Just Wait Until You See How They “Execute” a Search Warrant

Friday, September 4th, 2009

From the A.P.:

It was just too much, having to return to court twice on the same day to contest yet another traffic ticket, and Fire Chief Don Payne didn’t hesitate to tell the judge what he thought of the police and their speed traps.

The response from cops? They shot him. Right there in court.

Yes, you read that correctly. Full story here.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

71 Responses to “Just Wait Until You See How They “Execute” a Search Warrant”

  1. #1 |  nicole | 

    Martin declined to name the officer who shot Payne. It’s unclear if the officer has been disciplined.

    Prosecutor Lindsey Fairley said Thursday that he didn’t plan to file any felony charges against the officer or Payne. Fairley, reached at his home, said Payne could face a misdemeanor charge stemming from the scuffle, but that would be up to the city’s judge. He said he didn’t remember the name of the officer who fired the shot.

    Um…no, there’s nothing to even say.

  2. #2 |  Toonhead | 

    Holy crap! Population: 174 – Police force 7. 1 cop per ~25 citizens!

  3. #3 |  Lucy | 

    All your stories about police brutality, and this one actually surprised me.

    I love the part where they’re not sure if the officer had been disciplined. What a complete cowardly scumbag. Shot him in the back, no less.

  4. #4 |  goes211 | 

    The best (or worst) part:

    Prosecutor Lindsey Fairley said Thursday that he didn’t plan to file any felony charges against the officer or Payne. Fairley, reached at his home, said Payne could face a misdemeanor charge stemming from the scuffle, but that would be up to the city’s judge. He said he didn’t remember the name of the officer who fired the shot.

    The prosecutor isn’t even interested in charging the case. For shooting an unarmed man. IN COURT. How is that not attempted murder?!? Instead they may charge the victim, I’m not sure for what, probably just for daring to question the validity of any police action.

  5. #5 |  Lori Wilson | 

    Come on Toonhead – the town needs enough officers to run speed traps 24/7 for each entry/exit into town! I’ll bet they spend 95-99% of their time collecting revenue (how else could they pay for that many cops?)

  6. #6 |  Lucy | 

    Ahhhhhh, I just read nicole’s comment and realized I missed that the fireman could face misdemeanor charges. But the officer will not get a felony..Bawhhhh.

    That’ll teach him to get shot in the back!

  7. #7 |  Pablo | 

    They got grant money to start their vewy own powice force? Well isn’t that special?!

    Reminds me of an acquaintance here in Atlanta who lives in an affluent, intown neighborhood where residents have agitated for a greater police presence, due to a (perceived) increase in crime there. He was out on the sidewalk one day drinking a glass of wine with his family and got ticketed for public consumption of alchohol.

    Moral: be careful what you wish for.

  8. #8 |  Judi | 

    Hell Linda #3, they guy ‘couldn’t remember the officer’s name’ let alone discipline him.

    I’m surprised the cops didn’t throw a rope over the nearest tree and hang the poor fellow after they shot him.

    Cops like this are cowards who hide behind that badge on their uniform to compensate for obvious other ‘short-comings’ if you get my drift.

    Cops are just like gangs. If one is in a fight, the others must follow suit or be ostracized and suffer the consequences.

    The only difference beyween gangs and cops is that our taxes PAY them to be thugs.

    Payne should sue the hell out of the police department so he can OWN them and a few acres of the town!

  9. #9 |  Hannah | 

    And the police keep wondering why the general public is slowly loosing its trust in them.

  10. #10 |  hrm | 

    This is the same Crittenden County where officers confiscate your money and make you prove it isn’t drug money, right? And it is the county West Memphis is in, right, a la the West Memphis Three?

  11. #11 |  Marty | 

    I predict a few fires of ‘unkown origin’ in the near future… the fire dept will pull up and have ‘mechanical issues’ or ‘equipment failure’… they’ll end up flowing water just in time to keep the neighbors’ properties from burning down, but there will be no saving the cops’ property… THEN, the chief will seize control of the ‘arson scene’, not allow the cops access, while he plants the kiddie porn, drugs, illegal guns, etc that will send these clowns way up the river, where they belong.

    anyone wanna tell me ‘it’s just a traffic ticket’ now? these power freaks are everywhere….

