Two News Stories . . .

Monday, January 9th, 2012

. . . both on Matthew Stewart and the Ogden drug raid.

This one, from the Standard-Examiner is headlined “Suspect had a bomb,” and repeatedly, explicitly refers to a “bomb” that police detonated in Stewart’s closet. Meanwhile, this one, from the Salt Lake Tribune, quotes an ATF spokesman.

Earlier Monday, Brad Beyersdorf, public information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, confirmed that bomb technicians detonated “explosive materials” or components found inside Stewart’s house Saturday. Beyersdorf did not specify what was found but said that “to characterize it as a bomb or device is not accurate at this time.”

Emphasis mine. The same article also quotes Stewart’s father on the “device:”

But Stewart’s father, Michael Stewart, told The Tribune he believes the chemicals found by police were used by his son to grow marijuana, which apparently spurred the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force to obtain the search warrant they attempted to execute Wednesday night on Stewart’s house at 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden.

Michael Stewart claims police “botched” the initial investigation into his son’s marijuana growing activities.

“It’s possible the authorities may have been relying on an informant who broke the law who was trespassing,” Michael Stewart said.

He did not specify why he believes that but said he has spoken with his son’s attorney, Randall Richards.

I got a little chill at that line about a trespassing informant. Flashbacks to the Ryan Frederick case.

Here’s the Standard-Examiner, once again:

The neighborhood was evacuated, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms was called in, said a source close to the investigation speaking on condition of anonymity. The bomb couldn’t be moved and was detonated inside the home, he said.

“They also found a picture of the suspect dressed as a terrorist,” he said. “He was posing in a suicide bomber’s vest.”

The source had no detail on the type of bomb or any indications of a link with Stewart and any terrorist group. “I have no idea what any of it means,” he said.

And back to the Tribune:

But Stewart’s father said the photo actually shows his son in a Halloween costume that he wore three or four years ago.

“He was going to the party as Osama bin Laden,” the father explained.

Amazing the different impression you if you read just one of the two stories. Once again, we know very little so far. But it’s unfortunate that (a) someone “close to the investigation” is feeding the Standard Examiner bad information, (b) that person is requesting—and being given—anonymity, and (c) the Standard-Examiner is running with the bad information, apparently without bothering to get confirmation.

The DA, by the way, has announced that he’ll be seeking the death penalty.

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34 Responses to “Two News Stories . . .”

  1. #1 |  Dan | 

    Wow! The spin engine is running at full throttle.

    FUD works.

  2. #2 |  Nick | 

    “They also found a picture of the suspect dressed as a terrorist,” he said. “He was posing in a suicide bomber’s vest.”

    Did they blow that up too?

  3. #3 |  John P. | 

    Sounds like thy found fertilizer he was using to grow his weed…

    What utter bullshit, and the cops wonder why so many of us look down upon them and see them as real lying idiots…

  4. #4 |  C.E. | 

    Sniff. . . . I smell diversionary tactics. A bunch of idiots desperately trying to keep everyone from blaming them for the whole thing by whipping the public into a frenzy against Stewart. He’s a drug dealer! He’s a terrorist! He had bombs! He was dangerous! He murdered a police officer because he’s a dangerous, drug dealing, bomb-throwing terrorist!

  5. #5 |  John P. | 

    Full blown cover-up, I’ll bet you a steak dinner the anonymous source feeding the paper info is doing it with the full blessing of the investigators and police chief. They are doing it to make this guy look like a true villain, while the real villains here are the cops…

  6. #6 |  John P. | 

    Radley you need to stay on this one and push hard for some answers.

    This smells of a botched raid, based on yet another “criminal informant”, cover-up!

  7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The media is getting to be just like cops. When they’re talking, they’re probably lying.

  8. #8 |  Matt I. | 


    Fully expect the police to propagandize against you if they need to.

    Having a few bottles of medication becomes ‘suspected drug dealer’ or ‘may have been under the influence of narcotics’ ~ a la Erik Scott…

    Having speeding tickets and an arrest after a bar scuffle when you were 22 becomes “an extensive criminal history”…

    And having a Halloween photo becomes “dressed like a terrorist”.

    You have to be absolutely careful in these things. One thing that pissed me off was when the dad mentioned that he might have been suffering from PTSD. The pigs quickly found that he hadn’t served in active duty and used that as a strike against him & his dad.

    Luckily I think his lawyer is helping him become aware of how they run the game and he’s (rightly) working on attacking the pigs’ credibility and methods.

  9. #9 |  FloO | 

    If there is anything the Squadristi knows how to do, it’s to whip up public invective with lies. Then the lies are repeated as the truth.

  10. #10 |  GreginOz | 

    Jeeze, I’m sure glad I live in Oz & not the US! Your cuntry (sic) is s s s psycho! Here the WOD is much more muted. In South Australia & the ACT people are actually allowed 2 plants without getting busted. Here in New South Wales we ain’t so lucky but even so the cops are NOT gonna shoot you!!! Over POT!!! I got done at a festival a cupla years ago, the dog sat next to me, uh oh, & a lady cop said Sir, you’re nicked. I sighed & gave her huge partner my lil bud (by by baby bud!) and they very concientiously wrote meet out a Cannabis Caution. You get 2 of those before you have to go to court & minor possession fine is a whopping $200 if convicted in court. Oh, & we are all rioting n killin da chillun n stuff, like…

  11. #11 |  Joshua | 

    “The DA, by the way, has announced that he’ll be seeking the death penalty.”

