Skip to comments.Government Raid Victims of the "War on Drugs"
Posted on 09/03/2002 7:41:56 AM PDT by JediGirl
| Those listed below includes innocent victims of police raids. Remember: Some, though not all, of the below victims never engaged in a single drug activity, yet they were still murdered due to the "War on Drugs."
Even those who did and do engage in drug use do not warrant death. It was (and is) a personal choice and it was (and is) individual's own bodies.
John Adams -- Tennessee
A 62-year-old black man was shot and killed by five white police officers in Lebanon, Tennessee after they burst through the front door of his home at 10:00 PM on a Wednesday night. It turned out their search warrant for drugs was erroneous: It should have been written for the house next door.
David Aguilar -- Arizona
David Aguilar, 44, retired from the military after 20 years and decided to live on his pension so he could be a "stay-at-home dad" to his five youngest children, aged 3 to 15, according to Beth Cascaddan, his neighbor in Three Points, Arizona. "He was extremely devoted to his children," Ms. Cascaddan told reporter Melissa Martinez of the daily Tucson Citizen. Aguilar also coached youth football and baseball.
But on the early afternoon of Friday, January 10, David Aguilar sensed something wrong. There was a man sitting in a car parked alongside the road bordering Aguilars property. Aguilar confronted the man and an argument emerged. Seeing that the stranger was not going to move along, Aguilar went back to the house and returned with a gun. The children told neighbor Bonnie Moreno their father was simply trying to scare the man away. There is no indication David Aguilar ever fired. When the man in the car saw Aguilar returning, he drew his own gun and, at 2:45 that Friday afternoon, fired multiple times through his own windshield.
David Aguilar died that evening in a Tucson hospital, of a single gunshot wound to the chest. The shooter was an undercover agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. His name has never been released and he has not spent a single day in prison.
Delbert Bonar -- Ohio
Police in Belpre, Ohio, got a tip that Albert Bonar was growing and selling marijuana. So, on October 15, 1998, they raided the house where Albert lived, and shot to death his father, Delbert Bonar, 57, a janitor. Police did find a small amount of marijuana -- enough for personal consumption. Albert later admitted the marijuana was his.
The police did not find any of the growing plants or large quantities of marijuana the informant allegedly told them about. The informant who gave the false information has not been named. Police told the press that they were just protecting themselves when they riddled the body of Delbert Bonar with bullets. But Carolyn Bonar, daughter-in-law of Delbert, says that all Delbert had in his hands was a water bottle.
The elder Bonar was reaching for his telephone, an offense apparently punishable by death when there is a suspicion that marijuana may be on the premises. Delbert Bonar died instantly from 8 bullet wounds from police gunfire. In his 57 years, he had no criminal record and had never even been arrested.
Vernia Brown -- New York
On Thursday, March 17, 1988, at 10:45 p.m., in the Bronx, Vernia Brown was killed by stray bullets fired in a dispute over illegal drugs. The 19-year-old mother of one was not involved in the dispute, yet her death was a direct consequence of the "War on Drugs".
Scott Bryant -- Wisconsin
Age 29 at time of death when he was shot by police officer Robert Neuman of the Dodge County Sherrif's Department in Beaver Dam, WI, on April 28, 1995. Bryant was unarmed and did not resist in any way when police with a no-knock warrant charged through the door of his home.
His seven-year-old son watched his father die while an ambulance took 35 minutes to arrive. Police later reported finding less than three grams of marijuana (enough for two or three cigarettes). Police claim it may have been an accidental shooting. An accident that has changed the lives of the Bryant family and many others in his state.
Troy James Davis -- Texas
Troy James Davis, 25, died December 15, 1999 at Columbia North Hills Hospital, about 15 minutes after being shot by North Richland Hills police officer Allen Hill. Police had gone to the Davis home to serve a search-and-arrest warrant in connection with an informant's tip that there were drugs in the house. After the shooting, Davis' mother, Barbara Davis, 49, was arrested in connection with the drug possession investigation.
Police broke down the front door of the Davis home when they entered. Police have indicated that no drugs have been found on the home, using the crime scene as an excuse for their lack of evidence. One wonders why police broke into the home rather than knocking on the door. What kind of evidence did they have and how did they get it? Who was the informant? Barbara Davis has a defense fund set up on her behalf The Barbara Davis Defense Fund.