  12. #12 |  thomasblair | 

    With 174 residents, the city can keep seven police officers on its rolls

    What the holy motherfuck!? You figure even at $20k salary per year, these 7 cops are extracting around $1k/year from each resident.

  13. #13 |  Bob | 

    Noone knows the name of the cop who shot him?

    (Voice of Chief Wiggums) “That’s good work boys! Now give him a ticket for bleeding.”

    Not even the Judge knows the guy’s name? He’s probably seen all 7 a hundred times on ticket related matters.

    It looks like that town needs some vigalante justice.

  14. #14 |  Mister DNA | 

    It looks like that town needs some vigalante justice.


    According to the article, the police chief has temporarily disbanded the police force.

    Not it’s up to the good townsfolk to make sure the disbanding is permanent. No federal intervention needed.

  15. #15 |  B | 

    Jesus, this is pretty unbelievable even for a police story on this blog.

    And that is really saying something.

  16. #16 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    Gosh, it’s almost admirable… in a way. Is there *any* outrage they missed?

  17. #17 |  Mister DNA | 

    Gosh, it’s almost admirable… in a way. Is there *any* outrage they missed?

    Well… no dogs were shot. They’ve got that one going for them, at least.

  18. #18 |  Bob | 

    Wow. Just wow. Check this one out:

    The salient part:
    “Jericho mayor Helen Adams says the officers are working for free.”
    She goes on to state:
    “They are doing their certification, they don’t have a job. That’s the only way they can keep their certification going,” Adams said.

    It looks like Mayor Adams has herself a little band of ‘Regulators’ going! She’s probably over the border in Mississippi with the cash, right now. Mississippi being a third world nation, she’ll be safe from extradition.

  19. #19 |  Zargon | 

    The cops were probably tired of dealing with irate people day after day as they stole their money with one bullshit ticket after another.

    Betcha traffic stops will go a lot smoother for those 7 thugs, now that they’ve set the precedent of gunning down anybody who gives lip. And I’d put money on that being the primary motivation behind the shooting in the first place.

  20. #20 |  coyote | 

    I think this town is located on Interstate 60

  21. #21 |  Packratt | 


    That’s interesting if it’s true that the police officers were working for free. Seems that there’s a lot of questions about where all this money they were collecting with their aggressive (to be kind) speed trap tactics was going.

    According to some reports, it seems that Jericho is behind on paying for all those police cruisers and other equipment and some cruisers were even repossessed recently because they defaulted on the loan payments.

    It’s a story worth keeping an eye on as I don’t think it’s quite done yet.

  22. #22 |  ARCraig | 

    West Memphis is an absolute hellhole. My high school marching band had to stop going to away games there because there were shots being fired in the neighborhood of the stadium- on more than one occasion.

    Shame there was no footage of the attempted murder in the courtroom. And 7 police officers in a town with ~150 people and not a single business? Absolute insanity. I wonder if the “grant” the town got to start their own armed gang was one of the incentive-twisting Federal grants Obama is eager to expand.

  23. #23 |  “They shot him. Right there in court.” « Quotulatiousness | 

    […] Radley Balko links to the weirdest “cops gone wild” story I’ve encountered in quite a while: […]

  24. #24 |  John Wilburn | 

    Generally speaking, people who live in small towns in the south own guns, and know how to use them (A lotta huntin’ goin’ on…).

    This is purely speculation on my part, but I would suggest that the life-expectancy of those seven cops is directly relatable to the popularity of Mr. Payne with the other 173 residents of Jerico…

    Shit happens…

  25. #25 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I’m an HOA president. For comparison, my neighborhood, which isn’t even finished, has 120 houses now. While I’m not sure of the exact population, we probably have 300 or so people living here. I can think of only one house that is occupied by a single person; most have two parents and one or two kids, so an average of 2.5 people/house seems about right.

