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Man charged for shooting when cops went to wrong house (Jury finds him innocent)
WAVY ^ | July 15, 2014 | Andy Fox

Posted on 07/16/2014 5:40:46 AM PDT by csvset

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Imagine you’re up watching our late night news when you hear your back door rattling, then see a red laser pointed on your chest. One Portsmouth man claims that happened to him.

Brandon Watson said he was protecting his family when his wife heard noises in the back yard on January 3, 2013: “She said, ‘oh my gosh, someone is int he backyard.’” The noises got closer and then she heard the clicking of the backdoor handle.

In a neighborhood where weapons are everywhere, Brandon Watson didn’t hesitate to grab his own legally purchased gun. It was a decision with lingering repercussions.

Photos: Cops went to wrong house, charged homeowner

Brandon remembers, “We ran upstairs very quickly … she saw guys in all black from right here in this window looking down.” Watson said he couldn’t immediately find his cell phone to call 911 so he ran downstairs with his firearm and stood at the foot of the stairs, shielded by a wall.

“I announced myself, ‘Who is that? Who is that? I have a gun.’ And as soon as I said that, two red laser beams were on my chest,” Watson said. “so I looked at the red laser beams on my chest, and I fired a warning shot.”

A single shot through a window, and then Watson ran to get help from his neighbor across the street, a Virginia State Police deputy.

As I came out of the house … they said, ‘stop,’ and I said, ‘Who?’ They then said, ‘Who just fired the shot out the back window?’ I said I did … and I was holding a gun, and they said, ‘put down the gun.’”

Watson dropped his handgun and said he received shocking news.

“They said, ‘we just got news you shot at an officer.’ I said, ‘An officer? Nobody came to my door. What do you mean an officer? I didn’t know there were any officers in my backyard,’” he told WAVY.com.

Then he learned the dark figures in his backyard were Portsmouth police officers who had not announced themselves.

“As far as the officers response, I support their response 100 percent,” said Portsmouth Police Chief Ed Hargis, who claims his men never heard Watson say he had a gun or say anything. “Anytime the police hear there is a firearm, they start giving verbal commands, and they start yelling police.”

It came out in court last September that police were in the wrong backyard. They were supposed to be in Patricia Brooks yard, which is next door to Watson. She had called 911 because she heard unrelated noises in the downstairs of her home.

Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Earle Mobley explained how police ended up in the wrong backyard: “When they went around from the front, they started counting 2, 3, 4.” They were counting the number of townhouse units from the end, where Patricia Brooks lived. “Then they see a gate that is open, and that raises suspicion that must be the house,” Mobley said.

Mobley admits Watson did not know police were in his backyard, but prosecutes him anyway for misdemeanor reckless handling of a fire arm.

“You cannot fire indiscriminately through the window,” Mobley said.

And a judge agreed. Watson was found guilty. So he appealed the decision, and a second judge declared a mistrial. At that point, Watson chose to have a jury trial.

“This can’t be doing your job. You come in my backyard, try to open my door, open my window and flash red laser beams on my chest because you thought I was the burglar, and I thought you were the burglar,” Watson said.

The seven-person jury bought that, and found Brandon Watson not guilty, after deliberating only 47 minutes.

“The Commonwealth really didn’t have a case. It wasn’t reckless, so it didn’t’ take a lot of discussion,” said Danny Barnes, a juror and WAVY-TV 10 employee.

When 10 On Your Side asked Mobley about the juror’s comment, that the Commonwealth failed to prove Watson was reckless, he simply said, “I just disagree with that point.”

The jury thought Watson showed restraint by only firing one shot.

“There was agreement if there had been more than one bullet hole, had he sprayed the wall with bullets, bang, bang, bang, that would have been reckless,” Barnes said.

The jury was also concerned police went to the wrong home, and that there was general confusion.

“That really wasn’t explained very well, and that was a sticking point for most of us, and that wasn’t flushed out at all,” Barnes said.

