Category: Police Militarization

Jury Awards Big Damages for Puppycide

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Seems that Marylanders are getting a bit fed up with this problem.

A Frederick County Circuit Court jury in the civil case filed by a Taneytown couple whose dog was shot by a sheriff’s deputy found in favor of the plaintiffs Monday evening.

The six-person panel deliberated for more than 4 1/2 hours before returning a verdict to award Roger and Sandi Jenkins $620,000 in damages, according to plaintiff’s attorney Rebekah Lusk.

They found that–Deputy First Class Timothy Brooks violated the Jenkinses rights under the Maryland constitution when he shot their chocolate Labrador retriever, Brandi, on Jan. 9, 2010, while he and Deputy First Class Nathan Rector were at their Bullfrog Road home looking for their son, who was wanted on a civil warrant called a body attachment.

The jury also found that Brooks and Rector violated the couple’s rights by entering their home without permission.

The defense was . . . interesting.

[Defense attorneys] focused much of their attention on the actions of Roger Jenkins, who they said was largely responsible for the shooting of his dog. They said Jenkins could have told the deputies that his son wasn’t home, because he hadn’t lived there in several months since being kicked out, and that he could have taken more action to secure the dogs.

“He made certain decisions that led us to this sorry state,” Karp said of Roger Jenkins.

But Hansel said the Jenkinses knew their son sometimes sneaked back in the house, and that Roger Jenkins was being honest when he told them he wasn’t sure if his son was home.

Hansel said that by suggesting that Roger Jenkins’ actions led to the shooting of his dog, the defense was implying that citizens should fear for the safety of their dogs around law enforcement.

“What they’re suggesting is that Mr. Jenkins should have known that police officers will gun down your dog,” Hansel said.

Well on that question, the defense might have a point.

Another Isolated Incident

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

This one in upstate New York.

They did at least give the guy some money to repair the doors they tore down.

Morning Links

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Afternoon Links

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Put DOWN the Cheetos

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The SWAT team would like to talk to you about your waistline.

(Thanks to Mark Noble for the link.)

Marijuana The War on Marijuana Takes Another Victim

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Add another body to the pile.

New Orleans police officials confirmed Thursday that the 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by a plain-clothed narcotics officer during a drug raid at a Gentilly house a day earlier was unarmed. New Orleans police officer Joshua Colclough, 28, fired a single shot Wednesday evening that killed Wendell Allen, 20. Police officials were guarded in their comments about the shooting Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.

We have not been able to yet completely understand what exactly occurred,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Thursday.

The shooting took place inside a red-brick, two-story home at 2651 Prentiss Ave. in Gentilly. Officers were executing a search warrant at the home following a days-old probe of marijuana dealing. Serpas said officers later found drug paraphernalia and 138 grams of marijuana — about four and a half ounces — inside the residence.

The actual suspect (not Allen) was already in custody before the raid.

Command and Conquer

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Strong editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the show of police force at the Virginia state capital during last weekend’s abortion rights protest:

Saturday’s display of force is far from unique in the commonwealth. Homeland Security grants lavished on local police departments in the wake of 9/11 have only encouraged the tendency to blur the distinction between civilian and military operations. A number of Virginia localities now have armored assault vehicles such as the Lenco Bearcat — an 8-ton, quarter-million-dollar behemoth with half-inch steel plating. Among those localities is Warren County, a bucolic community of 40,000 people with an average of one homicide every three years — not exactly Hell’s Kitchen.

But the grants only accelerated an existing — and troubling — trend that started many years ago. Law enforcement exists to protect the rights of the citizens; maintaining order is a means to that end, not the end in itself. Police officers decked out like combat patrols in Fallujah send a far different, far more threatening message: that they have come not to protect and to serve, but to command and to conquer. Saturday’s events in the capital of Virginia stain a state with a reputation as the cradle of democracy.

The editorial begins with a quote from a publication regular readers might recognize.


Morning Links

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Police Drone Crashes Into Police Tank

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Okay, it was another Bearcat, not a tank. But still snicker-worthy.

