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

9237 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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Ok, so these no-knock warrants are to help the LEOs get into the house before the druggies can flush their stash right?

Well, rather than barge into the house in a militaristic style and put officers and potential innocent civilian lives at stake, can't we just call the city and have them put a filter or some kind of collection tap on the sewage line right before serving the warrant? I mean, sheesh... with all our human ingenuity a no-knock raid is the best thing we can come up with? What about plain old detective work... you know.. watching people come and go? What about nabbing them when they move in and out of the house? Then you can clear the house and seize the drugs.

Even still, no amount of seized drugs are worth the potential of a botched raid... If you are going to barge into someone's house unannounced and put people's lives at stake, there had better be a darn good reason - and drugs are NOT it. This person has to be suspected/convicted of murder before you go putting addition lives on the line. No exceptions.
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Mazellan said:
Even still, no amount of Personal safety is worth the potential of a accidental/negligent discharge... If everyone is carrying a gun it will put people's lives at stake, there had better be a darn good reason - and personal safety is NOT it. This person has to be trained police officer before you go putting addition lives on the line. No exceptions. (bold sections changed)

Now I realize that the above changes are a bit of a stretch, I didn't have to change much to put an anti gun spin on it. Don't blame the tool blame the departments, cops and judges that allow the mistakes to happen. Actually I believe that the judge has immunity from being blamed for bad warrants. I don't agree but its one more law that needs to be changed.
Naw, that example is crap. The benefits and costs are completely different on these two situations. Using your logic I could argue the negative or affirmative of anything.

People need to use common sense here and realize what is happening to our civil liberties. Whether these raids are being conducted to capture drugs or an armed villain is irrelevant. Neither of these things justify the violation of civil liberties in peace time. You declare a state of emergency or a police state, make it known that you are flushing my rights down the toilet, then you can barge in and shoot me and my family - but not under the guise of the fourth amendment. Read it, it says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Did you see that? No knock warrants are indeed unreasonable. A reasonable person does not barge into your home. They knock on your door, tell you what they are there for and then serve the warrant. The purpose of effecting the law should never trump constitutional rights.

My home is my castle, you can't come in unless I say you can. If you have a warrant, I need to see it and then you can come in while I call my attorney. This new wave of barging in unannounced violates the very foundational liberties this country was founded on.
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Mazellan said:
Nothing in the 4th amendment says a no knock warrant is unconstitutional or unreasonable. On the contrary the second half allows for warrants to issued with probable cause. You can't bold half the amendment and not expect the second sentence to affect the above sentence.
I'm not arguing this statement. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that no-knock warrants are justifiable as quoted from the U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Const. amend. IV. In applying the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court has held that, even when they are conducting a search lawfully authorized by a warrant, officers must generally knock and announce their identity and purpose before entering a private residence to execute the warrant. See Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927 (1995). The Court has stressed, however, that this general principle "was never stated as an inflexible rule requiring announcement under all circumstances." Id. at 934. On the contrary, there are well-established exceptions to the "knock-and-announce" requirement, primarily in situations where exigent circumstances make it necessary for officers to enter the premises without prior announcement for reasons of physical safety or in order to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence or contraband. See id. at 936. (bolded statements added for effect)
I'm not arguing the modern day legality of executing a warrant this way. What I am saying is that the Founding Fathers would not agree with the current interpretation of the fourth amendment and the execution of no-knock warrants. The reasons given from the DOJ in effect make federal law and federal agent safety and agendas trump those of private citizens. So, regardless of the safety of private citizens, if the safety to those barging into the house is at risk, they will not knock (thereby increasing not only their danger but also the danger to the inhabitants in the hope that by surprise, they police can apprehend a BG before he can defend himself - good in theory, but fails on so many other levels). Also, for the purpose of capturing evidence the agents can violate the spirit of the fourth amendment - I completely disagree with this logic. No amount of evidence is worth this (IMO), but you are free to disagree.

