Archive for the 'Police' Category



Grand Jury Recommends No Charges In Georgia Police Raid That Severely Injured Toddler

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

WSB-TV:

HABERSHAM COUNTY — A grand jury recommends no criminal charges in the Habersham County SWAT raid that critically injured a toddler.

Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as “Baby Boo Boo,” spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team’s flash grenade exploded near his face. The toddler was just 19-months-old and asleep in the early morning hours of May 28. SWAT officers threw the device into his home while executing a search warrant for a drug suspect.

In their 15-page presentment, the grand jury found no cause for criminal charges against the any deputies involved in the botched SWAT raid. but they had plenty to say about the investigation.

The jury called it “sloppy and hurried” and “not in accordance with best practices.” The grand jury said while they want law enforcement to pursue drug dealers “the zeal to hold them accountable must not override cautious and patient judgment.”

They went on to say “there should be no such thing as an emergency drug investigation.”

A sheriff’s task force said they had a witness to drug sales at the home and expected to find a known drug dealer inside. They obtained a no-knock warrant. Instead, they encountered the child and his parents sleeping just beyond this door.

To that point, the grand jury recommended “that every effort should be made in determining presence of children.”

“What stood out to me is how hard they worked and struggled,” said District Attorney Brian Rickman.

Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh asked Rickman, “A lot of people have said throughout this that if a flash bang, a grenade, exploded inside a child’s crib, something went wrong. A lot of people were hoping that someone would be held accountable.”

They wanted someone to be held accountable, they just didn’t want to be the ones to do it.  So here is the summary.  In Georgia, and perhaps in many states around the nation, cops can go into a man’s castle on sloppy police work (rather than spend their time chasing MS13 and other gang activity), throw a grenade behind a door they hadn’t breached so without knowledge of who or what was on the other side, injure a toddler for life (sentencing him to multiple painful surgeries and recoveries), and get off without so much as a slap on the wrist.

And this, from a jury of people who could suffer the same fate tomorrow at the hands of the police.  Welcome to Amerika!

Related: Man Who Defends His Life In No-Knock Raid Now Faces Death Penalty

Okra In Garden Mistaken For Marijuana Leads To Police Raid In Georgia

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Times-Picayune:

A Georgia man says drug suppression officers mistook his okra plants for marijuana.

Dwayne Perry of Cartersville tells WSB-TV that he was awakened by a helicopter flying low over his house Wednesday and then some heavily-armed deputies and a K-9 unit showed up at his door. They were from the Governor’s Task Force for drug suppression and they were out looking for marijuana plants.

What they had seen, apparently, were Perry’s okra plants and a shrub at the end of his house.

Perry says the officers ended up apologizing to him.

Cops think they’re doing something good for society, as some sort of heroes, by spending resources (helicopter pilot time, aircraft fuel, wages and benefits for the officers, etc.) hunting for a plant.  In the mean time, MS13 continues to cross the border unmolested, black gangs are roaming Atlanta, and real crime goes unnoticed.

Your tax dollars at work.

Denver Police Department “Knock And Talk”

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

News from Denver, Colorado:

Denver is about to pay up again after a confrontation between civilians and police. This time, it’s a wrongful prosecution case.

A jury awarded a family $1.8 million Friday evening for a mistaken raid on their home back in 2009. While 9NEWS awaits the officers’ account of what happened, the family involved is speaking out about the events of that night.

Jan. 27 is a date Daniel Martinez, Jr. and his family have been reliving for five years. Martinez’s son, Daniel Martinez III, says at around 11 p.m., four Denver Police officers came pounding on their front door.

“They pushed through the door and pushed my dad against the wall. Then I saw them grab my little brother and saw them slam his head through the window. I screamed, ‘you can’t do that. You can’t do that, he’s a minor,’” Martinez said. “Then, they put me in a chokehold, had taken me outside, body-slammed me onto the concrete, put a knee in my back and handcuffed me right there.”

The family’s attorney, Kathryn Stimson, says that night DPD was conducting what law enforcement refers to as a “Knock and Talk.”

She says they were following up on a tip they received that two felons were selling drugs and running a brothel inside of a home located in the 1200 block of Stuart Street. Stimson said those tenants had moved out over a month before. About two weeks later, the Martinez family moved in.

Martinez says when the officers broke into his house, he was confused and afraid for his kids.

“I felt helpless, helpless and confused, scared. I didn’t know what was happening,” Martinez said.

Martinez was later charged with resisting arrest. His sons were charged with assaulting an officer. In 2010, all of them had either been acquitted or had their charges dropped. Stimson says that is when the family filed the lawsuit.

