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(SIGH) Is this happening more often?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by ebd10, Jun 8, 2007.

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  1. ebd10

    ebd10 Member

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    Or just being reported more often?

    http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2007/06_07-70/TOP

    Police raid wrong home

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Resident says officers didn't ID themselves, kicked husband in groin
    By JEFF HORSEMAN and E.B. FURGURSON III Staff Writers
    Annapolis narcotics officers hit the wrong apartment last night while serving a search and seizure warrant, terrorizing the four tenants and damaging their home.
    With rifles in hand, police forcibly entered the apartment at 905 Primrose Road at 8:20 p.m. while a couple was fixing dinner. The other two tenants were at the grocery store.
    According to police reports, a woman in the apartment barricaded a bedroom door with her body as about 15 officers burst through the front door. The tenants are natives of El Salvador and spoke little English.

    The Annapolis Special Emergency Team then used what was described as a noise flash device and were able to enter the bedroom.

    The woman, identified by police as Silvia Bernal, 30, said police never identified themselves and kicked her husband in the groin and pushed her to the ground before handcuffing them both.

    Through an interpreter, she said she felt like she "was going to die right then."

    The other tenants would not give their names for fear of retaliation.

    As the second couple returned from the store, they heard Mrs. Bernal screaming. While attempting to come to her aid, police pushed them to the floor, the victims said. The second woman, who is 4-months pregnant, clung to a railing inside the building while her husband pleaded with police to take it easy on his pregnant wife. The husband said an officer replied: "I don't care."

    Moments later, an officer on the scene exited the building and realized a mistake had been made. They were supposed to have hit 901 Primrose.

    Meanwhile, Mrs. Bernal, who said she has a heart condition, told officers she couldn't breathe.

    One them pushed her to the outside balcony before all four residents were taken to the hospital.

    Realizing the error, police then gave assistance to the four. Mrs. Bernal said someone apologized for the mistake and an officer asked her to sign a paper. She refused.

    Mrs. Bernal was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where she was treated and released.

    The pregnant woman, who complained of having stomach pains, was evaluated and released.

    Mary Schumaker, a board member of the Centro De Ayuda, called the raid unconscionable and said her center would provide prenatal care to the pregnant woman along with other assistance.

    "We don't know how the mistake was made," said Officer Hal Dalton, city police spokesman.

    "Something went wrong in the briefing before the operation.

    Regrettably it happens, not very often to us, but it happens."

    He said an investigation is under way to find out what happened. "We are evaluating it to see what steps can be made to prevent similar events in the future."

    After checking with the officer who obtained the warrant, the narcotics officers and tactical squad proceeded to the correct address, which was found empty.

    The apartment maintenance crew arrived to make repairs.

    This morning, the large dent remained in the front door and two large black stains from the flash-bang grenades were on the carpet.

    Latisha Marshall, property manager of Spa Cove, said police gave them no warning of the raid or any drug activity and said officers did more damage to the apartment they accidentally raided than the intended target.

    "We were blindsided by this," she said. "People should be treated with decency."
     
  2. Biker

    Biker Member

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    When did kicks to the groin become SOP? Things are getting a bit out of hand.

    Biker
     
  3. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    And we wonder why we get a "stop snitching" campaign. I certainly wouldn't be motivated to help thugs such as these, and, like it or not, this is the image that sticks in peoples' heads. Most cops are good people trying to do a hard job, but that's not what lingers in the mind.

    Also, I wonder what the "paper" was. Anybody want to guess it's a waiver of rights?
     
  4. MrRezister

    MrRezister Member

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    I lol'ed.
    I cried later, but it was mostly laughing after that first line.
     
  5. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Flyboy, don't think it was a Miranda waiver, probably a hold harmless agreement of some sort ("we agree not to sue because nothing was damaged and no one was hurt", etc.). Smart city attorneys are having their SRTs carry them around with them now.

    This will not stop, it cannot. The War of Some Drugs is a self-perpetuating war that, like a boulder down a mountain, cannot stop. Too much money (via the feds--police have to meet quotas to receive their WoD grants), perks (toys and training seminars) and power at stake for the police to stop.

    We know what will stop it but we cannot talk about it here.
     
  6. exar

    exar Member

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    SSHHH...:evil:
     
  7. Mr. James

    Mr. James Member

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    Precisely so. And what a sad, sorry state of affairs that is.
     
  8. HiroProX

    HiroProX Member

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    I don't know if this stuff is happening more now, but I will say that we probably hear about it more.
     
  9. gometika

    gometika Member

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    Sad. I hope these poor people get a very good lawyer. Good luck to them.
     
  10. jojosdad

    jojosdad Member

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  11. Siderite

    Siderite Member

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    For a good overview of the situation with these raids, the Cato Institute tracks them:
    http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

    ah, I see jojosdad beat me to it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007
  12. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    I REALLY gotta get out of maryland..
     