    Anyway, you see where I’m heading here. We have more people than this city, and they have 7 police officers. We don’t have 7 police officers.

    Maybe I need to see about upgrading our neighborhood to a city…

  26. #26 |  arglebargle | 

    Ok, I’m going to be slain for saying this, but here goes.

    IF the fire chief started a fight in the courtroom, and IF the police tried to restrain him, and IF the fire chief was winning the fight, and IF these police didn’t have tasers, then there MAY be a justifiable circumstance for the shooting.

    The story really doesn’t cover in detail what happened.

    And as for these cops being used solely for revenue generation and possible embezzlement, isn’t that what cops are for?

  27. #27 |  InMD | 

    “The frequent ticketing apparently led to the vandalization of the cruisers, and the department took to parking the cars overnight at the sheriff’s department eight miles away.”

    It made me smile to hear people fighting back even in a small way. I bet it felt good to key those cruisers. :)

  28. #28 |  perlhaqr | 

    Lucy: And it’s only just. “Obstruction of bullets”, y’know.


    I realize it’s somewhat trite, but hey, “Fuck Tha Police.” Straight up.

  29. #29 |  Bee | 

    God damn. Cue the banjos. Sure this isn’t The Onion?

  30. #30 |  MDGuy | 

    #4 | goes211 | September 4th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Instead they may charge the victim, I’m not sure for what

    Haven’t you heard? Police deputize the bullets they put in their guns these days. When the fire chief willfully smashed that bullet with his hip bone it was first degree assault on a police officer. Only time will reveal the condition of bullet. If it shattered under the punishing impact of Payne’s bone mass, he could well be charged as a cop-killer.

  31. #31 |  Tokin42 | 


    7 Cops couldn’t handle 1 pissed off fire chief w/o tasers or shooting him? This isn’t even close to being justifiable.

    The bigger issue in my mind is the prosecutors reaction, or lack thereof. The 6 cops and the prosecutor need to go, the ass that shot the chief in the back should be behind bars.

  32. #32 |  Bee | 

    Is there *any* outrage they missed?

    There was no rape.

  33. #33 |  craig | 

    There is no way you can divide 7 cops, plus benefits, vehicles, equipment, etc… into 140 people…hence the need to write copious amounts of tickets…

  34. #34 |  craig | 

    Oh great, the fire chief is black…

  35. #35 |  capo | 

    the prosecutor was probably afraid to even consider charges…if you can get shot just for complaining….imagine what would have happened to her

  36. #36 |  Marc | 

    #25 There were 7 officers (per the article) at the hearing. If they could not restrain a SINGLE unarmed man without shooting him in the back, they should all be fired for gross incompetence.

  37. #37 |  Steve Smith | 

    There was no rape.

    Steve do something about that.

  38. #38 |  Travis | 

    So we’re giving unpaid cops guns? That’s a surefire way to attract the worst elements of society.

  39. #39 |  scott | 

    I liked “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” but I predict that this latest Guy Ritchie effort will bomb at the box office.

    Wait… it’s not a movie?


  40. #40 |  Brandon Bowers | 


  41. #41 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    And I don’t mean the existence of the police department…

  42. #42 |  PW | 

    “Oh great, the fire chief is black…”

    The town itself is over 90% black. It’ll be interesting to see the race of the officers and if that contributed to the tensions in any way.

  43. #43 |  KBCraig | 

    Oh great, the fire chief is black…

    Have you looked at the demographics of the Delta?

    The town is 93% black (2000 census), so I imagine everyone involved is as well.

  44. #44 |  Matt D | 

    IF the fire chief started a fight in the courtroom, and IF the police tried to restrain him, and IF the fire chief was winning the fight, and IF these police didn’t have tasers, then there MAY be a justifiable circumstance for the shooting.

