Another Isolated Incident

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Another week, another report of a botched drug raid.

A Bellevue man whose home was searched in an FBI-led drug raid — apparently in an effort to find someone who had moved away — filed a lawsuit today alleging constitutional violations.

Gary Adams and his family were distressed, embarrassed and humiliated when agents “battered down the door to his home and armed with assault rifles stormed into his house March 3 in a misguided attempt to serve an arrest warrant on a person who was not related to or who had ever resided with” them, according to a press release by Downtown attorney Timothy P. O’Brien, representing the family. “The lawsuit contends that law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights are not, cannot and should not ever be ‘collateral damage’ in the government’s war on drugs.”…

Agents were searching for Sondra Hunter, one of 29 people charged that day with being members of the Manchester OGs drug gang. Ms. Hunter had lived at the address currently rented by the Adams family, but left months before they moved in.

The agents had an arrest warrant for Ms. Hunter, but not a search warrant for the premises.

There’s obviously a legal difference, but in terms of what happens once the door comes down, I’m not sure it matters much whether it was a search warrant or an arrest warrant. The police in Tucson say Jose Guerena was dangerous, thus necessitating the forced SWAT entry. But they had a search warrant for the residence, not an arrest warrant for Guerena. Here, it was the other way around. It’s guns and violence either way. And even if it’s an arrest warrant, it’s an arrest warrant for drugs. So they’re going to turn the place upside down, anyway.

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21 Responses to “Another Isolated Incident”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    No drugs were found.

    Obviously the Adamses flushed the evidence before the cops could get in.

    We need the option to blow up the property before residents drug trafficers can flush.

  2. #2 |  Coyote | 

    Hey Radley, don’t know if you saw this already on Reason’s brickbats, but a police offer with a history of disciplinary problems shot and killed an unarmed 14-year-old boy: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/sunday_focus/article/Officer-who-shot-student-had-history-of-not-1388322.php#page-1

  3. #3 |  nospam | 

    “Gary Adams and his family were distressed, embarrassed and humiliated when agents “battered down the door to his home and armed with assault rifles stormed into his house…”

    Let’s add “terrorized” to that list.

    Wouldn’t it be a damned shame if a ballot initiative were passed into law that made all lawsuits and settlements due to these raids be paid by the pension fund of the offending agency? That way there is still a large pool of cash to take and at least one more vote that someone would have to go on record for to stick the tax payers with the tab by re-filling the pension fund.

  4. #4 |  c andrew | 

    Coyote,

    This has been 30 plus years ago, but a junior high school student attempted to rob a grocery store by putting his finger in the pocket of a windbreaker. It was so obvious that the checker started laughing at him. The kid ran down a grocery aisle while an off duty cop in the store ran down a parallel aisle. The cop shot through the merchandise 3 times before hitting and killing the kid. Although he was eventually “cleared” of charges in the old time honored way, they didn’t want him on the streets. So they made him the campus resource officer at the local high school.

    One of the skits in the senior assembly that year was a “re-enactment” of the incident. They were halfway through before the administration realized what it was and shut down the assembly.

    I don’t think I ever so universal contempt directed at anyone like at this CRO. It lasted for my 3 years, at any rate. And yeah, he carried on campus, too.

  5. #5 |  Rune | 

    @c andrew

    The concept of campus cops for a high school is so fucked up, but I thought it was a newer thing, but 30+ years back? Goddamn.

    There is no such thing in my part of the world and I haven’t heard of anywhere else that have high school cops. Anybody know if this is a purely US thing?

  6. #6 |  sigh | 

    “This has been 30 plus years ago, but a junior high school student attempted to rob a grocery store by putting his finger in the pocket of a windbreaker. It was so obvious that the checker started laughing at him. The kid ran down a grocery aisle while an off duty cop in the store ran down a parallel aisle. The cop shot through the merchandise 3 times before hitting and killing the kid. ”

    Yet if one of you peons did the same thing, you’d get nailed for homicide so fast your head would spin. The “clerk-not-fearing-for-his-life” problem is taught as a reason not to get involved in this sort of stuff.

  7. #7 |  hattio | 

    nospam,
    That’s actually brilliant. Take the money from the pension funds. The officer have a reason to report their fuck-up brethren if it could make their pensions go down. It would obviously have to be coupled with a switch to a defined contribution rather than defined benefit plan. That’s fucking brilliant though.

  8. #8 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    “The lawsuit contends that law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights are not, cannot and should not ever be ‘collateral damage’ in the government’s war on drugs.”…

    Collateral damage my ass, they’re the primary target.

