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ksl.com said:
Robbers break into Salt Lake City home and terrorize family

Click picture for video:

A man was beaten during a robbery. It happened around 4 a.m. The victim's wife said she didn't know who the robbers were.

She didn't want to go on camera, but she shared with Eyewitness News the scary details. She said her 8-year-old daughter awoke to screaming and witnessed her stepfather being beaten by two masked men.



"I'm scared for their safety," said Anthony Romero, the victim's son. "They just barely moved into the house. It's a nice house, nice area, nice people."

Anthony Romero said his family moved into the house near 1500 South and 1000 West two months ago. That has police wondering if the violent home invasion was a case of mistaken identity. Salt Lake City Police Detective Shawn Smart said, "There's a possibility that these people could have had the wrong house."

It was 4 o'clock in the morning. The family was asleep when two men dressed in black and wearing ski masks ripped the screen and broke through a basement window in the back of the house.



Romero, who was at another relative's home this morning, said the men went into his 10-year-old brother's room first. He said, "My little brother, they pointed a shotgun at him and said, ‘Where's your mom and dad?'"

Inside the master bedroom, the men yelled at Romero's mother and stepfather, demanding money and drugs.

The woman said the men wore what looked like police SWAT uniforms. She said they identified themselves as police officers and wore badges around their necks.

When the robbers didn't get what they wanted, the men put a pillowcase over her husband's head and beat him. "They just beat him up with a gun a couple of times, tried to choke him for some money. I don't know why," Romero said.

The men left with some cash and the victims' car keys. Police haven't been able to find them. Smart said, "Anybody that does this type of thing, they're dangerous."

The men wore masks, so police don't have a good description of the suspects. If you have any information, call Salt Lake City police at 799-3000.
So how are we supposed to know who's a LEO and who isn't when there is no warning and no warrant? If we shoot, we could be killed by the real LEOs. This is messed up.
 

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The men wore masks, so police don't have a good description of the suspects.
So if "We, the People," are unable to tell whom a terrorist is, haw can anyone? No knocks and masks worn by officers, regardless of expressed concerns by law enforcement, are an evil which ought to righteously be outlawed.
In this incident the perpetrators represented themselves to be "law enforcement" though their actions went way beyond what most officers would do. In a case like this these people would have been honestly justified, had an opportunity presented itself, to draw and fire as they were in fear of life and limb. So too would they have been justified had it been actual law enforcement at the "wrong" place.
If it is not possible to get a proper search warrant describing the person, place or things to be searched a no knock is definitely not the way to go. Biding one's time is probably much better as you can almost always wait for, or anticipate an exodus from a dwelling which would create a safer environment to take down a suspect with much better control and threat to the general public. It was unlawful searches which were performed by the British which caused warrants to be written into the constitution in order to protect us all. (Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights Article IV)
I am sure by this time we are all of the opinion that these trespassers/terrorists were not police. This being the case it is all the more imperative that the safety of all citizens be ensured by no violation of constitutional rights for service of no knocks, which do violate citizen rights.
During the debates preceding the establishment of the constitution it was mentioned, on more than one occasion, that the rights of the people were so solemn that the violation of one persons rights was tantamount to treason. For this cause we were protected. Unfortunately the judiciary seem to feel that this is not the case and in so thinking violate their oaths of office, as well as their responsibilty to the public, as do police, when no knocks are requested and granted.
For this I say shame on them!
 

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Wow... this IS crazy! I'm curious... are no-knocks legal in Utah and if so, are they fairly common???

I'm also curious... if someone busted into your home dressed as LEO and stating they are LEO, would you fight back regardless???

It seems to me that if LEO want to be able to do no-knocks they should be held accountable for any and all damage done to an innocent party upon entering and an innocent party within the home should be held blameless for their actions in response to the no-knock...
 

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IMO, no-knocks probably have their place. However, I think they also create a riskier situation. If they no-knocked my house, they had darn well better have me on the floor before I can get to my gun. There are too many criminals out there impersonating LEO. If anyone comes into my home uninvited, I am going straight for my gun as fast as possible, I don't care who they CLAIM to be. The cops had better pull off the no-knock cleanly. We saw that situation a few months ago in Minnesota where they did a no-knock on the wrong house and the homeowner shot 2 cops because he didn't know who they were. He did not break the law and did not recieve any type of punishment. No-knocks that come of cleanly save lives, but no-knocks that are screwed up cause major trouble.
 

