Back to Chesapeake

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Ryan Frederick was arraigned today. He was charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and . . . simple possession of marijuana.

That’s right. Though police still haven’t told us how much marijuana they found, it wasn’t enough to charge Frederick with anything more than a misdemeanor. For a misdemeanor, they broke down his door, a cop is dead, and a 28-year-old guy’s life is ruined. Looks like the informant mistook Frederick’s gardening hobby for an elaborate marijuana growing operation, and those Japanese maple trees for marijuana plants.

The parallels to Cory Maye are pretty striking. You’ve got a young guy minding his own business, with no criminal record, whose worst transgression is that he smokes a little pot from time to time. A bad informant and bad police procedures then converge, resulting in police breaking down his door while he’s sleeping. He fires a gun to defend himself, unwittingly kills a cop, and now faces murder charges.

Here’s hoping Frederick escapes Cory Maye’s fate. This guy shouldn’t be in jail. He should be compensated by the City of Chesapeake. As should the family of Detective Shivers. And these raids need to stop.

You wonder how large the pile of bodies will need to grow before the cops stop breaking down doors and invading homes to enforce consensual crimes.

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58 Responses to “Back to Chesapeake”

  1. #1 |  Nick Gallias | 

    It’s either getting fuckin scary, or it’s time to fight.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. #2 |  Thomas | 

    I haven’t ever had interest in smoking pot, but these type of stories scare the hell out of me. I used to live two miles from where I do and drug raids happened. I am a bit more relaxed now but then late at night my biggest fear was a wrong no-knock raid shooting my dog and arresting me. Sounds silly until a cop cleared my back fence and ran through my yard one night I heard from neighbors, Radley, keep up the good fight.

  3. #3 |  OrpheusRed | 

    Stop breaking down doors? Surely you jest, civilian. Once the blood of innocents runs thick and fast in the gutters they’ll really have leverage they need to up the privilege of their caste.

  4. #4 |  kaptinemo | 

    What I find interesting is the level of shock and surprise this is eliciting amongst defenders of prohibition.

    A ‘civilian’ (a.k.a a TAXPAYER) defends himself against unknown home invaders? Who may or MAY NOT be minions of The State? How dare he!? He’s supposed to roll over and urinate upon himself whenever those said minions of The State bark at him and threaten! Doesn’t he know his place in the order of things? Only The State has the right to intrude upon his ‘castle’ at a whim (or in this case, probably a lie told by a shady informant) and threaten his life and the lives of the occupants! All hail the Holy State!

    Never mind that there have been instances where thugs masquerading as police have done exactly the same thing, knowing the average citizen has been conditioned to Pavlovian obeisance to roll over courtesy of the DrugWar. That’s not important, no. And as far as individual rights? Piffle! The DrugWar countermands them all! Only lilly-livered castrated ‘libruhls’ whine about rights! We’re out to save the chil-drunnnnnnn! What’s more important? (/snark)

    Justice Brandeis had the promoters of and apologists for the DrugWar’s excesses pegged when he said “”Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” Those who front for this abomination fit that description perfectly…

  5. #5 |  Scott | 

    So infuriating, yet where are our elected rulers? Why are they not earning their pay by discussing the merits and drawbacks of important social policies like this? Why are they busy grandstanding with bullshit like economic vote-buying “stimulus” packages and berating MLB players while innocent people and cops are being murdered by the very policies that these clowns put in place?

  6. #6 |  Slightly paranoid | 

    One wonders whether the marijuana was found or “found”.

  7. #7 |  Nick | 

    Reminds me of the Texas landscaper who was held at gunpoint by cops who thought that his Hibiscus plants were marijuana. There ought to be some rule that narcotics officers who can’t tell the difference between marijuana and common ornamental plants will be fired for gross incompetence. It’s like a surgeon who can’t tell the difference between a kidney and a liver. “Well, they’re both kind of purple. Lets cut out this one and see what happens.”

  8. #8 |  pbeez | 

    Whenever I read these stories (far too often) I always think of The Clash song, Guns of Brixton – “When they break down your front door, how you gonna come? With your hands on your head or on the trigger of a gun?” These raids have pretty much made my mind up to buy a shotgun and make sure both my wife and myself know how to use it. No one is gonna screw with my Japanese maples!!

