Police: Man Killed by Police During Paramilitary Drug Raid Shows Dangers of Paramilitary Drug Raids the Dangers Police Must Face Every Day

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Another week, another man shot dead during a drug raid. William Cooper, 69, of Hampton, Virginia, was killed over the weekend after an informant told local police that he was selling prescription painkillers. Cooper apparently fired at the police as they came into his home.

There’s nothing in the articles linked above, or this one, indicating that police found anything incriminating in Cooper’s home. Maybe that information will come out later. But generally speaking, when police do find evidence of criminal activity after a raid, that information is quickly handed over to the press, particularly in raids that end in violence.

Instead, we get to read about the service records of the cops who killed Cooper, how this example of police killing a man is just more proof of the dangers of police work, how thankful the Hampton Police department is “that the officers are OK and safe and were not injured,” and how sorry we should feel for the officers who killed Cooper because “their lives will never be the same.”

From an interview with a neighbor:

Jesse Pittman, was working on the air conditioning unit on the roof of the Living Water Tabernacle Baptist Church at 1612 Kecoughtan Road, about three properties away from the house that was raided, on Saturday morning when he saw a large white, unmarked van pull up in Clifton Street.

He said about five or six police officers got out of the van and kicked in the door of a house. “I just heard shots. I can’t say how many,” he said.

“Just heard shots.” That would seem to indicate that he did not hear an announcement. This article indicates that Cooper’s neighbors saw no evidence of drug activity at his home. From an interview with a friend of Cooper’s:

A friend of the Hampton man shot and killed during a police raid at his house Saturday said he thinks the 69-year-old man opened fire on officers because he was startled and thought they were criminal intruders . . .

Both of those factors, Zacharias said, might have caused him not to recognize the police conducting the 10 a.m. search.

“People around here sleep with a gun beside their bed because of all the home invasions we’ve had,” Zacharias said. “The guy was a nice guy. The guy was a good guy.”

Once again, we also get the absurd-on-its-face argument from the police that these tactics are both absolutely necessary to preserve “the element of surprise” and that there’s simply no way Cooper couldn’t have known that the men breaking into his home were cops:

Price declined to say whether the officers forced entry into the home. But the neighbor’s report of a forced entry was backed by the fact that the left side of the front door, near the door jam, was severely broken.

A common practice in executing a warrant is for police to announce their presence with loud knocks on the front door and words such as, “Police!” or “Police search warrant!”

After a few moments of warning, the door is typically broken, often with a battering ram or other device.

The element of surprise is considered important in many such cases to not allow time for the suspect to hide or dispose of the drugs, such as by flushing them down the toilet.

Price said that even after officers are inside a home, they continue to call out, “Police! Police! Police!” in loud tones. He also said that officers conducting such searches wear clothing marked on both front and back with large letters saying, “POLICE.”

“It’s very obvious that we’re the police,” he said.

Well, sure. “Very obvious.” Clearly this dead, 69-year-old-man-with-cataracts, William Cooper, was just an idiot, then. Carry on.

It’s only been a few days since the shooting, but Hampton Police Chief Charles Jordan can already say he “feels confident” that his officers’ actions “were justified.” But not to worry. Just because Chief Jordan is already confident he knows the outcome of his department’s investigation doesn’t mean the investigation itself won’t be impartial.

So I guess it’s settled, then. Clearly this 69-year-old man who at worst was selling prescription painkillers (and again, we don’t yet have any evidence of that, other than an alleged tip from an informant, who will likely never be identified) knowingly, intentionally took on a team of raiding cops while armed only with a handgun. No need to question the tactics, here. No need to ask if it was really the smartest idea for armed cops to force their way into the home of a sick elderly man with poor vision to serve a search warrant for evidence of nonviolent crimes. No need to ask any further questions at all, really. Just put your faith in Chief Jordan and the integrity of his department’s not-at-all-predetermined investigation.

No, the only lesson we ought to draw from this police killing of a 69-year-old man in his own home . . . is that police work is dangerous.

MORE: From the comments:

A friend of mine was there. More specifically he was at his daughter’s softball game, 200ft away from the shooting. There were reports of stray rounds buzzing around. The game was call off due to everyone hitting the deck and generally freaking out. Haven’t seen anything in the articles about the fact that there were a couple dozen 10 year old kids playing just a stone’s throw away from the raid.

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113 Responses to “Police: Man Killed by Police During Paramilitary Drug Raid Shows Dangers of Paramilitary Drug Raids the Dangers Police Must Face Every Day”

  1. #1 |  bigjohn756 | 

    Police work is dangerous for whom?

  2. #2 |  Michael Pack | 

    Using military force on no harm ‘crimes shows the utter failure and over reach of the drug war.There’s also the spill over effect.Raids for poker and selling unapproved dairy products by armed men who I’m sure think they are warriors fighting for the ‘greater good’.

  3. #3 |  GaryM | 

    It would be interesting to find out how many non-police assailants are breaking into houses and yelling “POLICE! POLICE!” to scare their victims into not defending themselves. I haven’t seen any reports on this, but I can’t imagine there aren’t crooks clever enough to use the tactic.

  4. #4 |  XI | 

    A friend of mine was there. More specifically he was at his daughter’s softball game, 200ft away from the shooting. There were reports of stray rounds buzzing around. The game was call off due to everyone hitting the deck and generally freaking out. Haven’t seen anything in the articles about the fact that there were a couple dozen 10 year old kids playing just a stone’s throw away from the raid. I mean, it was 11am on a Saturday… what are the odds? Man, police work sure is dangerous….

    Here is a map, the house was on Clifford St. The baseball field is immediately behind the houses.
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Clifton+Street,+Hampton,+VA&hl=en&ll=36.998155,-76.385032&spn=0.001632,0.001789&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=52.505328,58.623047&t=h&z=19

  5. #5 |  Calvin Velander | 

    Another American shot down by overzealous armed thugs and bullies. Way to go Chief Jordon. You and your officers will no doubt now go to the ends of the earth to justify, hide and cover up this senseless killing all in the name of protecting us poor folks from these kinds of dangerous criminals.