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From my limited knowledge No-Knock Warrants are rare. The majority of warrants are to be announced and done between the day hours. Normally 6am to 10pm. Even if it is a no Knock warrant I believe the police will still announce once in side the residence. The no knock is just that they don't announce their presence outside and try to wait for the occupants to answer the door giving the suspects time to destroy evidence or get their gun's. Search warrants are held to judicial scrutiny (signed by a judge) and the judges I know say that the requesting officer had better have an extremely good reason for requesting a no knock.

Now the disclaimer. I am not a lawyer but just a humble law student who has taken some courses. I could be wrong and I am sure someone will let me know if i am.
 

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I think they are relatively rare. In my opinion, they should only be used when it is clear what will be encountered and that the no-knock is better than the alternative. Unfortunately, they are often allowed when the police don't know what they will encounter so they think a no-knock and the element of surprise will be better.

As a law-abiding citizen, I know for sure there is absolutely no reason why a no-knock would be served at my home. As such, I have no choice but to defend myself and my family from anyone that kicks my door in at night - I don't care if the guy's flashing a badge, has SWAT on his jacket, says he's a cop, and is smiling and wearing a CTR ring, if I feel threatened I will neutralize that threat in my home unless I'm 100% positive that it is a cop.
 

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apollosmith said:
...and is smiling and wearing a CTR ring...
Thats funny.

The other reason I wouldn't actively defend myself is if I thought by doing so, I would get killed. IN other words if 3 guys are pointing guns at me and I don't have my gun with me. I don't think I would put up much resistance. This is why I always keep my gun on me even at home.
 

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PW said:
The cops had better pull off the no-knock cleanly. We saw that situation a few months ago in Minnesota where they did a no-knock on the wrong house and the homeowner shot 2 cops because he didn't know who they were. He did not break the law and did not recieve any type of punishment.
Even worse are the cases where an innocent citizen is killed by police because they resist. You say they'd better get you on the floor before you get to your guns -- you realize that if they don't pull it off cleanly, YOU are almost certainly going to get shot. In the case you cite, the homeowner was tremendously lucky. According to the Cato Institute, no-knocks have killed 40 innocents in the last 20 years, and there are at least two people in prison for shooting cops in self-defense. Well, they claim self-defense. It's impossible to know for sure if they really knew the intruders were cops or not.

Oh and then there's the gang in LA, breaking into houses exactly like this SLC case. The kicker in the LA case is that the 15 criminals doing it really were LAPD. Their badges, etc., were all real. So even if there were a foolproof way to know if the intruders really are police, that's no guarantee of safety.

No-knocks are just a bad idea. They create a tremendously risky situation and they don't save lives. In fact, making the warrant execution safer isn't even the purpose of no-knock entry. The purpose of no-knock entry is to ensure that the BGs don't have time to dispose of evidence before the police come in to find it. They're a response to the problem that drugs are quite flushable. Drug dealers can easily have one person hold the police at the door for a couple of minutes, carefully verifying the search warrant, while someone else puts all the evidence down the toilet.

No-knock warrants are just one of the ways in which the War on Drugs has seriously eroded our civil rights. They're a bad idea, plain and simple. Bad for officer safety, bad for citizen safety.
 

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apollosmith said:
I think they are relatively rare.
There were over 50,000 of them in 2007. I'm not sure what percentage of all search warrant executions that is, but it's not small, and growing rapidly.

apollosmith said:
As a law-abiding citizen, I know for sure there is absolutely no reason why a no-knock would be served at my home.
No, you don't.

There have been several cases of no-knocks erroneously served because of a mistaken address, or bad information given by an informant. If someone comes crashing into your house in the middle of the night, it might very well be the police. The fact that you've done nothing wrong doesn't change this. If it is the police, and you shoot, they'll shoot back and more often than not, you'll die.

No-knock warrant execution should be illegal, or at least require serious analysis by a judge before being allowed. AFAIK, most jurisdictions don't even have any such thing as a "no-knock warrant" -- it's just a search warrant, and it's up to the police to figure out how they want to execute it.

I'm also a law-abiding citizen, and there is no reason that the police should ever have any sort of search warrant for my home, but it's still a possibility. Just another reason why I like the idea of putting my bedrooms all upstairs and placing a strong door at the foot of the stairs. At least if they have to bust their way through two doors, I'll have a little more time to wake up fully and think clearly about how to respond. Not that that's any guarantee -- BGs can claim to be police just as easily as police can. And as the gang in LA shows, even real police can be BGs.
 

