem with restricting it to children, including indirectly by e.g. banning such establishments in vicinity of schools etc.

    • Yeah, not going to give you that one…. “could have moved it”…. Sure. That sounds right. We all know kingpins work as pizza delivery boys to throw off the fuzz.

      This “drug ledger” is probably just as accurate as everything else the lying operator bastards said.
      A few friends names on a piece of paper becomes a “drug ledger”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the “scales” were in the bathroom and of the 1-300 pound variety.

      • with 9 oz, that’s distribution levels
        it’d all go stale before you could smoke that much

        but scales are cheap, it’s $10-20 for a centigram scale useful for selling dope
        but I, being a college student, know plenty of non-dealers who own such scales for double checking their dealer

    • And they couldn’t arrest him while he was delivering a goddamn pizza? Nope, gotta shoot him in the face. He had pot so it’s totally justified! So I have no reason to be concerned about police killing people in their homes or on the streets!

    • We just entered the 3rd month of the year so for 2 months it is basically an average of 5 people per month for a slightly different perspective. That gives us a projected estimate of 60 over the year. I am not fine with the state killing citizens in the name of this insane war on some people that use drugs. I’ll let you get back to following orders.

      • @J. Zoss, Certainly it is sad when someone is wrongly shot. It ain’t a perfect world. So, I’ll let you get back to Romper Room.

        As for the dope peddler:

        • Imagine what would happen to the crime rate if we started punishing all misdemeanor offense with the death penalty. I hear crime is almost unheard of in Saudi Arabia.

        • “Imagine what would happen to the crime rate if we started punishing all misdemeanor offense with the death penalty”

          The government crime rate would skyrocket.

    • So, 330,000,000 were subjected to a door kicked in during the wee hours for a victimless “crime” so far this year? Stunning. Go back to your state sanctified extortion, and let the adults handle the discussion.

      • @Rambeast, 10 druggies down out of 330,000,000 citizens. Wow. Pretty good stats. More Romper Room and rose colored glasses for you too.

        • 10 druggies down out of 330,000,000 citizens

          Looks like you just learned how to cut and paste the statistic you found. You need to drop a resume with Bloomberg.

          That “druggie” was somebody’s kid.
          That “druggie” was doing something that’s becoming a legal source of taxes in several states.
          That “druggie” had a job.

          How about you? When you hear someone pounding on your door at 3 a.m. how fast will you answer it? Will you live through the experience?

        • El Mac…. It’s people like you who make me ashamed to be a “gun person”.
          The whole fire and brimstone, punish every crime with death type.

          Shall we post a swat member at every intersection to make sure no one gets away with any rolling stops?
          Because lets be clear here, rolling stops probably cause more harm in a week than pot causes all year (barring police interaction with potheads/dealers).

          Honestly I think people like you are a FAR bigger threat to our liberties and freedoms in this nation than ANY anti gun group or politician.

        • Richard, El Mac is a government employee (read: cop), and not one of the honorable type such as Accur81. Logic, liberty, and love for his fellow man will fall on deaf ears where he is concerned. He is one of the absolutist law enforcers. We are little people in his eyes.

    • So El Mac. You come across as a complete and utter psychopath.

      “Only ten”. Talk about a “human being” without an ounce of compassion or empathy. You fit the definition of at least a sociopath.

      You are not making any case that counters the general thought that many have that cops are given the “authority” to be cold blooded murderers.

      I think most cops are good people just trying to do a hard job. Statistically, at least some cops will be sociopaths. I think you would be one of those statistics.

        • So when the drug called alcohol was illegal, the drug runners called moon shiners were equally to be shot down like dogs, (which cops do regularly) and it’s all good.

          You El Mac, are the mindless government drone called a “public employee”; that If a law is passed outlawing sporting rifles, you will be the first one smashing the door down of what the day before was a law abiding citizen, which today is now considered an outlaw and you will call it good.

          You, El Mac, is what our Founding Fathers warned would happen when we the people gave the responsibility of our own protection into the hands of the “professionals”. They would end up as simple enforcers, looking with contempt upon the people they are paid to protect. Which contempt you show in abundance. And when an unconstitutional law is passed, you will enforce the law, damn the constitution.