After being awarded the $1.8 million, Martinez says he’s glad that justice has been served, but still worries for his family.

“I’m constantly looking out the window, I’m still in fear,” Martinez said. ” I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Stimson says the jury upheld the claims of wrongful prosecution against the officers but not the claim of excessive force.

So let me get this straight.  A “knock and talk” is where cops come and bust in your door and beat the hell out of the occupants of the home, and you have to fight it all in court, and you have the community ignore your bruises, and then the community has to turn around and pay for what the cops did while the cops go unmolested and without responsibility or accountability, as if it was all some sort of obscene, bizarre, reality-horror show that costs obscene amounts of money the community doesn’t really have?

Okay.  I think I’ve got it now.

Man Who Defends His Life In No-Knock Raid Now Faces Death Penalty

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Mint Press News:

On Friday, May 9, 2014, just after 5:30am in Killeen, Texas, Marvin Louis Guy was the target of a no knock raid.

The officers were looking for drugs, yet none were found in the home.  There was some questionable paraphernalia, but nothing indicative of drug dealing- or anything damning enough for a reasonable person to feel the need to take an officers life.

Unfortunately the danger of no-knock raids is real. just ask the parents of baby Bou or the family of Detective Dinwiddie.

Detective Dinwiddie was one of the SWAT officers who broke into Guy’s house on May 9th, based on a seemingly bogus informant tip off about drugs being dealt from the home.

Likely alarmed by the men climbing through his windows at 5:30 in the morning, Guy and his wife sought to protect themselves and their property and fired on the intruders- in self defense.

Dinwiddie, along with three other officers were shot while attempting to breach the windows to the home, according to the department’s press release.

“The TRU was beginning to breach the window when the 49 year old male inside, opened fire striking four officers.”

Since the shooting occurred during the break in, a reasonable person would assume they had not yet identified themselves as police officers.  How on earth is this not self defense?

Prosecutors are now seeking the death penalty against Guy. He is charged with capital murder in Dinwiddie’s death, as well as three counts of attempted capital murder for firing on the other officers during the shootout, injuring one other officer. Body armor protected others who were hit.

This announcement, given by the prosecutor in open court, comes one day after Governor Rick Perry presented  Dinwiddie’s family with the Star of Texas award.

Rick Perry apparently wants to chat-up the listening public over the Oklahoma beheadings, but he’s got a situation in his state where a man defended his castle and now has the prosecutors wanting to put him to death.  What does the governor have to say about that?

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep pressing on the issue.  My home is my castle, and I don’t care what judge has signed what piece of paper.  If you come at my home, especially in the middle of the night, you’re going to get shot, cop or not.  I won’t differentiate because I cannot trust uniforms and announcements.  Criminal gangs have now taken to wearing uniforms and making announcements.

My home is my castle.  It doesn’t belong to you, and it doesn’t belong to the state.  If you are law enforcement and want to come in my home, call and make an appointment.  Got it?  If that isn’t good enough for you, if you think there is evidence of something or other you want to see, then put good detectives on the job (like you did at one time in history), watch for me to leave, detain me, and then take me back to the home and let me use my key to the front door.  Or get a locksmith.  In other words, use your brains to gather evidence.  Otherwise, I don’t care if you lose that evidence.  I only care about my safety, and the safety of victims like Mr. Guy.

I hope the grand jury levels charges at the prosecutors for the evil they are about to perpetrate rather than Mr. Guy.  Holding police, evil prosecutors and evil judges accountable by whatever means necessary seems to be the only way to handle this overreach in authority and force.

Cops Wearing Cameras

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

It’s in the news, cops wearing cameras.  A recent Washington Post editorial presses the issue with D.C., and even the New York Times has jumped into the fray.

Color me skeptical.  If cops want cameras in order to protect themselves, I couldn’t care less.  If the video will be live-streamed to a third party and controlled separate from the police, I’m all for it.  This is especially true of SWAT raids, in which the cops may not wear the cameras because of some bogus claim to OPSEC or for the safety of the officers.  In other words, it needs to follow certain rules like wearing cameras all of the time, third party control, and mandatory release of the information.

This follows what reader Ned Weatherby calls Herschel’s Law.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis: Gun Confiscations Will Cause Civil War

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 4 weeks ago

DelmarvaNow:

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis’ views about how to enforce the stringent gun laws Maryland passed last year have gone viral.

In a video and print interview with a student journalist, published to YouTube on Aug. 21, Lewis says he’s no fan of government intervention in limiting the constitutionally-protected right to possess firearms.