County officials and the maker of that drone confirmed on Friday that a recent police-only photo mission went terribly wrong.

As the sheriff’s SWAT team suited up with lots of firepower and their armored vehicle known as the “Bearcat,” a prototype drone from Vanguard Defense Industries took off for pictures of all the police action.   It was basically a photo opportunity, according to those in attendance.

Vanguard CEO Michael Buscher said his company’s prototype drone was flying about 18-feet off the ground when it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground.   It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode, according to Buscher, but when it was coming down the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.

It’s the exact scenario that was mentioned as a major concern when the Government Accountability Office studied the growing use of police drones in 2008.

Ever since Houston Police were exposed in November 2007 on a secret test of drones for law enforcement, dozens of police agencies have applied for drones to be used on patrols throughout the country.

Of course, when these things start crashing into homes and businesses, it will be quite a bit less snicker-worthy. Maybe they’ll just blame it on terrorists.

Scenes from a Militarized America

Monday, March 5th, 2012

About a thousand protesters showed up at the Virginia state capital over the weekend to protest pending anti-abortion legislation. Courtesy of Style Weekly, here’s how the Virginia State Police responded:


More photos here.

Morning Links

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Sunday Links

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Turns Out, They Had Nothing To Hide

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Good reporting by Lucy Steigerwald on an outrageous 13-man SWAT raid, with flashbangs, on a home suspected of illegally growing medical marijuana. It’s of course legal to grow the stuff in Colorado if you have a patient card and stay under the state limit. The residents appear to have received the full brunt force of the SWAT team because they dared to exercise their constitutional rights.

Further details from KRDO reveal that when the police came to the home previously (at around 10 p.m. on Christmas 2011), Ball and Glandorf showed their medical marijuana cards, but refused to let officers in because they didn’t have a warrant. This, says Colorado Springs police spokesperson Barbara Miller, is kind of dubious:

“If you have nothing to hide, most people would open the door and say, ‘Yes, please come in and and let’s dispel any information you have because it’s false.”

Can we please send every cop who utters the “if you have nothing to hide . . . ” line to Fourth Amendment reeducation camp?

Miller, however, told Reason that she understood that the reaction to a so-called “knock and talk” on Christmas was understandable, and she might have done the same thing. And also that she “really appreciate[s] everybody’s constitution rights” and “everybody should use them.” However . . .

Whenever a police spokesperson talks about respecting constitutional rights, you can expect a however isn’t far behind.

 . . . Miller said officers smelled a very strong presence of marijuana in the home, and continued their investigation. Miller said police found out that someone living in the house had a prior felony weapons charge, and also noted that the electric bill was very high for the property.”That’s really important when you’re talking narcotics because that’s a tell-tale sign that they’re doing a grow there.”

Tell-tale. And in this case, false.

And after that, no arrests were made or charges were filed, because the patients were not growing more than Colorado state law permitted after all. Supposedly a handgun was found,  but Glandorf denies this.

Two dogs were apparently injured by the flashbangs. The police deny this. Because, as we all know, flashbangs are perfectly safe. I mean, except when they aren’t.

Morning Links

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
  • Three very good posts from Jacob Sullum illustrating the absurdity of hate crimes laws: one, two, and three.
  • Coming to California: A new law inspired by a dead person.
  • The U.S. Secretary of Transportation enjoys driving around to find drivers talking on their cell phones, then honking his horn at them.
  • Federal court bars Mississippi from putting children in solitary confinement.
  • U.K. police raid the wrong house after stolen iPhone pings to the wrong address: “Nottingham Police refused to reimburse Kerr for the repairs to his door — because officers ‘reasonably believed’ an offender was in the house.”
  • The state of Utah has stopped the family of Matthew Stewart from raising funds for his defense. They say the family must first get a permit.
  • Two years after he was stopped and illegally searched, Raleigh man just wants an apology. He hasn’t received one.

Late Morning Links

Friday, February 17th, 2012