It all began as a drug investigation.
According to reports from police and prosecutors, audio recordings of the incident, and the Thompsons:
A confidential informant for the Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force set up what he and cops thought would be a drug sting targeting Ryan Robert Baker, 30, of East Bethel. In fact, Baker's intention was to rob the informant without selling him any drugs, according to theft charges to which he pleaded guilty this month.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Feb. 16, Baker and the informant, who was not identified, drove to Spring Lake Park. The informant wore a radio transmitter, and cops listened as Baker told him to drive to the 8300 block of Able Street Northeast. The police, following from a distance, didn't know where Baker was heading. Baker picked the Thompsons' house, apparently at random.
The Thompsons run a video and film production business out of the house, so they were home. They've never had a run-in with the cops, and neither of them knew the informant or Baker. Wade Cordts, an intern for their company, also was at the house. The Thompsons' four children, ages 8 to 18, weren't home.
Nicole Thompson heard a knock at the front door. She answered it and saw two men struggling over a wad of cash. One of the men asked about drugs. She yelled to her husband, who ran to the door and pinned the two men against a wall outside the house. Cordts helped keep them there while Nicole Thompson called 911.
"I need a policeman please," she says in a recording of the 911 call. "Two gentlemen just rang my doorbell, and they're fighting on my doorstep. No, I don't know them. My husband and another gentleman who lives with us are out there right now trying to restrain this guy, but I don't exactly know what's going on."
Amid the sounds of a struggle over the wire planted on the informant, cops heard him say he was being robbed. A supervising detective called out over the police radio, "This is a rip-off. Bust, bust, bust."
An audio recording given by the Anoka County Sheriff's Office to the Thompsons documents the incident, as heard through the muffled microphone on the informant. A salvo of screamed profanities announces the officers' presence. Some of it is inaudible; some of it is clear, like, "Anybody f-- moves, you get a boot in the head, understand?"
That's hardly the language used by the police - a combination of officers from several jurisdictions assigned to the task force - in official reports.
"I exited the vehicle took my badge out, held it in my left hand as far as I could," wrote Detective John Potter, one of the first on the scene. "I announced that I was the police and ordered everyone to the ground."
To Brad Thompson, the group of plain-clothed men who poured out of a beat-up minivan looked "like bikers," not police. And while he doesn't deny they may have had badges in view, all he saw was the guns pointed at him.
"I didn't know for sure they were police until the handcuffs came out," he said.
Police reports are littered with references of "exigent circumstances," a phrase drawn from legal rulings that give police the authority to enter a home without a search warrant if they fear they could be in immediate danger. The Thompsons didn't understand why a dozen officers were combing through their house; they hadn't been read their rights and no one told them what it was all about.
A citizen and bad guys. And the "friends" of bad guys. Who are those "friends": the cops, during the long period of the oppressive drug laws.
Very strange story. And scary that this can happen to anyone at anytime.
"The Thompsons didn't understand why a dozen officers were combing through their house; they hadn't been read their rights and no one told them what it was all about."
Where are the bootlickers to tell me that the police are the guardians of our liberties?
The above is a clip of the necessary context from the article, otherwise how can we discuss it.
In other words, they lied.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Compare and contrast:
"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
--George Orwell, 1984
It looks to me as if, in this instance, the facts do not fit what appear to be preconceived notions.
When they arrive on the scene, the police only know that their informant and Baker are fighting over a wad of cash with an unkown person at a random house picked by Baker.
What are they supposed to do? Politely ask everyone to calm down so they can figure out what's going on? Should they ignore the likelyhood that this is a drug buy going bad, and gunfire may break out at any moment?
I'm sure that they could have been more polite and they could have refrained from cursing (the article does seem to make a big deal out of the officers cursing). It appears to me from the story that they had probable cause to search the house.
The story posted by bvw reads as if it were written by the Thompsons' attorney, to publicise a lawsuit. While I think the WOD is a total failure and that we should "Get Out Now!" (copyright Cindy Sheehan), this incident doesn't sound totally unreasonable. Nobody was shot, and the Thompsons' were not hauled off to jail.
"A salvo of screamed profanities announces the officers' presence."
So any time I hear 'a salvo of screamed profanities', I should assume that it's the police? < /sarc >