The jurors honed in on the red beams on Watson’s chest.

“The police kept saying they had their weapons pointed at the ground at all times. At the same time, they said they were using their TAC lights on the gun to illuminate whatever they were looking at,” Barnes said. “You can’t be doing both at the same time, that’s contradictory.”

10 On Your Side asked Chief Hargis if a light could have gone into the window.

“Yes, but I don’t think it was there for any long period of time,” he said.

We asked him if the red lights appearing on Watson’s chest were possible.

“It is possible, sure,” he replied.

Then we asked him to confirm that that was what led to the shooting: The chief responded, “That’s when he discharged his firearm.”

The Watson case has helped change Portsmouth police policy with the use of red gun laser sights.

“This case, and firearm instructor concerns, as well as executive staff, we have modified the policy and taken the lasers off the weapons,” Chief Hargis said.

Most stunning — the jury found police were unfair in how they pursued Watson.

“They absolutely did … he was put in a no win situation,” Barnes said.

For Brandon Watson, the incident turned his life upside down. He was unemployed for 10 months, and thinks under the circumstances, he deserves restitution.

“I begged them not to charge me … I knew what it meant … I got no jobs … no one would hire me after they ran the criminal background check, because I was charged with reckless handling of a firearm,” Watson said.

Watson continues moving forward with a possible lawsuit against the city of Portsmouth. The case would allege negligence or gross negligence.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: donutwatch; keystonecops; thugswithbadges
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The Keystone cops show up at the wrong house, again !

Watson continues moving forward with a possible lawsuit against the city of Portsmouth. The case would allege negligence or gross negligence.

Where's the ACLU at? /s

1 posted on 07/16/2014 5:40:46 AM PDT by csvset
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To: csvset

luckily he didn’t have pets they could slaughter


2 posted on 07/16/2014 5:43:17 AM PDT by silverleaf (Age takes a toll: Please have exact change)
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To: csvset
Man charged for shooting when cops went to wrong house (Jury finds him innocent)

What [hopefully soon to be FORMER] DA even prosecuted this case and wasted taxpayer dollars?

3 posted on 07/16/2014 5:45:21 AM PDT by The Sons of Liberty (I want 0bama to make history - First to be IMPEACHED and REMOVED!)
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To: csvset

I’d have done the same thing of I were on the jury. And if I were the defense Attoney I’d be demanding that a few cops be charged with perjury. Someone lied under oath here and it isn’t the homeowner.


4 posted on 07/16/2014 5:46:48 AM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: csvset
Fully agree that the homeowner was within his rights. But he's damn lucky he didn't end up as Swiss cheese.

You'd think one of the Barney Fifes would have the decency to identify themselves before this near tragedy occurred.

5 posted on 07/16/2014 5:47:46 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Lurker

He’s lucky he made it to the jury.
The standard MO when shots come OUT of a house for any reason is to so riddle the house with bullets that it has to be condemned - if they don’t burn it down first.


6 posted on 07/16/2014 5:48:58 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: csvset
"The jurors honed in on the red beams on Watson’s chest."

A minor point but it aggregates the hell out of me. One "hones" an edge; one "homes" in on a point.

7 posted on 07/16/2014 5:49:39 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: csvset

“You cannot fire indiscriminately through the window,” Mobley said.

Unless you’re a cop. Then you can do it all day long.


8 posted on 07/16/2014 5:50:09 AM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: csvset

Violating one’s 4th amendment rights is serious business. For the homeowner, a home invasion by armed men is the same in the first moments, whether by cops or gangbangers. Cops had better be sure they are at the right house. I support the right of the homeowner to shoot anyone breaking in. ANYONE.

Besides, this dangerous tactic is used far too much these days.


9 posted on 07/16/2014 5:56:17 AM PDT by EricT. (Everything not forbidden is compulsory.)
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To: Lurker

I’m surprised they didn’t lie more boldly. All they had to say is they had identified themselves and he woulda been screwed.