  9. #9 |  UCrawford | 

    I just hope Frederick’s got competent legal representation. This seems like a case that the ACLU should have wanted to jump all over but it seems like he just got a local guy. If his attorney’s decent it seems like Frederick should have a fighting chance considering how badly the police screwed this up.

  10. #10 |  gnargyle | 

    “It’s either getting fuckin scary, or it’s time to fight.”

    I’m not sure what’s the difference…

  11. #11 |  primus | 

    Cops who deal with the low-lifes like the burglar who broke into this guy’s home, know what morons they are. Any cop who listens to what the moron says and acts on it is a moron also, and thereofore incompetent. What happened to him was a natural outcome of that incompetence. No matter that he did many years on the force, he was incompetent as are those who were his overseers. Incompetence is rampant, and endemic on the police force. That is why they only pick low hanging fruit, it’s the only kind they can reach. When the subject of white collar crime comes up, they basically throw their hands in the air and say it is too hard for them. Incompetent boobs.

  12. #12 |  Jerry | 

    It’s a sad state of affairs, when the general public has to be afraid of the people who are supposed to be protecting them. Radley, when did the “To Protect and Serve” portion of the police get lost in the shuffle?

  13. #13 |  Sarge | 

    All the bluster and thunder aside, I have yet to hear anyone make a cogent argument in any of these cases with regard to the assumption of such a need for URGENCY in a case where no one’s life was at risk, even if the guy was guilty-as-charged.

    Even if you go all the way out on the limb of agreeing that sale or cultivation is legitimately a crime (whether or not you agree that it SHOULD be) what is the excuse for such urgency on the part of law enforcement that someone accused of growing or selling pot is worthy of a midnight no-knock raid? Are they afraid that he’s selling pot in his sleep? Why is this tactic preferable to simply surrounding the building and ordering him out? Or waiting for him to head to Starbucks in the morning and confronting him in the open?

    I just do NOT get why this extremely risky tactic is considered preferable to much lower-risk methods of achieving the same goals, unless the lives of innocents are clearly at immediate risk.

    It clearly is not a safer course of action for law enforcement, or for the accused (legitimately or illegitamately). Why, then, is it allowed?

  14. #14 |  Mark Buehner | 

    This case also speaks to how ridiculous the justifications for no-knock raids are. They went looking for pot plants- did they think he was going to flush them when the cops knocked with a warrant? Friggin absurd.

  15. #15 |  Mark Buehner | 

    “I just do NOT get why this extremely risky tactic is considered preferable to much lower-risk methods of achieving the same goals, unless the lives of innocents are clearly at immediate risk”

    Perfect storm of self interest. Politicians look tough on crime, departments get funds for swat teams and cool gear, cops get to pretend they are rambo. The only ones getting the raw end of the deal is the entire remainder of civilization. Whats not to like?

  16. #16 |  Wilbur | 

    “You’ve got a young guy minding his own business, with no criminal record, whose worst transgression is that he smokes a little pot from time to time….”

    Well, that and the fact that he discharges a firearm through a door without identifying his target, or identifying if he is threatened by someone using lethal force. Let me draw an alternative, hypothetical, fictional scenario; a guy reading the gas meter slips and puts his foot through a cheap fibreboard door, and gets fatally shot through the door by the homeowner. Has the homeowner comitted a crime? He would have in many jurisdictions.

  17. #17 |  Yankeewombat | 

    Well said Sarge. Common sense has gone out the window. It is part of a larger pattern in a system that has lost its balance and is exhibiting extremely poor judgment. I lost my eldest son to a drug overdose and I take drugs seriously, but this kind of enforcement is counter productive. That cop is just as dead as my son and his death was pretty clearly unnecessary and served no useful purpose. In a country with gun rights the defendant in these cases seems to some extent within his rights so it follows that no knock should only be used in very special circumstances.

  18. #18 |  Phil | 

    #16: “Well, that and the fact that he discharges a firearm through a door without identifying his target, or identifying if he is threatened by someone using lethal force.”

    If this guy had a record of any kind of violence — i.e., he’d been known to randomly fire guns through doors before — then I might believe that your suggested scenario is how this went down.