    I’m impressed that they’re using the felony murder statute against those six police officers. That’s what’s happening, right? After all, their constitutional violations resulted in a death.

  12. #12 |  feedomfan | 

    About the closing note about the DA seeking the death penalty against Stewart: That’s part of what convinces me that these prosecutorial clowns know perfectly well that they are just blustering to get their tough-on-crime media cred. To apply the death penalty, they have to prove a case of aggravated murder, which it seems very improbable that they would have evidence of at this point, even in the unlikely event that that’s what occurred. (And, the insult to every non-badge-wearer that the “victim” being a cop is supposedly enough, by itself, to qualify as aggravation.)

    If the media were any good at their jobs, the immediate questions would have been, “So, you are saying your investigation has already gathered compelling evidence of premeditation? How can you know so soon that Mr. Stewart had planned to kill a police officer? Did he know there was going to be a police raid on his home? Are you investigating a leak in the department?”

  13. #13 |  Penny Wolowitz | 

    News on the former jailbird is always interesting, but I wonder why I haven’t seen more coverage on the exploding churros story:

  14. #14 |  Whim | 

    Patented police whitewash.



    Using the pliant press to frame the suspect as a crazy, bomb-making, drug-dealing terrorist.

    Uh, why didn’t they just arrest him in the Wal-Mart parking lot while going to work on the late shift?

    Not dramatic enough?

    Much more dramatic to knock the door down at night, and wake up someone soundly sleeping before getting up and going to work on the late night shift at Wal-Mart, like they do every night.

    Since the police are keeping the suspect isolated in a hospital, and refusing him visits by his parents, that just stinks further to high heaven that the police are manufacturing the evidence to suit the results of the late night, no-knock raid.

  15. #15 |  JdL | 

    If anybody knows of a legal defense fund for Matthew Stewart, please post contact info here. I want to send a check for $100, maybe more.

  16. #16 |  David | 

    To apply the death penalty, they have to prove a case of aggravated murder, which it seems very improbable that they would have evidence of at this point, even in the unlikely event that that’s what occurred.

    Cory Maye got the death penalty.

  17. #17 |  Dante | 

    Some questions continue to burn in my head, can anyone help?

    How could one man, sound asleep and totally unprepared, take out six paramilitary police armed to the teeth and ready to kill?

    How did that same man survive the ensuing barrage of retaliatory fire? Cops usually kill when someone aims a gun at them and fires a single round, even if that someone drops the gun right away.

    Why was he found in the shed, out in the back yard, when the raid was on the house and all the gunfire was in and around the house? If he was in the shed, what were they shooting at in the house?

  18. #18 |  The Packetman | 


    The raid was performed by a ‘strike force’, but not necessarily a SWAT team. If the raid party were not armored up, a handgun could at least slow them down (or kill with a well-placed or lucky shot). A suspect who gets the drop on a raid party can run away (to the shed) while the cops are checking for extra holes.

    And as we saw in the case of Jose Guerena, even when officers take no fire, they’re hesitant to actually put themselves in real danger.

  19. #19 |  tired dog | 

    Must have been one hell of a bomb if they detonated it in the closet. I’d bet I’ve got some cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink that can be construed as a bomb.

  20. #20 |  Anthony | 

    I suspect that this SWAT/Strike team is as, or more, incompetent as the Pima County Team. However, the Ogden team didn’t go up against a well trained Marine fresh from service and the trigger discipline that comes with it. If this team is as bad as I think, they probably went into “Spray and Pray” mode. If they blindly fired chest high throughout the home Stewart could have hit the dirt and crawled out to safety with all rounds going over head.
    Or, this could be case of fratricide. If they “Sprayed and Prayed” this would be likely.

  21. #21 |  Cyto | 


    From the Salt Lake Tribune article we learned that the prosecutor in this case is “confident” that friendly fire did not cause the injuries. So it couldn’t be a case of fratricide. ‘Cause he’s, like, you know… confident.

  22. #22 |  Matt I. | 


    I have heard reports that he was shot 3 times in the shed, after he had already thrown his weapon away and surrendered.

    I can’t claim that this is the truth at this point, but it is worth looking into.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    OK. I’ve had to listen about how ‘Merica is at war with “radical Islam”. I will now make a comprehensive list of “radical Islam’s” support for smoking weed:

    1. Nope.
    2. Null.
    3. No.
    4. Nope (again).

    Fuck you, government. You can’t have it both ways.

    Anyone want to watch this trial play out and then try to defend the premise that the US actually follows the rule of law?

    Also, keep a good log of these early reports (which are all bullshit thrown out there to see what sticks). The official story from the police will be dramatically different once they decide what happened and go to trial.

