Ryan Frederick Update

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Frederick’s preliminary hearing just ended.

He was formally charged with first degree murder and with the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. So yeah. They really are going to go through with this.

The misdemeanor marijuana possession charge was nolle prossed. Which means the reason the police tried to ram their way into Frederick’s house in the first place is now pretty much moot. They didn’t even find enough marijuana to merit a charge. Now they’re trying to make him pay for the consequences of their mistake.

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35 Responses to “Ryan Frederick Update”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    Where is the NRA in all of this? If this was a homeowner who shot a burglar, wouldnt the NRA be all over it, protecting the right to bear arms?

  2. #2 |  Nando | 

    It’s sad that “they raided my house when I had done nothing wrong” isn’t an actual defense. At least not one that will get you too far in court.

    I feel sorry for this man as I’m sure most of us here do, too. I hope he has a sympathetic jury and a judge that will write an strong opinion thereby creating a precedent whereby citizens won’t be held liable for injuries/deaths after a wrongful raid, but that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  3. #3 |  Bronwyn | 

    I’m terrified for Ryan Frederick, simply terrified that this will not end well.

  4. #4 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I doubt the NRA would see any political upside to arguing in favor of a “cop killer”. Ryan is going to have a hard time finding any friends.

  5. #5 |  Edintally | 

    hope the jury isnt asleep on this one

  6. #6 |  crack | 

    Is there a lawyer that can take the family of the cop on as a client in a wrongful death suit against the department? If they wouldn’t have done a no-knock guns blazing raid the officer would likely still be alive.

  7. #7 |  Michael Pack | 

    The N.R.A took a pounding over ‘cop killer bullets’.Most of which were high velocity hunting rounds.I don’t think they want to tick off law enforcement.I wish they would.

  8. #8 |  Mike Gogulski | 

    Meh. Here’s to wishing for a world in which the clown suit defense isn’t valid.


  9. #9 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The NRA *should* be happy to take on this case, as this is exactly the sort of incident for which we have the 2nd Amendment.

  10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #5 Edintally
    hope the jury isnt asleep on this one

    I wonder what kind of questions will be asked during voir dere to weed out anyone that might be inclined to find fault with the cops.

  11. #11 |  Nick T | 


    “It’s sad that ‘they raided my house when I had done nothing wrong’ isn’t an actual defense.”

    Why is that a shame in this particular case? Don’t you think they would have just gone through with the marijuana charges if they had to be included in the murder charge? Sadly, I’m positive they would have just done that.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this case plays out at trial. When the police kill someone and are tried juries are strongly encouraged to consider the case from the view of the officer and whether he reasonably believed use of his firearm was vitally necessary. I can’t imagine how, asked the same question for Frederick, the answer could be anything other than “yes.” That’s of course assuming the jury gets the same instruction.

  12. #12 |  Whim | 

    The Prosecuting Attorneys of America are virtually guaranteed to charge the citizen if they are involved in an exchange of fire with the police.

    The police insist on it.

    They believe that the citizens duty in the case of a No-Knock, wrong-address SWAT raid is to simply: Die.

  13. #13 |  perlhaqr | 

    Nick T.: Why is that a shame in this particular case? Don’t you think they would have just gone through with the marijuana charges if they had to be included in the murder charge? Sadly, I’m positive they would have just done that.

    Technically, he said “wrong”, not “illegal”. But you’re probably right.

  14. #14 |  Jason B | 

    I say end “no-knock warrants!” They have caused too many problems and killed too many people. if something isn’t working, it’s gotta go.

    This frightens me…it frightens me a lot. Now more than ever, I need a firearm. lock up your guns folks, cause it looks like we might not have the ability to use them anymore!

  15. #15 |  Bot | 

    I can see no good from this. Even if Ryan is found innocent, he’ll likely face a wrongful death civil suit. An innocent verdict will not result in the kind of reform regular visitors to this blog would like. Any reform will likely result in the police video taping these sorts of raids with cue on officer A looking into the camera shouting “Police” just before the door gets busted down. It will also result in legislation that further rules out any possibility of the “home defense” argument.

    Until there is a fundamental shift in our collective mentality toward the War on Drugs, these incidents will only serve to strengthen the power and autonomy we transfer toward law enforcement.

    Follow the money. The War on Terror (via Homeland Security) is ultimately funding these tactics – not renewed funding for fighting illegal drugs. Any serious reform then has to address both – the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. I don’t see it happening any other way. Maybe, just maybe a case like Ryan’s can become a rallying point to change things for the better, but don’t expect it to happen one “isolated” incident at a time.