    Somehow, I don’t think that he’s just been sitting by a door with his gun his whole life, waiting to shoot someone through it, and the first person who comes along just happens to be a police officer intent on breaking his door down.

    Let me state the alternative scenario, adding more actual facts: it’s after dark, just days after our defendant’s home has been broken into. A scary-as-hell sounding guy is screaming and pounding on the door trying to get in. Our defendant checks the peephole, and sees a guy dressed in black with a big bushy goatee looking determined to break the door down. And you think this could have been a meter-reader?

  19. #19 |  Flash Gordon | 

    In Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), the Supreme Court of the United States held that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, deadly force may be used to prevent escape only if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect’s immediate capture is necessary to stop or prevent an unreasonably dangerous threat to public safety.

    A similar standard is needed for raiding someone’s home with violence and force. A warrant should issue only to effectuate the capture of a felon against whom deadly force could legally be used to prevent his escape.

  20. #20 |  Gordon | 

    We had a similar case in Minneapolis in the last month. An informant gave information that a violent guy was in a particular house. The police broke the door, came rushing in with guns drawn. They were yelling, “Police!”

    The male head of household responded by shooting through a wall or door. The police fired back. Finally a member of the household communicated to the father that it was police, not robbers. The shooting stopped on both sides. It was really, really very fortunate that no one, including a lot of kids in the house, was hurt.

    The father was Hmong (Laotian) and didn’t understand English.
    The information from the informant was bad.
    No charges were filed against the father.
    The city will likely pay out for home repairs, at a minimum.

  21. #21 |  Bugs | 

    I don’t think todays raids are about power – they’re about avoiding risk. Or about fear, if you will. From the cops’ point of view, better to go in heavy and look like a bully than to go in light and possibly get killed. I’m not an expert in police procedure, but it does seem that a bit of investigation and patient surveillance might allow the police to determine how dangerous their target is likely to be and to adjust their tactics accordingly. Surely experienced cops, given enough information, can tell the difference between a casual pot grower/smoker and a hard-core, AK-47-toting drug dealer.

    This sounds reasonable to me. Are there operational, budgeting, or legal issues that lead these agencies to favor heavily-armed surprise attacks rather than a more judicious approach?

    Or is it, as you say, all just a power trip?

  22. #22 |  Shaun Wyland | 

    The guy probably did not have any marijuana on him. No-Knock raid cops bring it with them in case they need to “plant” some to justify their raid.

    Remember the story about Kathryn Johnston, the 92-year-old Atlanta grandmother killed in another no-knock raid?

    The cops brought marijuana with them and planted it on her to justify the raid. If they brought it with them on that one, you can be sure they brought it on the others. That way if something goes wrong they can say they found marijuana on the scene and “justify” their actions.

    Of course the cops are not going to say how much marijuana they found — all the could reasonably hide to bring over is just joint or two. If they actually said the amount, then it would still make them look really ridiculous.

    It will be really interesting to see how this plays out in front of a jury. I know that Cory Maye got screwed, but hopefully a jury will see this guy’s case differently.

  23. #23 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Whatever the arguments are now, no-knock raids (even before the days of SWAT teams) were justified by claiming that the suspects had to be caught before they could destroy evidence (usually by flushing it down the toilet). Since that really doesn’t hold water, they’re trying out new arguments for it. In the end, there will be a study of some kind that “proves” no-knock raids are safer.

    In my opinion, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The more complaints there are, the more of a political siege mentality will develop on the part of law enforcement and the more they get away with, the more they’ll push the limits. But the public will need a LOT more cases like this before it will even pop up as a vague pip on their radars. And it’s not like the courts are going to protect us…

  24. #24 |  Loren | 

    what is the excuse for such urgency on the part of law enforcement that someone accused of growing or selling pot is worthy of a midnight no-knock raid?

    First of all, it wasn’t midnight. It was 8:30 p.m.

    Second, there’s still nothing to indicate that this was a no-knock raid, and especially not that any judge approved a no-knock raid. The warrant obtained by the press was NOT a no-knock warrant.

  25. #25 |  Flash Gordon | 

    And “No-knock” warrants should be completely illegal. If the bad guy is so dangerous he may start shooting as soon as the police knock on the door they can lay siege to the house and gas him out.