  6. #6 |  Roho | 

    Are the police really the only ones who can’t see the glaring double standards they parade around every day?
    “We have to go in with the element of surprise – otherwise evidence may be destroyed.”
    “The homeowner shouldn’t have been surprised – it was obvious to even the most simple child that we were the police, and it was a legitimate raid.”

    “Civilians [their term] aren’t competent and trained enough to handle firearms, we’re the only ones qualified.”
    “Civilians are hyper-aware predators, often better armed than the police, and they practice more. That’s why we need to go in with soldier gear.”

    “The situation [created by us] was extremely chaotic and tense, Officer Jones had no way of knowing that Mr. Smith was holding a box of Cheerios, and not a machine gun.”
    “While we maintain that we had the element of surprise on our side with this raid, it was nonetheless clearly premeditated when Mr. Smith shot at Officer Jones. Mr. Smith had been planning for us to plan this for months.”

    “Your dog was just a possession, like a toaster. What are you all bent out of shape about?”
    “That police dog is a full officer of the law, which makes him your superior!”

    “Ignorance of the law is no defense.”
    “You’re under arrest – I’m not sure if what you’re doing is actually illegal, we’ll figure that part out later.”

    I could probably do more, but now I’m depressed.

  7. #7 |  MassHole | 

    I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot more dangerous to be a SWAT cop in the future. More and more people are catching on to what is happening with this police militarization. Some day, people are going to stop taking this lying down.

  8. #8 |  Cyto | 

    . . is that police work is dangerous.

    And sleeping in your bedroom is dangerous. Or sleeping in your recliner. Or jumping up to answer a loud knock at the door. Or not jumping up to answer a loud knock at the door.

    You know what, just to be safe, we should install those handprint-circle things from “The Fifth Element” in every room. That way the police could just show up and command “place your hands in the yellow circles!” and then they’d know it was OK to go ahead and shoot anyone who’s hands aren’t in the circles. That would simplify all of this “investigation” nonsense.

  9. #9 |  Cyto | 

    You explained it to me I must admit
    But just for the record you were talkin’ shit
    Y’all rap about no knock bein’ legislated
    For the people you’ve always hated
    In this hell hole you, we, call home

    No knock, the man will say
    To keep that man from beating his wife
    No knock, the man will say
    To keep people from themselves

    No knocked on my brother Fred Hampton
    Bullet holes all over the place
    No knocked on my brother Michael Harris
    And jammed a shotgun against his skull

    For my protection?
    Who’s gonna protect me from you?
    The likes of you?
    The nerve of you?
    Your tomato face deadpan
    Your dead hands ending another freedom fan

    Excerpted from No Knock – by Gil Scott-Heron

  10. #10 |  Bob | 

    #6 | MassHole | June 21st, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot more dangerous to be a SWAT cop in the future. More and more people are catching on to what is happening with this police militarization. Some day, people are going to stop taking this lying down.

    No they won’t. History teaches us that the way to usher in a totalitarian state is by gradual degrees. The only time people “stop taking this lying down” is when the transition is too rapid.

    As it is, the Police are still loved by people that are convinced that it can’t happen to them everywhere. Hell, I bet William Cooper thought “It couldn’t happen to him.” too.

    By the time it gets to the point where the majority see SWAT for the horror that it is, it will be far too late. The Federal Government will have long since created a Federal Charter Corporation to house the nation’s criminals in private prisons funded by debt and there will be many times more SWAT teams than there are now.

  11. #11 |  Mario | 

    Xi @ #4

    You should ask your friend to contact the local newspaper. He should also reach out to some of the parents who were there and ask them to contact the local newspaper, too. And anybody who was there ought to be sharing this experience on Facebook. Moreover, someone should be agitating for a discussion of this at the next town hall meeting, where the police can explain their actions and why it was okay to risk such a violent action so close to a children’s ball field.

  12. #12 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    The police Chief, the cops on the raid, and the judge who signed the warrant, should be horsewhipped, tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail.

  13. #13 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Ah, anonymous tipsters, the backbone of democracy.

  14. #14 |  Mattocracy | 

    It amazed how police will do shit that is so stupidly dangerous, not just to others but themselves. How the fuck do you break into someone’s house and not think that the guy on the other side might think he’s being robbed?

  15. #15 |  Michael Chaney | 

    We need to get comment rating back so I can rate #6 up.

  16. #16 |  Thom | 

    ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd often makes the point that 100% of police exist because of 1% of the population. This is true. The problem is that police often either forget this or don’t understand it. If police understood that they were supposed to focus on the 1% of people who they exist to deal with and leave the rest of us alone, the world would be a better place.

  17. #17 |  Highway | 

    Bob @ #10,

    Not only that, but people are super quick to throw anyone who might cause them to rethink their worldview under the proverbial bus. So William Cooper, who might have been a great guy, might have been someone’s grandfather, or a great friend to the local VFW or homeless shelter or something, instantly turns into William Cooper, lowlife druggie asshole, who deserved the cops busting in on him and shooting him. What’s that? They didn’t really find any evidence, or they didn’t do any investigation prior to the raid, besides getting an ‘anonymous’ tip? Well, he must have been a suspicious character anyway, cause the police don’t just go after innocent people. How dare you besmirch the reputation of our heroes in blue unifor… er… black body armor.

  18. #18 |  Bob | 

    Highway:

    Absolutely correct.

    I think the cognitive bias that allows that to happen is a result of an evolutionary “Self preservation” mechanic.

    In a nutshell, people are saying “I want to feel safe. So I’ll be readily inclined to believe that the heavily armed people who say they keep me safe always tell the truth and are honestly interested in my safety.”

