More on the Botched Drug Raid in Massachusetts

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Here’s a statement from the Framingham, Massachusetts Police Chief Steven Carl on the botched drug raid I blogged about this morning:

At 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, the Framingham Police SWAT Team served a search warrant at 26 Fountain St. in Framingham. During the service of the search warrant Mr. Eurie Stamps was tragically and fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle. Despite immediate intervention by tactical medics, he died at the scene.

The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the District Attorney’s Office’s independent investigation into the justifiability of the shooting.  Our condolences are with Mr. Stamp’s family for the heartbreak they are understandably enduring and we will await the findings of the investigation before taking any additional administrative action.

According to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the investigation will take three to four weeks and the identity of the Framingham officer who shot Stamps will not be released until the investigation is complete.

Interesting wording. Stamps wasn’t killed by a cop. Rather, Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.” I’m also fairly certain that if Mr. Stamps had been the one whose gun discharged a bullet that fatally wounded a SWAT officer, Mr. Stamps’ name would have been released to the public rather quickly. And Carl’s initial statement to the press would have been less ambiguous.

It now seems clear that Stamps wasn’t the target of the raid, and that he wasn’t armed. These raids are dangerous, they’re volatile, and they have a very thin margin for error. I report on a lot of wrong door raids here. But this one shows why they’re an inappropriate use of force to serve warrants for nonviolent crimes even when the police have the right house, and they actually find their suspect with illicit drugs. SWAT tactics are appropriate when you’re using their inherent violence to defuse an already violent situation. When they’re used to serve drug warrants, you’re creating violence where none existed before. The consequences are predictable. People die—cops, drug dealers, people mistaken for drug dealers, and bystanders.

Even if you support the drug war, it isn’t any more difficult to get high in Framingham, Massachussets today than it was last week. So what purpose do the 150 or or so drug raids per day in this country serve, other than to inflict government-sanctioned violence on people suspected of consensual, ultimately political crimes?

If this case plays out like most of those before it, Eurie Stamps’ death won’t change a damn thing. His will be just another body on the growing pile of drug war collateral damage.

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40 Responses to “More on the Botched Drug Raid in Massachusetts”

  1. #1 |  BamBam | 

    You forgot “dogs die”.

  2. #2 |  Matt | 

    Great catch on the use of passive voice.

  3. #3 |  Mattminus | 

    If the situation was reversed, not only would we know Mr. Stamp’s name, but “somehow” his medical and psychiatric history, sealed juvenile record, etc. would all be leaked.

    In NYC, the SOP is to make a petty crime committed 20 years ago one of the central points of the story whenever a cop shoots an innocent.

  4. #4 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Weird, that lady in the ad photo (upper right)seems to be none other
    than Elisha Strom who runs that iheartjade blog outing secretive VA cops.
    “Was your wife a criminal”

  5. #5 |  Kevin3% | 

    “So what purpose do the 150 or or so drug raids per day in this country serve, other than to inflict government-sanctioned violence on people suspected of consensual, ultimately political crimes?”

    In a word: SUBJUGATION. This is to show who owns us. You are chattel and you will obey the master….resist and you will die. Hell, just ask to see the warrant and you can end up dead!

    Many of the police (and fire) departments around the country are offering a grading curve on physical tests in favor of returning combat veterans. I don’t see how a recently serving combat veteran can just turn off the military training and become a civilian LEO. The two should be completely separate and very different styles of operation. Yet we see a more militarized approach in the use of civilian police actions everywhere. The end result is this kind of debacle.

  6. #6 |  BamBam | 

    Any why is this type of info always included in the article, as if it was relevant, because oh gosh owning firearms and ammo means you’re a _____

    “No weapons were recovered from the home, prosecutors said, and the suspects do not face weapons charges”

  7. #7 |  JLA | 

    Funny how they’re investigating “the justifiability of the shooting” instead of just investigating “the shooting.” Sounds like a Freudian slip suggesting that the outcome of the investigation has already been decided.

  8. #8 |  Kevin3% | 

    Yeah, BamBam.

    If you are caught with drugs you are a scumbag who is dealing to school kids. If you are found to have drugs and a gun then you are a terrorist funding your operation with the proceeds of drug money.