          I don’t blame you El Mac for what you are. I blame my fellow citizens for putting that kind of power in the hands of a killing machine simply “following orders”.

        • Oh, so El Mac, I shouldn’t have called you mindless. I want to thank you. You show me the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and how they understood history and the workings of the human spirit. They knew how power corrupts and how people with power look with contempt upon those that don’t, as the contempt that you show towards the people is a good example of that corruption.

          That’s why I have such respect for the sherriffs and their deputies. They almost all have come out and said they would not enforce unconstitutional gun laws. But that’s because they are directly answerable to the people. Unlike city cops and the feds; which I would figure your one of.

    • “YAWN……” oh just another person needlessly murdered, no biggie.

      Thats how that is read.

      • @S.CROCK, …yawn, again, still. Just another drug pushing asshole that made a bad decision of his own free will.

  10. So I guess since it is only 10 that have died it is fine? Maybe you would care if you were one of the 10.

  11. Well sounds to me like your typical…

    We got all this cool gear we somehow got from god knows where.
    You know how to shoot.
    Gear up, soldier – ehm – deputy. We’ll bust some druggies.

    Shootings like those, are in my opinion in most cases due to scared police officers, who have been taught how to handle a weapon, yet obviously nobody taught them how to handle critical situation.

    Yes, it is a dangerous line of work. But if you can’t handle the pressure you should have taken another job.
    Yes, the security of the officer is important, but that doesn’t mean, that we can shoot everything that moves while entering a building.

    No matter the situation: IF there was no weapon of any kind near or on the suspect, then no matter what he does, there should be no situation, in which he will be shot by an officer.

    For heavens sake: An automatic rifle, black plate carriers and a helmet don’t make a specialist: Years of training do and nothing else….

    • “Yes, it is a dangerous line of work”

      It isn’t. It’s not even in the top 20 most dangerous jobs in the country.

      • New suggestion for urban SWAT trainees: Spend a winter on an Alaskan crab boat. Now, THAT’S dangerous.

      • Only because there are more stupid ways to die than stuffing your d*** in a meat grinder and bleeding out doesn’t make it a smart idea.

        Yes, it is not the most dangerous job. It still has a higher chance of dying than let’s say being a graphic designer working from home on your macbook, when your biggest threat is falling down the stairs, when going to get your whatever from starbucks…

        • Being a civilian in the general vicinity of a cop is more dangerous than being a cop.

    • It’s not just scared officers. These officer know that there is little likelihood of real accountability. They’ve been fed a hero complex backed by hero worshiping sycophants. The judicial system feeds into this complex. The legislature feeds into this complex. One of the balances against such government abuses was supposed to be an armed people and juries that wouldn’t indict or convict persons defending themselves against government abuse. Although I think that the tide is turning in favor of individual self defense against the State, we still have a long way to go.

  12. The worst part about this nonsense and the marichino cherry guy who blew his brains out over some pot plants is the end of prohibition is on the horizon.

    I suppose the police state sees this too and has to ramp up their asset forfeiture and pretend SWAT games while they still can.

    • My only fear is that when prohibition ends, these SWAT teams won’t. They will be reapplied to some other task like collecting child-support or apprehending cable-theives and people who piggy-back on the wrong guys wifi-hotspot. If an when prohibition comes, some sort of scaling back on the police militarization needs to take place with it.

      • Full legalization of weed is on the horizon for sure, but I doubt about the other drugs. So they will still find ways to cash in thru forfeiture, there just will be less of that.

        But yeah, I’m sure they’ll also find some creative ways of “repurposing” those teams for something equally important, like, say, child support payments, or late tax returns. It is extremely rare for a state to voluntarily relinquish the oppressive power it has acquired.

  13. But, but, but, they’re heroes?!?! A little “testilying” and “nothing to see here,move along”

  14. Monster Pizza is now hiring! We need a delivery driver willing to work night and weekends. Your own car is required. Citizenship, Drivers License, Insurance and Criminal Record are optional. Must be willing to work nights, and be able to count money. Experience as a drug dealer a plus. Please apply in person.