Anna (Annie) Rae Dixon -- Texas
Age 84 and bedridden when she was killed by police in a 1992 drug raid in East Texas. No drugs were found in the home. A 28 year-old officer said his automatic pistol accidentally discharged when he kicked open Mrs. Dixon's bedroom door.
Earlier the evening of her death, an informant was given $30 to go into the Dixon home where he claimed he could buy drugs. He emerged with crack cocaine, but police did not search him either before or after the purchase. The informant reported that a few young women and children lived there, but he didn't report about the sick woman.
Police got a search warrant and returned to the house just after 2:00 AM. They sprinted up the ramshackle porch and smashed the front door with a battering ram. As they swept in, the officer kicked in the door to Ms. Dixon's bedroom and fell, slamming his elbow against the door and firing the gun. The officer said he collapsed and "started throwing my guts up crying because I knew I had shot somebody that didn't have no reason to be shot."
Steven Dons -- Oregon
Dons, 37, "committed suicide" while in a medical facilty run by the State. He had been the victim of an unlawful raid by the Portland Oregon Police Department over the heinous crime of "maybe" having had marijuana in the house he was staying in.
Dons was not a mild mannered customer. When the police kicked down his door without a warrant, he responed in a way appropriate for the situation. Using a rifle, he killed police officer Colleen Waibel and seriously wounded two other officers. The tragic results of a raid on a citizen who understood the Second and Fourth Amendments.
Patrick Dorismond -- New York
Juan Mendoza Fernandez -- Texas
A 60-year-old man shot and killed by Irving, Texas police serving narcotics search and arrest warrants at his West Dallas home thought officers were burglars trying to force their way inside, members of his family said. He and his wife had been married about 36 years and had four children and 13 grandchildren.
Curt Ferryman -- Florida
The fatal shooting of unarmed drug dealer Curt Ferryman in a botched sting in Jacksonville was "negligent and unnecessary," but not flagrant enough to warrant criminal prosecution against the federal agent who shot the man, according to State Attorney Harry Shorstein. The August 14, 2000 raid of Ferryman was "poorly planned and poorly executed." Shorstein later admitted that "under Florida law, the killing of Curt Ferryman was excusable homicide."
30-year-old Christopher Sean Martin of the Drug Enforcement Administration accidentally shot Ferryman when the agent knocked on the window of a parked vehicle occupied by the 24-year-old Ferryman.
Ramon Gallardo -- California
Gallardo was shot 15 times by a SWAT team with a warrant for his son in Dinuba, California in 1997.
Ralph Garrison -- New Mexico
Ralph Garrison, 69, a video store owner, lived in downtown Albuquerque. In a lifetime of owning small businesses, he put away enough to buy a second house next door, which he rented out. Before sunrise on Monday, December 16, 1996, Ralph Garrison awakened to hear the sounds of someone breaking into his rental property next door. His tenants apparently were not at home.
Garrison went outside to ask who these people were and what they were doing. The men -- dressed in black with no visible identifying marks, wearing black "balaclava" hoods which may have been pulled down to conceal their faces, shined lights in his eyes, brandished rifles and yelled at him to get back in his house. Ralph Garrison called 911. But 911 had already arrived.
Police reported that police officer H. Neal Terry and county deputies James Monteith and Erik Little -- displaying no badges, dressed in unmarked dark SWAT gear, and possibly wearing their black hoods pulled down over their faces -- saw Garrison come to his back door with a gun in one hand and a cellular phone in the other. All three officers opened fire with their AR-15 assault rifles, discharging at least 12 rounds. Police Chief Joe Polisar and County Sheriff Joe Bowdich said they believe the officers shot Garrison in accordance with departmental policies.
John P. Graham -- Wisconsin
When Graham, 49, refused to get out of his truck and resisted during an on-site interrogation, he was handcuffed by Sauk-Prairie police officer John Mueller and ordered to remain face down on his driveway. Graham was then shot twice in the back of the head by Mueller with his police revolver. The incident occurred September 16, 1986.
Willie Heard -- Kansas
In the town of Osawatomie, Kansas (pop. 4,500), Willie Heard, a forty-six year-old man, was shot to death in his bedroom at 1:30 AM by police who had stormed into the home to execute a search warrant. Heard's sixteen year-old daughter claims that the officers failed to identify themselves other than to shout "freeze!" and "get down!" The police, after kicking in the front door, entered the bedroom and came upon Mr. Heard clutching his twenty-two caliber rifle. They shot. He died.