    The potential danger of the suspect is not currently the standard for no-knock warrants anyway. The standard is to prevent the destruction of evidence and that should be held to be a constitutionally impermissible standard for sudden and violent invasion of anyone’s home, no matter how important the evidence may be. There are always other ways to get it.

    It is time for law enforcement to operate more on its wits and cleverness and less on its muscle and firepower. If there are to be exceptions they should be to prevent terrorist attack, not to arrest domestic criminals.

    If all of these reforms were put into place the cop impersonator type of home invasions would probably become less of a danger to us all. This sort of criminal activity has created more danger to the cops themselves because the prevalence of such crimes makes it more reasonable (and more likely) for homeowners to respond with deadly force.

  26. #26 |  Flash Gordon | 

    The cops in the case of 92-year old Kathryn Johnston decided to cross the line and become criminals, but please don’t condemn all cops for what they did. Most are still good guys who would not do what those did.

  27. #27 |  Matt Moore | 

    I think the speculation about the cops dropping the pot is not warranted in this case. I believe one of the Frederick’s relatives admitted that he was a pot smoker, and didn’t an earlier article state that he told his lawyer that the cops probably found 2 or 3 joints?

    I understand everyone’s tendency to accuse the cops of planting the drugs (like they did to Kathryn Johnston), and I have no doubts that they would have planted drugs if they didn’t find any, but I’m guessing that they’re actually being honest this time.

  28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Whether the warrant is for a no-knock or not is of little consequence when the tactic is to bust the door down immediately after the announcement is made anyway. These tragedies are going to continue as long as law enforcement organizations (and the governmental organizations that manage them) use a militaristic approach to drug enforcement.

    The wording of the warrant is just one aspect of a much larger malignancy.

  29. #29 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    Wilbur says: “You’ve got a young guy minding his own business, with no criminal record, whose worst transgression is that he smokes a little pot from time to time….”

    Well, that and the fact that he discharges a firearm through a door without identifying his target, or identifying if he is threatened by someone using lethal force. Let me draw an alternative, hypothetical, fictional scenario; a guy reading the gas meter slips and puts his foot through a cheap fibreboard door, and gets fatally shot through the door by the homeowner. Has the homeowner comitted a crime? He would have in many jurisdictions.”

    Let me draw an alternative, non-hypothetical, non-fictional scenario; Cops bust into a house and “without identifying his target, or identifying if he is threatened by someone using lethal force”, shoot an unarmed mother holding her infant child dead AND shoot and seriously wound the child. Have the cops committed a crime? Not according to them.

  30. #30 |  Steven A | 

    This is EXACTLY why we have a trial by a jury of your peers. These charges can be overturned by a jury using jury nullification. If a jury finds this unacceptable they merely have to acquit. Google jury nullification and the next time you serve on a jury, make sure you are informed about your ulitmate power in the courtroom.

  31. #31 |  Paul from Florida | 

    When are the judges going to pay? Who’s signiture is on the warrent? The Judge. Sue him in civil court.

  32. #32 |  tom | 

    I read a lot of these stories, a lot of them involving home invasions that were either on the wrong address or for petty misdemeanors.

    The point has already been made. There is no justification for breaking down somebody’s door when there is no urgent need to save someoone’s life. In cases where there is real imminent mortal danger to captives or bystanders, let the chips fall where they may. Needs must when the devil drives.

    It is a sign of gross incompetence for these officers to break down a door of someone who they only suspect of dealing marihuana. -If- an arrest has to be made, and it cannot be done by accosting the suspect as he leaves Wal-Mart, you want to make sure who the suspect is.
    That means that:
    – you know who he is [and not somebody with the same name]
    – you know what he looks like
    – you know his rap sheet [if applicable]
    – you know where he lives
    – you know who lives with him
    – you know whether he has a gun permit
    – you know whether he has a history of violent behavior

    You know everything about him and you have staked out his place to make sure whether he is home, who is with him, what the potential risk is, what the layout of the building is where he lives.

    When you break down the door, you have to know everything already, you have to have won before you even made a move. If you don’t take all these steps you’re an amateur and people, eventually, will die.