    It is a war and in war it is important to dehumanize the enemy. Fear sells.

  9. #9 |  CyniCAl | 

    “So what purpose do the 150 or or so drug raids per day in this country serve, other than to inflict government-sanctioned violence on people suspected of consensual, ultimately political crimes?”

    None. None. None. The raids serve no other purpose than the one stated, with the possible exception of a meta-reason — to perpetuate same.

  10. #10 |  CyniCAl | 

    I was wondering recently what role “pension entitlement” plays in promoting the superior/inferior relationship between LEOs/proles. In other words, would attacking public pensions and outlawing public unions be a viable strategy in curtailing the outrageous sense of superiority and license that LEOs demonstrate toward normal people?

    I ask this because the light is now shining on the public pension scandal like never before. I feel that this is a strategy that could actually have an effect on behavior, unlike all the navel-gazing we usually engage in.

  11. #11 |  nospam | 

    You know why old men get murdered in their home by masked and armed thugs with badges and sub-machine guns? Because too many in this country cheer for it. Just read the comments posted at the source link. At some point americans stopped being a good people. Maybe we never really were.

    Here, take a look at this picture of the food riots in Algeria:

    http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/woman-reacts-police-officers-during-clashes–El-Harrache-district/photo//110106/481/urn_publicid_ap_org_c57e96be708e4932afc71390948193ef//s:/ap/20110106/ap_on_re_af/af_algeria_riots

    See the old woman berating the riot police? See the riot police taking it? Know why they are taking it? Because even they know if they taser and/or beat an old woman, the crowd will tear them apart with their bare hands if they need to. Here we have no shortage of assholes how was want, no…demand her beating for not respecting her betters.

  12. #12 |  CyniCAl | 

    Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.”

    Equals

    “Mistakes were made.”

    Ah, passive voice, that great bane of Grammar Check, that wonderful gift for the State.

  13. #13 |  Robert | 

    I’ll bet he was handcuffed while that immediate medical intervention was going on. For officers safety, after the assault rifle shot him.

  14. #14 |  Sean L. | 

    They’re lying.

  15. #15 |  Sean L. | 

    … and we don’t have a video, or any other witnesses to deny it. Therefore, I will assume every single word out of their mouths is a dirty, filthy lie.

  16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #12 CyniCAl |

    Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.”

    Equals

    “Mistakes were made.”

    Yeah, and that fuckin’ bullet should be taken out and disciplined (but not charged, since it was, after all, a police bullet).

  17. #17 |  Dave | 

    Stamps was obviously the victim of an overly aggressive rifle, I’m sure the officer tried to exercise restraint, but the damned gun just had a mind of its own.

  18. #18 |  Whim | 

    Judges who sign nighttime, no-knock search warrants should readily admit that they are signing carte-blanche, a DEATH WARRANT, for all of the inhabitants of the dwelling to be searched.

    The police are so hyped-up and hepped-up in these raids that they simply do NOT process basic information that they encounter.

    Like, for instance, when they encounter a harmless pet, or someone staggering out of bed after being awakened in the early pre-dawn confusion by noises and shouting, etc. Or, a child that makes a sudden panicked move…..

    A SWAT team in Utah recently shot to death the resident of a house during a late nite no-knock SWAT team drug raid. In about 1 second after entry, the police officer shot the resident twice in the chest and once in the head, for the crime of the resident STANDING frozen outside his bedroom holding a Five Iron.

    Not swinging a Five Iron. Holding a Five Iron. Like, for PROTECTION.

    The SWAT team leader then proceeded to handcuff the bleeding, supine suspect. Until he bled out. Oh, and eventually summoned the EMT’s when it didn’t matter anymore.

    There’s video of the Utah raid all over the Internet.

  19. #19 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Any officer who can’t control his weapon shouldn’t have it.

    -jcr

  20. #20 |  dsmallwood | 

    whatever happened to the 70′s detective show concept of surveillance? Starsky & Hutch used to sleep in their car around the clock, just looking for the bad guys.

    now we don’t do that. now we send stormtroopers in at 12:30 AM.

    WTF

    so many times that is the cause. they have a friggin warrent. the could have pulled the guy over as he pulled in the drive way. its like the Waco thing where the Feds declined to arrest Koresh while he was out jogging every day.

