Cheye Calvo in the Washington Post

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo has an op-ed in the Washington Post about his experience trying to get some accountability for the violent, mistaken 2008 raid on his home.

Let me give you three specific concerns underscored by our case.

First, the Prince George’s Police Department’s internal affairs function is broken. When the Justice Department released the county police from federal supervision in February, internal affairs was the one area that was not cleared. Internal affairs division (IAD) investigations were required to take no longer than 90 days. More than a year after our ordeal, my family awaits the IAD report on what happened at our home. The statute of limitations for officer misconduct is 12 months, which means that any wrongdoers are off the hook.

Next, there is significant evidence that the county is broadly violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. After initially claiming that they had a “no-knock” warrant to forcibly enter our home, county police acknowledged that they did not have one. But they went on to contend that there is no such thing as a “no-knock” warrant in Maryland. But this isn’t true. A statewide “no-knock” warrant statute was passed in 2005. Effectively, the county is denying the existence of state law. We can’t get the county to say whether it has ever followed the law or, at a minimum, even acknowledges it.

Finally, and perhaps most disturbing of all, county police may be lying to cover up their civil rights violations. A county officer on the scene told Berwyn Heights police a fabricated tale to justify the warrantless entry into our home. The lie disappeared after police learned that I was the mayor. Charges of a police coverup are hardly unusual, but there is significant evidence that county law enforcement engaged in a conspiracy on our lawn to justify an illegal entry. Nothing strikes at the heart of police credibility like creative report writing and false testimony to cover up a lie or even put innocent people behind bars.

Calvo is really an impressive guy. I’ve never talked to him whether he’d ever consider running for higher office, but there’d be some poetic justice in seeing him become the next Prince George’s county executive.

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22 Responses to “Cheye Calvo in the Washington Post

  1. #1 |  Rollie Fingers | 

    Love this stuff.
    Free expression and reason over thuggery and duplicity.

  2. #2 |  Michael Pack | 

    It seems the mayor has seen the light,just as many former drug warriors have.The only way to enforce drug and overly broad DUI laws is to throw out the 4th and 5th amendment.We have roadblocks, pat downs on the street,undercover drug sales and buys and boilerplate excuses for arrests and warrants.When your enforceing laws where there is no harm to others (except the blackmarket in drugs) you need to ignore the constitution in order to catch the “criminals’.

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    when is the police smear campaign of Calvo scheduled for?

  4. #4 |  Tokin42 | 

    “The statute of limitations for officer misconduct is 12 months, which means that any wrongdoers are off the hook.”

    I’m sure holding the report long enough for the statute of limitations to run out is just an unintentional oversight. Pure coincidence.

    I’m glad Calvo is keeping up the good fight, thanks for the link.

  5. #5 |  Bernard | 

    Tokin, the chances are that it really is unintentional oversight and pure coincidence. Normally I’d be cynical about delays of this sort, but in this case the idea that they’re delaying deliberately to avoid misconduct charges rests on the premise that the report will find any officer misconduct.

    That seems even more unlikely. My guess is that reports so seldom find misconduct that the department has ceased to bother releasing them in a timely manner because it’s so rare for anyone to notice.

  6. #6 |  ktc2 | 

    I apologize in advance for this threadjack:

    We have a lot of legally knowledgeable readers here. If anyone could please, refer me to an experienced child support attorney in the El Dorado County/Placerville, CA area it would be greatly appreciated.

    Just post a name for me if you have a referral.

    Again, sorry for the threadjack.

  7. #7 |  Tokin42 | 

    #5 | Bernard |
    …the idea that they’re delaying deliberately to avoid misconduct charges rests on the premise that the report will find any officer misconduct.

    Good point.

  8. #8 |  John Wilburn | 

    According to Maryland State Law:
    Ҥ 11-505. When dog killing permitted
    Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, attacking, wounding or killing any poultry or livestock, or attacking human beings whether or not such dog bears the proper license tag required by these provisions. There shall be no liability on such persons in damages or otherwise for such killing.”
    This is the only reference I could find, where killing a dog is permissible in Maryland…
    In all the reporting of this incident that I have seen, there has been no indication that Mayor Calvo’s dogs were attacking poultry, livestock or human beings, or were in any way, acting in an aggressive manner…

    When are charges going to be filed against these cops?

  9. #9 |  Cornellian | 

    I’d vote for that guy for any position holding authority over the police who attacked him, his family and his home. It’s the only way this kind of police misconduct will ever get addressed.

  10. #10 |  Frank | 

    #3 The cops have been looking for mud on Calvo ever since the first story hit the press. Haven’t found any yet, aren’t likely to find any.