  15. Your door kicked in at @ 6:30 am. What could go wrong? How do you know, right off, who is kicking it in? SWAT is overused. Originally it was for “hard cases”. Now they kick in doors just to serve a warrant. A few members have been killed by home owners, and were justified in doing so.

  16. Why could they not arrest him as he left the home? Oh, yea, have to kill as many people as possible to justify having a SWAT team.

  17. ‘But sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson added that Raible fired his weapon after perceiving Cruice’s actions as a threat.”

    So shock, surprise and possibly panic, are now considered threatening actions by police. Great! /sarc

  18. It’s not about the crime, it’s about the money. And with GOVERNMENTS openly going into the drug business it will only get more draconian. The government don’t like getting ripped for taxes and they don’t like competition.

    • There’s a good chance he was using the delivery job as a cover to sell.
      All they’d have to do is arrest a known buyer on possession charges, and tell him they’ll drop the charges if he orders a pizza with special “herbs”. Set up some cameras and microphones in the informant’s house, record the whole transaction, then step out, guns holstered, and arrest the guy.
      Cheap, safe, easy, and they’d get a slam dunk conviction. Not that I’m condoning arresting someone for a non-crime like possessing or dealing drugs, but if they are going to do it, I’d prefer they not kill the guy and rape the tax payers to do it.

      • Here’s why:

        “Why serve an arrest warrant to some crack dealer with a .38? With full armor, the right shit, and training, you can kick ass and have fun. —US MILITARY OFFICER WHO CONDUCTED TRAINING SEMINARS FOR CIVILIAN SWAT TEAMS IN THE 1990S”

        “The officers with SWAT and dynamic-entry experience interviewed for this book say raids are orders of magnitude more intoxicating than anything else in police work. Ironically, many cops describe them with language usually used to describe the drugs the raids are conducted to confiscate. “Oh, it’s a huge rush,” Franklin says. “Those times when you do have to kick down a door, it’s just a big shot of adrenaline.” Downing agrees. “It’s a rush. And you have to be careful, because the raids themselves can be habit-forming.” Jamie Haase, a former special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement who went on multiple narcotics, money laundering, and human trafficking raids, says the thrill of the raid may factor into why narcotics cops just don’t consider less volatile means of serving search warrants. “The thing is, it’s so much safer to wait the suspect out,” he says. “Waiting people out is just so much better. You’ve done your investigation, so you know their routine. So you wait until the guy leaves, and you do a routine traffic stop and you arrest him. That’s the safest way to do it. But you have to understand that a lot of these cops are meatheads. They think this stuff is cool. And they get hooked on that jolt of energy they get during a raid.””

        “Narcotics investigators had made a controlled drug buy a few hours earlier and were laying plans to raid the suspect’s home. “The drug buy was in town, not at the home,” Taylor says. “But they’d always raid the house anyway. They could never just arrest the guy on the street. They always had to kick down doors.””

        “Because of the new forfeiture law, police agencies now had a strong incentive to “find” a connection between valuable property and drug activity, even if there was none. They now had an incentive to conduct drug busts inside homes when the suspects could just as easily—and more safely—have been apprehended outside the house. They now had a strong financial incentive to make drug policing a higher priority and to devote more personnel to drug investigations than to investigating other crimes. Closing a rape or murder case didn’t come with a potential kickback to the police department. Knocking off a mid- or low-level drug dealer did. Most perversely of all, the promise of a financial reward actually provided drug cops with an incentive to wait until drugs had already been sold to move in with searches and arrests. A suspect flush with pot or cocaine didn’t offer much forfeiture potential. If they waited to bust him until he’d sold most or all of his supply, the police department got to keep the cash. Subsequent media and academic investigations would bear this out, finding examples of police waiting to bust stash houses until most of their supply had been sold, or of being far more likely to pull over suspected drug-running vehicles in the lanes leading out from large metropolitan areas (when they were likely to be full of cash) than the lanes leading in (when they were more likely to be filled with drugs).”