  21. #21 |  Mike | 

    Press release from a week or two in the future:

    “All proper procedures were followed. The officers followed protocol and have been returned to active duty. The incident is closed.”

  22. #22 |  GreginOz | 

    Acronym Day: Am musing at the differences betwixt the USA & Australia. Here (Oz) the country would be in an uproar if the events above occurred. There (USA) it is just another day in The War On Everyone Not Wearing A Uniform (WOENWAU). Where have your balls/nads/wedding tackle (BNW) gone, US citizens? Why are all of these Brown Shirt Thugs (BST) still alive??? How is it that the Thin Blue Line (TBL) has become, on the one hand, venerated as a caste above citizens, and on the other, utterly immune to prosecution for their murderous outrages? (uitpftmo) I don’t get it. Maybe because of Australia’s convict past we have an instinctive aversion to authority? Yet the US also caste off the shackles of Imperial England? Why then this dog-like obedience to, let us face it, fucking pigs with guns??? Maybe it is time again for Vigilante posses…who would protect “the citizen”, from the police?

  23. #23 |  Windy | 

    GreginOz, the blame can be laid at the feet of the indoctrination people in the uSofA are bombarded with everyday, all day long for 13 years of school, and all evening on the TV, and in the newspapers and even the movies. It tells them “government is the answer to everything”, “obey all the rules even if they are stupid or counterproductive”, etc., etc., etc..

  24. #24 |  Cappy | 

    This caught my attention: “The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the District Attorney’s Office’s independent investigation into the justifiability of the shooting.”

    How could it be an independent investigation when the DA works hand in hand with the police?

  25. #25 |  Whim | 

    Bottom line in all police shootings:

    The police are NOT independent to investigate their own actions.

    Period.

  26. #26 |  Maria | 

    “Judges who sign nighttime, no-knock search warrants should readily admit that they are signing carte-blanche, a DEATH WARRANT, for all of the inhabitants of the dwelling to be searched.”

    Sadly, I suspect most who do already know this.

    “whatever happened to the 70′s detective show concept of surveillance?”
    It was a TV show concept. But even if it wasn’t, it costs money, requires patience, experience and smarts, and there’s a very real danger that you might not get to show off your tactical gear and the few baggies you score by doing it the no-knock way.

  27. #27 |  Dennis | 

    One of the reasons they use swat teams for this type of invasion is for training purposes. Also, if necessary, they can and do plant drugs on the premises. One of the reasons is that all property seized by the police can and will be retained by the police and sold at public auction. I am talking about boats, homes, cars, etc. This is the little guy as well as the man on top. Here in my home town, we have a drug task force that is comprised of so called undercover cops from not only our county but the surrounding counties as well. Drug raids here are a combined effort. Actually, there is a good profit if drugs are found on the property. After all these years. they haven’t caught one big dealer yet, but they sure got the property of the little guy.

  28. #28 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    No contact information for the folks responsible?

  29. #29 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Interesting that Radley refers to consensual crimes as political crimes. I’ve often thought along this line, but have never actually seen it verbalized before. Maybe it’s something of which we need to see / say more.

  30. #30 |  Red Green | 

    The ‘Drug Czar’ says it is no longer to be called a ‘Drug War’. Why do you suppose he said that? Maybe it’s just so he can be consistantly wrong. This stuff is a national shame and must come to an end…some day.

  31. #31 |  Massachusetts Grandpa Killed in (botched!) Drug Raid –from: The Agitator « Dwight Kondo | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2011/01/06/more-on-the-botched-drug-raid-in-massachusetts/ [...]

  32. #32 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Guns don’t kill people. Bullets don’t kill people. Massive bleeding kills. Shit…Blood Union just called. Stopping of brain activity kills people. HA! Brain Activity Lobby is weeeeeeak.

    By the way, seeing as how this raid was about illegal drugs…how many of those SWAT assholes do you think would test positive for steroids?

  33. #33 |  J.S. | 

    “Maybe because of Australia’s convict past we have an instinctive aversion to authority?”

    GreginOz, that sentence is particularly amusing since you Aussies gave up most of your guns awhile back. You need permission and what, a month wait or so before you can buy hunting rifles. No semi auto rifles (assault weapons, battle rifles right?), handguns, shotguns etc..

