This foolishness has to stop


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Bruce H
May 16, 2003, 11:34 PM
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Police kicked down the wrong door at a New York apartment house on Friday and a woman with a heart condition died on the way to the hospital.

A bungled tip about a drug dealer's cache led police to kick down the door and toss a stun grenade into the apartment of a woman with a heart condition; she died of a heart attack within an hour, police said.

"This is a tragedy. This should not have happened. No doubt about that," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Police were led to the apartment of city employee Alberta Spruill, 57, by a registered, but apparently untested, informant, officials said. The dealer they sought lived in the same building but had been arrested by a different police unit four days earlier, they explained.

Spruill had just dressed for work, where she certified eligibility for civil service candidates, when the raiding party executed its "No Knock" warrant at 6 a.m., broke down her door, tossed in the grenade and handcuffed the stunned woman to a chair.

Police soon realized the mistake, took off the handcuffs and called an ambulance to take her to a hospital for observation.

While on the way to Harlem Hospital she suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead on arrival.

Kelly said the "flash bang" grenades are usually used to dislodge barricaded suspects. He said that police have executed more than 1,900 warrants this year and four of those were at the wrong addresses.

The lieutenant who ordered use of the grenade in the misguided raid was put on administrative leave, officials said.

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Preacherman
May 16, 2003, 11:40 PM
I hope that any surviving family members sue the pants off the NYPD over this... not that it will bring her back, but it might teach their idiot overseers a lesson.

God rest her soul. That's no way to die.

:cuss: :fire: :mad:

Desertdog
May 17, 2003, 12:41 AM
The lieutenant who ordered use of the grenade in the misguided raid was put on administrative leave, officials said.
**** up and get a paid vacation! Way to go.
He should be required to keep the dog pound clean, not put on administrative leave.

Tamara
May 17, 2003, 12:49 AM
In a case like this, where fair restitution is impossible, I think the next of kin should acquire a bodyservant for life. :scrutiny:

Sergeant Bob
May 17, 2003, 06:40 AM
A bungled tip about a drug dealer's cache led police to kick down the door and toss a stun grenade into the apartment of a woman with a heart condition; she died of a heart attack within an hour, police said.

They got a No Knock warrent on a tip? From a fine upstanding citizen no doubt. For a dealer who was already in freaking jail!!! :fire:

"This is a tragedy. This should not have happened. No doubt about that," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud. That's why he's the Commisioner.:rolleyes:

The lieutenant who ordered use of the grenade in the misguided raid was put on administrative leave, officials said.
Misguided? How about deadly . He'll probably turn up working for the BATF.

:cuss:

dinosaur
May 17, 2003, 06:52 AM
I am sooo glad I`m retired. :banghead: Kelly should exercise that option too. The second time around hasn`t enhanced his career.

Greg L
May 17, 2003, 08:04 AM
I hope that any surviving family members sue the pants off the NYPD over this... not that it will bring her back, but it might teach their idiot overseers a lesson.

I doubt it (the overseers part, the family should certainly sue), they don't have to pay it themselves. Even if the family gets a big settlement/judgement it will only come from their neighbors in the form of higher taxes. The LT who ordered the no knock on the basis of a tip won't be liable for anything personally and won't serve as a warning to others to make sure that their sh .. er stuff.. is together before smashing in doors. :fire:

Greg

Marko Kloos
May 17, 2003, 08:19 AM
I used to get incensed about these things; now I just watch the show with detached amusement. As long as people keep voting to support the irrational War On Some Drugs, they will get exactly what they voted for.

Glock Glockler
May 17, 2003, 08:43 AM
All the more reason to deep six this "War on Drugs". Not that doing so would eliminate mistakes like this, but there'd be far less incidence of them due to far less no knock situations.

Lendringser,

You do understand that the majority of the people have not made the connection between the WOD and events such as this, yes? It's sort of like people being plugged into the Matrix, they aren't even aware of it enslaving them.

You also understand that as long as others vote for it, you will get what they deserve?

Maybe we should wake them up?

Marko Kloos
May 17, 2003, 10:19 AM
Maybe we should wake them up?

Just try it on this board alone. The same people who moan about increasing restrictions of liberties are the ones who refuse to vote anything but Republican, because "Libertarians are the pro-drug party".