    And they do.

    This kind of arrest is gross incompetence. The man should be released immediately and the police chief fired.

    There is no excuse for this kind of action.

    What these people do is the work of true professionals. It takes a very specific skill set. It’s not because you can buy a vest that says ‘SWAT’ that you know what you’re doing. I’m sure that more than 95% of the people who carry out these raids in the US today would not qualify for what a democratic country calls a real SWAT team. They are absolutely nowhere near good enough. That is why people die. That is why people will keep dying.

  33. #33 |  Dave Krueger | 

    ZappaCrappa: “Well, that and the fact that he discharges a firearm through a door without identifying his target, or identifying if he is threatened by someone using lethal force. Let me draw an alternative, hypothetical, fictional scenario; a guy reading the gas meter slips and puts his foot through a cheap fibreboard door…”

    These cases are starting to run together in my head a bit, but I was under the impression the cops were in the process of kicking in the door. Generally that would seem like a reason to believe your life was in danger. Is it possible the door was already open and the guy was reacting to the sight of someone pointing a gun at HIM?

    I think anyone who puts their foot through someone’s door (meter readers included) should have some expectation that the home owner may react unpredictably.

    A better example would have been firemen called by a neighbor reporting that your house was on fire. At least in that case the firemen have some justification for the urgency.

  34. #34 |  Loren | 

    I think the speculation about the cops dropping the pot is not warranted in this case. I believe one of the Frederick’s relatives admitted that he was a pot smoker, and didn’t an earlier article state that he told his lawyer that the cops probably found 2 or 3 joints?

    Frederick admitted in an interview that he had a bong and a small bag of marijuana, but stressed that he didn’t grow or sell pot.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/01/im-not-murderer-they-make-me-out-be

  35. #35 |  Shannon Love | 

    Ryan Frederick should immediately file a civil suite against the city. He could easily argue excessive force was used which led to the officer’s death, Frederick’s arrest and his trauma over killing someone.

    If nothing else the suite would give him some leverage against the city. Faced with millions of dollars in settlement cost, the elected leaders might take some notice of what is going on.

  36. #36 |  RJ | 

    “I understand everyone’s tendency to accuse the cops of planting the drugs (like they did to Kathryn Johnston), and I have no doubts that they would have planted drugs if they didn’t find any, but I’m guessing that they’re actually being honest this time.”

    I would not leap to that assumption.

  37. #37 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    Actually Dave…I was quoting someone else (Wilbur at comment #16)…not MY statement…that one belongs to Wilbur.

  38. #38 |  Loren | 

    Is it possible the door was already open and the guy was reacting to the sight of someone pointing a gun at HIM?

    It’s possible, but Frederick hasn’t mentioned such, and the police didn’t return fire, which you’d think they would’ve if they’d had their guns drawn and aimed.

  39. #39 |  steveaz | 

    Of all the comments in this controversial thread, it is Matt’s comment that worried me most.

    Any time contraband is planted by a state agent to rationalize a “dry” raid (one where no unlawful substance or behavior was observed by authorities), according to Matt’s thinking, the “smack-plant” should not be considered a crime…

    …if the State’ll only present (plant?) some hear-say testimony of prior (not immediate) drug-usage by the raided home-owner. This, in Matt’s view, is enough to spring the “smack-planters,” and convict the home-owner.

    Worrisome. Very worrisome. My skin’s crawling in fact.

    Matt’s approach would, in light of the “Asset-Seizure” laws that run through local “Anti-Drug” statutes, enable the State in its own worst addiction, that to the plunder of private property.

    In Matt’s world, anyone who has ever been seen “blowing a doob” in High School, or “doin’ a line” years before on a company ski trip, could, with a single deft “plant” by authorities, find himself serving time in a State penitentiary…and his private property sold at auction – even if the home-owner was purposefully incriminated to cover for state incompetence, and the state’s rationale for its warrant
    was gossip, as in, “I [someone] saw him/her do [fill in naughty item] once!”

    What has happened to my America?

    I bookmarked your site today, and I’ll be checking to see how the “Chesapeake Mess” turns out.

  40. #40 |  RandMan | 

    There is only one word for the WOD — tyranny.