  16. #16 |  You All Disgust Me » Blog Archive » Ryan Frederick Update | 

    […] Ryan Frederick Update: “ […]

  17. #17 |  Michael Chaney | 

    One other thing, Radley, is that the misdemeanor mj case was *not* the reason that they raided his home in the first place, and I think they even had to get a second warrant for that. Their warrant was for a large mj growing operation, which we know never existed.

    The police had no legal right to be there, and as such they have no legal protections against someone protecting his house from intruders (which is what they are without a valid warrant). Of course, it’s difficult to get a prosecutor who will simply follow the law….

  18. #18 |  Tokin42 | 

    I’m not surprised they are continuing this charade. If they didn’t file charges of some sort then they basically admit they screwed up and open themselves up to a variety of civil lawsuits and the possibility of added oversight of their department. I’m still holding out hope that this case will be handled by a jury with a backbone that will hold the PD accountable for their screw-up and not Ryan.

  19. #19 |  Nick T | 


    I think it’s rather extreme to say that simply because the police had no legal right to be there means they are not protected by the law from lethal force. Do you really feel that *any* tresspasser can be met with lethal force regardless of the specific circumstances. Of course, this is an abstract debate because in this case the officers were threatening, acting with violence and had lethal force at their disposal so it is clearly justified, but I don’t think it can be boiled down as simply as “no legal right after the fact” = “can be shot at.”

    Also, technically they did have a legal right to be there since they were executing a valid search warrant. Just because the warrant was incorrect does not mean it was illegal for them to be there. However the fact that no elaborate, illegal operation was taking place is relevant to whether he intentionally and knowlingly fired on police officers.

  20. #20 |  Tokin42 | 

    Radley, it’s not letting me add html links to my comments. The pilotonline.com has a fuller story about the case. They mention the misdemeanor drug charge was dropped but the prosecutor plans on adding a felony drug charge later. I tried posting the link to the story but it didn’t take my comment.

  21. #21 |  Observant Bystander | 


    I tried posting that link as well. Oh, well. Here, for what it’s worth, is my link-free comment (minus what you already pointed out):

    The Virginian-Pilot story contains two statements that make little sense to me:

    1. “Roberts said police knocked and announced themselves before attempting to gain entry.” This point is made multiple times in the story.

    2. “At some point, police began to yell ‘eight ball,’ a code meaning the raid had been compromised and that the individual inside the house knew of the raid.”

    Did the police want Frederick to know his house was being raided or not? If they were announcing themselves, then why would the raid be “compromised” once he knew they were there? Also, did the officer yell “eight ball” because the shot was fired? If so, this suggests the police did not want Frederick to know they were there up until the point of the shot.

  22. #22 |  awake | 

    We’ve been told that the police obtained a warrant for the raid. Although they aren’t releasing it, nor, on what grounds they applied for the warrant.

    Unless judges are routinely signing warrant applications based on ZERO evidence, this case sounds like the police have learned the mistakes Atlanta PD made with Kathryan Johnston. Although, not in a manner we would like, but just better at covering-up when these raids go bad.

    I do agree, police were invading that house illegally. With that said, every officer attempting to invade this man’s home should be dead.

  23. #23 |  claude | 

    “I tried posting that link as well.”

    I did too. Earlier today. Same result. Comment went off into space somewhere.


  24. #24 |  Highway | 

    Bot in #16:

    Don’t you think that the police videotaping any actions they take and making sure that they positively identify themselves to as many people as possible prior to the raid are good results?

    Not that I’m trying to put words in anyone’s mouth, but I think that the idea that more communication and understanding being put out so that fewer people, on ALL sides of the drug ‘war’, die from stupidity and confrontation would get a lot of support from the folks who read this blog. And to that end, anything that reduces the confusion these raids present would help.

  25. #25 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Nick, read closely what I said – they have no legal protection if they’re simply invading his home sans valid warrant, and he thinks he’s being invaded. That’s pretty much certainly the case.

    The warrant, if they had one, is phony. It’s based on provably false information (mj grow operation) from an “informant” who committed a crime to supposedly obtain the false information.

    As we keep saying, we (as in, our society) need to find a way to hold the judges who sign these things accountable – I mean like “lose your job and go to jail” accountable.

  26. #26 |  Andrew Williams | 

    If the police make a mistake, it’s your fault. If they’re cornered and can’t talk their way out of it they’ll admit making mistakes and might even make an apology. Unwillingly. Through their teeth. We’ve seen this with Ryan Frederick, Cory Maye, Kathryn Johnson and countless others. And now add Rachel Hoffman to the kill list.

    If the cops keep on going like this even their most heartfelt apologies won’t be enough.

  27. #27 |  Mike Gogulski | 

    Assuming for the sake of argument that a broad swathe of the American public holds a sensible moral position on self-defense, this incident and the aftermath should make it very clear to everyone that the very idea of the Constitutional Republic is flawed.