    I think the same vein of thought strongly supports the belief in religions, but it starts “I want to always exist. So…”. People will believe the most outlandish crap to keep from believing that at some point, they will not exist.

  19. #19 |  Charlie O | 

    What I find disturbing is the number of commenters on the newspaper site that feel this was completely justified by the police and see no problem with this overwhelming use of force to arrest a who is simply accused of selling pills. Most likely, when dealing with 69 year old man, you can probably just knock on the door to serve a search warrant. I remember the local sheriff in Waco, asking the the question of the ATF. “Why didn’t you just knock on the door?”

    Balko, your tone seems to indicate that you’re finally getting it with regards to these thugs. It’s time for the American people to start eliminating them.

  20. #20 |  Matt | 

    “History teaches us that the way to usher in a totalitarian state is by gradual degrees. The only time people “stop taking this lying down” is when the transition is too rapid.”

    I’m also worried about the slippery slope, but it seems more like totalitarian states are ushered in relatively quickly in the midst of civil war, revolution, or other periods of crisis (China, Russia, Germany). I know the US has a disturbing kind of Weimar Republic vibe right now, but I don’t think it’s that extreme…yet.

  21. #21 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    Instead, we get to read about the service records of the cops who killed Cooper, how this example of police killing a man is just more proof of the dangers of police work, how thankful the Hampton Police department is “that the officers are OK and safe and were not injured,” and how sorry we should feel for the officers who killed Cooper because “their lives will never be the same.”

    I am now unable to finish my breakfast.

  22. #22 |  XI | 

    “Balko, your tone seems to indicate that you’re finally getting it with regards to these thugs. It’s time for the American people to start eliminating them.”

    You don’t come here much, do you? and I can’t I’m entirely comfortable with your tone. I hope this talk of “elimination” is hyperbole.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Do we need to start seeing the mutilated bodies that pigs leave behind? Shit just isn’t stopping

  24. #24 |  Zargon | 

    #18

    I think the cognitive bias that allows that to happen is a result of an evolutionary “Self preservation” mechanic.

    The specific name is the just-world fallacy. Quite simply, you want the world to be fair, so you pretend that it is. You therefore believe that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. This allows normal people to go about their lives ignoring horror around them, as they’re a good person and so bad things won’t happen to them. It’s also the primary mechanism by which victims of crime are blamed for their misfortune.

    Something bad happened to William Cooper, and so it’s entirely predictable that spectators will conclude that William Cooper was a bad person.

    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/07/the-just-world-fallacy/

  25. #25 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “A friend of the Hampton man shot and killed during a police raid at his house Saturday said he thinks the 69-year-old man opened fire on officers because he was startled and thought they were criminal intruders . . .’

    In a free society, they would be considered criminal intruders. And William Cooper would be considered a victim of a home invasion-homicide who died while heroically trying to defend himself and his home.

  26. #26 |  Charlie O | 

    #22 XI.

    I come here near daily. And thus, I read that Balko’s has become more and more disgusted with this kind of action.

    Elimination is not hyperbole. Either fire them, disband them or if they break into your home armed to the teeth and threaten you, kill them.

  27. #27 |  RG Higgins | 

    This is a result of over funding police. If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Every small town backwater now thinks they need a SWAT team and the pigs in those departments are always trying to out testosterone the other to get on the team. What fun is a SWAT team if you don’t have anywhere to go? You make up places to go that is what.

  28. #28 |  Ryan | 

    16,500 Americans are murder each year.Where is Mr. Balko’s outrage over this chilling statistic?

  29. #29 |  The Fascist, Regulatory Police State Continues to Kill America » ReasonAndJest.com | 

    [...] fact, Radley Balko writes just today of yet another police adventure ending in the police murdering yet another innocent individual, in [...]

  30. #30 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #28: His sense of outrage is part of what drives him to keep doing this blog every day.

    Or were you talking about the Americans who were murdered by someone other than the police?

  31. #31 |  Andrew S. | 

    Ryan, it might have something to do with the fact that most murderers will face justice for their crimes, while when a cop murders somebody in an over the top drug raid, they’re given medals and promotions for it.

  32. #32 |  Matt | 

    “This is a result of over funding police.”

    It also has a lot to do with immunity laws preventing any accountability for police abuses. The concept of “immunity” is antithetical to the rule of law.

  33. #33 |  MassHole | 

    #10 Bob,

    Five years ago I would have agreed with you. However, it seems there is some critical mass in realizing what is happening with the police and drug war. Legalizing MJ and scaling back the drug war is rapidly becoming a serious proposition in conservative (not Republican, real conservatism) circles.

    For example:

    http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2011/06/18/a-day-that-will-live-in-infamy/

    In the firearms community, the vast majority of people active on blogs and message boards are firmly against these SWAT raids and the drug war. These are hardly the bleeding heart soft on crime sort.

    It used to be that these type of raids were under the radar as they rarely happened to people outside the lower rungs of the socio-economic demographic. Now they happen to law the abiding elderly, white mayors, and Iraq vets. In addition, most people are fine with MJ being legal. Here in MA, they decriminalized it for under an ounce and the sky didn’t fall. There was a story on the national news the other night about the enormous increase in the prison population due to the drug war.

    The sheep and badge lickers will never get it, but I definitely see a ground swell of awareness about these issues. Just look at how many people pay attention to Radley now vs. 5 years ago.

  34. #34 |  Libby | 

    FYI, the crossed-out title looks really wonky in Google Reader.

  35. #35 |  freebob | 

    It’s an interesting juxtaposition; the 2nd amendment, the right to be secure in your home, is the only sacred cow of constitutional rights for a number of politicians, yet they continue to let a system operate that guarantees you will be killed if you own a gun and try to protect your home.

  36. #36 |  Stephen | 

    Even a “if it’s small enough to flush, it’s legal” law would be nice to have just to take away that excuse from the cops.