“As long as I’m the sheriff in this county,” he says in the video, “I will not allow the federal government to come in here and strip my citizens of their right to bear arms. I can tell you this, if they attempt to do that, it would be an all-out civil war, no question about it.”

In another video on YouTube, from Delaware television station WRDE, Lewis offered a clearer critique of Maryland’s latest gun control law, the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, which was passed in the wake of the December 2012 massacre of elementary school students in Newtown, Conn.

“Who am I to tell them what they should or should not protect their families with?” Lewis asked on WRDE. “Who am I to tell them they shouldn’t have a magazine with 30 rounds behind the door when some thug is trying to break into their home? … If you start coming into people’s homes to disarm them solely because you believe they don’t have a Second Amendment right to bear arms, you better stand by. It will be, without a doubt, a civil war.”

The number of Sheriff’s deputies any county has cannot possibly wage civil war on anybody else.  As for everyone else (i.e., gun owners), that’s a different story.  And yes, gun confiscations will cause civil war.

I think the Sheriff gets it.  All county Sheriffs are advised to take a lesson from Sheriff Lewis.  It may save you and your deputies from heartache in the future.

 ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ.

Chicago Police Raid Settled Out Of Court

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Chicago Tribune:

The city of Chicago is expected to pay $150,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a woman who accused police of hitting, threatening and berating her during a July 2013 raid at a North Side tanning salon.

Jianqing Klyzek sued 10 Chicago police officers in May, and the city decided to quickly settle the case in light of video that included “comments from police that we believe could inflame a jury” and lead to a considerably larger judgment, said Leslie Darling, first deputy corporation counsel for the city Law Department.

Police raided Copper Tan and Spa in the Noble Square neighborhood after an undercover officer working as part of a vice squad was allegedly offered sex for money. Video surveillance footage from inside the business showed Klyzek on her knees and handcuffed within seconds of the officers entering. The footage showed an officer standing behind the petite woman slapping her in the head while another threatened to hit her with a Taser “10 f—ing times.”

Another officer then got in her face and began to shout at her, according to the video. “You’re not a f—— American,” the officer yelled at Klyzek, according to the video. “I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from!”

Police officers can be seen on the video searching for the surveillance tape, but they were unsuccessful because it was recorded off-site, according to the federal lawsuit Klyzek filed accusing the Chicago Police Department and the officers of brutality and a hate crime.

One of the officers who took part in the raid, Frank Messina, was relieved of his police powers in May when the surveillance video that came to light allegedly showed him striking Klyzek. Messina remains on desk duty as the Independent Police Review Authority continues to look into the incident, according to police spokesman Martin Maloney.

The City Council Finance Committee endorsed settling the lawsuit. The panel also recommended approval of a $1.25 million settlement with the family of Jamaal Moore, who was fatally shot by police in 2012. An officer shot Moore after police chased a vehicle in which the 23-year-old was a passenger, suspecting that the occupants of the vehicle had just committed an armed robbery.

When the vehicle crashed and Moore got out, a squad car struck and dragged him on wet pavement as he tried to get away, Darling told aldermen.

Nice guys.  It’s ironic that police will threaten Asians with deportation (even when they are legal) and yet leave Hispanics and Latinos alone.  In any case, a peace officer can only fight – with hands or weapons – when life or health are at risk.  It’s doubtful that this cop can prove those conditions, even if he stipulated to the requirements (which is doubtful).  And no one needs to be hit with a Taser ten times.  This is the behavior of uneducated, knuckle dragging thugs.

Remember boys and girls.  “To protect and serve.”  I’ll bet they thought a jury would have become “inflamed.”  I wish the victim would have pressed the issue into court.

U.S. Court Will Not Block Lawsuit Over Connecticut SWAT Raid

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

Reuters:

A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that Connecticut police cannot claim immunity to quash lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from a botched 2008 raid by a SWAT team that severely injured a homeowner and killed his friend.

The decision by the U.S. 2nd Court of Appeals in New York clears the way for a judge to decide whether five suburban Connecticut police departments violated the constitutional rights of homeowner Ronald Terebesi by using excessive force.

On May 18, 2008, a heavily armed SWAT – or special weapons and tactics – team unit knocked down Terebesi’s door, threw stun flash grenades into his Easton home and fatally shot 33-year-old Gonzalo Guizan of Norfolk as the two men watched television.

Guizan, who was visiting the home, died after being shot a half dozen times.

“The court ruling here is going to be relied upon in other courts throughout the country,” Gary Mastronardi, a Bridgeport attorney who represents Terebesi, said on Tuesday. “They set up the parameters that define the extent to which qualified immunity can be asserted by police in SWAT cases.”