Every infringement on our freedoms since the 1930s can be directly attributed to the War On Some Drugs, which started out as the War On Booze. If you support the current Prohibition, you support the abrogation of your own freedoms.

But, we keep the charade up, chins high, because stopping the futile WoD would "send the wrong message", and cause mass drug consumption....just like the end of Prohibition caused binge drinking.

GG, they've all heard the message, but they don't want to wake up. The self-deluding dream is more comforting than facing reality. The sad truth is that conservatives can be just as good as liberals when it comes to letting logic take the back seat to emotion.

El Tejon
May 17, 2003, 10:29 AM
Was there not just a thread where people were doubting the fact that people were wrongfully killed during SQUAT raids?:confused:

Poor training is a part of this; however, as lend sez the motivation behind this kind of behavior is federal money. They need the raids to justify the flow of cash from the federal spout.

Wasn't it Weber that said, when a bureaucracy loses sight of its goal, it redoubles its efforts???

Pilgrim
May 17, 2003, 10:33 AM
I hope that any surviving family members sue the pants off the NYPD over this... not that it will bring her back, but it might teach their idiot overseers a lesson.

Since not a dime will come out of the officers' pockets, I highly doubt it will teach the idiots any lesson.

Art Eatman
May 17, 2003, 10:58 AM
I've always faulted the upper echelons of administration in the various police authorities who authorize this sort of "dynamic entry". In almost every instance of "Oops! Wrong address!" of which I have read, there were two factors: First, over-reliance on a snitch; second, a lack of absolute certainty from other sources as to the activities within that location. An administrative policy of independent verification would certainly reduce this sort of tragedy.

Ultimately, of course, it all comes back to the hypocrisy of our WoD.

Art

El Tejon
May 17, 2003, 11:25 AM
Art, but if a police department implemented your suggestion that would reduce the number of "raids" that could be conducted. If you reduce the number of raids, you reduce the amount of drugs (as a matter of probability). If you reduce the amount of drugs, you reduce the amount of federal funding.

In order to keep the money coming, the police must "push the envelope" with CIs. Numbers, numbers, numbers.

The one suggestion I would make from my own time in law enforcement would be if we are to fight the War on (Some) Drugs then stop treating it as Vietnam with body counts and press conferences which leads to a continous, neverending circle as new dealers/suppliers pop up. Treat it economically, dry up the market, treat the addicts and destroy the welfare state mentality which creates greater number of addicts and attack the sources by stopping foreign aid to source countries and prosecuting the New York banks which launder the money.

The target of the current WoD is the low end dealer/user. For example, in my state, something that I observed in drug prosecutions was that the "investigation" stopped at the "retailer" or "consumer." The reason being was that there was no incentive to pursue the entire chain from federal money and my state's criminal code.

The police could do a controlled buy on a couple of rocks of crack and have a Class A felony (Indiana highest class felony short of Murder) arrest. However, if they spent time and effort and connected the dots of the entire organization, they would get Corrupt Business Organization a Class C felony as conspiracy would be stretched too far. The federal money was easier in the first instance as well.

4v50 Gary
May 17, 2003, 11:45 AM
I don't like drugs or what they do to people but I'd sooner call it quits on the WoD and legalize everything. We should be passing drugs out for free in the jails or prisons and let the junkies OD themselves.

Better that than the abrogation of our rights.

444
May 17, 2003, 11:54 AM
I think you would see very few ODs.
One of the main causes of OD is the lack of quality control in the product. People take the same amount of the drug that they normally would take, but the particular batch of the drug is more potent than they are used to.
Normally you know right away when a new shipment of narcotics has entered the city with a stronger potency. You get OD after OD.

Pilgrim
May 17, 2003, 12:02 PM
We should be passing drugs out for free in the jails or prisons and let the junkies OD themselves.

When I was in the Navy and the ship was pulling into a port like Hong Kong, the ship's closed circuit television programming would be saturated with programs warning the sailors how potent the drugs were in Hong Kong. Essentially the intent was to scare the sailors into not using drugs, but all it did was caution them to be careful.

The Air Boss grumbled the method was all wrong. The programming should have lied and stressed that the drugs were so weak in Hong Kong that one had to take five times the hit he was used to to get a buzz. He figured out that when the ship's reefers (cold storage) units had 20-30 corpses the correct message would be sent.

