Skip to comments.SWAT tries to take down Internet meanie; raids grandma instead
Posted on 07/02/2012 3:31:46 AM PDT by marktwain
An Evansville, Indiana SWAT team recently attempted to execute a search warrant that was issued to make an example out of an anonymous Internet user who made malicious remarks on the Web. Instead, they destroyed the home of an innocent grandmother.
When members of the Midwest towns SWAT team plotted their raid on the alleged home of the person behind some unpleasant remarks published on an Internet forum, they invited a local television crew to accompany them so that they could catch the whole thing on camera. Instead of arresting the author of the ill-tempered posts, however, the Evansville SWAT ravaged the home of an elderly woman and confiscated her 18-year-old granddaughters laptop.
The SWAT team did not have the name of who they were going after. They barely even had an identity. What they did have to work with, though, was the IP address of a person who logged onto the Topix.com Web forums and made discouraging remarks about local law enforcement.
An archived copy of the thread in question reveals that the police department might have had a reason to be worried. Cops be aware, a person using the handle usarmy wrote on Topix. The thread began when another user claimed that the home addresses of Evansville Police Department officers had been leaked and was spreading online, and usarmy was hardly the first person to reply. When the person behind that username did write a response, however, they had some things to say that didnt sit well with the EPD. In between a slew of self-censored expletives, the author implied that they were considering an attack on an unspecified member of the police department.
4th of July a cops house gonna get hit. dont care about your kids or btchs lives. I dnt even care bout my own life. I got my reasons..times ticking, reads one post from usarmy.
I am proud of my county, but I hate police of any kind, reads another. I have explosives.:) made in America.Evansville will feel my pain.guess who's in the river.
Acting on the assumed planned act of aggression, officials were able to figure out the authors IP address. As several courts have ruled recently, though, that isnt enough to exactly single out a certain home, let alone a person. While an Internet Protocol address can be linked to a computer, any person who accesses that networks WiFi with or without authorization can be linked to that IP. Only last month, in fact, New York Eastern District federal court magistrate Judge Gary Brown ruled that IP address logs cant be used on its own to link a suspect to a crime, writing a single IP address usually supports multiple computer devices which unlike traditional telephones can be operated simultaneously by different individuals. District Court Judge Howard R. Lloyd made essentially the same ruling one month earlier in a Northern District of California courtroom.
Ira Milan, whose house ended up targeted by the authorities, tells the Evansville Courier & Press that she thinks the author of the posts used her granddaughters Internet connection from an outside location. Police Chief Billy Bolin says it is much more cut and dry, though.
We have no way of being able to tell that, Bolin tells the Courier, adding that the messages definitely come back to that address.
Police reps tell the Courier that they obtained a search warrant for computer equipment at Milans house so that they could collect whatever devices may have been used to make the anonymous posts. Responding to an inquiry from the paper, though, the Vanderburgh County Clerks Office was initially unable to locate a copy of the document; Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann also refused to comply with the request. When Bolin was asked by the media to materialize the warrant, he deferred their plea and insisted that producing the paper could compromise the investigation. What Bolin did have to say, however, was that the document did not contain the names of any suspects.
We have an idea in our mind who it is, but we dont have evidence yet, Bolin explains to the Courier.
Even still, the department says that the hunch was enough to throw two flash-bang stun grenades into the front window of Ira Milans home. The Courier Press reports that the front door was open at the time of the incident.
To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive, says Milan.
Authorities say it should prove their point, though.
This is a big deal to us, Sgt. Jason Cullum, a police department spokesman, tells the Courier Press. This may be just somebody who was online just talking stupid. What I would suggest to anybody who visits websites like that is that their comments can be taken literally.
A day after the raid, 18-year-old Stephanie Milans cellphone and laptops were still being held by police.
The front door was open, but they still felt the need to throw to flash bang grenades, one through a window.
It appears that a grandmother and teen should own the police department.
The reflexive response seems tailor-made for an act of terrorism. All a terrorist needs to do is find a house with an unsecured wifi, post messages from that IP making threats against the police and local politicians, then wait for the response from a distant sniper position.
Grannie just won the lottery with the local news filming the whole thing.
Black booted thugs. The law enforcement have resources to prove who live in the house. The census could be referred to. A common stake out could have been used. Other methods.
No these black boot thugs, they wanted to use their new world order tactics that they have been practicing and show the media and the other serfs and the kingdom who were in charge. These were NOT law enforcement, these were thugs.
Well, it backfired. Time to charge the moat, people.
Yah....so why not park an unmarked car at the end of the street and wait for someone to come out to go to the store?
What is it with these SWAT teams? They legitimize the talk they’re scared of.....
That's a scary-ass thought right there!!!
to protect and serve — just the way aliens serve people, broiled, baked, fried, bbq’d. soylent green - armed, brainless, heartless uniforms hate civilians and we pay them to be this way. time will come when a really bad guy does one of them in and the population will feel no sympathy.
You know that wil never happen. The police will have been found to have "followed departmental guidelines." The victims were lucky they weren't murdered by the police, because if they were the murderers would not be prosecuted.
Little Ol Grandmas?
The problem is that there are not enough car chases for these guy to get their rocks off on.
They love car chases, If a chase starts they can all go balls to the wall to join it. 15 cars screaming around with lights and sirens chasing one teen aged kid, and beating the crap out of him at the end of it.
The next best thing is dressing up in their SWAT stuff, armed to the teeth and tearing down a Grandmothers door.
Maybe they will get to put 25 or 30 bullets in a Marine Veteran, and kill his dog too.
Remember when the police advertised that they were your friends?Now the thing to remember is that they are not your friends and anything you say or do will be used against you.
Be careful what you say without your attorney present.
This should be banned. There are multiple examples of tragedies caused or exacerbated by cops playing to the camera.
Does anybody think the decision to use the flash-bangs was not influenced by their cinematic value?
An 18 year-old grandma. Interesting.
Gramdma can consider herself veru fortunate that she was not shot full of holes and killed graveyard dead. Ditto to everyone else who might have been in the house. The way things are going, it won’t be very long before the SWAT teams use fragamentation grenades instead of conclussion grenades, a/k/a “flash bangs”.
18 year ol granddaughter..
Just think if Grandma had been lighting a cigarette with a lighter shaped like a gun as they busted in. She would have been shot dead.
I’m surprised their dog or the neighbor’s wasn’t shot.
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