In a 51-page ruling that upholds a lower court decision, the appeals court said the police responded with unnecessary and inappropriate force and under the circumstances, are not protected by “qualified immunity” from the lawsuits.

Good.  Like I’ve said before.  If you are the police and you want to come into my home, call and make an appointment.  Otherwise, you may get shot.

This is the way it should be.  Engineers don’t get immunity when bridges collapse or systems malfunction, and doctors don’t get immunity when they leave surgical instruments inside of your body.

I hate incompetence.  I truly do.  And the incompetence in many SWAT teams we see today (piss poor rules for the use of force, no trigger discipline, no muzzle discipline, wrong addresses, etc.) is compounded by the indifference of police to the rights of citizens, as if no one has the latitude to press the issue of safety except law enforcement (for their own safety rather than yours).

One can only hope this ruling is used as precedent across America.  Now, if we could only get what reader Ned Weatherby calls Herschel’s law passed across these United States?

Assessment Of Ferguson: Misrepresenting The Liberty Movement

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

Reading the comments to this post by Mike Vanderboegh has persuaded me to weigh in on Ferguson and the liberty movement.  It had to happen.  The liberty movement – at least for some – sees a common enemy, the police state, and is allying itself with crooks and liars.  This is to be avoided since it does nothing except harm the movement.

Let’s begin by divorcing the person of the LEO who is the subject of the goings-on in Ferguson.  He has as much right to self defense as anyone else, and had someone tried to beat the shit out me of I wouldn’t have waited until the perpetrator was going after my weapon.  It would have been 230 grain fat boys to the belly until the magazine was empty – and then reload and do it again.  I suspect that the LEO was shooting 9mm, which is why it took six rounds to put him down (wound track is everything).

Furthermore, the perpetrator in question was apparently walking in a traffic lane, which is a crime.  I don’t do that, and no one I know does that.  The cop had a right to tell the perpetrator to get out of the traffic lane and arrest him if he doesn’t.  As for whether the shooting was justified (i.e., it was in self defense), the facts will have to bear that out.  I cannot and will not comment on that.  But the point is that this isn’t unlike a thousand such incidents that occurs every day in America.  There is nothing special about Ferguson.

Now on to the main issue.  Militarization of the police is a bad thing, always, under any circumstances, and especially when it comes to invasion of homes.  Any serious reader can study my tag on SWAT and see my views.  I couldn’t care less if it is a black man in suburbia Chicago dealing drugs or me in my home writing on my web site.  A man’s home is his castle, and he deserves for it to be so.  My history is clear on this.  Find another way to do evidence collection.  If the police want to come into my home, they should call and make an appointment.

As for the militarization of police in Missouri, they shouldn’t have all of that gear.  It’s wasteful, expensive and sends the wrong message – to the LEOs themselves.  As long as they want to dress up and play soldier-boy, the damage is minimal.  If they want to enforce the law that way, I object.  And don’t carry around a patrol rifle unless I can carry one too.  But what I really object to is home invasions, and the best of my knowledge, that has not happened in the context of Ferguson.

In any case, I think it’s a sad commentary on the police that they appear the way they do.  But that fact doesn’t in the least cause me to side with crooks, liars, looters, criminals, ne’er-do-wells, and other maladjusted folk.

I have for a very long time taken the position – at work and at home – that I don’t fill in the gaps for people.  If you work too hard to repair the bad decisions by management at work, they never learn from their mistakes.  If you undo the consequences of every bad decision your child makes, he never learns.  Like it or not, in God’s economy, consequences is the premier teacher.  Blocking consequences is the same thing as hating your child.  Don’t do it.

My position on Ferguson is that the police should back away.  If the criminals want to tear up the gas stations, grocery stores, roads, sewage and water supply systems, then so be it.  Let them do it.  They will learn from the consequences of said actions when no more groceries can be obtained, no automobile gasoline is available, and they have no power for their air conditioners, heaters and televisions.  We owe them nothing.

There are no good guys in Ferguson.  The liberty movement doesn’t have to side with anyone in order to maintain the position that criminals should be prosecuted and the police shouldn’t be militarized.  It’s possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.  Aligning with the criminals is a bad move not only from the perspective of optics, but also from the perspective of morals.  I am not a criminal, and I have no sympathy for criminals.

Liberty is not equivalent to lawlessness and anarchy, and if you think so then you don’t understand liberty.  In fact, you don’t understand much.  Battlefield USA discusses warts in the liberty movement.