The Air Boss did a tour in the Army before he became a Naval Aviator. He was in Korea shortly after the Korean War ended. The first sergeant got word one of the soldiers was processing heroin for sale. He informed the company commander. The company C.O., the first sergeant, and the Air Boss, then a young sergeant, went to where the drug dealer was doing his work and surprised him in the act of packaging his wares.

The drug dealing soldier when confronted by the trio quickly swallowed his product. The company C.O. quietly told the Air Boss, "Sergeant, close and lock the door." The Air Boss complied. The three then waited and watched for the heroin to take effect. When the drug dealing soldier became unconscious, the Air Boss was instructed to, "Walk, repeat, walk to the dispensary and get an ambulance." All that was necessary was that the drug dealing soldier be alive when the ambulance showed up, nothing more.

Erik
May 17, 2003, 12:34 PM
Ah, so we should maintain the moral high-ground via willful, intentional inaction equating to felonious activity on par with the drug dealing it is intended to erradicate. Wonderful.

The-Distinctive-Edge
May 17, 2003, 01:06 PM
My gosh, that is a horrible! paul

Tamara
May 17, 2003, 01:07 PM
If the only "cure" is this bad, I'd rather deal with the "disease". :scrutiny:

Doc
May 17, 2003, 01:22 PM
Pilgrim

your anecdote is right on

the military is not society at large,
and just as LEO's are held to a higher
standard by society,
the military must hold its own to a highter standard

Don't forget that once you sign on with Uncle Sam,
you don't have the same rights anymore, and the military code of justice is MUCH LESS
forgiving than our criminal justice system

Jeff White
May 17, 2003, 01:51 PM
The only solution is to declare victory in the War on Drugs and legalize them.

Is a big lawsuit against NYPD going to stop this? NO!

Is punative action against the Lt. who planned the raid going to stop this? NO!

The War on Drugs is too big a part of our economy to just call a halt to it. I have no doubt that legalization and using societal pressures to keep people from abusing the formerly illegal drugs would solve the problem. Look at what we've done with drunk driving in the last 20 years.

But there is too much money on both sides of the line between what's legal and what's not for that to ever happen. Where will organized crime go to earn a living? The numbers game? Heck, the states have already legalized the numbers game and are running them for themselves. The economies of a few small countries are almost totally based on supplying drugs to our underground economy.

On the legitimate side, we spend billions to fight the war on drugs. As El Tejon says; the flow of federal tax dollars into local police departments to fight the war on drugs employs a lot of people. There are plenty of police officers who are working today only because of DOJ grants that pay up to 75% of their salaries. Then there is the money that comes out of the defense budget on the 1033 program to equip local agencies. Grant money to pay overtime to conduct these investigations and raids in high crime neighborhoods. The most valuable officer on many police departments isn't the guy or gal who's best at keeping the peace, it's the one who writes the best grant application.

You have to prove you have a problem to get this federal money flowing, and you have to prove that you're properly using the money to solve the problem to keep it flowing. So you have multiple units in a large agency working on the same cases, using different grant money. And you get a raid looking for a criminal you already have locked up.

Lets look for a minute at the culpability of the Lt. What did he expect to find in the apartment when he authorized the use of the distraction device? I would bet he didn't expect to find a 57 year old civil service employee with a bad heart. He probably expected to find an armed suspect who posed a danger to his officers and the public. Yes, if he expected to find the civil service employee in the apartment and said throw in the flashbang anyway, punish him. But I would bet that wasn't the case. So would thos of you who want the Lt's head be willing to accept the deaths of officers because we forbid the use of distraction devices?

We don't know how reliable the informant was. The article says untested. We don't know what the NYPDs policy on use of information from an untested informant. We don't know what was put in the warrant application. The NYPD didn't do this alone. A judge reviewed the application and signed off on the warrant. Where is the call for accountability on the judicial end this fiasco? Isn't it the judge's job to read the warrant application and determine if there is sufficient probable cause to issue the warrant? I have personally taken a CI to meet a judge and had the judge question her in person before he issued a warrant.

My point is, you can put all of the so called safeguards you want into the system and these kinds of things will continue to happen. There is only one way to stop them, that is to declare victory and start over with treatment and pressure from the rest of society. Think of what we could make by taxing the now legal drugs? Allow employers to make being drug free a condition of employment. Make being drug free a condition of eligability for section 8 housing, food stamps and aid for dependent children. But legalize possession and use.