  9. #9 |  CTD | 

    #8 The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack

    Exactly. This is why I correct people who say that the drug war has failed. It’s succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Sondra Hunter, one of 29 people charged that day with being members of the Manchester OGs drug gang.

    To be fair, we were warned Janice Hahn letting all those people out to shoot up the street would lead to this.

  11. #11 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    c andrew,
    That’s an awesome story (the skit that was shut down part at least). I’m also surprised that there were cops in schools 30+ years ago. If you don’t mind my asking, what part of the country did you go to school at?

  12. #12 |  Whim | 

    When did aligning a laser sight on the heads of children become police & FBI SWAT team standard procedure?

    Just the most recent notorious SWAT team machine-gunning of former Iraq two-tour former Marine Jose Guerena in Tucson, the police SWAT team admitted that when the first shot was fired by a trigger happy SWAT member, the OTHER members thought THEY were under fire. They were not.

    And, furthermore, at that exact juncture one of the SWAT members crowding the door stumbled and fell, causing the other SWAT team members to mistakenly belief that they were under fire……

    Nothing ever goes wrong on a SWAT raid, right? Well, nothing that the police investigating THEMSELVES cannot whitewash and cover-up.

  13. #13 |  Difster | 

    Radley, you need to write a book called “Another Isolated Incident.”

  14. #14 |  Johnny | 

    Always a sad delight when my hometown makes the Agitator national news. Kudos to the attorney suing on behalf of the family; I don’t think that it can be more strongly said than: “The lawsuit contends that law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights are not, cannot and should not ever be ‘collateral damage’ in the government’s war on drugs.”

  15. #15 |  Azygos | 

    Everyone of those swat A**holes needs to be brought up on charges of Murder. SWAT raids are out of control in this country.

  16. #16 |  Windy | 

    nospam, agree that your idea is “brilliant”, in fact I passed it along to my legislators (and the MSM, local and national) requesting they pass such a law. Even tho my State does have the initiative process, it takes too damn long and requires to damn many signatures. This was my comment included with a copy of your post:

    “SWAT units are the worst of the worst of all forms of domestic terrorists! The legislatures should pass a law stating that lawsuits against LEOs come from their pension fund in States that don’t have the initiative process (and even in States that do, like ours). If we do not soon find some way to hold LEOs accountable for their fuckups (like this idea), we are going to see blood in the streets sooner or later — either when the people have finally had enough and stand up to take matters into their own hands, or when the cops begin to mimic the mafia during Prohibition 1.0, or both. Riots are on the upswing, globally, and they are contagious.”

  17. #17 |  Stephen | 

    I got a bit of a giggle when I searched this site for “another isolated incident” using google and got this. :)

    “About 420 results (0.18 seconds) “

  18. #18 |  marco73 | 

    This is NOT an isolated incident. This is standard operating procedure. If you rent a dwelling after a drug dealer/user moves on, you are immediately suspect.
    And these task forces are even worse: since there is so much corruption at the local level, these raids are carried out with minimal investigation and maximum secrecy, so that the local police don’t tip off the dealers.

  19. #19 |  bbartlog | 

    The ‘take it from the pension fund’ idea is not a good one. Those funds are typically guaranteed by the federal government (IIRC) via the PBGC. And there’s a general perception that if there is a shortfall, *someone* has to make it up. So most likely the taxpayers (in this case, a larger group of them) would still be on the hook. And further: even if it *did* cut pensions, the punishment would take place long after the crime, and fall on many instead of one. Given that many of the perpetrators involved have the same issue with short time horizons as the criminals they are supposedly hunting, it doesn’t seem like an effective deterrent.

  20. #20 |  Kristen | 

    marco73…”another isolated incident” is an Agitator meme based on (I believe) Justice Scalia saying that these police fuckups are all “isolated incidents”. It’s meant to be ironic.

  21. #21 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #5 Rune:

    “The concept of campus cops for a high school is so fucked up, but I thought it was a newer thing, but 30+ years back? Goddamn.”

    “There is no such thing in my part of the world and I haven’t heard of anywhere else that have high school cops. Anybody know if this is a purely US thing?”

    I agree w/ your sentiments. My city has high school campus police, and metal detection equipment is sometimes used at entrances. It is fucked up, though the real problem of gang violence in my community makes it unlikely that a better solution will be sought anytime soon. And yes, as far as I know, this is definitely just a US thing. Where else, right?

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