  37. #37 |  André | 

    The cynical parts of me think Radley has about six months worth of stories and commentary on police violence, no-knock raids, harassing people for taping cops, etc., and he has a robot programmed to post the recycled news stories on the site while he ambles about at the dog park. I only say this — not, of course, to disparage Radley — but out of a sense of “my god, this is awful, but I’ve read this story too many times.” I have been a regular reader for maybe 2 1/2 years, and so many of the stories are just running together for me… The outrage is still there, but I just feel hollow.

  38. #38 |  Stephen | 

    As far as the drug war goes, I think we are getting very close to a “tipping point”. When thing do start to change, it will be very fast. The large group of people that just go along with the majority will be on the other side of the issue.

    Kind of like rolling a drum that is 1/3 full of water over a hump. You get to a certain point, then whoosh!

  39. #39 |  Matt | 

    “You get to a certain point, then whoosh!”

    Sadly I have the same feeling about our economy….

  40. #40 |  Stephen | 

    I feel that way about the economy too. I wonder if the two will go “whoosh” at the same time?

  41. #41 |  Mike T | 

    16,500 Americans are murder each year.Where is Mr. Balko’s outrage over this chilling statistic?

    16.5k people in a population of 311M is a rounding error.

  42. #42 |  notsure | 

    I think Reading your blog is starting to affect my mental Health.

    The worst part about reading about these raids is, even in arguments with Friends/Family where I win, and convince them that all of this is unnecessary, what is the point? There is no official you can complain to, there is no shadow government to rail against…

    These raids are conducted by one of thousands of law enforcement agencies. Even if you could possibly get just one of them to stop using these tactics, they would still continue en masse.

    Is there no way out?

  43. #43 |  J.S. | 

    Screw those 16.5k people! We need more laws on above ground pools! 5 kids a year drown in them according to a new report released yesterday.

    I have a feeling the failing economy will lead to increased swat teams/police state actions. Likely after someone does a more extreme “Thomas Ball” type revenge action.

    Oh, and Massad Ayoob says all yous folks are “cop-haters”! Obey citizen!

  44. #44 |  plutosdad | 

    I think the only way we’ll ever slow down this murderous insanity is to have truly independent investigations by bodies authorized to arrest police. IA is not independent, nor are the regular investigations conducted after shootings. Only if there is a completely independent investigator can you get close to the truth.

    This is in general true of everything from USDA inspectors too in-bed with large producers, to congress investigating itself, to police investigating themselves. The problem is the investigators need watching too, and so on and so on, a chain or circle of accountability may be an answer.

    Of course the second way is to simply end the drug war, since the cost of so many investigations is high, and each investigation presents yet another chance for corruption, the best way is to just decide these are not crimes: take all the temptation to abuse power off the table.

  45. #45 |  KBCraig | 

    Use #4′s map, and use the street view feature.

    It’s obvious that this man was a criminal mastermind, hiding his major drug operation behind the facade of a clean, neat, well-manicured neighborhood full of retirees.

  46. #46 |  marco73 | 

    Ending the drug war makes sense, but that won’t stop all the SWAT violence. In just the past couple days, there’ve been news stories about SWAT raids for bad student loans, and one wrong door raid because someone didn’t password protexct their wireless router, and the cops went looking for child porn.
    As long as there are too many armed SWAT teams, they will look for something to raid –
    “You, obese citizen! Is that a bag of chocolate donuts? Drop ‘em!”

  47. #47 |  Warren Bonesteel | 

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

  48. #48 |  BamBam | 

    By the time it gets to the point where the majority see SWAT for the horror that it is, it will be far too late. The Federal Government will have long since created a Federal Charter Corporation to house the nation’s criminals in private prisons funded by debt and there will be many times more SWAT teams than there are now.

    Government involvement in the lucrative prison business racket has existed for a long time. You don’t have to find a business name to find all of the data points that indicates the same end result.

  49. #49 |  Charlie O | 

    “Oh, and Massad Ayoob says all yous folks are “cop-haters”! Obey citizen!”

    Fuck Massad Ayoob. But then, I guess he’s right. I am a cop-hater! Now what?

  50. #50 |  Sinchy | 

    If the worry in a drug raid is the flushing of the evidence, why don’t they just shut off the water to the home before the raid?

  51. #51 |  Mike | 

    Stop making reasonable observations, Sinchy. What’s fun about turning off water? SO much more gung-ho to charge in blazing!

  52. #52 |  Subject 2456198 | 

    The thing about Massad Ayoob that bothers me most is that you can tell he believes what he’s saying, and what he’s saying is probably representative of the non-completely-corrupt/malicious cops out there. Roughly he keeps repeating “you don’t understand, it’s us-vs-them out there! And ‘Them’ is not you! “. Except he can’t step back and realize that his “Them” has become any and all of us non-LEOs…

  53. #53 |  Ken Hagler | 

    I remember thirty years ago reading about how people in the Soviet Union feared the midnight knock on the door. Today, I think that those nice polite Soviet cops would be a huge improvement over what we have.

  54. #54 |  OBTC | 

    #15 | Michael Chaney said:
    We need to get comment rating back so I can rate #6 up.

    I agree, he nailed it!

  55. #55 |  Anonymous | 

    Maybe we should booby-trap our front doors to explode when someone breaks it down.

  56. #56 |  Matt | 

    “If the worry in a drug raid is the flushing of the evidence, why don’t they just shut off the water to the home before the raid?”

    Toilets will flush without water pressure. They only need pressure to refill the tank.

  57. #57 |  Big A | 

    From the comments:
    hampton mom at 10:37 AM June 21, 2011

    When there are drugs involved, the cops follow the movement for a matter of time. They were probably watching this guy without anyone knowing. The confidential informant was probably one of his customers who wanted to avoid jail time. Use logic. The police do not just come in your home based on a hunch, they have to have a reasonable doubt and I am sure they probably had enough evidence to convict this guy. Unfortunately, the guy had a gun, used his gun, and died.