    What else do you call laws that send armed gov’t agents into citizens’ homes to arrest them for possessing dried flowers from a plant, or some pills, or powders?

    Condolences to friends and family of the dead officer.

    Conversely, I hope Mr. Frederick is acquitted.

  41. #41 |  Paulite | 

    This is a terrible tragedy for both Ryan Frederick and his family, coming from a situation that never should have happened. My deepest sympathies go to both of them.

    It is also unfortunate for the dead police officer and his family. What was Ryan “defending” himself from, I wonder?

    Plz email me if you can answer this question, because I likely wont be coming back to this thread. =\

    boooth@gmail.com

  42. #42 |  Dave Krueger | 

    ZappaCrappa: “Actually Dave…I was quoting someone else (Wilbur at comment #16)…not MY statement…that one belongs to Wilbur.”

    My apologies. I mistakenly thought only the first paragraph was a quote.

  43. #43 |  Thomas | 

    Isn’t the purpose of “kinetic” police raids to search for reported drugs to prevent the suspect from destroying evidence, for example by flushing the drugs down the toilet?

    I wouldn’t think flushing a Japanese maple-sized marijuana plant down the toilet would be a particularly easy operation.

  44. #44 |  datacine | 

    If you don’t know about it, check out the story of Donald P. Scott:
    Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_P._Scott_(Malibu,_CA)

    Ventura County D. A. Report of the case:

    http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/scott.htm

  45. #45 |  Phelps | 

    If a meter reader claimed that he went to a house, and in the middle of his normal duties, slipped and accidentally kicked the door in, I would not find his story credible. I’ve slipped lots of times. None of them involved accidentally kicking in a stranger’s door.

    I guess the next story will be about the plumber who slips fixing the drain and accidentally rapes the housewife who lives in the house.

  46. #46 |  Silent Running » Blog Archive » Trouble on the home front | 

    [...] Balko notes yet another para-military style police operation gone wrong – with the result being a dead husband [...]

  47. #47 |  Joshua | 

    StevenA: This is EXACTLY why we have a trial by a jury of your peers. These charges can be overturned by a jury using jury nullification. If a jury finds this unacceptable they merely have to acquit. Google jury nullification and the next time you serve on a jury, make sure you are informed about your ulitmate power in the courtroom.

    If I were Fredrick’s defense attorney, I’d also be more than a little worried about the prospect of what might be called reverse jury nullification. That is, that regardless of Fredrick’s intent or the other circumstances, the jurors will simply be unable to bring themselves to acquit, because doing so would be tantamount to saying the slain officer somehow deserved his fate.

    During jury selection the first question I would ask each and every jury candidate is this: “Can you conceive of any circumstance in which a law enforcement officer is shot to death in the course of performing his duties in good faith, yet that killing would not be a crime?” Unfortunately, in Virginia, and indeed across vast swaths of the U.S., I strongly suspect the majority of folks asked that question would answer simply, “No.”

  48. #48 |  Blagnet.net » Blog Archive » It IS happening here | 

    [...] the cops broke into his home for a drug raid. Here is his first post about it and here’s a recent update about this sad story. Balko sums it up nicely: Ryan Frederick was arraigned today. He was charged [...]

  49. #49 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    The way that many “knock-and announce” warrants are served is a deliberate violation of the spirit and intent of the law. If they only wait 30 to 40 seconds after knocking, if they do not allow someone a reasonable chance of answering the knock then the are trying to technically obey the law while violating its intent. Knock-and annnounce is not about surprise, so attempts to keep the advantage of surprise are attempts to keep something they were never supposed to have sought. So what, if sometimes some evidence might not be preserved. These are cases where winning the case anfd getting convictions is not orth the price paid in danger to lives and the risk of the violation of people’s homes.

  50. #50 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “He hasn’t identified any lethal force being pointed at him before he’s used it himself.”

    Yeah, the guy should wait until his brains are actually flying out the back of his head before concluding that his life might be in danger.

    “He was drunk, had just got home from a nightclub, had lost his keys, and tried to get in to what he thought was his house. He had nil prior criminal record and was utterly harmless. Good thing he didn’t do it in Chesapeake or he’d be dead.”