        “The thing is, when law enforcement officials face suspects who present a genuine threat to officer safety, they do tend to be more creative. When the FBI finally located Whitey Bulger in 2010 after searching for him for sixteen years, the reputed mobster was suspected in nearly twenty murders and was thought to be armed with a huge arsenal of weapons. Of all the people who might meet the criteria for arrest by a SWAT team, you’d think Bulger would top the list. He was also aging, in poor physical health, and looking at spending the rest of his life in prison. If ever there was a candidate to go out in a blaze of cop-killing glory, it was Whitey Bulger. And yet instead of sending a tactical team in to tear down Bulger’s door, the FBI did some investigating and learned that Bulger rented a public storage locker. They called him up, pretending to be from the company that owned the facility, and told Bulger someone might have broken into his locker. When he went to the facility to investigate, he was arrested without incident. Why can’t investigators handle common drug offenders the same way? A big reason is a lack of resources. If your department is serving several drug warrants a day, you just aren’t going to have the personnel to come up with that sort of plan for each one. A second reason is that drug offenders simply aren’t all that likely to shoot at cops, and it’s easier to use violent tactics against people who aren’t going to fire back. It’s by no means a universal rule, but often when police do face a genuinely violent suspect like an escaped fugitive with a violent history, a suspect in a series of violent crimes, or a barricade or hostage situation, they don’t immediately storm the place. They set up a perimeter or try to figure out other ways to make the arrest safely. This again isn’t possible with drug warrants—there are just too many of them. But because drug dealers aren’t all that dangerous, it works out to raid them instead.”

        All of these are from Radley Balko’s excellent work on the subject, “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces”

        (By the way, I’ve made this offer before, and it still stands: anyone who is interested in reading this book – and if you are uneasy about stories like this one, then you should definitely read it! – you can have it for free. Just give me your email address, and whether you prefer the Kindle version or the paperback, and I’ll buy it for you as a gift.)

  19. Here’s where we’re headed with this “perceived a threat” garbage, that doesn’t require the SWATter’s perception to be reasonable under the circumstances. Instructions from officer: “Exit the vehicle. Unzip your fly. Then unbutton the 3rd button on your shirt. Hop clockwise on your right leg for a full circle, and then stop.” BANG. What the bleep happened, Deputy? “He hopped around for 390 degrees, not 360, so I perceived a threat. And he almost put his left leg down at one point, too. But, hey, I’m REALLY shaken up about it. S’OK?”

  20. “The deputy, he’s all right, actually he is very shaken”

    Note how the concern is for the murderer, not the victim.

  21. Is Hightimes linking to TTAG? Seems to be a lot of potheads of late. Perhaps some of you might feel at home in Daily Kos or Mother Jones.

    • Well obviously potheads have more concerns for civil rights than despicable drug warriors.

    • I do not “like” potheads. I do not “respect” potheads. But I don’t think they deserve to be shot and killed, when unarmed and not resisting. And you do? What if a SWAT team THOUGHT you were selling pot, even though you weren’t? Betcha wouldn’t like it so much then.

      You may not realize it, but a lot of the “people of the gun” is libertarian, Mr. Iowa. If you’re a “cops can do no wrong” kinda guy, perhaps you’d be happier spending all your time on a police forum.

      • I would drop “resisting” from that scenario.

        In the last year I’ve read about an infant in a crib nearly dying from a flash-bang tossed due to the need to negate “resistance,” a homeowner killed in his front door for “resisting” by putting his hands on the top of his front door frame, and another SWAT homicide victim “resisting” by lying in his bed asleep.

        And they all were “resisting” a group of lawful B&E/home invasion artists that were better armed and equipped than a squad of Marines in Mosul. Nice odds, yes?

        “Selective amnesia” might help you all sleep well tonight. But instead of a total for this year, let’s try a rolling six-month average. THAT would be a much more accurate measure.

