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Just more proof that no-knock warrants are a bad idea

9240 Views 66 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Aether
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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This brings to mind an incident that occured shortly after we bought this house. I pulled into the street and saw a large number of police, etc. disbanding. A neighbor told me that they (a multi-agency force, including feds) had gathered to raid "the blue drug house" (as it was locally known). The neighbor wandered out to find out what was going on and, in the course of the conversation, brought it to the attention of whoever he was talking to that the person they were interested in was, and had been, a guest of the state at Point of the Mountain for about a year and the house had been sold and was now the home of another family. Somebody, obviously, didn't do his homework (I do wonder what information was presented to the judge in the warrant application), and that lack of homework could have easily resulted in unfortunate consequences.
Ex-cop gets 102 years for staging raids
Under guise of legitimate work, LAPD officer robbed occupied homes
The Associated Press
updated 7:44 a.m. MT, Tues., May. 20, 2008
LOS ANGELES - A former Los Angeles police officer who participated in home invasion robberies staged to look like police raids was sentenced Monday to 102 years in prison.

William Ferguson, 35, was convicted of participating in more than 40 phony raids from early 1999 to June 2001 at homes in working-class neighborhoods while he worked at the department's scandal-ridden Rampart Division.

In January, a federal jury convicted him of conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights, conspiracy to possess marijuana and cocaine, violating the civil rights of others and using a firearm during a violent crime.

Ferguson's sentence was so severe because he was convicted of four firearms charges which carry a mandatory sentence of 82 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess said that Congress passed such sentencing laws "because they don't trust people like me."

"It's not a reasonable sentence," he said.

After the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Miller said prosecutors were pleased.

Punishment too harsh?
Ferguson's attorney, Philip Deitch, said it was unfair and violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

"He's going to be 147-years-old when he gets out," Deitch said. "He's probably not going to see his children again."

Deitch said Ferguson was unfairly punished because prosecutors would not give Ferguson a plea agreement unless he testified against his brother Joseph Ferguson, an ex-Long Beach officer. Otherwise, his client would have pleaded guilty long ago, he said.

Joseph Ferguson, 33, was convicted of charges that included conspiring to violate civil rights and conspiring to possess drugs with the intent to distribute them. He was sentenced earlier this month to more than eight years in prison.

Besides the Ferguson brothers, 15 other people have pleaded guilty or were convicted in the case, including lawmen from other departments. Two others who have been indicted are fugitives.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24725536/

I am posting this article as an illustration that what may be a seemingly legitimate police incursion may well be something else altogether, thus making it even harder for a homeowner/occupant to make a decision involving self-defense.
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