    Sad.

  58. #58 |  Mark Matis | 

    Damn every filthy maggot pig straight to hell for what they have done to this country!

  59. #59 |  Dan | 

    “If the worry in a drug raid is the flushing of the evidence, why don’t they just shut off the water to the home before the raid?”

    More questions:

    1) Why don’t they investigate the tips they get and make sure the information is accurate?

    2) For search warrants on people with no police records, why don’t they just knock on the door and serve the warrant?

    3) Why don’t they stake the place out and make sure the “perp” is present?

    4) Why don’t they take the time to survey the neighborhood and make sure that children are not in the line of fire?

    5) Why don’t they google the “perps” name to see if they may be a local mayor?

    6) Why don’t they train to use the minimal amount of force necessary to accomplish an objective, rather than deploy the maximum as the gold standard?

    7) Why don’t they plan to immobilize pets rather than killing them?

    I’m tired.

  60. #60 |  Azygos | 

    “# #3 | GaryM | June 21st, 2011 at 9:08 am

    It would be interesting to find out how many non-police assailants are breaking into houses and yelling “POLICE! POLICE!” to scare their victims into not defending themselves. I haven’t seen any reports on this, but I can’t imagine there aren’t crooks clever enough to use the tactic.”

    Its happening here in phoenix with more frequency.

  61. #61 |  Mike | 

    #57:

    Read more of journalist Balko’s stories on drug raids conducted on the wrong address, for example. As a general rule, police SHOULD investigate deeply. That is why Mr Balko posts these stories. As he says, if there was actually any evidence, the police would be trumpeting that fact to the papers instead of releasing service records and asking us to have pity on the poor cops who kicked in a 69 yr old man’s door with apparently no warning and shot and killed him.

  62. #62 |  Mike | 

    #57 part deux:

    I just recalled when I lived on an anonymous college campus, there was an apartment in which dwelled a man who sold a variety of drugs. The police kicked the door in and raided the apartment… 9 months after he moved out. Almost a full year! So for a kicked in door, a shredded couch, several destroyed computers with, I’m sure, some school work along with all the porn, they netted one arrest of a kid who had a minimal, personal amount of marijuana, when they brought a team loaded for bear, looking for a dealer’s stash. Imagine a small amount of pot, on a college campus! Wow. Besides, even if the guy was selling perscription drugs out of his house, does this merit a no-knock paramilitary style raid? Where do we draw the line? Overdue library books? Missed court appearances? Unpaid fines?

  63. #63 |  Dedicated_Dad | 

    Even the SLIGHTEST little bit of “investigation” (which is ALLEGEDLY the job of INVESTIGATORS) would have shown that this was a little old man, nearly deaf, nearly blind from cataracts and nearly crippled to boot.

    Further, he was known for spending nearly every evening at the local bar – arriving and leaving like clockwork.

    Ergo, it would have been the simplest of matters to wait for him to exit his home on the way to the bar, then arrest him when he turned to lock the door – at which point the search could have been conducted without needless destruction of property, violence, risk or loss of life.

    Of course, the pigs* need their testosterone/adrenaline “fix” — and will NEVER pass up a chance for a good raid!

    Why bother with boring police-work when you can play SOLDIER!

    Heck, if domestic pigs* had to play by the same rules our Soldiers do in Afghanistan/Iraq, these sorts of tragedies would be much less likely!

    Instead a man who – if the WORST story is to be believed – supplemented his meager income by selling a few pills, is dead, and it’s but a miracle that a dozen CHILDREN are not also dead.

    Look at Cato’s map sometime… When will We The People have had ENOUGH?

    DD

    PS: Peace-Officers ain’t PIGS – if you don’t know the difference, you’re probably a PIG!

  64. #64 |  sigh | 

    ““It’s very obvious that we’re the police,” he said.”

    Sure, as opposed to any other dozen people who might be shouting over top of each other and wearing clothing with words on it.

    Good thing criminals are incapable of shouting “police!” and lettering some shirts, (or kicking doors for that matter,) otherwise they might take advantage of this.

  65. #65 |  Marty | 

    7. #7 | MassHole

    it’s interesting that you brought this up, because my 68 year old dad was talking Sunday about how he’d ‘take a couple out’ with a …. (he said the caliber of a light elephant gun). He’s stunned that people would shoot at cops (or anyone) wearing vests with a gun that can be stopped by a vest.

    this is ugly.

  66. #66 |  dunphy | 

    “It would be interesting to find out how many non-police assailants are breaking into houses and yelling “POLICE! POLICE!” to scare their victims into not defending themselves. I haven’t seen any reports on this, but I can’t imagine there aren’t crooks clever enough to use the tactic.”

    Its happening here in phoenix with more frequency.”

    I can state anecdotally, that in investigating several hundred burglary cases that i have never once investigated such an incident. home invasions? sure. but never where they dressed up like police and yelled “police” etc. as they entered. has it happened? of course. frequently? not in my experience.

    Regardless, CLEARLY the better tactic in this incident would be to arrest the guy outside the home, and then make an entry (with his key) without all the paramilitary crap.

    There are a time and place for dynamic entries, but I see no evidence this is one of those incidents

  67. #67 |  Davy | 

    William Cooper???????

    It seems I recall another man named William Cooper that was killed in a police (S.O.) raid of his house in Arizona some years/time ago.

    I think the book he wrote was entitled “Behold a Pale Rider”.

  68. #68 |  Terry | 

    “But generally speaking, when police do find evidence of criminal activity after a raid, that information is quickly handed over to the press, particularly in raids that end in violence”

    I understand the distinction you’re making but don’t all raids start and end with violence? Isn’t it merely a matter of degree?

  69. #69 |  Aresen | 

    @ Dan | June 21st, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    All very good questions.

    Let me add one more:

    8) By what code of ethics does the possibility that someone might destroy evidence justify a tactic that puts the lives of bystanders, police and the suspect at risk?