        • Sorry, Jus Bill. I meant REAL, ACTUAL resistance of the violent kind, not “perceived” resistance on the part of the “tactical operator”. You’re 100% right, of course. How many dash-cam videos have we all seen where a cop or two or three are whupping up on a guy who is just laying there doing nothing, while they scream, “STOP RESISTING!” And the guy ain’t moving.

          • 2-3 people got their hands on me I fight back, I don’t give a f**k who they think they are.

        • +1 jus bill…selective amnesia. I’m not anti-cop-just anti bad cop. Who are everywhere. I’m happy I quit dealing pot in the 70’s(yeah I’m old)…

      • Agreed, I don’t smoke or weed and I don’t want too, but I don’t think it should be illegal. You know what should be illegal? Armed thugs kicking in doors to kill someone over a plant. Seriously it’s a plant. The problem is a lot of cops want to be in the military and be operators but didn’t have the balls to go through boot, and follow on training to be a real operator, so they play soldier against whatever they can. This includes unarmed dudes.

        You’re seriously telling me there wasn’t an alternative that was safer for both the cops and citizens than kicking down their door? Like if you need that much force you are perceiving a serious threat. If you have a threat that deadly, would you not look at an alternative method to take them down than kicking in the door?

        In Afghanistan if we thought a threat was armed up or had IED materials in his home, we didn’t go full Rambo and kick in his door, and risk taking a burst of AK fire or getting blown up if we didn’t have to. It was a much easier and safer solution to just wait him out. Put a surveillance team on him and wait for him to go to the market and grab him there. One time the guy knew we were waiting him out and he just walked out with his hands up.

        The thing is though these cops knew there was no danger, I highly doubt they would kick in the door if they thought the people they were busting justified the use of the amount of force pictured. Nope they wanted to play Operator and some died for it.

        • The thing is though these cops knew there was no danger, I highly doubt they would kick in the door if they thought the people they were busting justified the use of the amount of force pictured.

          I’ve noticed that when they think the threat is real, they lock down the neighborhood and surround the house. When the go right to the door kick for a warrant that they could execute anytime, I don’t believe that they expect any real resistance.

      • Why do you dislike someone just because they consume something? Do you hold the same animosity towards drunks, tobacco smokers, snuff chewers, oxycontin poppers, etc.?

    • Yeah, a person must be high to think murder (or manslaughter) is a crime even if you are a cop.

    • Are you still worried about “cocainized negros raping white women and not going down when shot with a .38”, buddy?

      (For those curious, that’s how American newspapers have painted the issue 80 years ago, and is where all this War on Drugs stuff ultimately stems from.)

  22. Neiowa it would break my heart if you had a swat team come by your house and violate your rights. After all, it is not big deal right?

  23. Since when is a criminal lifestyle 100% safe? Being a drug dealer comes with risk, if he had been killed by another dealer or a “customer” we wouldn’t even be hearing about this. He didn’t want to be a 9-5 drone like the rest of us, fine, but I’m not going to feel bad for him. What are the odds a swat team would have shot him in the face if his vocation of choice had been say… telemarketer?

    • Note how the drug warrior scumbag goes into hypothetical statistical analysis when factual reality is that he was unarmed and murdered by the cops.

      Also note how the allegation of drug dealing has never been proven in a court of law, ergo, it is hearsay passed on by police to justify their crime.

      • Note how the drug addict degenerate immediately goes for the personal attack rather than admitting that a criminal lifestyle is in fact no guarantee of safety from a violent death, regardless of who put the bullet in said criminal.

        • Implying cops haven’t murdered people with absolutely no criminal background whatsoever. Oh wait, they do. All the time. So much for a clean lifestyle being a guarantee of safety.

          Despite what you believe, the drug war doesn’t proscribe the death penalty for dealing marijuana.

          It’s funny how you accuse others of personal attacks when your entire argument involves citing drug dealing as a “bad thing”. Because it’s a “criminal lifestyle”, as dictated by the government. Therefore it must be bad. Spoken like a good little slave.

    • Glad you found a way to justify this murder. So when the ATF comes for your guns, you’ll just hand them over or risk getting shot in the face?