The warrant said that the police were to search for crack cocaine and related items. None was found. A probe is underway by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to determine whether police acted improperly in killing Mr. Heard.
John Hirko -- Pennsylvania
A masked ninja style 'drug task force' squad of police officers gunned down an unarmed drug suspect in his own home in Bethlehem in April, 1996, in what the coroner subsequently ruled a homicide. The cops also set fire to the house, incinerating the body, but claimed to have miraculously retrieved the drugs for which they had a search warrant.
Raul Huartado -- Indiana
Gary police officer James Ervin, 30, is accused of using his position as a nine-year veteran on the Gary Police Department to take part in racketeering, homicide, and illicit drug distribution from at least the summer of 1998 through August, 1999. Ervin killed or counseled the killing of Raul Huartado and Gil Nevarez on November 19, 1998, as part of a plot to extort more than 5 kilograms of cocaine from the victims.
Joey Kessinger -- Tennessee
A tangle between the police and the suspect occurred regarding the illegal sale of drugs in July, 2001. According to the medical examiner's report, Kessinger had two gunshot wounds to the left wrist and four gunshot wounds on the back of his body.
Bruce Lavoie -- New Hampshire
On August 3, 1989, Lavoie lay peacefully sleeping in the room he shared with his young son in the village of Hudson.
At 5:00 AM he was awakened by a loud noise as his whole home was shaken violently. A battering ram had smashed his front door and a dark band of armed men rushed into his small apartment. Rising to defend his son, Lavoie was shot to death as his little boy watched helplessly. Officers found one cannabis cigarette butt.
Ronald Loop -- New Jersey
Age 25 at time of death on March 11, 1988 in Brick Township. Suspected of marijuana dealing, Loop had just picked up a Federal Express package that contained 10 pounds of marijuana. He was unarmed and was shot as he fled from police outside his home.
Ismael Mena -- Colorado
Kirk Massie -- Oklahoma
Officers shot and killed an armed Sparks man hiding in his bathroom one Tuesday morning in mid-2001 as a search warrant was served at his home.
Kirk Massie, 49, was armed with a double-barrel shotgun when agents entered his Lincoln County home at 7:50 AM to serve a warrant for methamphetamine. Massie operated a meth. lab in a bunker on the property. His life was taken because of it.
Pedro Oregon Navarro -- Texas
Acting on an informant's tip, members of the Houston Police Department gang taskforce stormed into an apartment last month they believed illegal drugs were being sold. When the man who lived there locked himself inside his bedroom, the officers kicked in the door and began firing.
Thirty-three bullets later, 23 year-old Pedro Oregon Navarro was dead, shot a dozen times, including nine times in the back. But the investigation in the wake of the fatal shooting shows the officers had no warrant, the informant was not registered with the police as required by Department rules covering drug informants, police found no drugs in Mr. Oregon's apartment and a gun officers said Mr. Oregon had pointed at them never was fired.
"They went knowingly and consciously in search of their own heroics and forgot to abide by the rules," says Tony Cantu, a hispanic activist in Houston. "The bottom line is they shot an innocent young man in the back after in illegal entry," Mr. Dovalina said.
Gil Nevarez -- Indiana
Gary, Indiana police officer James Ervin, 30, is accused of using his position as a nine-year veteran on the Gary Police Department to take part in racketeering, homicide and illicit drug distribution from at least the summer of 1998 through August 1999. Ervin killed or counseled the killing of Raul Huartado and Gil Nevarez on November 19, 1998, as part of a plot to extort more than 5 kilograms of cocaine from the victims.
Mario Paz -- California
A 69 year old grandfather died a brutal death at the hands of police looking for marijuana on August 9, 1999. No drugs were found.
It was an hour before midnight when an El Monte police SWAT team, serving a search warrant as part of a broad-ranging narcotics investigation, undertook what it called the "high-risk entry" of a Compton home -- shooting the locks off the front and back doors. Their warrant, which named no one specifically in the Paz home, says police expected to find marijuana and cash belonging to a suspected member of a drug ring who had allegedly used the house as a mail drop.