    It’s kinda hard to believe he overpowered all 7 of them. But yeah–there is a difference between a physical fight that escalates to gunfire and a straight up assassination attempt, which is what I initially took the story for. Neither is necessarily justifiable but the implications of the former (some asshole who shouldn’t have a gun decided to pull it) are a bit more benign than the latter (the police conspired to kill an unarmed man in the middle of a courtroom).

  45. #45 |  dave b. | 

    Only 7 cops for 174 people? This town is in desperate need of a Byrne grant so they can get a SWAT team, some armored vehicles, and maybe a couple of helicopters. Remember, it’s for the children.

  46. #46 |  Bob | 

    Brandon Browers says:


    Oh, it’s worse than that. The Mayor, who runs the town was there as well, standing behind Don Payne when he was shot… in the back.

    In addition, the cops there don’t draw a salary. They’re not paid. I have to assume they get a kickback from their ticket revenues.

    Wait! Didn’t thay make a TV show about this? “The Dukes of Hazzard”? Mayor Helen Adams is supposed to give a press report today… but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Neither Mayor Adams or Police Chief Frazier are answering their phones right now. They probably decided to car pool it in the town’s lone remaining vehicle to the nearby third world nation of Mississippi.

  47. #47 |  David | 

    These guys aren’t police, they’re samurai. If they were working for free, they’re Ronin.

    I mean, could ANYONE else get away with discharging a pistol in courtroom?

  48. #48 |  GOB, Arkansas « The Quick and the Dead | 

    […] HT: Balko […]

  49. #49 |  Bob | 


    They’re Ronin NOW, as the Police Chief threw a hissy fit and disbanded the department “Until it settles down”. Probably to cover his tracks so he and the Mayor can get out while the getting is good.

    Who knows how much was in their weekly pay envelopes (cash money, of course… no taxes) before this brouhaha surfaced.

  50. #50 |  BamBam | 

    Your daily police brutality video/story:

  51. #51 |  Bob | 

    Good find, Bambam.

    I like how surprised everyone is that little miss Police Thug lied on her report.

    Duh! That’s SOP!

  52. #52 |  albatross | 

    So, the cops were working for tips?

  53. #53 |  SJE | 

    According to wikipedia, the median household income is 20K, approx 25% live below the poverty line. I think that a wealthy gated community of 184 people would have trouble affording 7 police officers, let alone this small hamlet.

    If you go to the local county site, you can see that there is a lot of trouble brewing there: the citizenry and council are up in arms. http://www.crittendencountyarkansas.com/

  54. #54 |  Charlie O | 

    “A white Ford Crown Victoria sat in her driveway with “public property” license plates. A sales brochure advertising police equipment sat in the back seat of the car.”

    She was probably shopping for SWAT equipment and other armaments. Keerist. I live in a village of 1250 and we don’t even have one friggin’ cop. Don’t need one either.

    This is prime example why grants and assets forfeitures are bad policy. Cops get new toys, gotta find a reason to use new toys.

  55. #55 |  J.R. | 

    These guys remind me of the Glanton gang setting up their robbery racket on the Colorado River, and maintaining it by violence. (Read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian for a fictionalization.) It’s the same concept, isn’t it?

    It’s pretty clear that the money from robbing anyone who passsed by was pocketed by the members of the gang. It’s still a criminal gang even if they are officially acting as an “arm of the law”. After all, Glanton’s gang was originally acting as an arm of the law too.

  56. #56 |  David | 

    So is there any record of these assholes actually arresting criminals, or is their job literally nothing but writing speeding tickets?

  57. #57 |  John Wilburn | 

    #51 J.R.

    I think the term you’re looking for is, “Larceny, Under Color of Authority…”

  58. #58 |  Brent Allen | 

    It appears to be yet another example of Antonin Scalia’s “new professionalism.”

  59. #59 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    1.) If you or I discharged a firearm in court to stop a brawl, there’s a good chance a court security deputy would have shot us on site (but maybe there was no court security in this fucked up burgh).