  24. #24 |  claude | 

    Yep. Its gonna get real interesting. :-\

  25. #25 |  Anthony | 

    If a person who wasn’t there is confident friendly fire didn’t happen then that settles it.

  26. #26 |  nemo | 

    The ‘bomb’ was probably a bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, common as dirt.

    ‘Detonating’ it? Inside a house? Yeah, right. Probably caused more damage to the structure than any leaky bag of inert powder could. The police in this case are showing themselves as being both ignorant and stupid.

    If I were living in the community paying their salary, I’d want my money back.

  27. #27 |  Dante | 

    #26 Nemo

    I have a theory (uh oh).

    The police destroyed the “device” in order to prevent its’ full examination later, where it would have been determined to be safe and just some kind of normal household item (an old Dell PC, perhaps, or a dehumidifier, or some music device, or just a ball of wires?).

    This way, who is to say that the police didn’t save the world? Especially when the police are SCREAMING at the tops of their lungs that they saved the world. And there is absolutely no evidence left to disprove that claim, but all the police claim that there was before they were forced to blow it up in order to save the world.

    So, we can’t fact-check the police for accuracy. Just the way they want it.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  28. #28 |  JOR | 

    #17, If your house is raided by police, shooting at them from a room away may be one of your safer options*. They tend to fall back a little bit. They may spray and pray, they may not, but if they don’t (or if they do and you survive) it can end in a more or less peaceful surrender. Cory Maye may well only be alive because he did open fire. Of course Jose Guerrina was not so fortunate, but note that he never even took the safety off. If they see you with a weapon or vague facsimile thereof before you manage to project some kind of hurt in their direction, you’re as good as dead.

    *Immediate surrender might be safer if you know it’s the cops, but in most of these raids they’re deliberately trying to catch you surprised and confused, which makes them very easy to mistake for (unofficial) robbers or whatever. Waiting until you find out who the invaders are before you start shooting is a good way to get yourself killed, whether it’s government criminals or freelance cops. It needs to be remembered that they conduct these raids expecting no serious danger to themselves. When cops think they have a dangerous situation at the outset, they dig in at a safe distance and negotiate a surrender.

  29. #29 |  StrangeOne | 

    #27 Dante

    Its convient that every bit of “proof” regarding this case has either been destroyed by police (with their full admission) or being completely covered from the public.

    “Bomb” destroyed on scene for a Halloween party terrorist.
    No autopsy for the dead cop to determine ballistics.
    All other evidence of law breaking is minor (lights, poting soil).
    No word on why the warrent was issued in the first place.
    Suspect held at undisclosed location.
    His story is either supressed or non-existent because of his unknown condition.
    Family and legal counsel is in the dark.

    All of this while the police are rabidly trying to paint this man as the second coming of Timothy McVeigh, and the prosecutor has commited to pushing the death penalty before any signifigant understanding of the events could be obtained.

    The whole thing stinks to high hell. There are just so many missing pieces to the story and the authorities are already marching in a particularly tight lock-step. If or when Mathew Stewart recovers he can expect a particularly severe railroading by the US Criminal System.

  30. #30 |  Longbow | 

    Note to TPTB and their willing accomplices in the MSM. I hope you are reading the above comments.

    It ain’t workin’ no more.

  31. #31 |  el coronado | 

    Hey, just 1 quick question: since our po-po and SWAT heroes are by definition better and more valuable ubercitizens than us mere proles, it would stand to reason they wore body armor when they did their raid, right? Federal grants, increased militarization, get to dress up like a ninja……why *wouldn’t* they wear body armor?

    Here’s the problem: I’m not a weapons expert, but my understanding is that armor will stop pretty much any handgun round. (Rifles, not so much.)

    And Stewart was armed, as even the cops admit, with just one (1) handgun.

    So how’d we end up with 1 dead cop, and 5 injured cops? High-speed head & leg shots, done rapid-fire while Stewart was taken by surprise and undoubtedly frantically scrambling for cover? Hmm. Oh, well. Maybe this’ll come up at his trial.

  32. #32 |  The Death of Police Office During a Utah Drug Raid Makes a Few Cops Consider Changing Raid Tactics - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine | 

    […] over at the Agitator, Radley Balko is skeptical. It's certainly possible that Stewart had something strange rigged up, […]

  33. #33 |  The Death of Utah Police Office During a Drug Raid Makes a Few Cops Consider Changing Raid Tactics | Libertarios of America | 

    […] over at the Agitator, Radley Balko is skeptical. It’s certainly possible that Stewart had something strange rigged […]

  34. #34 |  TC | 

    Got some close up feelers out on this one.

    Hopefully something real will sprout.

    Don’t bank on it. One source knows some folks in the high up. Says lawsuits are not even a remote possibility but assured.

    Got another source, says they know two of the shot officers, not the dead one. As well they are holding cards close for now. Oh and this one has no reason to not display, if something breaks, all will filter through Radley for verification if possible.

    Not trying to lay a road on sand, just saying things are not as they might appear, especially from the local rag. Time will be required for real info to come to light. Suffice to say, the Ogden rag is full of themselves for now!