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Most no-knock warrants are executed in narcotics cases. Usually in a case where they have information that there are guns in the home. A good way to know whether it is cops or not is the number of people. I guarantee that if the police perform a no-knock warrant there will be a large number of officers coming through your door. They should also announce "Police or Sheriffs dept search warrant." as they are knocking down your door. I am not saying a criminal could not do the same however they are not going to want to make a whole lot of noise before they get inside.

Just my $0.02 worth
 

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Thomas said:
Most no-knock warrants are executed in narcotics cases. Usually in a case where they have information that there are guns in the home. A good way to know whether it is cops or not is the number of people. I guarantee that if the police perform a no-knock warrant there will be a large number of officers coming through your door. They should also announce "Police or Sheriffs dept search warrant." as they are knocking down your door. I am not saying a criminal could not do the same however they are not going to want to make a whole lot of noise before they get inside.

Just my $0.02 worth
:agree:

I thought I said something similar!

There were over 50,000 of them in 2007. I'm not sure what percentage of all search warrant executions that is, but it's not small, and growing rapidly.
Care to site?
 

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We all know this scenario has the potential to reach out and touch us all, the bad guys are also breaking in with larger groups as of late. If we the people have to use precious time to figure out if it is law enforcement or bad guys we loose our advantage of being prepared. This is just one more obstacle in our way to defend our lives. :bang: :bang:
 

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Mazellan said:
There were over 50,000 of them in 2007. I'm not sure what percentage of all search warrant executions that is, but it's not small, and growing rapidly.
Care to cite?
Google turns up lots of newspaper articles referencing the statistic, but I haven't been able to find the original research paper (and it's probably not available for free anyway). The research is from Peter Kraska. Unfortunately, there is also some inconsistency in the way the newspaper article cite the numbers. Some of them say there were 40,000 raids, and some say 50,000. Most of them say "last year", but the articles I looked at were published in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Also, some of them say it's the number of SWAT "deployments", most of which are no-knock raids, and others just say it's the number of no-knock raids.

I'll give you a few examples, if you want to try to track down more precise estimates and sources, please post them. In any case, I think this is enough to demonstrate that the numbers are large.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1129/p03s ... html?s=hns (2006 article, 50K+ no-knocks in 2005)
http://www.slate.com/id/2139458/ (2006 article, 40K+ SWAT deployments in 2005)
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=517438 (2007 article, 50K+ SWAT deployments in 2006)
http://tristateobserver.com/modules.php ... e&sid=7239 (2006 article, 50K+ no-knocks in 2005)

The Cato Institute also has an interesting interactive map, showing where botched SWAT raids have occurred, complete with incident details and original sources. Not all of these are no-knocks, but most of them are. There are 41 cases where innocents died, and 22 police injuries or deaths.
 

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swillden said:
Mazellan said:
There were over 50,000 of them in 2007. I'm not sure what percentage of all search warrant executions that is, but it's not small, and growing rapidly.
Care to cite?
Google turns up lots of newspaper articles referencing the statistic, but I haven't been able to find the original research paper (and it's probably not available for free anyway). The research is from Peter Kraska. Unfortunately, there is also some inconsistency in the way the newspaper article cite the numbers. Some of them say there were 40,000 raids, and some say 50,000. Most of them say "last year", but the articles I looked at were published in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Also, some of them say it's the number of SWAT "deployments", most of which are no-knock raids, and others just say it's the number of no-knock raids.

I'll give you a few examples, if you want to try to track down more precise estimates and sources, please post them. In any case, I think this is enough to demonstrate that the numbers are large.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1129/p03s ... html?s=hns (2006 article, 50K+ no-knocks in 2005)
http://www.slate.com/id/2139458/ (2006 article, 40K+ SWAT deployments in 2005)
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=517438 (2007 article, 50K+ SWAT deployments in 2006)
http://tristateobserver.com/modules.php ... e&sid=7239 (2006 article, 50K+ no-knocks in 2005)

The Cato Institute also has an interesting interactive map, showing where botched SWAT raids have occurred, complete with incident details and original sources. Not all of these are no-knocks, but most of them are. There are 41 cases where innocents died, and 22 police injuries or deaths.
Intersting reading. Although I tend to take everything I read in the news with a giant truck load of salt due to their biases. They also only claim that Peter Kraska did the reaserch but none of them scite exatly what report they got the stats from. Its as easy as saying anything in order to push their adjenda. Now granted many of the storys where cops mess up are a discrace. This is one of the reasons I want to go into law enforcement. We need more officers with morals and the desire to do things the right way.