    The message me and my generation, and doubtless millions more, got hammered with was that America was exceptional because it had this tradition of liberty, rooted in both logic and emotion. The godsend was supposed to be the “checks and balances” built into the governmental structure, but the unexamined assumption there was that the people who seek office would be, on the whole, motivated by that same libertarian tradition.

    Hayek argued in “The Road to Serfdom” that central planning would inevitably lead to the basest, most evil of self-aggrandizing men seeking to control the power structure. I would submit that Hayek’s argument should be updated to show that the same thing is true of democratic republics.

  28. #28 |  Concerned Citizen | 

    Some peoples’ children. The lone comment on the linked story contained the quote below. The post being in all caps doesn’t do much to assure me of the level of horse sense possessed by the author.


    Would that be Morse Code? Would that be an unsubstantiated “fact”?

    The [i]fact[/i] is, the man had his own door kicked down, while he was home, in the middle of the night. The police apparently found NOTHING else to charge him with – which seems to suggest that the police had no business being there in the first place.

    There are many, many people who live in the USA, whose very first response to their home being invaded is to grab the home defense gun.

    Police responses involving violent invasions into homes in search of evidence of non-violent non-crimes is a very stupid policy.

  29. #29 |  InFrequently Asked Questions | 

    Today At the Chesapeake Courthouse……

    Doc Tabor and I waited for…

  30. #30 |  InFrequently Asked Questions | 

    Ryan Frederick Preliminary Hearing Today…

    Today, a judge in Chesapeake certified the first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony charges against Ryan Frederick. The next hearing is before the grand jury on 3 June….

  31. #31 |  Red Green | 

    I am suprized that Ryan lived to be charged with this. Certainly these robocops resisted a great temptation to just waste him. Open minds will not convict. But then , this is obviously no longer an open minded society. OBEY! or DIE!

  32. #32 |  Bill | 

    Red Green, I suspect the reason he survived is because the dynamic of the raid changed. When it began, he was a target, and they were all set to burst into his house, waving guns around and playing tough. Then, when he actually became a threat by killing one of them, they waited outside for “5-6 minutes”, I believe, until he came OUTSIDE. If they’d had the guts to enter the house after he showed himself to be a potential danger to them, they might have killed him inside…but not outside where there might by then be witnesses.

  33. #33 |  supercat | 

    //As we keep saying, we (as in, our society) need to find a way to hold the judges who sign these things accountable – I mean like “lose your job and go to jail” accountable.//

    The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. Although it does not contain specific penalties for violations, it does declare illegitimate any actions, ordinances, statutes, warrants, etc. which would violate it.

    A cop who breaks into a person’s dwelling without reason to believe that either (1) he possesses a legitimate warrant for the address in question, or (2) there are sufficient exigent circumstances to justify a break-in, is a burglar or a robber (depending upon whether he intends to avoid or confront any occupants). Anyone who knowingly entices or assists the cop in such action without having reason to believe it legitimate is a conspirator to burglary or robbery. If someone happens to get killed as a foreseeable consequence of the crime, the participants are murderers.

    To be sure, if a cop is given a warrant to serve which facially justifies a search, and if the cop has no reason to believe the warrant to be illegitimate, that cop should not be held to blame if the warrant is in fact not legitimate, provided he assists in the prosecution of those who are to blame. His escape from blame should not be predicated upon his being a cop, but rather the fact that prosecution for most felonies (or at least most crimes that should be felonies) requires a demonstration of criminal intent. The situation should be analogous to someone who rents a vacation property from someone who, unbeknownst to the renter, doesn’t actually own it. If the “renter” can demonstrate that he had a reasonable belief to enter the property, he should not be charged with trespass.

    Of course, all of the above presuppose the existence of a constitutional republic. I can’t think of any reason why a legitimate government wouldn’t want to prosecute robbers in uniform, but our government certainly shows no desire to.

  34. #34 |  Mike Gogulski | 

    “OBEY! or DIE!”

    Rad Green has the essence right here. Amen.

  35. #35 |  Joe Cool | 

    I feel bad for Ryan. I can’t be certain that I personally would have done anything different. You know that rule about being certain that the gun is pointed at something you wish to destroy before firing it comes into play here. Mas Ayoob’s advice on this has been pretty constant in that you don’t pull the trigger until you are certain that what you are stopping is worse than going to jail, because you will probably go to jail for pulling that trigger.
    I think it will come down to whether or not the police identified themselves as police early enough to have prevented confusion with an armed intruder. Fortunately for Ryan, there should be enough mistakes here to establish reasonable doubt for the jury that he wasn’t doing anything inconsistent than defending himself in fear of his life.