I support your liberty, just like I support your liberty to house just enough explosives in your own home to blow it and yourself up… not mine, nor the whole neighborhood. You might be the most responsible super-duper explosives handler bar none… but give every idiot the “liberty” to store enough explosives in their home to blow up the neighborhood is just plain stupidity.

There is a reason why the military has hardened weapons bunkers. There was a reason why the colonials had store/arms rooms for their cannons and black powder.

And on and on… There are too many in the “liberty” movement who can not reason, can not logic, who don’t understand that with liberty, comes responsibility.

Just like I told my new neighbor a few years ago. He has every right to party. He has every right to listen to his music… he has no RIGHT to blast his music in my ear and off my windows and walls that my damn windows and walls literally shake and vibrate. I asked him if it was okay if I threw rocks at his ears, windows, and walls… and why not. He GOT THE POINT and apologized.

I’m not the sharpest cookie on the block. I have my faults… but ya know, there are really some dumb fucks in the liberty movement that think liberty is all about them. It’s all about the… individual… and by individual, they mean… all about them.

I have a responsibility to not endanger your life. I don’t drive drunk. I don’t go outside and go all Rambo with my firearm. I don’t drive down the street like a maniac at 120 mph. I don’t house enough black powder to blow up the whole frikkin block… or my own house.

I have as much as a responsibility for you and yours as you do for me and mine.

When you are out there doing your liberty thing… keep that in mind.

Otherwise, you’re just a savage. Which is an excuse for license.

Ferguson is the hive’s chickens coming home to roost.  It is the collectivist’s nightmare.  A class of people who have had the family destroyed for generations, been taught that we owe them something for generations, and think they can break the law with impunity, are at odds with the police and other authorities, while the police and other authorities are under criticism for using the very tactics on this entitled class that the collectivists set them to to use, because they want to fill in the gap and prevent the effects of consequences (I think Mike Vanderboegh pointed out something like that with his clever title).  We should all stand back and say to the collectivists, “Look upon what thou hast created.  Are you proud?”

Nightmare.  And it’s just beginning.  Ferguson is a microcosm of Chicago, LA, Houston, New York, and Atlanta.  It’s all unraveling for them.  Your job is to be prepared, not to side with any of them.  This is their nightmare.  Let them live it alone.  Let Ferguson burn.  Don’t fill in the gaps for them.  Don’t side with criminals or militarized police.  Let it all collapse, you have no friends in the fight.

Police Tags:

Police Departments Weigh In On The Use Of Military Gear

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

LA Times:

The department has posted the list, complete with pictures, on its SPD Blotter website. It includes floatation vests and binoculars, signage and gloves, pistol holders, a radiation detector and rifle sights “used by the approximately 130 officers who have passed the department’s rifle-certification program.”

“We have equipment that we feel is necessary for a city of our size,” Whitcomb told The Times. “The equipment we have serves a police purpose. Our No. 1 priorities are protecting people’s lives and looking after their well-being. Our second most important is looking after possessions and property.

“The gear that our department employees use … is primarily defensive in nature,” Whitcomb said. “Our equipment is police specific. We don’t have any military weaponry. The weapons we do own are specific to our profession. … No rockets, no predator drones, no cannons, no tanks.”

The department’s SWAT team does use a BearCat – an armored truck for situations where there may be gunfire, Whitcomb said, but such a vehicle is standard operating procedure for modern police departments.

“It’s used to get our personnel in and out safely, so we can rescue people and evacuate if necessary,” Whitcomb said. “You cannot do that in a sedan. Though we have put some armored plating on the doors in our cars. We also have purchased ballistic shields. It all goes back to the problem of gun violence in our country. … But ultimately we are a police service. We are not the military.”

This is a red herring.  Only seven percent of all SWAT deployments are for hostage, barricades or active shooter situations.

So here’s the deal.  To the Seattle Police Department, you are liars.  I don’t believe you since you invoked a rarely used justification for having SWAT.

What you really want to do is use SWAT to save evidence by busting in doors and invading homes.  Frankly, I don’t give a damn about your evidence collection.  Find another way, including the old fashioned use of detective work.  Or in other words, be thinking men and women rather than knuckle draggers.

You promise me that you’ll never use SWAT in incidents unless it involves hostages or active shooters, and I’ll take back my charge that you’re liars.

Any takers among the PDs who read these pages?  I’m waiting.

And by the way, that picture of the police “sniper” shows it to be absolutely the goofiest setup on a rifle I’ve ever seen.  I certainly wouldn’t use that setup.  You can read more here if you wish.  I’m just not interested enough to elucidate the details for you.  Readers may wish to weigh in.  And I wonder how the U.S. Marine Corps feels about this jerk wearing MARPAT?


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