The first story you linked was an obviously police mistake. Saying that this one department asked the "sam" to lie dosn't mean that all no knock warrants are bad.

The media links that you cited also don't know what a no knock warrant is. The term does not have anything to do with whether or not they announce police because it happens in both. The no knock warrant is one that the police do not knock on the door and ask the owners to answer the door. If they don't they make forceable entry. A no knock warrant allows police to bypass knocking on the door. As I stated in my above post the no knock warrants are used in where there is a great risk to evidence and the suspect being armed and known to shoot at police. They just break it down and as they are entering announce "police, search warrant." I have seen many done and they all have been like this. One thing that bothers me is that people expect police to be above average humans. We are all the same we all make mistakes. Some make greater mistakes and others break the rules. The ones that break the rules will most likely be dealt with and those who make many mistakes be removed from the position. Well I have ranted enough. I realize that I am obviously pro police but not to the extent that I would protect an officer that was in the wrong. Many of my teachers who are officers in my area have a saying. If your right the department will back you up if your wrong you are on your own.
 

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Oh and one more thing I noticed, On that interactive map the majority of "botched" police raids were in heavily liberal states. That should say something about those "liberals" that are for citizens safety and rights.
 

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Mazellan,

The only problem I have with what you said is that the extremely high price of a police mistake (or abuse) in the case of a no-knock gone wrong involves the loss of life, limb, and freedom. Those are our 3 basic sacred Rights in this country and any measure that can inadvertently violate them should be dealt with VERY carefully.

I don't particularly like the idea that a criminal (or, even scarier, a rogue LEO) might break into my home under the guise of a "no knock". I certainly don't like being placed in a position of knowing whether or not I should fight back. And if I choose to fight back b/c I'm not certain it's a legitimate "no knock", and heaven forbid I kill a perfectly law-abiding LEO or (more likely) they kill me... who is going to restore that life once it's gone??? How can we ever go back and fix it???

Saying that the officer who "was in the wrong" will "be on their own" is totally insufficient. The fact is that someone is now dead and that officer in the wrong can never make restitution for that.

I guess maybe the ultimate question comes down to whether or not we can really justify being able to catch a guy with drugs in his home before he flushes them against the possibility of entering an innocent's home and having innocent parties (and LEO's) getting killed. In other words, is the killing of innocent and good members of our society worth the cost of fighting the war on drugs in this fashion??? I, for one, do not think it is. And, what's more, I think history shows us that the argument that waging such wars "at any and all costs" is the common thread among fascist and despotic regimes.
 

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bane said:
Mazellan,

The only problem I have with what you said is that the extremely high price of a police mistake (or abuse) in the case of a no-knock gone wrong involves the loss of life, limb, and freedom. Those are our 3 basic sacred Rights in this country and any measure that can inadvertently violate them should be dealt with VERY carefully.

I don't particularly like the idea that a criminal (or, even scarier, a rogue LEO) might break into my home under the guise of a "no knock". I certainly don't like being placed in a position of knowing whether or not I should fight back. And if I choose to fight back b/c I'm not certain it's a legitimate "no knock", and heaven forbid I kill a perfectly law-abiding LEO or (more likely) they kill me... who is going to restore that life once it's gone??? How can we ever go back and fix it???

Saying that the officer who "was in the wrong" will "be on their own" is totally insufficient. The fact is that someone is now dead and that officer in the wrong can never make restitution for that.

I guess maybe the ultimate question comes down to whether or not we can really justify being able to catch a guy with drugs in his home before he flushes them against the possibility of entering an innocent's home and having innocent parties (and LEO's) getting killed. In other words, is the killing of innocent and good members of our society worth the cost of fighting the war on drugs in this fashion??? I, for one, do not think it is. And, what's more, I think history shows us that the argument that waging such wars "at any and all costs" is the common thread among fascist and despotic regimes.
Pleas don't misconstrue my comments. Being "own their own" means that they will have to face the consequences alone rather than have the department help them in their defense. Noting in my statement said that they wouldn't have to pay for their mistake.