    At this point, the good Mayor could hold a virgin sacrifice circle in his front yard and the cops won’t touch him, because anything they do to him at this point would be rightfully construed as official retaliation.

  11. #11 |  InMD | 

    Mayor Calvo is a good person and a great asset to this state. Based on the demographics of Prince George’s County I don’t think he would ever have a shot at being county executive. Put simply he is a white Republican in a very blue, very racially diverse county. He might, however, have a shot at getting a seat in the House of Delegates. Mainly I’m glad to see that he is keeping his story in the public light. The legislation he got passed is a great first step, but that is all it is; a first step.

    Also at #2 I wouldn’t characterize him as a “former drug warrior”. He is the mayor of a tiny, relatively bohemian municipality that borders on College Park, the city that is home to University of Maryland’s flagship campus. Maryland has very few municipalities, most local policy is done at the county level. Point being his position wouldn’t exactly put him in the forefront of the prohibition battle.

  12. #12 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Calvo is really an impressive guy. I’ve never talked to him whether he’d ever consider running for higher office, but there’d be some poetic justice in seeing him become the next Prince George’s county executive.”

    Ah, the persistence of the “if only we had the right people in office” myth.

    /sigh

  13. #13 |  Mike T | 

    Ah, the persistence of the “if only we had the right people in office” myth.

    In this case, Calvo is the one politician most likely to go into that office and know why it must be changed and have the stones to change it. It’d also be hard for “law and order” candidates to get in his face and say that he’s soft on crime and that these abuses don’t happen when his story is all over the place and is similar to what many blacks go through with their police.

  14. #14 |  Cynical in CA | 

    The second he challenges the established order, Mike T, Calvo gets Spitzered (or Wellstoned or whatever).

    But hey, I wish him luck. Maybe he’d be the only politician in history who was not only immune to the system, but could actually change it.

    Institutions serve and protect themselves, and themselves alone.

  15. #15 |  Danny | 

    Entertaining the thoughts held in your posts is my guilty pleasure, Cynical.

  16. #16 |  Andrew S. | 

    KTC — I haven’t a clue, but I’m an attorney in a national firm, so I e-mailed that attorneys in our Los Angeles office to see if any of them might have a referral.

    It’s very sad that this had to happen to Mayor Calvo. But without it happening, no other raid story is ever going to get this kind of play in a large MSM source such as the Washington Post.

  17. #17 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Aw shucks Danny, check this out:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/shaffer-ebook1.html

    A treasure trove of guilty pleasures. Enjoy!

  18. #18 |  Mrs. C | 

    I was…and I am…truly sorry to welcome Mayor Calvo…to my world.

    Our devastating loss…happened at a different time…in a different state and county…by another police department…and now..I visit my son’s resting place…because of their unwarranted…use of over-excessive force tactics…in a non-threatening situation.

    Full Transparency…Absolute Accountability…Preventive Change… and an objective oversight committee…to examine citizen grievances…are areas…that need to be addressed…by our Police Departments. Policies…Protocols…and Training Procedures…also need clarity and oversight.

    When interacting with citizens/residents…who pose no violent behaviors…and because life is so precious…common sense…may be all that is needed…in keeping one…out of harm’s way.

    I continue to applaud Mayor Calvo…for his untiring efforts…in shedding light…on the unnecessarily aggressive tactics…engaged in…by those who are sworn…to serve and protect.

    Thank you too…Radley.

    http://www.justiceforsal.com

  19. #19 |  Pinandpuller | 

    What does the law in Maryland say about killing dogs with samurai swords?

  20. #20 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Calvo is really an impressive guy. I’ve never talked to him whether he’d ever consider running for higher office, but there’d be some poetic justice in seeing him become the next Prince George’s county executive.

    Just to annoy Cynical…

    He should run for goddamned President!

    But Cynical is right. As good as Calvo is, and as much as I love how he’s standing up and fighting, it really is the “just the right person” syndrome.

    Institutions serve and protect themselves, and themselves alone.

    No kidding, would love to see commenter Seeker’s reply to this, but alas, he no longer comments here.

  21. #21 |  USAA_SUCKS | 

    What a load of crap from the PG County Sheriff’s Dept. I can’t believe that any law enforcement agency in this country doesn’t have the means to find out who owns or occupies a residence. Certainly with 5 to 10 minutes of simple research could told them who lived at the residence. This is bullshit, bullshit bullshit. It’s time to start shooting back at these assholes.

  22. #22 |  Archie1954 | 

    So many people are starting to take the position that asking the parties that enforce the law to abide by the very law they are enforcing is too onerous or too difficult or too restrictive for the great guardians of the law. I think that if you don’t insist on that you will become enslaved.

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