Another Poker Raid (Update and Bump)

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

This one was here in Tennessee:

 Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies raided yet another allegedly illegal gambling operation Wednesday night.

The latest raid targeted a poker game inside a private residence in the Bexhill subdivision in West Knox County, according to a KCSO spokeswoman Ashley Haynes.

Deputies discovered eight people around one poker table at 1304 Buxton Drive, and seized approximately $1,000 cash, Haynes said.

No arrests were made, but all information was turned over the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office for possible charges, she said.

I was going to make your usual “Knox County can sleep safer now” comment until I did some poking around and found this poker raid in Chattanooga last April, in which the police spokes-sergeant makes my point for me, only without the sarcasm:

“Any arrest obviously reduces crime in our city and a crime reduction means safer streets and safer communities.”

MORE: Via the comments, here’s more on the Knox County raid. It’s looking more and more ridiculous. Here’s a comments from a woman who says she’s the owner of the home that was raided:

Thanks for the comments folks. Here is the problem with the raid they did at my home Tuesday. There were 8 people there the lady who let them in even with my reservations with the deputy on the phone who threatened arresting everyone there and getting warrants ( you see I was not at home I was and still am in the hospital). The lady was doing laundry My other roomate and two friends were playing a card game called Fantan its like 3 way solitaire on a poker table left out from our holiday get together Sunday. Fantan requires you to chip if you cannot complete a sequence – wel l since you can only play with 3 l dont see where 8 people around a table playing poker came in. There were other guests there watching TV and enjoying a quiet evening. The deputies claimed they were gambling because chips and cards were involved.

Here’s a follow-up:

they conficated my tables to be stored after our holiday party they broke them because they were too lazy to take them apart, they took non-denomination chips that we use for tourneys, the money they confiscated was not gaming money it was personal property of my guests in their pockets, in their search they found poker paperwork had stats and point values, my cell phone because it had poker related pictures and last names that said poker not last names, and a 2lb bag of epsom salts that they recorded on a receipt as drugs. 2 computers mine and my housemates My problem is they have embellished the truth with each raid to Justify to the public the “good” they were doing. I am outraged that they have my neighbors thinking I am some criminal because I play poker! Heck their coworkers, other law enforcement areas have been to games I have played in and hosted what about them?

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35 Responses to “Another Poker Raid (Update and Bump)”

  1. #1 |  Scott Lazarowitz | 

    The actual crimes are being committed by the police in their breaking and entering, trespassing, and stealing the poker winnings, as well as harassing innocent people who have harmed no one.

  2. #2 |  David | 

    “Any arrest obviously reduces crime in our city and a crime reduction means safer streets and safer communities.”

    So if I were to perform a citizen’s arrest on asshole police officers that, by virtue of being an arrest, would make our streets safer, right?

    I’m game.

  3. #3 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Welcome to our world. They make the same kind of asinine statement every time they arrest an escort.

  4. #4 |  abhisaha | 

    “Any arrest obviously reduces crime in our city and a crime reduction means safer streets and safer communities.”
    There are so many holes in this flow of logic that I don’t know where to begin.

    And slightly off topic, but I remember a time when people thought that an Obama presidency would usher in a new era of legalized gambling, and the end of the UIGEA.

  5. #5 |  abhisaha | 

    Also, I found this table that summarizes gambling laws in different states (admittedly, some of these laws may have changed in the last 4 years).

    Depressingly, every state criminalizes gambling to some degree. Colorado seems to have perhaps the best law; with legalized social gambling, and simple gambling classified only as an infraction.

  6. #6 |  Uh-huh | 

    Here’s some more info regarding the “raid” in Knox County. The homeowner has a few posts in the first ten (most recent ten) posts.

    It looks like the deputies didn’t have a warrant, but simply conducted a knock-and-talk. They eventually intimidated the person at the door into “consenting” to entry. I’m not familiar with Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in Tennessee courts, but I hope this lady gets a good lawyer, especially if any audio/video evidence happens to appear. I wouldn’t be surprised if this entry was unlawful.

  7. #7 |  Mannie | 

    Another armed robbery by The State.

  8. #8 |  JS | 

    At least we don’t live in an evil communist country where people don’t have any freedom.

  9. #9 |  EH | 

    This is the way fascism grows. The state has to find more and more undesirables to weed out. The scope increases until the supply of election-helping convictions satisfies those who set the policies, which is an incontrovertibly ever-expanding appetite. Finding more criminals, same as it ever was.

  10. #10 |  Someone to watch over me | Nobody's Business | 

    […] Balko writes about another realm where the same problem rears its head. Maggie connects this back by welcoming Radley to the world […]

  11. #11 |  supercat | 

    #6 | Uh-huh | July 10th, 2011 at 12:08 pm “It looks like the deputies didn’t have a warrant, but simply conducted a knock-and-talk.”

    If I had my druthers, every state would have a statute explicitly specifying that any action people do at the request of people who identify themselves as police officers shall be presumed to be the result of illegitimate coercion or implied threat (the state would have to affirmatively show either that the cop had the authority to compel the action or impose any implied quid pro quo, or that the person would have had an affirmative desire to perform the action even without any perceived illegitimate quid pro quo).