    2.) Jesus H. Christ, there is no reason for a town of 174 to have a police force!!! In most states, the state patrol/ state police, etc. and the sheriff’s office are the default police agencies. If you don’t have at least 5,0000 to 7,0000, people in your town, YOU PROBABLY DO NOT NEED A POLICE DEPARTMENT. Contract with the sheriff, work w/ the troopers, then start a damn neighborhood watch.

    3.) If your podunk town of less than 1000 does start it’s own PD, the officers will primarily serve as uniformed revenue collectors, not public safety officers. Besides that, new officers will come to get “training” for a year (and how much real police training can you get in a tiny jurisdiction like this) and then leave. No motivated, well-trained veteran officers will work in an environment like this.

    4.) I concur w/ Bee above: When I first saw this story last night, I thought it was from the Onion too. How embarassing!

  60. #60 |  Mario | 

    arglebargle @ 26

    If all you’ve speculated on were true, then Jericho must have Chuck Norris as its fire chief.

    Give us all a break. It is difficult to believe that seven cops could not handle him without shooting him. At the very least one could have crouched down on all fours behind the chief’s back, right at knee-level, and the other six could have pushed him over.

    The Three Stooges should have been able to handle him.

  61. #61 |  Aresen | 

    Mario @ 4:51

    “The Three Stooges should have been able to handle him.”

    Well, Seven Stooges couldn’t.

  62. #62 |  Mrs. C | 

    Your heading for this post took my breath away…because I know too well…how a search warrant was executed…at least in Fairfax County.

    Courthouse Information: The following items are prohibited: electronic devices, including cell phones, pagers, cameras, tape recorders, computers, and PDA’s; potential weapons, including pocket knives, scissors, and mace; and food and beverages. Umbrellas must be left in the lobby.

    I thought all courts followed the same rules as listed above…and enforced them…but since I have been wrong before…in what I have thought…about those who are sworn to protect and serve…I suppose I am not as surprised…as I might have once been…that such a thing could happen.


  63. #63 |  Stephen | 

    So he was shot in the ass. A cop was also wounded in the hand with the same shot.

    Sounds to me like there was some sexual harassment going on. :)

  64. #64 |  Cornellian | 

    “Prosecutor Lindsey Fairley said Thursday that he didn’t plan to file any felony charges against the officer or Payne. Fairley, reached at his home, said Payne could face a misdemeanor charge stemming from the scuffle, but that would be up to the city’s judge. He said he didn’t remember the name of the officer who fired the shot.”

    Because fire chiefs getting shot by police officers in open court is such a common, mundane, everyday sort of occurrence is a town of fewer than 200 people, you can’t possibly expect the prosecutor to remember which of the seven police officers shot the guy.

  65. #65 |  Michael | 

    The last time I was in Arkansas I was threatened by one of their finest! I was going to be arrested for mumbling something under my breath, while walking away! Towns that treat people like this will get their come-uppins’ soon enough!

    And, they were likely all of the same race! You think they were trained at the West Memphis police academy? I do not remember seeing a lot of GSW’s while working that particular ER, though!

  66. #66 |  Pinandpuller | 

    I got run out of town by a cop on the other side of the state in Alma, AR. I had stopped to get gas and take a break and I talked to the owner for a while. He left and I was chatting with his daughter and a cop came in and pretty much said I had stuck around long enough. Considering that I had a concealed weapon for protection I went ahead and left.

    As far as Jericho is concerned I predict that the fire department will soon own the police department.

  67. #67 |  Red Green | 

    And the FBI will not care about this because I’ve heard they are a few counties away entrapping men by dressing up like women prostitutes.

  68. #68 |  Birds the word | 

    Bet these cops even successfully lobbied to prevent their Pris- er, I mean citizens from lawfully carrying handguns.

  69. #69 |  ben | 

    Damn… I knew I wanted to leave this forsaken county soon. I live in Crittenden county.

  70. #70 |  Pamela | 

    this tells everything there is to know about AR and Crittenden County


  71. #71 |  KBCraig | 

    Charges are being filed in this case…. against the fire chief.