They found no drugs, but in the course of the search they shot a retired grandfather twice in the back -- killing him. The widow was hustled out of the house in nothing but panties, a towel, and plastic handcuffs. She and six others were later taken away and intensively interrogated, but no one was charged. Ten thousand dollars in cash was seized as evidence, along with a .22- caliber rifle and three pistols, according to investigators for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The family said that the money was patriarch Mario Paz's life savings and that he kept firearms for protection in the high-crime neighborhood.
Robert Lee Peters -- Florida
Age 33 at time of death in St. Petersburg in July, 1994. Deputies did not identify themselves before breaking into the house as the family prepared to watch a movie. Friends and relatives say Peters may have mistaken them for burglars. Deputies did not know there were two children and his ailing stepfather (who had a heart attack after the shoot-out) in the house at the time of the no-knock raid.
The police tried to smash through the front door with a battering ram. Peters fired a .357 magnum through the door and was struck three times by the SWAT team. Two pounds of marijuana were confiscated from his home. Records indicate that a confidential informant bought 7.3 grams of marijuana. An undercover detective purchased 27 grams. His brother George was charged and did not resist arrest. George said his brother wouldn't have resisted either, had he known they were deputies. "All they had to do," he said, "was knock on the door."
Manuel Medina Ramirez -- California
When Ramirez, a 63-year-old retired golf-course groundskeeper, was routed from his slumber at 2:00 AM by armed men breaking down the door of his modest Stockton home, he instinctively reached for his bedside pistol. Shooting into the darkness, he brought one of the men down; the others returned fire, and Ramirez was shot dead in front of his son and daughter, who had also been awakened.
The armed men turned out to be a Stockton police anti-drug team who had obtained a warrant for the house after a friend of the Ramirez family was found with marijuana in his car and gave the police the Ramirez address as his own.
The officers claim they had identified themselves, but the Ramirez daughter says her father spoke poor English and couldn't understand them. No drugs were found in the house. "These were very quiet people," said a neighbor. "I never saw anything going on that could indicate drugs at all."
Donald Scott -- California
Michael Swimmer -- Georgia
While Swimmer stood naked by his own bed, drug warrior police burst through his front door and riddled his bedroom with machine gun fire. Swimmer was shot ten times and died a few hours later.
The authorities all agreed killing Swimmer, who had no police record, was just fine because an unidentified informant said that he had 368 tablets of ecstasy.
Rev. Accelyne Williams -- Massachusetts
Retired Methodist minister Accelyne Williams was chased around his Boston apartment by members of a police team looking for drugs and guns when he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 75.
Acting on a tip by an informant, the police conducted a no-knock raid. No guns or drugs were found, as it was soon discovered they raided the wrong apartment.
George Timothy Williams -- Idaho
Officer Phillip Anderson, 23, and his partner, Cpl. James Moulson, 30, were killed in the shootout at the Eden home of George Timothy Williams the night of January 3, 2001 while attempting to serve a search warrant for illegal drugs at Williams' home. Williams, 47, a suspected drug dealer, was also killed during the fight. About four grams of marijuana were found in Williams' home after the raid.
Rusty Windell -- Texas
If you'd like to be added or taken off of this ping list FReepmail me
It would be all a lie, but who's going to dispute it?
And it's not like you dope-heads haven't been lying to yourselves and everyone else in your lives for many years now, so what's one more?
Someone bogart your joint this morning?
Okay, and more people choke on ballpoint pens each year than those who die ecstasy-related deaths. So ecstasy should be legal then, right? I mean, ask people who've taken ecstasy, most would say the upside FAR outweighs the few who experience the downside.
Oh, dear, I'm sorry if the truth hurts. I know that in your THC-induced miasma it is difficult to see the downside (like the anti-dope commercial says: "You aren't more clever on pot; you just THINK you're more clever!"), but unfortunately, friend, the rest of us see it clearly, and we're heartily embarrassed for you.
Dead Victims of the Drug War
As this violent and tragic Drug War rages on,
may each of these martyrs instead Rest in Peace.