As for the rest of your post I agree with you. In a perfect world it would be legal to shoot drug dealers but that to is against the law. If I lived next to a drug dealer (anyone can pick them out if taught) I for one would be letting the cops know that they are dealing drugs if not break into their house for the cops so that all the evidence collected would be admissible in court. (jk I probably wouldn't but if I did the evidence would be admissible) (purposely left un-sited. Believe me?) All joking aside, you are 100% correct the cost of life is not what anyone wants. If everyone involved obeys the laws and their own department polices the mistakes would be minimal. One observation, the leftist gun grabbers use the same logic of legislating stricter gun control. The few mass murders that use handguns ruin it for the law abiding citizens. So if we put this logic on this issue we are discussing, If we put the blame on the police that are making the mistakes and doing illegal activity and get rid of them rather than get rid of a "tool" at the disposal that does some good. I know your saying apples and oranges but the basis argument is the same getting to the root problem is the way to solve it. I respect each and everyones opinion on this board and enjoy a good discussion on these subject. I hope I have not offended anyone. This has been a good discussion!
 

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As far as offense goes, none taken here at all. I too enjoy the discussion.

For clarification, I didn't misunderstand your position on the "lone officer". I understand you are saying he should still be punished but just that he will have to defend himself without support from the department. What I am arguing, however, is that that doesn't go far enough. Since the department is "sponsoring" the event, the department should also be held responsible regardless of the officer acting out of protocol. I don't think I would go that far with EVERY policy/procedure, but certainly one that potentially involves such a rash violation of our basic rights.

I really think the whole problem would be neutralized fairly if an "equalizing" law were put into affect that basically held the home owner completely faultless for fighting back against a no-knock. This would force the police to be even more cautious about taking this step and would enable a lawful citizen to defend one's home without fear of later reprisal (albeit, they still might die, at least they have a fighting chance).
 

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Mazellan said:
They also only claim that Peter Kraska did the reaserch but none of them scite exatly what report they got the stats from.
I don't think it would help that much if they did say which research papers they used. I found several of his papers available on-line, but all of them are in journals that cost money. I guess if you're willing to pay for them it would be useful, but I'm not :)

That's a common problem with trying to really give good citations. Most scientific work is published in journals that fund themselves by restricting access to their contents.

Mazellan said:
Now granted many of the storys where cops mess up are a discrace.
I didn't actually read any of the stories; I was just looking for the statistics.

Mazellan said:
The media links that you cited also don't know what a no knock warrant is.
I don't think there's any misunderstanding. Maybe some imprecision. In any case it doesn't really matter because what often happens is a quick knock and shout followed a split second later by kicking the door in. As this paper makes clear, the real problem is the aggressive, militaristic mindset, and the willingness to risk both police and civilian lives in order to make sure that evidence doesn't get destroyed.

Mazellan said:
One thing that bothers me is that people expect police to be above average humans. We are all the same we all make mistakes. Some make greater mistakes and others break the rules. The ones that break the rules will most likely be dealt with and those who make many mistakes be removed from the position.
I don't expect police to be above average. On the contrary, I fully expect them to be average people, and that's why it's a really bad idea to send them crashing through doors military tactics and weapons, and then expect that lots of people won't get hurt unnecessarily. I'd actually have more confidence in no-knock warrants if they were all executed by highly-trained people who clearly are well above average. I've seen video of an FBI Hostage Rescue Team blowing through a shoothouse and those guys are freaks of nature, unbelievably fast and accurate in both decisionmaking and shooting.

But the fact is that even a big-city SWAT team has only 10% of the training of HRT, if that, and they simply cannot be as selective as HRT, picking only the best of the best of the candidates. With less capable teams, you're going to get a lot more incidents.

Mazellan said:
I realize that I am obviously pro police but not to the extent that I would protect an officer that was in the wrong. Many of my teachers who are officers in my area have a saying. If your right the department will back you up if your wrong you are on your own.
I also consider myself pro-police. However, I think all too often the saying you quote is NOT what really happens. It's fine in the abstract, but human nature (again we can't expect police to be superhuman) is to protect your friends.

This means that citizens must be continually pounding on police organizations to be more open, less aggressive, harsher on cops that screw up, etc. Otherwise, human nature will push the police to create the infamous "blue wall", protecting their own. I think ubiquitous video cameras (in nearly every cellphone on the market) are starting to help with this, a lot. Police should realize that every action they take while on the job will be recorded, and will be used against them if they screw up. That may seem excessive -- I mean, who doesn't make mistakes? But it's important because it requires police to think about their encounters and structure them so that mistakes are harder to make, not easier.

No-knock warrant execution is an example of a technique that should be abandoned on those grounds. It nearly guarantees mistakes, unless the cops are superhuman. Which they're not.
 
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