Over the weekend, police in Connecticut broke through windows and deployed flash grenades while conducting a drug rain on a home in Connecticut. Gonazalo Guizan, 33, who was visiting and didn’t live at the house, charged at the raiding officers, unarmed. The police shot him dead.
Early reports don’t say much about Guizan, though in this comment thread, friends and family say he wasn’t a drug dealer, wasn’t violent, and wasn’t a criminal. I suppose it’s possible that an unarmed man would knowingly charge a team of raiding police officers. But I think the far more likely explanation is that he thought the place was being robbed.
We don’t yet have details as to why the police felt it necessary to shoot Guizan, other than that he charged at them. I suspect the shooting itself will be ruled justified, as it probably should be. The question is why the paramilitary tactics were necessary in the first place, and whether yet another person has now paid with his life for the very reasonable mistake of confusing invading police officers with invading criminals.
The owner of the house was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Which means there weren’t enough drugs in the place to charge him with distribution. He was released on $10,000 bond.
MORE: When I say the shooting “probably should be” justified, I’m not excusing it. I’m saying that it’s hard to see how criminal charges could be filed against the officer who fire the shot. All he needs to show is that he reasonably feared for his life. If someone is charging at you in the midst of a confrontational drug raid, that’s not a hard point to prove. My point is that the fault lies with the policy of using these tactics to police drug crimes in the first place.