4 months, 1 week ago
From The Salt Lake Tribune:
Eric Hill woke at 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 20 to his scared daughter telling him she had heard knocking near her closet.
Hill thought the 10-year-old was hearing things, but then came the banging on the front door of his Ogden home.
He went from his basement bedroom to the front door and asked who was there.
Hill said he finally armed himself with a baseball bat and asked again who was there.
“Ogden Police,” a voice called out from outside the home, located in the 1000 block of Harrop Street.
“At that point, I didn’t believe it,” Hill said. “It took them so long to respond to me.”
But Hill opened his front door and was met with six men who he said were dressed in black, with no police identifiers that he saw. Three had assault rifles, Hill said; two were carrying tactical shotguns.
The men pointed their guns at Hill and told him to drop the bat and come outside.
“They just automatically placed me in handcuffs,” Hill said. “I [told] them my name, and they [kept] telling me my name is Derek.”
Hill said the officers told them that a felony arrest warrant was being served because he had gone AWOL from the military. But Hill, 28, had never been in the military.
The man police were looking for was a 23-year-old whom officers found a couple of hours later, according to arrest records. Second District Court records show the man has been charged with desertion.
While Hill was upstairs trying to reason with the officers that he was who he said he was, Melanie Hill, his wife, said she was in their basement bedroom with their two children, ages 4 and 10, trying to make out what the voices were saying upstairs.
She said she grabbed her phone to dial 911, thinking the voices were that of a distraught neighbor. But when she went to the stairwell, she was met with a man holding an assault rifle.
“I thought we were getting robbed,” she said. “I had no idea who the person on the stairs was.”
Melanie Hill said she was told to go downstairs and grab her husband’s wallet so he could prove his identification. She said her children followed her up the stairs and were terrified to see armed strangers in their home.
Here is where the report really gets good. Pay close attention to what the police didn’t say … and said.
Melanie Hill said one of the officers made a comment about her husband coming to the door with a bat, saying that had it been a gun, the officers would have “blown you away.”
Ogden police Lt. Will Cragun said officers initially thought Eric Hill matched the description of the man for whom they were looking. He said once the officers verified Eric Hill’s identity, they released him and apologized for the error.
“These things are going to happen on occasion,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for Mr. Hill. His response [in holding a bat], I totally get. He has the right to protect his family. I would hope [the officers] are professional.”
Cragun said instances of mistaken identity are not common, but do happen. He said that the officers who went to the home were patrol officers working the night shift and would have been dressed in a patrol uniform, which includes a navy blue shirt with police patches, and tan pants.
Eric Hill said he received a phone call from police Chief Mike Ashment several days ago, explaining that the warrant was served at his house because it was the last known address of the man facing the arrest warrant.
No muzzle discipline. In our world, if one of us does that, we get charged with assault with a deadly weapon (which includes the threat of use) and brandishing a weapon to the terror of the public. If the police do that, they get to brag about blowing people away. They get the support of the judges, who are on their side. Thus do poor people like Eurie Stamps perish at the hands of idiots in homes holding rifles pointed at people.
But to rehearse a bit, here is the impeccable and tightly woven logic of the evening. The syllogism goes something like this. The person whom we are after at one time lived in a specific location. We have never met this person and don’t know him to be a threat of any kind. Therefore, since people never move and always live at the same address their entire lives, and since people are known to go crazy if you talk calmly to them, we will send in an armed team in the middle of the night to point rifles at the people in this home, who must be our target because, after all, people never move.
There you have it. Wonderful, isn’t it?
These officers are morons. As I have said a hundred times, this is the time for calm detective work and uniformed officers knocking at the door in the middle of the day, asking for a conversation. If you want to play Soldier-boy or Marine and get into “stacks” and do room clearing and CQB, join up, get the training, fly across the pond, and do it for real. Otherwise, you’re just cowards.
As for “blowing people away” who are attempting to defend their loved ones from an unknown threat, I hope that if any of them ever cause an innocent victim to perish, the officers sees the face of that victim every night before going to sleep. I hope the memory of that victim haunts that officer’s existence, and I hope he lives with the shame of having shot an innocent man to death the rest of his life. And I hope his wife and children feel and have to live with that shame.