1 year, 10 months ago
Pasco SWAT team members on Tuesday broke down the door and searched an older couple’s home for their grandson. They searched for hours for Aaron Vineyard and the guns and stolen goods he allegedly was keeping, but didn’t find him or his loot in the home.
Carl Stark, 71, and his wife Juanita, 73, said they are furious that SWAT members broke into their house at 9808 Sholtz St., and shouted orders at them to get on the ground, breaking several decorations and a window in the process. They said their grandson, Vineyard, 36, lives in a trailer next door at 9812 Sholtz St., and they rarely see or speak to him.
At a news conference on Friday, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said he stands behind his deputies’ actions. Before the Tuesday night SWAT raid, he said, investigators were working with an informant to bring down a 12-man crime ring of which they believe Vineyard is a member.
Nocco said his men weren’t taking chances when they decided to search the home Tuesday night. The SWAT team got the house they meant to, he said.
“I have no regrets in the operation that was performed,” Nocco said. “The fact that we put safety first, we’re not going to apologize for that.”
[ ... ]
Sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin said SWAT members’ actions “ensured the safety of all of those inside the house and deputies executing the search warrant.”
Safety first. Whose safety? The safety of his officers. In fact, the spokesman is lying. This wasn’t safe for anyone. No one benefited from these tactics, no one was caught, no evidence was flushed down the toilet, the police don’t know that the parents were connected in any way to the son’s activities regardless of what they say, and a lot of home wares were broken.
The better approach would have been to position detectives to find out when the son left his home, arrest him out in the open daylight, and execute a search warrant on the parent’s home by uniformed officers. The fact that a SWAT team was used to do this is a testimony to stupidity and thuggery.
Moving West, the following home invasion has some instructive value for us.
Ten armed men stormed into a home early Sunday morning demanding money and drugs.
The home invasion happened at a home in Edinburg around 1:30 a.m.
According to Edinburg Police, the gunmen demanded money and drugs.
An eyewitness told Action 4 News that the suspects were dressed in black shirts that said “S.W.A.T.” on the front.
This is a continuation of what we have observed before. Home invasions are increasingly being perpetrated by multi-man teams. Furthermore, they are frequently impersonating police officers.
Listen, LEOs (Ahem, I know you like to be called operators, but you’re not really operators. My son was an operator when he engaged in combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq.). I have no idea who you are when banging starts on my front door in the middle of the night. That’s one reason I have guns. Even if you dress and act like law enforcement, I cannot trust that because you might be a multi-man team impersonating law enforcement.
Do you see why I must return fire? Do you understand that if you ever do this to my home you will enter to a hail of bullets that your Kevlar won’t stop? Do you understand why it isn’t safe for you or me to conduct such stupid operations? Do you understand why you should see yourself as a peace officer and use detective work instead of this kind of thuggery to enforce the law? Do you understand that I cannot simply lay prostrate and allow anyone to do anything in my home because you have guns? It is my duty to protect my family. Do you understand that the safest approach is for you to return to being peace officers and leave room clearing in my home to me?
Do you understand?
UPDATE #2: Want an example of the attitude I’m talking about? Take a look at Law’s comment on this article. Near the end of the comment thread.