  13. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    I wonder if the correct apt. was 'empty' as in un-occupied or literally cleaned out--like the intended target had been tipped off about the raid.
     
  14. MilsurpShooter

    MilsurpShooter Member

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    Holy crap. You know, I'm reading the New York ones 35 cases since from 1992-2006 and nearly every single one of them mention an informant and bad info... Now I wonder if they were just scapegoating the informant or not?
     
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    California has had a fair number of bad-info-from-informant events. Several innocents have died, these last nine years--just since I first got on the Internet and TFL and started reading about them.

    Still, some perspective is in order: Millions of people drive millions of miles without wrecks. Millions of business transactions occur daily without lying or cheating. Millions of arrests are made without excitement of any sort. Stupid events as in this case are news precisely because they are relatively rare.

    Art
     
  16. billhilly66

    billhilly66 Member

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    Not rare enough.
     
  17. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    +1,000,000,000 to that. Call me crazy, but I don't see any viable comparisons between botched police raids where innocent people lose their lives and everyday trips to grandma's house or business transactions. There are elements of risk in each, this much is true...but the car accidents and business rip-offs are preventable. Don't drive, and don't do business. How does one avoid a botched raid, when all they were doing to be involved in one to begin with was living their everyday life in the supposed safety of their own home?
     
  18. MilsurpShooter

    MilsurpShooter Member

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    I agree with you Art, but see, there in lies the rub. They're rare, so they're newsworthy. When the news get's a hold of it, it becomes sensationalized, it get's sensationalized so it's seen as more common and prevalant. And when that happens lawmakers, regular Joe's don't see it as uncommon, but the newest scourge to humanity. I witnessed this personally back in high school. Big issue was underage drinking. They had meetings, interviews, discussion panels on how it was an epidemic... They all seemed to miss the study that showed it was down Twenty Percent from the previous 4 years. I'm glad it's an uncommon occurence, but I still can't help but think and pray it would never happen to me or anyone I know.
     
  19. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    One partial solution would be to strip the raiding officers and their superiors of their qualified immunity in the event of raids on the wrong property. Currently they are covered regardless. But it doesn't seem that they are surveilling these properties to confirm that they are the intended target. If so there's no reason to protect them from a civil action.

    ==================================================
    We know what will stop it but we cannot talk about it here.

    I'm seeing this unmentionable solution mentioned in a lot of forums, and hope that LEOs on these boards are making their superiors aware how the public's perception of LE is changing due to these practices.

    What worries me is that a dramatic nationally publicized incident - let's say they kill several children - could provoke multiple incidents of retaliation against police nationally. Suddenly a half dozen people will get the same idea at the same time.
     
  20. baz

    baz Member

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    No excuse. We need a "national dialog" about whether these kinds of raids are what we want as Americans. Cut back the number of raids, and the number of mistakes will decline too. Forcible entry should be a rarity, not an everyday occurance.
     
  21. billhilly66

    billhilly66 Member

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    Oops doesn’t cut it!
    People naturally follow the path of least resistance. If’ I’m not required by law to pay minimum wage and I have qualified people willing to work for $5 and hour, what do you think I will pay? There is no incentive to double check addresses, confirm informant information, or treat people with respect if all you have to do is say “oops, sorry. It doesn’t happen that often” when mistakes are made.

    If a regular Joe accidentally causes someone harm and it is determined that he could have prevented it by taking reasonable precautions, he is liable to be charged with negligence of some sort. In all to many of these cases, reasonable precautions were not taken because there was no real incentive to do so. Take away the immunity and see what happens.
     
  22. gometika

    gometika Member

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    Well, one botched raid is one, too, many in my opinion. Traumatic effects for those involved not to mention lives and limbs lost are irrepairable.
     
  23. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    Anyone screen the movie 'Brazil' lately (Buttle instead of
    Tuttle)?

    "Don't fight it sir, you're going to jeapordize your credit rating".


    -----
    "Something went wrong in the briefing before the operation.

    Regrettably it happens, not very often to us, but it happens."
     
  24. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't see any way to drive such events toward zero except by pressure on local elected officials who control police department policies.

    We're stuck with the WOD stuff. It's not gonna go away. But mayors and councilfolks don't like to be blamed for PD policies--yet by their selections of police chiefs, they are indeed responsible for those policies and the results of them.

    "Mr. Murderer, 'scuse me, Mr. Mayor, maybe it should be policy that no SWAT raid occur from information from just one snitch? In the absence of other investigative actions?" Etc., etc.

    Better that several guilty scum go uncaught than one innocent person die. This ain't an omelet and egg deal. But the pressure oughta be on the politicos; they asked for the Hot Seat jobs.

    Art
     
  25. jselvy

    jselvy member

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    I find it laughable that some say it is rare enough to be acceptable collateral damage.
    Would you feel the same if it was your door and your groin?

    Jefferson
     
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