    The statute would further specify that in any criminal proceeding, the defendant shall have right to have the jury consider the legitimacy of any or all of the evidence; the jury should be constructed not to construe against the defendant any evidence that was gathered illegitimately. While there are many situations where a jury might construe against the defendant evidence which a judge would have blocked (and indeed, judges should continue to block patently-illegitimate prosecution evidence) there are many other situations where a jury who was informed of the circumstances surrounding some evidence might decide the defendant posed less of a danger to society than the cops who arrested him. I would suggest, therefore, that both checks on state misconduct are important. Unfortunately, the latter has been largely eliminated, with disastrous consequences.

  12. #12 |  a_random_guy | 

    It looks like the deputies didn’t have a warrant, but simply conducted a knock-and-talk. They eventually intimidated the person at the door into “consenting” to entry.

    No warrant? Have a nice evening officer. By now, you would think everyone in the country knows that you never, ever talk to or cooperate with the police.

    If any police are reading this – most of you guys are decent, but collectively, you have done this to yourselves. You no longer have – or deserve – the trust of the public.

    In this specific case, according to the article, they were not even playing poker, much less playing for money. Apparently three people were playing some form of solitaire involving chips, and five others were watching television.

    If this is true, and the people present give solid consistent testimony, a decent lawyer ought to be able to have the charges dismissed. Then it’s time to go after the police for illegal entry, false arrest, and whatever else they can find.

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    thank god for our protectors.

  14. #14 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    Sigh, at what point do we stop pretending we don’t live in a police state?

    Note: when I was a kid “well its a free country” was a commonly used phrase when you asked someone for permission, and it meant “I don’t care, go ahead.” I haven’t heard anyone use that phrase in years.

  15. #15 |  Some Guy | 

    Two points:

    1. There is no reference to three people playing Fan Tan in the local news clip. In the interview, the lady seems to be talking about some other poker tournaments she has run at other times (with a small fee to cover food). If it is true they were just playing Fan Tan when the police conducted the raid and the local TV news didn’t bother to report it, then these reporters are basically worthless.

    And the written version of the story suggests they may indeed be worthless. On this critical point about what the people were actually doing, it says only this in response to the police claims: “she says there were six people and that only three were playing a familiar card game.” So familiar, it couldn’t even be named? Was it . . . poker? Was it . . . something else? This detail is kind of key to the story. The article then moves on to talking about the $10 poker tournaments on the other occasions.

    2. The local news clip refers to six gambling busts, not one of which resulted in an arrest. Such an epic wave of crime for zero arrests. They just want the cash maybe?

  16. #16 |  croaker | 

    @14 I stopped pretending long before the Patriot Act (barf!) was signed.

  17. #17 |  IllyAlley | 

    A Random Guy,

    Dismiss what charges? None of the occupants of the home were even arrested, let alone charged. That is the most galling part of this story; the Pigs conducted a Knock n’ Talk, intimidated the woman who answered the door into letting them in, entered the home and robbed its occupants, stole and destroyed the property of the owner, and yet never found any evidence of a single crime for which they could arrest or charge. THAT should have all of us seething with outrage.

  18. #18 |  croaker | 

    @17 Oh, I’m seething. I’m to the point where cops shouldn’t be going home safe after crap like this. And I’m beyond caring if it’s a cell, ICU, or a morgue slab.

    What we need is an addendum to the castle law that states it’s open season on a cop that forces his way into a home sans search warrant.

  19. #19 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Always good to hear from the victims in these situations. Please keep us updated.

  20. #20 |  Marty | 

    I don’t play a lot of poker, but I am occasionally invited to pad the pot… I can’t imagine something like this not sending the guys I know down to Keene to join the anarchists… It blows my mind that these raids aren’t getting huge media exposure.

  21. #21 |  André | 

    Libertarianism: it happens to people.

  22. #22 |  Single Acts Of Tyranny | 

    Quite amazing ~ this incidentally, is why door chains should always be applied.

  23. #23 |  Don Cordell | 

    Cops in California brag they bring in $3 Billion a year in money confiscated from citizens, as they claim most money is contaminated with drugs, proof your money is Drug Money, and that money belongs to the cops. Same thing in Utah, and I’m sure the same happens in other states, as our cops worse than any independent citizens. Cops can legally shoot us, and get away with it, because they LIE. Until you have a president that will stop this, it will continue. Why do you think our Federal Government has spent billions to equip your local police with SWAT gear? Cops without any name badges, the only thing they lack are the Brown Shirts that Hitler supplied his new police force. If you don’t ReVote this will continue, and get much worse. I’ll Restore, not Change America. Do you wonder why they want to take all of our Guns? Then what block parties put on by our loving cops?

  24. #24 |  MassHole | 


    I just returned from a trip to the state I grew up in and spent some time with one of my close friends I’ve known for over 25 years. He had a story for me:

    His father lives alone in a house he has owned for probably 40 years in a small college town. There are a large number of students that live in his neighborhood. He works for city and has never been in trouble.