  70. #70 |  dunphy | 

    “By what code of ethics does the possibility that someone might destroy evidence justify a tactic that puts the lives of bystanders, police and the suspect at risk”

    Moreso when the evidence is of a victimless crime!

  71. #71 |  J.S. | 

    Another case of contempt of cop, via Carlos Miller:

    http://www.pixiq.com/rochester-police-arrest-woman-for-videotaping-them.html

    http://writesong.blogspot.com/2011/06/rochester-new-york-police-abuse.html

    Cops didn’t feel “safe” as a woman video taped them from her own yard.

  72. #72 |  Windy | 

    #42 you start with your local law enforcement agencies — city police chief and county Sheriff — and also your city/county councils, State legislators and your “representatives” in congress. You keep sending them these links along with the best comments from this blog (like #44 by plutosdad) until it gets past their “I don’t want to see/know this” filter and they actually do something. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple months, my legislators can’t do anything right now as they are not in session, but when they do go back to the capitol, they will have these facts and thoughts in the backs of their minds. My “reps” in congress have been ignoring me on the subjects of the drug war and the danger of SWAT tactics for years, but I refuse to give up.

  73. #73 |  Windy | 

    PS (as stated in previous comment) I sent comment #6 earlier today, and I sent it to local and national media, too; but I’ve just compiled another email of comments from this blog and will be sending it momentarily.

  74. #74 |  Hittman | 

    Why isn’t the media picking up on this? This happens every week now, and it’s being completely ignored by the media on the right and the left.

    I’m very surprised that there hasn’t been some vigilante vengeance against the cops in some of these cases. Of course, if there were, THEN the media would not only pay attention, but would vilify the the vigilante as a horrible horrible criminal. Of course, that would be right after the cops gunned him down.

  75. #75 |  William Cooper Update | The Agitator | 

    [...] was killed over the weekend during a police drug raid on his home. (Prior post on the Cooper raid here.) But they won’t say if the bottles were in Cooper’s name. If, as his friends are [...]

  76. #76 |  perlhaqr | 

    Is it wrong of me to hope that Cooper was white? Maybe the murder of an old white guy will get people thinking. Maybe this is what passes for “optimism” in me these days. Holy fuck that’s pathetic. :(

  77. #77 |  notsurprised | 

    It seems that these drug raids on at least some citizens are being done to exact revenge the same way some hateful people did years ago with bogus child abuse charges. Sadly we are living in a time where turning folks in for various crimes whether real or made up, just to settle a score can get you killed. Cops do have a tough job no doubt, but folks also have a God given right to defend themselves especially in their own homes. No doubt many criminals are using the fake “police, open up” bs to invade homes just like many criminals have used the fake lights on top of their cars to pull unsuspecting women over who then get raped. It is way past time for folks to put a stop to this utter nonsense!

  78. #78 |  Mark Matis | 

    The only good pig…

  79. #79 |  Zenichi-Maro | 

    @ 74: in your scenario, the vigilante **would** be a criminal and, therefore, would deserve to be deleted by a LEO or an armed citizen. Let’s not confuse planned violence with self-defence here, friend. This is not a time for vigilantism; it’s a time for advocacy and awareness. It’s a time to understand the nature of your foe. Going balls out with twin 9mms a-blazing is not going to change this situation one bit.

  80. #80 |  Mark Matis | 

    For plutosdad:
    Drug war had nothing to do with this SWAT raid:
    http://theintelhub.com/2011/06/13/student-loans-and-doe-s-w-a-t-teams/

    It’s just filthy maggot pigs. Nothing more, nothing less. Drugs are merely a convenient excuse. They did not need that excuse to murder Vicki Weaver. They did not need that excuse to murder Eric Scott. They DID use that excuse to murder Kathryn Johnston and Jose Gurena. But if they didn’t have it, they would have found something else.

    And it is NOT only the SWAT team members who are responsible. The so-called “good cops” look the other way as their brothers in blue wantonly murder Mere Citizens. And the “prosecutors” are not about to touch them. The only good pig…

  81. #81 |  homeboy | 

    @#79, Zenichi-Maro

    “Let’s not confuse planned violence with self-defence here, friend.”

    And let us not overlook the fact that often there is n meaqningful distinction between the two.

    “This is not a time for vigilantism; it’s a time for advocacy and awareness.”

    Except that we have been practicing advocacy and awareness for many long, frustrating, fruitless years now, and it has not and will not do a bit of good. Clearly, it is time for another plan.

    “It’s a time to understand the nature of your foe.”

    Yes, and to acknowledge that the foe is collectively a vile, violent pig, that only understands and considers violence.

  82. #82 |  Ed | 

    It’s mostly NOT the fault of the police. Here’s why.

    Constitutional limitations on Government activity are being eroded every day by judgments in the courts. Because of this, it is hard to determine what limitations that police “supervisors” should place on police, and how to write and enforce correct policy.

    Generally, the police people themselves are just a bunch of average folks with some specialized training – like anybody on a job has specialized training. THEY SIMPLY FOLLOW ORDERS ON THE JOB. If you want to see changes made, you need to work with their “supervisors,” the chain of command, all the way to the top.

  83. #83 |  Michael Hill | 

    This will stop only when we withdraw our consent from this regime (Republican and Democrat) and when we stop being the regime’s eyes and ears and hands and feet here in the provinces and boondocks. Those who continue to support the regime in any way should be socially ostracized or worse. In essence, their lives should be made miserable until they stop supporting tyranny for a paycheck or other filthy lucre from the regime. The regime’s minions need to “feel the pain;” otherwise, they won’t stop this crap. Question is: Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to combat this tyranny?