  34. #34 |  Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric | The Agitator | 

    [...] the same tactics that, last week, caused Framingham, Massachusetts police to shoot and kill 68-year-old Eurie Stamps, an innocent, unarmed man whose only apparent transgression was to have allowed his [...]

  35. #35 |  Iska Waran | 

    But if SWAT doesn’t go storming in, guns-a-blazing the suspects might flush the drugs down the toilet. Just kidding. Actually if any suspects did that, the contraband could be intercepted at the sewer line. It’d be messy, but no more so than cleaning up unnecessarily spilled blood.

  36. #36 |  jason | 

    It is a known and provable fact that the so called “judge” who signed the warrant is without a VALID OATH OF OFFICE. Any warrant signed with no valid oath of office, and those who carry out that defective warrant is subject to full commercial and personal liability under the law including the usurpation of the state and federal constitutions including the act of treason.
    Contempt of the constitution occurred when they denied MR. Stamps the right to live and the right to due process. He clearly and unequivocally possessed no danger or harm to those officers but yet they harmed him and caused his death with aforethought, malice, and intent, a murder in the first degree.

  37. #37 |  Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine | 

    [...] the same tactics that, last week, caused Framingham, Massachusetts police to shoot and kill 68-year-old Eurie Stamps, an innocent, unarmed man whose only apparent transgression was to have allowed his girlfriend's [...]

  38. #38 |  Sarah Palin's hate speech bears bitter fruit - Page 4 - TDR Roundtable | 

    [...] the Fight, We Bring a Gun’ – Washington Wire – WSJ Where is your "selective outrage here??? More on the Botched Drug Raid in Massachusetts | The Agitator Or here??? IS DAILY KOS INVOLVED IN ARIZONA MURDERS? “My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy [...]

  39. #39 |  Why Arizona and not Massachusetts? « Blunt Object | 

    [...] the misfortune to live in a house being raided on a drug warrant.  Radley Balko gave this matter considerable attention, as he is wont to do, but it went unnoticed by the vast majority of the internet.  Three days [...]

  40. #40 |  Ian MacLeod | 

    When no-knock raids on homes were first instituted, cops found out that they could walk off with just about ANYTHING they wanted. Some of it could legally be added to the police budgets, and now the property itself can be charged with a drug crime and be stolen – via “civil forfeiture,” which is neither. If they waited until the suspect left the house for a dental appointment or something they couldn’t steal anything; all they’d have would be an arrested suspect.

    What the cops are doing by using SWAT teams for almost everything is terrorizing the populace. They are making citizens AFRAID of the government and its representatives. That’s it. The interpretation of the Fourth Amendment is totally spurious, just like that so-called “back door” law to remove gun rights. The First Amendment is too clear and too simple to be legally subverted: “…SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” A Concealed Carry permit being required is Unconstitutional. Period. Making ANY shotguns illegal, forbidding the re-importation of the M1s – it’s ALL illegal, because it ALL infringes on the First Amendment. As usual they’re simply ignoring the law – Constitutional and statue.

    Allowing the man to lie there wounded until he died in the presence of his wife was PREMEDITATE MURDER. There is NO way around it. NONE! If these cops – and they are NOT “Peace officers”! – are not tried and sentenced for EXACTLY THAT CRIME, then there IS NO law in that place! Or in THIS place. Amerika.

    In the vast majority of these cases, if the police had IDed themselves, actually had a search warrant there in their hot little hands at the time, correctly filled out and signed, they would have found no evidence save evidence of the man’s innocence and that would have been that – assuming that it wasn’t their intent to begin with.

    S.W.A.T. should NEVER be used casually. And the way these badge-wearing thugs Run these things, with the wrong addresses half the time or more, shooting family pets, stealing anything not nailed down, assuming the suspect to have long since been convicted… They are CARELESS, MURDEROUS, vengeful, and too often they appear not to give a damn. They aren’t there to protect anyone or anything – they’re there for some ACTION!

    That entire community, maybe the whole City of citizens ought to get together, hire some GOOD lawyers and go after the City AND the individual cops. If they are never held accountable, this will only get worse. That’s how bullies always work it, and they always will. They’ll keep at it until they ARE STOPPED!

    Ian

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