Jeff

CZ-75
May 18, 2003, 02:05 AM
On the legitimate side, we spend billions to fight the war on drugs. As El Tejon says; the flow of federal tax dollars into local police departments to fight the war on drugs employs a lot of people. There are plenty of police officers who are working today only because of DOJ grants that pay up to 75% of their salaries. Then there is the money that comes out of the defense budget on the 1033 program to equip local agencies. Grant money to pay overtime to conduct these investigations and raids in high crime neighborhoods. The most valuable officer on many police departments isn't the guy or gal who's best at keeping the peace, it's the one who writes the best grant application.

Agree. Alphabet agencies and local yokels alike are addicted to the cash. Consequently, they don't want to "win" the WOD, just keep the problem subcritical and chronic. That way, they can keep all the budget items in and buy new toys to fuel the paramilitary fantasies some of them engage in, black BDUs, MP-5s and all, for years to come.

T.Stahl
May 18, 2003, 08:34 AM
He said that police have executed more than 1,900 warrants this year and four of those were at the wrong addresses.

THIS is what really worries me. :eek:

TarpleyG
May 18, 2003, 08:52 AM
El Tejon,

While I agree with you that poor training is most definitely a major issue with almost every LEO in service right now, the major F-up here is this nonsense about no-knock warrants. I do realize that they do this "for their safety" but one day they are gonna get a big suprise from one of these law-abiding citizens whose door they just broke down when they start firing on officers because they don't know what is happening to them. KNOCK FIRST AND INDENTIFY YOURSELF. So what if the BG gets away. Chances are slim that he will if you set up the raid correctly to start with. Also, wouldn't it be a good idea and a savings to taxpayers if you check to see if he is already in the pokie somewhere for cryin' out loud.

OTOH, 4 out of 1900 isn't too bad considering where the info sometimes comes from. Let's just hope that no one ever does that to me and I happen to be armed 'cause I'm shootin' first.

GT

Doc
May 18, 2003, 01:02 PM
TarpleyJ:

Just knock and enter doesn't solve the wrong address problem, but DOES increase the potential that the BG will get away. And that is the point of the surprize raid, to avoid that the BG gets away. Also, when the BG flees a raid he MAY create other unintended harms (high speed chase, hostages, shooting, etc)

Doc

czhead
May 18, 2003, 01:30 PM
This kinda crap will never stop until the responsible partys start getting fired for "unacceptable performance".

R127
May 18, 2003, 05:26 PM
Color me not suprised...

Pilgrim
May 18, 2003, 07:24 PM
This kinda crap will never stop until the responsible partys start getting fired for "unacceptable performance".

Easier said than done. The officer who gets fired will claim he wasn't properly trained or supervised. He gets a lawyer, there is a lawsuit, and in the end the department looks stupid and has to take him back.

Officer Joseph Bini who screwed up a search warrant and got Ismael Mena killed in Denver kept his job.

geekWithA.45
May 18, 2003, 08:13 PM
As long as people keep voting to support the irrational War On Some Drugs,.....


Um, just which party is it that has the brassy ones to say they're not in favor of the WOD?

As I recall, it was a Republican invention, back to Ronny Reagan and "Just Say No" Nancy.

OK, I grant the Libertarians are brassy enough, and maybe someday they'll have a shot at the majors, but in the meantime...???????

dustind
May 18, 2003, 10:21 PM
You guys can't seriously want to stop no knock raids. If they don't surprise the bad guys fast enough they could have time to flush evidence down the toilet. How would the police get federal money to fight the war on drugs if they don't confiscate drugs? Surely this evidence is worth a few lives, and silly freedoms, think of the children.

*in my best homer voice* "Oh by the way, I was being sarcastic."

There is no reason to outlaw drugs, and especially no reason to violate everyones rights to fight "the war." So much crime would disappear if we ended the war, and drugs would be safer for those who chose to use them.

Note: I dont use drugs, smoke, or drink.

twoblink
May 18, 2003, 10:27 PM
How old was this woman? Was she alone??

How many NYPD's does it take to change a light bulb?? How are they "flash banging" a single woman, that doesn't even sound armed???

Johnny Cockrin's phone number is listed in the yellow pages..

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