  84. #84 |  Patrick O'Connor | 

    I have questions about “home invasions” increasing which prompts homeowners to have weapons within easy reach for lightning responses to intruders with murderous intent. I speak from the experience of living in Los Angeles during the reign of Richard Ramirez,the Night Stalker and from someone who has had his home burglarized. We were out on a Sunday afternoon and when we came home our drawers had been rifled and our TV was gone. Suitably freaked out by the experience but I never considered it a home invasion. When people talk about a prevalence of home invasions is it these sorts of crimes to which they refer?

    The Night Stalker was big news in the city of Charles Manson. But I just don’t hear about stories in the media about an epidemic of people being slaughtered in their homes. I also don’t hear stories in the media about home owners using firearms to blow away home invaders. What I do see in the media with increasing frequency is stories like this.

    It is easy to get funding for SWAT units and the expense has to be justified by using them without regard for actual need. So my message to gun owners who state that their guns are necessary for protection and that those of us who don’t own guns are derelict as citizens is to keep it holstered when someone comes crashing through the door. Odds are you will be outgunned, blow away and reduced to the status of collateral damage in the struggle to keep us safe.

  85. #85 |  Outrage? A 69 year-old was selling painkillers. Police kill him during drug raid « InvestmentWatch | 

    [...] was killed over the weekend during a police drug raid on his home. (Prior post on the Cooper raid here.) But they won’t say if the bottles were in Cooper’s name. If, as his friends are saying, the [...]

  86. #86 |  Stevedore | 

    Price said that even after officers are inside a home, they continue to call out, “Police! Police! Police!” in loud tones.

    And quite obviously, genuine criminal home invaders would never do this to confuse those inside the home. In fact, even after they’re inside the home, they continue to call out “Criminals! Criminals! Criminals!” in loud tones.

  87. #87 |  J. Croft | 

    There’s only one solution: get rid of the monsters perpetrating these raids, and those that hired them… and those that wrote their procedures and laws in the first place.

    Now, the question comes to HOW?

    You can go after the elected officials in a emergency recall election-and the death of Mr. Cooper qualifes by itself as a scandal worthy to topple those oath traitors, but dig up as much dirt as possible. Run with a full campaign ticket of candidates to do a proper job.

    To find out more google “freedom guide it’s time” and “freedom guide recall election: obstacles to overcome”.

    The other means require physical training, marksmanship and combat training, and a good rifle you’ve mastered.

  88. #88 |  artic warrior | 

    RE: #28

    You need to learn to check out your stats, my friend. In 2009 murder with any type of firearm was 7218, not the ’16,500′ you quote. In addition to that all violent crime was DOWN 35% for 2010.

    This was an event of tragic proportions which villifies a man without knowing the facts. The sad thing is — you could be next? All it takes is an ‘anonymous’ informant.

  89. #89 |  dunphy | 

    i love the question begging here e.g. “the murder of jose gurana (sic)”… the prosecutor review of the case , including forensic analysis of the bullets that hit guerana’s rifle support the cops’ side of the story and clearly show it wasn’t “murder”.

  90. #90 |  dunphy | 

    @patrick, in brief, what you describe isn’t a home invasion. it’s a burglary. home invasion robberies are entries of occupied homes, where the criminals know the home is occupied and their intent is to confront the homeowners.

    the VAST majority of burglaries involve burglars who try to ensure the house is unoccupied when they enter. i’ve investigated hundreds and interrogated a few dozen burglars. this is par for the course.

    home invasion (technically a robbery) is done usually in cases like drug rips, or to terrorize the occupants as revenge or when for example there is a safe they need a combo to.

    it’s a much more serious crime.

  91. #91 |  stevelaudig | 

    Flush this… If “flushing” is such a problem why now permit the police to turn the water off at the residence and wait, oh maybe 20 minutes, and then knock. Water pressure down, with CSI techniques the dopes can find the dope. The lesson is that if you give a tool to the police [battering rams, flash bangs, all the fatality inducing toys] they’ll use them first because they can “imagine” scenarios. Well imagine this.

  92. #92 |  homeboy | 

    @ #89

    “the prosecutor review of the case , including forensic analysis of the bullets that hit guerana’s (sic) rifle support the cops’ side of the story and clearly show it wasn’t “murder”. (sic)

    All right Dunphy, I’m game; how, precisely, does it do that? Also, how does it invalidate audio/video recordings showing that the deputies involved and their superiors in the PCSD lied in their account of the incident?

  93. #93 |  dunphy | 

    if a bullet hits the rifle (which more than one did iiuc), you can confirm the angle of impact (generally speaking), especially in the plastic of a stock, etc.

    the angle of impact is consistent with the rifle facing towards the officers – iow he was pointing it at them, as claimed.

    i was agnostic on whether the shoot was justified prior to this report, as stated ad nauseum. based on this investigation, i believe it was justified.

    and CERTAINLY not murder

    (note: murder is a higher legal burden than unjustified. an unjustified shoot can be manslaughter or not even criminally actionable. murder is the highest possible criminal charge)

  94. #94 |  Don Cordell | 

    Click on my name, then you will find the answers. Have you had enough of this treason in America? When will you ReVote? It’ up to you, and we don’t have much more time to total totalitarian control of our nation.

  95. #95 |  The Reader’s Reader 6.23.2011 | | 

    [...] Balko “Police: Man Killed by Police During Paramilitary Drug Raid Shows –Dangers of [...]

  96. #96 |  homeboy | 

    @ #93

    Well, Dunphy, all you have done here is adduce evidence showing that Guerena was holding a weapon in an approximate attitude, and nothing more. While this is consistent with him pointing a weapon at the Pigs, it is also consistent with him not doing so. Also, since no one that I am aware of claimed that it was certain Guerena had not shouldered a weapon, your definitive data that “supports the cops’ side” really addresses an issue that is uncontested by either side. This certainly does not prove or demonstrate that Jose Guerena was not murdered.

    On another note, you also confuse burden with class of offense and administrative definitions.