10 posted on 07/16/2014 5:57:05 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: muir_redwoods

You object to homey’s incorrect use of hones and homes?


11 posted on 07/16/2014 5:58:07 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: csvset
The seven-person jury bought that, and found Brandon Watson not guilty, after deliberating only 47 minutes.

That was 40 minutes too long.

This police chief should be fired.

12 posted on 07/16/2014 5:58:36 AM PDT by Uncle Chip
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To: muir_redwoods
A minor point but it aggregates the hell out of me. One "hones" an edge; one "homes" in on a point.

When one criticizes another's grammar or usage, one should always carefully proofread their post :)

13 posted on 07/16/2014 6:01:55 AM PDT by Plexi
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To: csvset

“They were counting the number of townhouse units from the end, where Patricia Brooks lived. “Then they see a gate that is open, and that raises suspicion that must be the house,”

It raises the suspicion that the cops are incompetent idiots. The gate is open, this must be the right place. Lets storm the yard and point guns at everyone.

The guy is VERY lucky to be alive. He shot at cop and then left the house holding a gun. Thats usually a death sentence.


14 posted on 07/16/2014 6:06:04 AM PDT by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
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To: Lurker
Unless you’re a cop. Then you can do it all day long.

Apparently you can also be so lax in your job you can't count to five (townhomes). You can make assumptions in a serious situation. (gate open, must be the place) You can point a deadly weapon at someone with zero justification. (laser dots) You can lie in court. (we didn't hear him) etc. etc.

These guys screwed up just about every way possible. I would've acquitted the homeowner too in about 30 seconds. No-knock raids will result in nothing but injury and/or deaths. Anyone - any savvy home invader - can bust through your door and yell "Police!" Until you see a uniform, credentials, and you have called the police to verify they have personnel there you have little reason to believe Joe-Schmoe is law enforcement. I have had family members "pulled over" by fake cops in fake unmarked cars with lights in the grill. Luckily my niece was smart enough and had good enough instincts to floor it and call the real cops when the punk approached her car door.

15 posted on 07/16/2014 6:06:37 AM PDT by ThunderSleeps (Stop obarma now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: Plexi; driftdiver

I suppose it’s unfair to blame autocorrect; guilty as charged. I’ll wager, however, that “hones in” appears more frequently in more writers’ work intentionally, than my typo does in mine.


16 posted on 07/16/2014 6:09:26 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: csvset
"“Anytime the police hear there is a firearm, they start giving verbal commands, and they start yelling police.” "

And criminals would NEVER use such a ruse to disarm someone they intend to rob and kill!

17 posted on 07/16/2014 6:10:07 AM PDT by Mr. K (Palin/Cruz 2016)
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To: muir_redwoods

I was just having fun. I think the word ‘hones’ is considered to be above the 6th grade level. Probably a contributing factor to the authors misuse.


18 posted on 07/16/2014 6:13:03 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Lurker

The Demonrats will sure to drop off a few busloads of illegal immigrants to “diversify” the demographics.


19 posted on 07/16/2014 6:16:45 AM PDT by jonatron (This is the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave.)
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To: csvset

Sounds like felony assault, at a minimum, by the police on an innocent civilian. Should be prosecuted and sent to prison.


20 posted on 07/16/2014 6:19:13 AM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: driftdiver
“The police kept saying they had their weapons pointed at the ground at all times. At the same time, they said they were using their TAC lights on the gun to illuminate whatever they were looking at,” Barnes said. “You can’t be doing both at the same time, that’s contradictory.”

i.e. they lied.

21 posted on 07/16/2014 6:19:55 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: Mr. K

The use of criminal tactics to enforce police action is worse than problematic. It is a justification for homocide.


22 posted on 07/16/2014 6:20:56 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Plexi

Now I have aggregation aggravation...I need a vacation.