    He came home a few days ago to find a package on his porch with his address, but no name. (this is where I immediately knew what was happening, I’m sure most regulars do too.) Unlike most of us, he didn’t immediately pick of the package and take it inside to see what it was. He had other stuff to do and left it sitting.

    A few hours later, a guy in plainclothes with a badge knocks on his door and starts asking him about it and why didn’t he take the package in. He tells my friends father that the package contains MJ and they have had him under surveillance and that they have a search warrant for his house. The cop basically ends the conversation by saying the homeowner was lucky he didn’t take the package inside, because he would have been in a lot of trouble if he did.

    So these small town cops did so little investigation that they considered a long time resident and town employee a suspected drug dealer vs. the common sense conclusion that local college kids are attempting to use his house as drop spot since the guy is at work all day. On top of that, most people would bring a package addressed to them into the house and open it. If I’m not mistaken, a package sent to you that you didn’t order is considered a gift under the law and you can keep it.

    Bottom line, a guy minding his own business came within an inch of having his door kicked in and charged with drug trafficking by podunk cops.

    Keep it up cops. You’re turning law abiding citizens against you every day.

  25. #25 |  JdL | 

    #23 | Don Cordell: If you don’t ReVote this will continue, and get much worse.

    I’m afraid that voting won’t accomplish a thing. Look at how Obama promised a whole list of reforms that voters wanted. Has he kept his promise on even ONE of these issues? Politicians are corrupt liars, and playing along is a sucker’s game.

    Change will come when government thugs realize that a significant number of people are serious about defending their liberties. Exactly what that will entail is up to the thugs: if they push us into a corner, they will certainly scream when they reap the whirlwind.

  26. #26 |  Salt | 

    Let me get this straight: If I am soaking my feet in an Epsom salt bath whilst playing solitaire, with a wallet containing cash lying nearby, I am engaged in drug dealing and conducting an illegal gambling operation?

  27. #27 |  Cyto | 

    I’d cut them a break on the Epsom salt drugs – after all, “bath salts” has been the scare of the week on the news for the last couple of months. It probably says “bath salts” right on the bag….

  28. #28 |  Kristen | 

    This was nothing but pure & simple armed robbery. We shouldn’t even be talking about this in the context of police operations. It was out-and-out thuggery.

  29. #29 |  Goober | 

    @ #27 Cyto – Why would you cut them slack on the bath salts thing? When last I checked, it was perfectly legal to own and use bath salts. If some people are using them to get high, i fail to see how this should expose all owners of bath salts to prosecution.

  30. #30 |  Bee | 

    Epsom salts? Cards? A little bit of cash? Check, check and check.

    They confiscated the tables? And a 2-lb bag of epsom salts? What’s next, claiming oleander plants are evidence of wanting to poison someone? Owning a kitchen scale means you’re a cocaine kingpin? At least the comments on that site were heartwarmingly scornful.

  31. #31 |  albatross | 

    I’ve made the parallel before, but what’s happening now is very much like what happened when the Catholic Church’s priest abuse scandal was just beginning to come out. And the result will be the same–thanks to cellphones and the internet, in ten or fifteen years, the average citizen will have very little trust of anything a policeman says that isn’t backed up by video or other hard evidence. This will make the US a much worse place to live in many ways, but it’s the inevitable consequence of decades of covering up for bad actors rather than getting them off the police force, and decades of putting “confiscate enough property or issue enough fines to bring in substantial revenue” into their effective job statement.

    When that change comes, few people will talk to the police without a lawyer present, call the police for anything less that serious crimes, or volunteer any information to the police.

  32. #32 |  Mannie | 

    #29 | Goober | July 11th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    When last I checked, it was perfectly legal to own and use bath salts. If some people are using them to get high, i fail to see how this should expose all owners of bath salts to prosecution.

    I fail to see how this should expose ANY owners of bath salts to prosecution.

  33. #33 |  davidst | 

    “Any arrest obviously reduces crime in our city and a crime reduction means safer streets and safer communities.”

    Great example of faulty logic right there.

  34. #34 |  Toastrider | 

    Re: #31.

    I’ve commented on this before. Cops should imagine how much fun their job will be when no one wants to talk to them at all.

    Imagine inner-city or ghetto neighborhood attitudes, where nobody talks to ‘the man’ and the cops have to patrol with plenty of backup. Now, apply that mentality to suburbs and gated communities — where the residents are typically also armed. Not just with firearms, but with money and legal capacity to fight back. Smiles with knives behind them and polite ‘sorry, officer, I was in the shower’ responses.

    I made this remark before: I don’t think it’s ‘all cops’ that are causing the problem. But by resisting any concept of policing themselves, the police are irrevocably damaging not just their own authority but the social contract of ‘rule of law’. In other words: if you protect that ‘thin blue line’, you give people less and less of an interest in respecting your badge.

    And without that consent, that respect, you are just a grease stain on the pavement. As Pratchett remarked in his Night Watch books, policemen only function because people let them.

  35. #35 |  Obbop | 

    Foolish commoner scum.


    Obey the enforcement arm(s) of your ruling elite-class masters and corporate USA.

    Look at USA history’s many events where imprisonment, fines, exile and even murder have been used to force you scum commoners to OBEY!!!!!!!!!!