  97. #97 |  Another senseless "gang related" (SWAT no-knock gang) death | Patriotic and Proud .biz | 

    [...] Another senseless “gang related” (SWAT no-knock gang) death Posted on June 23, 2011 by LJ Police: Man Killed by Police During Paramilitary Drug Raid Shows Dangers of Paramilitary Drug Raids … [...]

  98. #98 |  dunphy | 

    actually, homeboy what i took issue with was the (unsupported) claim as to guerana’s “murder”.

    the evidence does not support the assertion. quite the contrary, as i point out.

  99. #99 |  Mark Matis | 

    Dunphy is the same worthless POS that he has been for years on NRO. JAP.

    Figger it out for youseff…

  100. #100 |  cybele | 

    @98 (dunphy)

    nonsense.

    did the mere mundane come out and threaten the cops? ? did he fire on them ? did he run down to the local copshop brazenly blasting ?

    nope.

    they invaded his home. they killed him, it should be obvious, even to a sophistic cop enabler, that the burden of proof is upon them.

    ahh .. but there is no one left to give objective testimony, is there ?

    dead men tell no tales.

    quis costodiet ipsos custodes ?

    only those who would have the mundanes crawl could approve of this thuggish act.

    i submit to you, that there will be a reckoning, there will be a withdrawal of consent from the governed, and then your precious overseers shall reap what they have sown. i assure you, none will weep for their passing.

  101. #101 |  dunphy | 

    Mark, that’s not me, but in a thread where i claimed others were jumping to unjustified conclusions (murder) w.o evidence, i find it ironic that you just came to another (false) conclusion w.o evidence. i am not the NRO dunphy. sorry

  102. #102 |  Bambam | 

    Rodney King deserved what he got and it still touched off a riot. If there was a riot every time police senselessly killed innocent citizens I bet they’d alter their approach to violating the fourth amendment pretty damn fast.

  103. #103 |  Tiger Killer (5 kills) | 

    Wouldnt this county be better without the police existing?? NO IT WOULDN’T. Do you people even dare to admit that??!!

  104. #104 |  homeboy | 

    @ #98

    “actually, homeboy what i took issue with was the (unsupported) claim as to guerana’s “murder”.

    And the way you took issue was to assert that there was evidence that demonstrably supported “the cops’ side of the story.” When you were queried on that assertion, you adduced ambiguous evidence that no more supported the “cops’ side of the story” than the other side, and was equally consistent with both.

    “the evidence does not support the assertion. quite the contrary, as i point out.”

    This is patent dishonesty, Dunphy; what you were pointing out was a claim that required support of evidence, and you failed to provide it. Claims against your position are not dependent upon the controvertible evidence you site, and, in fact, have little to do with it.

  105. #105 |  homeboy | 

    @ #100

    Hi Cybele,

    Dunphy is merely engaging in an all too familiar game of ruse and sleight of hand. He first attacked other people’s positions by vaguely claiming that those positions were controverted by clear evidence. When invited to cite that evidence, he resorted instead to equivocal data that was not of the character he had indicated. When Bullshit was called, he attempted to refute the call by claiming that he was merely indicating that other people’s assertions were not adequately supported by evidence.

    This type of chicanery, falsely citing evidence and then misstating premises in an effort to shift the goal posts, is a standard mode of deception among the Piggy set. I would advise you merely to accept the fact that this is how they operate, that the “Few Bad Apples” distinction is false, and nothing is going to change that. This behavior simply expresses the cop mentality, which is apparently immutable. It does little good to get worked up over these things; the day of reckoning is likely never to come, and cops will always behave this way.

  106. #106 |  Kris W | 

    These raids are excessive and unreasonable. If a person has so little contraband that they can simply flush it down the toilet, then the cops are wasting taxpayer money.

    All we need to do is push for law’s that hold police officers personally responsible in Civil Court if an “investigatory trial”, decided by Citizen Juries, ruled that they used excessive force.

  107. #107 |  John | 

    That’s disgusting, I would like to ask how the officers would like to trade places with the poor unsuspecting citizen thirty years down the road. How will their children feel when they are blown away by some thug officers doing their duty like they did before them, but I guess it would be Karma in action, now wouldn’t it?

  108. #108 |  jim3888 | 

    guerana’s murder cannot be called anything but murder,because there was a non-violent way of executing the warrant instead of executing guerana.
    there was no reason not to have picked him up at work and driven him home, and followed the constitution, rather than getting 4 uncoordinated counties to flub the entire thing,not to mention putting the entire street in jeopardy.sheriff dupka,thats for all you polish people out there,and his team should be charged with murder, and like they always tell us… tell it to the judge.
    also dupka and his buddies,changed the story so many times, it was pick and choose which story they wanted to use ,according to their liar,i mean lawyer.
    but thank god that they investigated themselves,so that they could all go home and be safe.
    at least the russians and nazis had the people fearing the knock on the door.
    a luxury not afforded to the CITIZENS of the united snakes of police control..

  109. #109 |  jim3888 | 

    it won’t change till we change it for them.

  110. #110 |  Cory Maye Freed After 10 Years In Prison including Death row « road2justice | 

    [...] on medical marijuana clinics and doctors’ offices suspected of over-prescribing painkillers. Just last month police in Hampton, Virginia, shot and killed 69-year-old William Cooper during a drug raid on [...]

  111. #111 |  Don't testify against police corruption or else - Page 2 - Grasscity.com Forums | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2011/06/2…ace-every-day/ Quote: [...]

  112. #112 |  Top Agitator Posts of 2011 | The Agitator | 

    [...] 16. Police: Man Killed by Police During Paramilitary Police Raid Shows Danger of Paramilitary Police Rai… [...]

  113. #113 |  WHY LUBBOCK, TEXAS SUCKS | Gandalf's Staff | 

    [...] was killed by police officers during a warrantless drug raid on July 22, cleared six … Police: Man Killed by Police During Paramilitary Drug Raid Shows … Another week, another man shot dead during a drug raid. … He said about five or six police [...]

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