(1938 - 10/4/2000)
|A 62-year-old African-American man was shot and killed by five white police officers after they burst through the front door of his home at 10:00 p.m. on a Wednesday night. It turned out their search warrant for drugs was erroneous: It should have been written for the house next door.|
|Juan Mendoza Fernandez
(1940 - 9/28/2000)
|A 60-year-old man shot and killed by Irving police serving narcotics search and arrest warrants at his West Dallas home thought officers were burglars trying to force their way inside, members of his family said. He and his wife had been married about 36 years and had four children and 13 grandchildren.|
(1989 - 9/13/2000)
|An 11 year old child is "accidentally" shot in the back and killed by a SWAT officer during a federal drug raid. Father declares innocence. (Photo montage courtesy of Don Beck.) For historical background on SWAT actions, see op-ed by Sharon Dolovich.|
(1950 - 6/14/2000)
Laurel Canyon, California
|This courageous medical cannabis user and renowned author was forced to stop using the only substance which eased some of his symptoms of AIDS, cancer and chemotherapy treatments. Although medical use of cannabis is allowed by the laws of his state, his mother and brother had put up their homes as bonds while McWilliams awaited federal sentencing on cannabis cultivation charges, and those bonds would have been forfeited if he tested positive. Without cannabis, he was unable to control his nausea, and ultimately he choked to death on his own vomit.|
(1974 - 3/16/2000)
|An unarmed Haitian father of two children is shot by a seedy-looking undercover narcotics officer after angrily refusing to help the cop buy drugs. (It was intended to be a "buy-bust" operation.) Ironically, the victim worked as a uniformed security guard and had told his family that he hoped one day to become a police officer.|
(1944 - 9/29/1999)
|This 45-year-old father of nine was killed in his bedroom by SWAT team members who stormed the wrong house.|
(1934 - 8/9/1999)
|A 65-year-old Latino a father of six and grandfather of 14, Mario Paz, was asleep with his wife in their home at 11 p.m. one August night when 20 members of the local SWAT team shot the locks off the front and back doors and stormed inside. Moments later, unarmed Mario Paz was dead, shot twice in the back, and his wife was outside, half-naked in handcuffs. The SWAT team had a warrant to search a neighbor's house for drugs, but Mario Paz was not listed on it. No drugs were found, and no member of the family was charged with any crime.|
|Pedro Oregon Navarro
(1975 - 7/12/1998)
|In a hail of 33 bullets, a 23 year old father of two children is shot 12 times, including 9 times in his back, by six HPD officers in a no-knock home invasion without a warrant. No drugs were found in the victim's apartment, and tests found no traces of alcohol or any other drugs in his body. All six officers were later exonerated.|
(5/14/1979 - 5/20/1997)
|While shepherding his family's goats, this 18 year old was stalked and killed by U.S. Marines on border patrol near Redford, TX. View the extensive memorial photo gallery.|
|He was shot 15 times by a SWAT team with a warrant for his son.|
|Rev. Accelyne Williams
(1919 - 3/25/1994)
|This retired minister died of a heart attack 45 minutes after a 13-member Boston SWAT team executing a drug warrant burst into his apartment, toting rifles and wearing bulletproof vests and shields. It turned out to be the wrong apartment. The Boston police commissioner apologized the next day. (3/27/1994 Houston Chronicle, page A-16)|
(1948 - 8/8/1993)
|Gary Shepherd was a Viet Nam veteran who had a crippled left arm from the war. Shepherd had deep conviction about medical cannabis, which he used to relieve his pain. He sat in a lawn chair guarding his plants for the six or seven hours of a SWAT standoff, during which time no serious attempt was made to negotiate. Finally, Shepherd and his long-term companion, Mary Jane Jones, were ordered to put their hands in the air. As he raised his rifle to comply, police snipers hidden in a corn field shot Gary several times in the head and chest. Shepherd's four-year-old son, Jake, was sprayed with his father's blood.|
(1931 - 10/2/1992)
|Within view of his wife, a 61 year old rancher was gunned down by police officers during a home invasion near Malibu, CA. As they invaded the property, the officers -- with two forfeiture specialists in tow -- had a property appraisal of Scott's $5 million ranch and instructions to seize the ranch if 14 marijuana plants were found. The officers found no marijuana plants, other drugs or paraphernalia. It turned out that Donald Scott was bitterly opposed to all drug use.|
(1935 - 4/1/1991)
|Rather than being compelled to testify against her 70-year-old boyfriend for cultivating the medicinal cannabis she depended upon to help control her crippling back pain, Shirley Dorsey committed suicide. She saw it as the only way to prevent the forfeiture of their home and property. Click here to read her tragic suicide note.|
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