I'm don't think LEOs should be punished for using the tools they have been given, I think that is back handed and two-faced. Here we are saying "you can do this, but if you mess up even in the slightest, we take no responsibility for your actions and you are all on your own." That sure is convenient for the agency the officer works for. We all know that officers are human like the rest of us and are bound to make mistakes just as we all do. The problem occurs when we give LE tools that allow them to violate fundamental human rights at the expense of the public just so they can make or solve a single case. We, as The People need to stand up for ourselves and say, "NO! This is wrong! I don't care what the Supreme Court Justices says, this is a violation of my rights and I want it changed! I will not live in a police state!" We must decide for ourselves. Have my civil liberties been trampled on in the guise of "safety" and "upholding the law"? When do I decide I've had enough?

And to you Mazellan, I would ask (and I am not trying to be confrontive, I am curious about what you think) "Why can't the police use the tools they've had since the founding of our nation instead of increasingly militarizing their methods, weapons and tactics?" I'm all for improving methods and equipment, but when do you say, "Yeah, I'm getting my job done, but I am violating the rights of so many people, is it really worth it?" I consent that we may have to agree to disagree, but I am very interested in reading your thoughts.
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Stenny4 said:
Can you tell me the last time an innocent civilian's life was "erroneously" taken?
  • Kathryn Johnston (c1914-2006) was an elderly Atlanta, Georgia woman shot by three undercover police in her home on November 21, 2006 after she fired one shot in self defense, assuming her home was being invaded. While the officers were wounded by gunfire, none of the officers received life threatening injuries, but Johnston was killed by the officers.
  • Corey Maye is currently serving life in prison without parole for the murder of Prentiss, MS Police Officer Ron Jones, after police entered his home on a search warrant in which they sought out a large amount of marijuana. In the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 26, 2001, Maye was awoken by pounding on his door. When police entered the home, Maye fired 3 rounds from a handgun, killing Officer Jones. According to Maye, it was only then that he realized the intruders were police and gave himself up. Officers testified that prior to breaching the duplex, they announced their presence and knocked repeatedly. Although he has expressed regret and sympathy for the Jones family, Maye maintains that he was only trying to protect his sleeping daughter from unknown intruders.
  • Ryan Frederick of Chesapeake, VA is awaiting trial for the shooting death of Detective Jarrod Shivers. At 8:40 January 17, 2008, Chesapeake Police were executing a no-knock raid on Frederick's home. Acting on a tip from an informant, police suspected Frederick to be in possession of marijuana plants. While attempting to gain entry to the residence, Frederick shot Det. Shivers once, fatally. Frederick claims he fired in self-defense, saying that he had been the victim of a break-in three days prior. In addition to first-degree murder, he has been charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Police also seized tub containers, lights, a smoking device, and a fan. When interviewed about the incident, Fredrick claimed police made a mistake and stated, "It’s a **** shame, too, because someone had to lose their life over it." Det. Shivers was an eight year veteran and left behind a wife and three children.
  • Fifteen former LAPD officers have plead guilty to running a robbery ring, which used fake no-knock raids as a ruse to catch victims off guard. The defendants would then steal cash and drugs to sell on the street. This tactic lead Radley Balko, editor of Reason Magazine, to complain "So not only can you not be sure the people banging down your door at night are the police, not only can you not be sure they’re the police even if they say they’re the police, you can’t even be sure it’s safe to let them in even if they are the police."[/*]

There are more, I will round them up later.
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  • The no-knock search warrant that authorized a Denver police team to enter the home of Ismael Mena on September 29 should never have been issued, the ACLU charged today. Mena was shot and killed by SWAT team officers as they entered Mena's home to search for illegal drugs. No drugs were ever found.[/*]

Anyways, I don't want to post links to all of them, there are too many. If you want to see for yourself, go have a look at the "Raid Map."
Thanks, I did read it and am thankful - I understand where you are coming from better now.
And the fact that he conducted more than 40 phony raids where innocents could have been killed, the reputation and trust of law enforcement nation-wide has be jeopardized, homes were burglarized, firearms were used violently and abuse of authority occurred still makes these people think his sentence is unreasonable?!? These kinds of actions are despicable, and he does not deserve freedom.
Another example to prove the existence of a serious problem:

Home Raid Leads to Complaint and Lawsuit

Police had warrant; dog shot in search

By Mike Santa Rita

Elkridge resident Mike Hasenei has filed a complaint with the Howard County Police Department about a police raid of his home three weeks ago. During the raid, which resulted in no arrests, police shot Hasenei's dog and frightened his 12-year-old daughter, he said. (Staff photo by Alex Stawinski)

After a Howard County police raid on his house three weeks ago, Mike Hasenei says he has a sprained wrist, a dead dog, a bullet hole in his bed and a 12-year-old daughter who is scared every time she hears a knock on the door.

Hasenei, 39, of the 6600 block of Deep Run Parkway, Elkridge, said he was sleeping shortly after 9 p.m. Jan. 15 when a police tactical team kicked in the door to his house.

He woke up and walked into his living room to find it swarming with officers, he said. When he asked what was going on, he was ordered to get on the ground, and when he asked again, he said, he was knocked to the ground and told he was under arrest.

Police then searched his house, looking for items stolen from two marked police cars that were reported broken into on Jan. 14 in the Elkridge community of Mayfield, according to Hasenei, who said he works as a computer analyst at Marriott International.

During the raid, Hasenei said, police shot his Australian cattle dog, in his bedroom.

Earlier that night, police also raided the nearby house of his stepson, Michael Leon Smith Jr., and turned up nothing, Hasenei said.

Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn confirmed the raid on Hasenei's house, noting that police had a search warrant signed by a judge.

Llewellyn would not confirm whether the raid was related to the items stolen from police vehicles on Jan. 14, citing an ongoing investigation.

No one was arrested in the raid, she said, and no arrests have been made relating to the thefts from the police cars, which she said police are still investigating.

Llewellyn confirmed the dog shooting, but said the dog charged police, forcing them to shoot it.

Police suspected guns

Llewellyn said police had reason to believe a gun was in the residence, which was why they did not knock.

A copy of the warrant provided by Hasenei listed items to be seized, including a Sig Sauer Rifle and three ammunition magazines for the rifle, as well as a police gear bag, county police field procedures manual and guide, and more police-related items.

Llewellyn added that when police have reason to believe there might be firearms in a residence, they take precautions to ensure the safety of the officers and anyone inside the house.

"This often includes the use of the tactical team, which is specially trained to deal with potentially dangerous situations," she said.

Llewellyn confirmed Hasenei filed a complaint about the incident with the Howard County Police Department and that police are investigating.

She said no officers had been placed on any kind of administrative duty following the complaint.

She declined to comment on whether any items were seized in the raid on Hasenei's house, citing an ongoing investigation.

House damaged

At Hasenei's house last week, the door to his daughter's room was off its hinges -- a result of the police raid, he said -- and Hasenei's hand was wrapped in a bandage because, he said, it was sprained when policed cuffed his hands too tightly.

"They looked through everything," Hasenei said of the raid. "They didn't find a single thing. I knew they wouldn't because we don't commit crimes."

What appeared to be a bullet hole was visible in a mattress in his bedroom, where, Hasenei said, police shot his dog, and a bloody sheet was stored in the front deck of his home.

"They shot three times. Two hit the dog, one hit the bed," he said.

When police raided his house, Hasenei said, they produced a search warrant relating to Hasenei's stepson. But Hasenei said Smith has not lived at the address for years.

Smith, 20, also of Deep Run Parkway, said police also raided his house that night, but did not find anything. He said police also pushed him to the ground during the raid.

"I stay in my house and keep to myself," Smith said.

Smith said he does not have a driver's license.

He said his state-issued identity card, however, lists his stepfather's address as his home.

Llewellyn declined to comment on any raid on Smith's house, saying only that multiple warrants had been served that night.

Hasenei said he has contacted a lawyer and plans to file a lawsuit. His lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.

Police Chief William McMahon, through Llewellyn, declined to comment on the raid.
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