    Good thing he didn’t do it in Clearwater or he’d be dead, too. And there would be no charges against the guy who shot him.

    http://www.sptimes.com/2003/02/03/TampaBay/Man_killed_as_he_ente.shtml

  51. #51 |  Matt Moore | 

    steveaz – Please reread my comment. I didn’t say, much less believe, any of the things you attribute to me.

    The evidence against Frederick being a pot-smoker is hardly hearsay. He admitted to having a small amount of pot. In no way does this justify the raid. Nor did I ever claim that just because someone had been seen “smoking a doob” in the past does that mean they are guilty of whatever the cops say they are.

    I think cops planting evidence is wrong, even if they’re framing a guilty man (which could be what happened in this case), and cops that do so should be fired and prosecuted.

  52. #52 |  David | 

    To follow up Joshua’s idea, here’s another question to ask during Jury selection. “Do you believe that it would be possible for you persoanlly to continue living as a law-abiding citizen in your community after specifically identifying in a court of law, a member of the local police force as having acted in an illegal or unethical manner?”

    Again, I suspect the answer would be somewhat less than a unanimous “Of course.”

  53. #53 |  Center for the Common Interest » Blog Archive » One Month Down, 11 to Go | 

    [...] addition to our growing Police State (which, sadly, is affecting my home area with this arrest of a homeowner invaded by a Drug Warrior), the government is threatening us in [...]

  54. #54 |  Benito Hidalgo | 

    “You wonder how large the pile of bodies will need to grow before the cops stop breaking down doors and invading homes to enforce consensual crimes.”

    Radley, you poor deluded soul. Don’t you realize that without consensual crimes, there would be a lot of unemployed cops? Besides, it’s a lot more fun to raid houses and throw your authority around than it is to deal with vandals.

    “War is the health of the state.” -Randolph Bourne

  55. #55 |  The Straight Toke - THE Marijuana Blog » Julius’ link picks for February 1st | 

    [...] A “Drug Bust” Gone Wrong: One Dead, One In Jail, No Criminal Possession – One of the saddest stories I’ve read in a while. Police received an anonymous tip that a man was growing marijuana. Police performed a no-knock raid. As anyone might do when armed men burst through your door, the man attempted to defend himself. Firing in self defense, he shot and killed an officer. As it turns out, the plants in the back yard that sparked the tip were not marijuana plants — the only cannabis the man had was in his personal stash; barely enough for a misdemeanor. [...]

  56. #56 |  Lowell | 

    Law enforcement needs to justify having swat teams and drug task force units,after all we’re paying a lot of money for them. So swat teams do not get enough action in their orginal role, why not add them to drug raids they need the practice. The task force units are always glad to have them along when they arrest the Big time drug dealers. By the way, when was the last really big raid, where they had large quantity’s of drugs to show ?

  57. #57 |  appletree » Blog Archive » Yet Another Killing as SWAT Team Kicks Down Door of Suspected Dealer | 

    [...] and sometimes he’s charged with murder because a policeman is killed. Here’s the latest manifestation of this [...]

  58. #58 |  tom | 

    last night, i fell asleep on the couch watching TV. My girlfriend and 16 year old step daughter we asleep upstairs and my 60 something inlaws were asleep downstairs in their rooms. At 530am this morning
    (saturday) I was damn near shocked to death by what sounded like a bomb, but found it was a battering ram that forced open the door quickly followed followed by an M-16 assault rifle pointed at my head.
    After an hour of being handcuffed and humiliated, the cops left with $10 dollar street value worth of marijuana that my father inlaw once in a blue moon smokes to lessen the pain of gout an other health problems. Also found was trace amount of cocaine left behind in baggies that my girl keeps to remind her how much money she has lost on the drup. shes been clean for over a year. Not very smart but it worked for her so who’s to say.
    Three people led out of the house in handcuffs, charged with possession and paraphanelia(sp). two love ones face years of imprisonment for so – so little.
    I believe drugs are bad as well as liqour and tobacco. Cops need tools to stop the illegal flow of drugs into our neighborhoods but the tactics of raids should be limited to distributors and not occassional users who have enough problems with their demons.

    Warning – drugs without a tax stamp can lead the Gestapo to your door. I’m proof.

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