Skip to comments.SWAT raid: deadly force justified when serving search warrant
Posted on 05/27/2011 9:15:42 PM PDT by marktwain
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) Video of the SWAT raid and deadly shooting of former Marine Jose Guerena has raised many questions from 9 On Your Side viewers who wanted to know how much force police are legally allowed to use when serving a search warrant.
9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez sat down with Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Bloom to show him the raw footage of the raid. The Pima County Sheriff's Department released the video to the media on Thursday.
"I'm sure everyone's reaction first of all, it's horrible," said Bloom as he watched SWAT officers fire 71 bullets at a person they identified as Guerena.
"It's a horrifying situation," said Bloom.
But Bloom, who has 34 years experience representing victims of illegal searches, wanted to make it clear: he is not connected to the case. Nor has he seen the search warrant or other key investigative documents.
"I'm not expressing an opinion as to whether or not the shooting was justified or not," said Bloom.
Instead, Bloom agreed to analyze the raw footage and provide his expertise on the legal interpretation of how police are supposed to serve a search warrant.
The video shows SWAT sounded its sirens for eight seconds while driving up to Guerena's house.
Nuñez asked Bloom if this eight second warning met the legal criteria.
"That probably technically complies with the law," answered Bloom.
However, Bloom said the sound of a siren does not identify the type of emergency vehicle it's coming from. And that's why the law says police have to identify themselves by yelling, "Police," before breaking down the door and entering.
Nuñez asked Bloom if the law defines how long officers are supposed to wait for someone to respond before they can force their way inside of a home.
"There is no specific case that says its six seconds or fourteen seconds or this or that," said Bloom. "It's a reasonable amount of time."
And as far as using deadly force when serving a search warrant? Bloom said by law, police are always justified to shoot anytime they are threatened with deadly force. And once police pull the trigger they are justified to keep shooting until they run out of ammunition.
"If in fact the gentleman points a weapon at police that justifies that they're not required to wait until he starts firing," said Bloom.
Bloom said because of the amount of force used by police the public has the right to know every detail surrounding the shooting and what exactly police knew about Jose Guerena.
Ain’t buy’n it.
Well of COURSE the SWAT will say deadly force was justified! Does anyone expect them to say, “We clusterf**ked, big time. Sorry, citizens!”/s;) And, did any of the NEIGHBORS hear sirens nearby...I’m assuming he was not dwelling in the middle of desert...
13-3916. Service of warrant; breaking and entering to execute A. A search warrant may be served by any peace officer but by no other person except in aid of an officer engaging in service of the warrant. B. An officer may break into a building, premises or vehicle or any part of a building, premises or vehicle, to execute the warrant when: 1. After notice of the officer's authority and purpose, the officer receives no response within a reasonable time. 2. After notice of the officer's authority and purpose, the officer is refused admittance. 3. A magistrate has authorized an unannounced entry pursuant to section 13-3915. 4. The particular circumstances and the objective articulable facts are such that a reasonable officer would believe that giving notice of the officer's authority and purpose before entering would endanger the safety of any person or result in the destruction of evidence. C. A peace officer executing a search warrant may seize any property discovered in the course of the execution of the warrant if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the item is subject to seizure under section 13-3912, even if the property is not enumerated in the warrant. D. A peace officer executing a search warrant may make or cause to be made photographs, measurements, impressions or scientific tests. E. A peace officer executing a search warrant directing a search of any premises or a vehicle may search any person in the premises or vehicle if either of the following applies: 1. It is reasonably necessary to protect himself or others from the use of any weapon that may be concealed upon the person. 2. It reasonably appears that property or items enumerated in the search warrant may be concealed upon the person.
Let’s get rid of SWAT for everything besides hostage rescue.
The old notion of raising your hands and walking out to the squad car is movie stuff. The government wants you dead. And how do you feel about them?
Thank you for the post and source. Very informative. There is no way that the officers waited a “reasonable time”.
Bloom said by law, police are always justified to shoot anytime they are threatened with deadly force. And once police pull the trigger they are justified to keep shooting until they run out of ammunition.
By Blooms reasoning I would have been completely justified in killing 7 police officers in the last 2 years.
Obviously Blooms reasoning is faulty, the police created the confrontation, did not adequately identify who they were or why they were there and THEY immediately had guns trained on whatever was on the other side of the door with no knowledge of what might be there ,, a baby’s playpen? a family pet? old people playing chess?
If I'm sitting at home, watching TV or whatever, and suddenly someone's beating hell out of my front door and yelling something (that I probably won't understand through my steel, insulated security door), and I know I haven't done anything wrong, I'm supposed to assume it's the cops? If I guess wrong (cops or home invasion?) I'm dead either way.
Lets get rid of SWAT for everything besides hostage rescue.
But that would reduce their overtime pay and we can’t have that...
When I watched the videos I had no idea those were police sirens. I thought they had bumped his car and the car alarm was going off. Who the hell pays attention to neighborhood car alarms anymore?
There is a vast difference between what is legal and what is the exercise of good judgment.
Brought to you by the militarization of the police.
I can buy that SWAT can open fire if they see a weapon. When a person flashes a weapon, you don’t know their intent, and you have less than a second to react.
However, what I don’t buy under any circumstances was the need to send out SWAT in the first place.
1. The police and DA’s know who the big time dealers and dangerous people already are. They know who should be sent SWAT and who should not. If you’re not on the list, you’re probably not SWAT worthy, so don’t send SWAT.
2. They could easily look up in the guy’s records as to whether he had a criminal record or not, and if he did, what kind of record he had. If he only has a few parking tickets and doesn’t have a record of horribly hurting people, he’s probably not SWAT worthy, so don’t send SWAT.
Seriously, they should have a checklist to ensure nobody dies unnecessarily.
When I hear suspicious noises, I grab the 12 gauge. If a SWAT team gets briefed that I am a murderer I have no doubt that their fire discipline will be compromised just like in Arizona.
Watched the video. Threw up.
The time delay from the sirens til they bashed the door was barely enough for someone to grasp what was going on.
The way they crowded the door to get a shot in was disgusting.
IMHO, this was negligent homocide by the thugcops, at the minimum.
Then add the “let him bleed out for over an hour” because they knew they’d screwed up factor, and I’d vote to convict for murder 1 if on a jury.
Nothing will happen though. We live in a police state, and these type of thugcops can execute any of us nearly at will. (I almost said “try to,” but this was a combat tested Marine. Anyone thinks they’d do better is lying to themselves unless they’re SEALS or the like.)
My earlier post was too short.
I had meant to convey the thought you expressed when you said that SWAT should never have been employed.
Very poor judgment and bad enough that whoever made that decision should be canned. And in the can.
This use of SWAT was akin to using a .50 caliber machine gun when a shot of Mace will do the job.