23 posted on 07/16/2014 6:20:59 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: csvset
“The police kept saying they had their weapons pointed at the ground at all times. At the same time, they said they were using their TAC lights on the gun to illuminate whatever they were looking at,” Barnes said. “You can’t be doing both at the same time, that’s contradictory.”

They got caught in their lie. Good for the jury for seeing thru that BS.................

24 posted on 07/16/2014 6:21:24 AM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,763 threads and 85,286 replies. ...............)
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To: The Sons of Liberty

TWICE!.................


25 posted on 07/16/2014 6:22:17 AM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,763 threads and 85,286 replies. ...............)
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To: MrB

Then shoot the dog so as to leave no witnesses.................


26 posted on 07/16/2014 6:22:51 AM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,763 threads and 85,286 replies. ...............)
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To: csvset

“The jury thought Watson showed restraint by only firing one shot. “

Next time, use enough gun!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQWq1Z-J-EE


27 posted on 07/16/2014 6:23:26 AM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: csvset
"The Keystone cops show up at the wrong house, again !"

Yep and then everyone is astonished when some nutter guns down a cop and then he is celebrated by other nutters who think he is a hero.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Whoever is in charge of the LEOs need to get this nipped in the bud before we pass the point of no return! Soon it's not going to be nutters shooting cops. It's going to be normal citizens who are in fear for their lives because dumb ass Rambos what to play shoot'em-up-bang-bang

28 posted on 07/16/2014 6:23:51 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: csvset
The case would allege negligence or gross negligence.

Damages should come out of the personal assets of the 'officers' involved, and of their supervisors.

29 posted on 07/16/2014 6:24:26 AM PDT by NorthMountain
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To: glorgau

but those red laser thingies are COOOL! Just like in the movies!!


30 posted on 07/16/2014 6:26:34 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Uncle Chip
That was 40 minutes too long.

They had to pick a foreman first. Then read through the charge. They then probably tore up pieces of paper to use as a ballot to take a secret nonbinding vote to see how many were leaning each way. Then they went through the ballots and saw that no one wanted to convict. They then talked about it for a few minutes to make sure they were all in agreement. They then took a formal vote, marked "not guilty" on the verdict form, signed it and called the bailiff.

Even when there is nothing to discuss it takes a responsible jury several minutes to do their job.

31 posted on 07/16/2014 6:26:48 AM PDT by Bubba_Leroy (The Obamanation Continue)
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To: muir_redwoods
A minor point but it aggregates the hell out of me. One "hones" an edge; one "homes" in on a point.

One 'aggregates' a group of items into a whole. A grammatical error 'aggravates' one.

32 posted on 07/16/2014 6:27:54 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Can anyone tell me who the head of the Muslim peace movement is?)
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To: csvset

The red dots on his chest warned him that there was a gun pointed at him, and the response of the police is to remove their lasers?? How will the next inappropriately targeted homeowner know his/her life is in immediate danger?


33 posted on 07/16/2014 6:29:12 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: silverleaf

He is lucky they didn’t shoot him.


34 posted on 07/16/2014 6:29:30 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (The cure has become worse than the disease. Support an end to the WOD now.)
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To: csvset

Malicious prosecution. It’s what they do, because they have a bottomless taxpeasant-funded checkbook..


35 posted on 07/16/2014 6:36:19 AM PDT by kiryandil (making the jests that some FReepers aren't allowed to...)
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To: muir_redwoods
I’ll wager, however, that “hones in” appears more frequently in more writers’ work intentionally, than my typo does in mine.
Per search on Google:

Hones in - About 307,000 results
Homes in - About 33,600,000 results

Freedom ≠ Free Stuff☭
I, for one, welcome our new Cybernetic Overlords /.
Mash Dobbshead® for HTML, bop Hello_Cthlhu for XAMPP

36 posted on 07/16/2014 6:37:59 AM PDT by Mycroft Holmes (The fool is always greater than the proof.)
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To: Brooklyn Attitude
He's very lucky he didn't get blasted by these inept cops. It seems as though they can't count or read.