      • It’s not even like they give you a choice first. The first you know that you’re being SWAT’ed, there’s a flashbang thrown through the gaping hole where your front door has been blown off (or if you’re really unlucky, through a hole in the wall of your house if they use a ram).

    • Given your comments about his likelihood of being killed by a customer or a rival drug dealer, I’m gonna assume your knowledge of drugs comes from idiotic, blatantly lying, fear mongering bullshit like Reefer Madness. Potheads are notorious for the exact OPPOSITE of being violent, and the violence in the drug trade is basically never about weed. It’s about much harder drugs, like heroine or meth. Also, saying he’s a degenerate criminal who deserves to die? Jesus, you’re a terrible person, and an idiot. Tell me, why is selling pot immoral? Pot is not a particularly dangerous drug, and either way, this guy’s customers are purchasing a product for their own use. What is immoral about that?

      Oh, and if you want to tell me that pot is bad and therefore this guy deserved to be murdered for selling it, well, I’d like to point out that cigarettes and freely available at pretty much every gas station in this country. In fact, I bought some for myself today, and nicotine is FAR worse than THC.

      • …or go by the pseudonym DickDanger, which just might make a SWATter think you’re a dangerous…, well, you know. And that would probably be enough to get you shot in the face by some “operators”.

        • Or live at an address that, if misspelled by a letter or two, could be a drug dealer’s address.

    • Moral of the story: don’t deal drugs.

      Yeah, screw due process and equal protection under the law. Summary execution without arrest or trial is A-OK for small-fry pot dealers.

  24. Typical. They say the right things, until a video surfaces which shows the statement was totally wrong, then they backtrack and say they made a mistake or mis-spoke That’s standard cop operating procedure.
    It’s total bull-shit to shoot an unarmed person. It was a mistake. A cop had is finger on a trigger and squeezed one off accidentally. They all know the standard line of crap to say. “I felt threatened, I thought he had a gun, He was resisting”

  25. I specifically designed my house to protect my family against armed and roided out thugs breaking in and shooting somebody. And to deter criminals.

    But in all seriousness, with it taking so little now days to get the SWAT team at your house, wrong addresses, or being SWATted. AND I live near a border town with there being a good number of armed break-ins, it was a design consideration. Reinforced doors entering the house. Long straight hallway to the bedrooms. Tall, but very narrow width windows, so that most people can’t fit through them. A very poor decision to enter the house and attempt to get to my family.

    • ” Tall, but very narrow width windows, so that most people can’t fit through them.”

      Also sounds like nearly impossible to escape from if there was a fire.

      • old combat infintry axiom:
        “if your defensive position is so good the enemy cannot get in, you cannot get out.”

        • Sounds like the Maginot Line in France. The Germans couldnt get in and the French couldnt get out. To remedy this the Nazis poured gas into the vent pipes and the french soldiers died either from the fire or lack of oxygen.

  26. I think that BAC and drug tests should be mandatory for the entire SWAT Team after EVERY SWAT-involved shooting. And the results made public record, just like for a traffic stop. Roided up and running on a nap after a night of boozing and partying? Nowhere to hide now – even the union couldn’t explain results like that.

    That could be Holder’s parting gift to America. Especially in light of the NIJ’s Freguson PD Report. LITERALLY for the children…

    • Would you be happy if they killed other drug dealers like the operators of alcohol stores, tobacco shops or pharmacies?

      • Blain, I’m glad to see other people that are disgusted when a man who is not even suspected of harming another person is killed in his own home by agents of the government that we pay for.

      • Why blain, you mad bro? Was it your boyfriend the deputy killed? My condolences, just tell me where to send flowers.

        • Almost got it. Civil rights and due process are very special to me. 🙂

          You can send flowers to the graves of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, because d-bags like you helped kill the Constitution.

      • You crying about it as well Grindstone? I think you’re just going to have to get over it. He was a shithead, the world is a better place.

        • Cops regularly fail to read the address on the warrant and invade the wrong house. The first to get shot is the family pet and then one of the family members. Do you want gun happy shitheads like these guys breaking into your home?