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

9245 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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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...

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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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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swillden said:
bane said:
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).
I don't see how being unable to prosecute the citizen after the fact would make police be more cautious, and I don't see how it would change a citizen's attitude. If someone busts into my house in the middle of the night, I'm going to fight back regardless of whether or not they're yelling "Police!". BGs can use the same tactics that police use. They can even come in large numbers. Knowing that I'll be legally faultless if they happen not to be police isn't going to change my reaction at all. Would it really change yours?
No, what I'm saying is that I should NOT be REQUIRED to think whether or not they are real cops busting down my door... I should be able to simply defend my house. If it's a mistaken entry with REAL cops, I shouldn't be held liable for shooting them in my defense.

And yes, someone busting down my door looking and sounding like cops will almost certainly cause me to pause in fear that they are real and that I will get in serious trouble. Because the point is that I don't KNOW if they are BG's or mistaken cops. But currently (at least, I assume) if cops bust down your door and you aren't sure they are cops and you shoot some of them before they take you down I'm assuming you are going to go to jail for a very long time if you survive the encounter and labelled a "cop killer" even though the entry was a mistaken one and you were merely attempting to defend yourself against an uncertain threat.

Yes, I do think the average person would at least hesitate if the people coming in appeared to be cops.
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Actually, on thinking about it from the perspective of average "ARMED" people would do, I have to agree with you. To most I know, these assaults would come as a surprise I think. But, like you and most here, I have also been taking notice of these types of assaults and also would agree that I would fight back probably with little hesitation.
swillden said:
Stenny4 said:
there's a serious limit to how long you can stay at MOPP 4.
Yeah... try staying in that crap for just an hour for training... you'd almost RATHER be dead! :lol3:
Stenny4 said:
The only difference with knocks vs. no-knocks is the 10 seconds I talked about. The entry team is still going in, it's whether or not they announce their presence prior to entering. The innocent civilians that unfortunately have search warrants served, would probably still try to defend their house.
It sounds to me that most arguing "the other side" here would argue that the 10-second knock and enter is just as erroneous as the no-knock... it's still a forceful and violent entry into a man's castle. I really don't get this. Short of the "flushing" of drugs, the sit and wait seems to be the best option. Even if the person barricades themselves in in a way that munitions can't get to them (which really doesn't make sense to me... if you can kick a door in, you can certainly drill a hole into it through which you can insert a canister), they still can't live forever on limited water and food...
swillden said:
The police mindset has to balance risks; you don't want to endanger the cops, but you HAVE to accept some risk because you have to admit the possibility that even if everyone inside is a legitimate suspect, subject to arrest, they're still presumed innocent until proven guilty AND even if guilty you have to do your best not to execute them before they have their day in court. Not to mention the potential presence of the perfectly innocent.
Not to mention that the crime has to fit the punishment... a guy with a single personal-use pot plant definitely shouldn't be subject to the death penalty, whether at the hand of a judge or at the hand of an over-aggressive department policy and city prosecutor...
Anyone see this story??? http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=5565853

The reason I bring it up isn't b/c they actually initiated a no-knock, but because they were GOING TO initiate a no-knock when they received information indicating the suspect had multiple weapons in his home -- upon receiving this information, law enforcement called off the no-knock (unfortunately the KSL story doesn't report these details; they were reported on Ch 13 news this morning). The story does mention that they ended up getting the suspect to leave his home by using some sort of smoke device.

OK, so this story demonstrates two things:
1) The oft-used excuse for no-knocks (i.e.: that it's safer for officers to storm into a house unannounced in case the occupants have weapons) is obviously just that: an excuse! In this case, anyways, police clearly decided that it was more dangerous to do so and opted for other (safer) methods.

2) The oft-derided/minimized non-lethal tools (i.e.: smoke, et al) DO in fact work -- as evidenced in this case.

On another vein, KSL did this guy too much justice with the photo they posted of him -- the video of him on the news clip was DISTURBING -- one of the freakiest, ugliest guys I have seen in quite a while! :ack:
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Utefan96 said:
... it made me think about how I would react if my front door was broken down while I was home. Defending my home would a dangerous situation, being out gunned by LE.
To be honest... I have decided that I consider any violent/strong-arm breach of the walls of my home to be assault by thugs, regardless of who it is coming in. If you are coming into my home in a violent manner armed with weapons pointed at me, I consider you a criminal. If you are LE or not, the fact is that in a situation like that you leave me no option BUT to defend myself and my own b/c you created a situation where I don't have an opportunity to ask "?"s and ascertain what is going on. Now, being SWAT, I may or may not have time to react and do anything about it -- but, if I do have time and enough wits about me, heaven help the first guy coming through.

For me at least, it's not a matter of the end result -- it's the fact that you created a situation in which my only 2 choices were to attempt to save the lives of my family members or to risk their lives and gamble that those coming in ARE in fact LE and WILL in fact treat us well enough to at least not kill or maim us. That's not a gamble I'm willing to make. I'd rather go down knowing that I did all I could. If LE doesn't like that response then we should move to have the legislature outlaw SWAT-style no-knocks.
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