1 year, 6 months ago
We’ve documented and assessed the various SWAT raid failures, from the case of Jose Guerena (shot to death in a demonstration of utter tactical incompetence by the police), to the Department of Education SWAT raid on Kenneth Wright, to the sad case of Mr. Eurie Stamps, a case of mistaken identity, and who was shot to death lying prone because an officer who had no trigger discipline fired his weapon as he tripped due to sympathetic muscle reflexes. We’ve also seen how these ridiculous military tactics perpetrated on American citizens are dangerous for the police.
And as we’ve seen from fast and furious with the gun walking illegalities, somehow the ATF has “gotten off of the chain,” as it were. As if on cue so as not to be excluded from the party, the ATF reminds us how detestable they can be with their own SWAT raid bullying.
GREELEY, Colo. – A Colorado woman has filed a lawsuit after agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ATF, entered her home without a warrant and threatened her and her 8-year old-son while looking for a previous tenant who had left the address more than a year earlier.
According to the filing from Linda Griego, it was on June 15, 2010, when officers with the ATF – as part of the Regional Anti-Gang Enforcement Task Force – violently entered her home without a warrant, handcuffed and pointed guns at her and her son, Colby Frias.
“They had multiple machine pistols pointed at my son. I could see the laser sights on his body and he began to freak out. While I was cuffed I had to calm him down while the officers broke down his bedroom door,” she said.
Her legal action is against the Greeley Police Department and the ATF for illegally entering the home without a warrant.
David Lane, Griego’s attorney, told WND that to this day the agency still has not produced a warrant authorizing it to enter her home. He said Frias continues to suffer nightmares about the events of that day.
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In the months following the incident, Frias was so scared he had to sleep with his mother.
“Here he is an 8-year-old boy, and he is sleeping with mom again,” she said.
In the months prior to the incident, local authorities had been to Griego’s house several times looking for Angela Hernandez-Nicholson, a former resident.
Each time, Griego told authorities she was no longer living at the address and even provided them with information on how to locate Nicholson.
“I tell them to contact social services because she is getting government benefits. She is on Section 8 housing, if the state is paying her rent, they should be able to find her,” Griego said. “I have even seen her at Wal-Mart all the time. How hard can it be for authorities to track this woman down?”
Griego said when the officers arrived on the day of the incident around 6:30 a.m. she was in the shower getting ready for work with the radio on while her son was sleeping in his bedroom. She had just come out of a nasty divorce, and a restraining order was placed on her ex-husband.
“I heard the knocking and rushed out of the shower dressed only in a towel. I went to the window at the front and saw a man knocking on the door, but I could not make out who he was,” Griego said. “I then went around to the back where they were also knocking. My first concern was for the safety of my son, and what if my ex-husband and friends had come by.”
She then saw one of the officers turn, and she made out part of the word SWAT on the back of his uniform.
“At that point I realized everything would be OK, since we had done nothing wrong. I told the officers I had just come out of the shower and to give me a minute to get dressed.”
After getting dressed, Griego told them she was coming. Once she unlocked the door, the officer forced the door open, causing it to strike her.
According to Griego, she was then violently grabbed and yanked outside where she was pushed up against the house and handcuffed by authorities.
“They had weapons drawn and were pointing them at me. I begged them not to go in because my son was in there.”
When they dragged her back into the house, she saw the officers surrounding Frias with their laser sights pointed at him.
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“The last thing they told me was, ‘Well I hope you have a better day than you’ve had so far.’ And then they left,” he said.
Analysis & Commentary
Ms. Griego asks, “How hard can it be for authorities to track this woman down?” The answer, of course, is that it isn’t hard to track people down. It requires basic police work, and apprehension can be done safely and without ugly incidents such as this one. According to my friend, Captain Dickson Skipper of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, most apprehensions can be done physically, or with the really belligerent ones, using pepper spray. But military tactics have replaced basic police work in America, with the behavior of tacti-cool “operators” justified by judges looking the other way, as if all of this is necessary to maintain order and peace.
With certain very narrow exceptions (such as when a police officer believes that a perpetrator will commit a violent crime against someone), the Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee versus Garner means that the police can use their own weapons in self defense, but they cannot use deadly force as a means to arrest or detain. Basically, a police officer’s weapon carries no more legal standing than the weapon I carry on my own person, concealed or openly. Its purpose is self defense.
Yet when the legal system looks the other way and allows this sort of thing to happen with impunity, the lines become blurred and police officers get away with pointing weapons at children. The implications of this are staggering, from exhibiting poor muzzle discipline to brandishing weapons because they happen to be law enforcement officers. It is manifestly obvious that an eight year old child isn’t a threat, but tacti-cool operators conducting raids can’t be bothered with such trivialities.
There are those who feel differently. Having spent time in Fallujah clearing rooms with the U.S. Marines, my own son’s perspective is more peaceful than what he had to perpetrate on that city: “So, you want to be an operator? Good. Sign up, take the training, fly across the pond, and do it for real. If you are a police officer in the U.S., you should first and foremost see yourself as a peace officer.” When the public outcry is loud enough and law enforcement is held accountable for this kind of behavior, it will stop. Thus far the outrage simply doesn’t run deep enough – at least, until it happens to you.
UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link.