The Commonwealth's attorney sounds like an idiot as well.

37 posted on 07/16/2014 6:38:22 AM PDT by csvset
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To: kiryandil
Malicious prosecution. It’s what they do, because they have a bottomless taxpeasant-funded checkbook..

Makes it harder for the peasant to file a complaint, too. Even if he hadn't fired a shot, they would have found something.

38 posted on 07/16/2014 6:42:50 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: EricT.
Violating one’s 4th amendment rights is serious business

That's odd. Violating the other amendments doesn't seem too serious.

39 posted on 07/16/2014 6:47:19 AM PDT by Right Brother
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To: All

“Anytime the police hear there is a firearm, they start giving verbal commands, and they start yelling police.”

Snooping around in peoples back yard you better assume there ARE firearms and State that you are police.

Its a miracle only one officers got shot.


40 posted on 07/16/2014 6:51:16 AM PDT by Bailee
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To: Right Brother
Violating the other amendments doesn't seem too serious.

All civil rights violations are serious business. However, this violation of the 4th amendment involves armed goons in the dead of night, which could have very easily gotten an innocent man killed. After this innocent man was killed, all the cops would go home safe to their families and suffer little to no consequences for murdering him in his own home.

41 posted on 07/16/2014 6:53:43 AM PDT by EricT. (Everything not forbidden is compulsory.)
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To: csvset

if they were cops... on legal business... they should’ve knocked on the front door and announced themselves.

if that was my situation, having the family secured upstairs as best i can and holding the bottom of the stairs, i would be fully defensive and any actions would be swift and decisive.

i would not give a warning. the warning was the locked door.

when facing multiple assailants, surprise is your friend. make the first and second shots count and the odds can quickly shift in your favor.

adding confusion to the situation with distractions can give you the advantage.

you know the terrain, they don’t. use it


42 posted on 07/16/2014 6:55:03 AM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: csvset
“The police kept saying they had their weapons pointed at the ground at all times. At the same time, they said they were using their TAC lights on the gun to illuminate whatever they were looking at,” Barnes said. “You can’t be doing both at the same time, that’s contradictory.”

Are you questioning the police, *citizen*?

Looks like someone needs a SWAT team visit.

/FR bootlicks

43 posted on 07/16/2014 6:55:22 AM PDT by Yashcheritsiy (It's time to Repeal and Replace the Republican Party)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Civil society is broken. At any stage of this tragicomedy a judge could have had a conference with the prosecution and calmly explained... “They were at the WRONG house!”


44 posted on 07/16/2014 6:57:28 AM PDT by HMS Surprise (Chris Christie can STILL go straight to hell.)
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To: EricT.

I was being sarcastic.


45 posted on 07/16/2014 7:00:43 AM PDT by Right Brother
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To: Wolfie

“...Now I have aggregation aggravation....”

In obamas world you get disability from SSDI


46 posted on 07/16/2014 7:04:58 AM PDT by George from New England (escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: csvset

Continually seeking absolute power.


47 posted on 07/16/2014 7:07:20 AM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

I believed I have already addressed my typo. Read above.


48 posted on 07/16/2014 7:18:19 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: Bubba_Leroy

If it was like the trial on which I was on the jury, they were cooling their heels for a half an hour while the clerk finished the paperwork and the prosecutor pushed one last plea deal before we could even start deliberating.


49 posted on 07/16/2014 7:23:49 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (The IRS: either criminally irresponsible in backup procedures or criminally responsible of coverup.)
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To: HMS Surprise
Disagree. Even at the Right house they should have secured the area first and then announced they were Police.

Putting laser sights on a person is not securing the area.

Whether I am the homeowner or perp you are just asking to get shot if you have not announced. I know where you are you may not know where I am.

50 posted on 07/16/2014 7:26:20 AM PDT by Bailee
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