Skip to comments.Women says police went too far in drug raid
Posted on 10/28/2006 11:27:01 AM PDT by traviskicks
A Sugar Land woman says police went too far when they burst into her home and arrested her boyfriend and son on drug charges. The raid left her dog dead and caused thousands of dollars in damage.
"It was bang, bang, bang, then there was a boom as they broke the door in, threw the fire grenade, and then shot the dog," said homeowner Margot Allen. "This all happened in anywhere from five to fifteen seconds."
That's how Allen's son and boyfriend describe what happened that day. Sugar Land police acted on a tip. They say they found traces of marijuana and cocaine in her trash after a month-long investigation.
"There's no crack done in my house," she said. "There's occasional marijuana in my house. I don't do it because I don't happen to like it."
Based on the evidence in the trash, a regional SWAT team arrived at the home. Police say they knocked, waited 30 seconds, and then broke in with guns and a concussion grenade. The house suffered $5,000 damage and one officer shot and killed Margot's golden lab, Shadow, when police say it charged toward one of the officers. What did officers find inside?
"A joint half the size of my pinky fingernail and then one about this big," she said, showing a length on her finger. "And not anywhere near this big around."
The Sugar Land Police Department declined an on-camera interview, but they are defending their actions, saying they followed protocol to the letter.
The department says it was determined that the bust would be of a moderate risk. Even though they had no specific threat, they were prepared for firearms in the house and felt obligated to anticipate any resistance or violence. They say killing the dog was regrettable. They also say Allen's boyfriend has a history of drug convictions. But for Allen, it was overkill.
"They treated us like we were terrorists," she said. "They broke the door down. They shot my dog. They set my house on fire."
Both Allen's son and her boyfriend were charged with a Class B misdemeanor for that small amount of marijuana. That's punishable by up to six months in the county jail or a maximum $2,000 fine. Both of them will be in court on January 9.
How many grams is that?
I agree. I was simply commenting on the remarks made in this thread.
The reason for the search may have been solid, though the article makes it sound like small potatos in the world of crime and drug dealing. The reason for the SWAT team and the violence by the cops hasn't been explained at all, at least not in the article. It may have been justified, or not, but the small amount of drugs produced by the raid is not justification.
As for the assumption that such tactics are justified because there may have been guns inside, well, our founding fathers assumed "that every man be armed." Therefore if guns are suspected, police protocol should call for the same violent police tactics for all search warrants. At least as long as we have the RKBA.
Yeah, I can imagine the dog may have attempted to defend its masters - that is the nature of dogs and one of the reasons for owning them...that's probably why it has apparently become police protocol to shoot them immediately.
I happen to agree with you that the invasion of Iraq was justified, on several levels, but I'm not too convinced that drawing a parallel with this particular SWAT action makes a very good case for our action in Iraq.
"Land of the law. Don't like it? Move to Waziristan."
I see little difference between your beliefs and the Taliban. You should go to another country more suitable to your primitive and dogmatic beliefs.
You can say this to justify any action. "prepared for firearms" In Texas? go figure. Moderate risk? Is there ever a low risk? probably not. This is legalese to cover their actions. I fully appreciate the dangerous nature of police work. However I'm afraid that after prolonged exposure to the worst elements of society, some forget that most of us aren't violent criminals. Now if they thought they were busting a major drug dealing operation, that might justify the fear of an armed response. But some guy with a bong watching NASCAR doesnt justify the force in my opinion.
i'm curious how you come to the conclusion that a person who is a drug user (a non-violent misdemeanor offense) is more likely to present armed resistance than a burglar (felony offender).
oh, well I'll have to agree with you, sometimes the 'cop bashing' does go overboard, and in those cases it does nothing to advance our agenda. But I think most of the time those comments are meant to be against the laws.
I would presume to protect their faces from flash burns, a clawing suspects' fingernails, or other hazards. That's just a guess. I don't know their policies and procedures.
Why don't the officers making traffic stops wear them?
Perhaps there is no reason to.
a judge may have issued the warrant, though I doubt it specified the manner in which the search/arrest was to take place.
I don't think I'd want to meet the woman who was friendly with that...
"we raise up our glasses aginst evil forces saying, Whiskey for my men and beer for our horses"
Your sacrasm is entertaining, sort of, but wrong headed. Again, the cops were doing their job until the facts become clear about what info they had prior to the raid, what info was given to the judge to get the warrant, what procedures were followed vs. what were appropriate for the info they had.
If, for some reason, they used a no knock entry and a dynamic entry where it was not warranted or reasonable...then I would agree that there should be some heads rolling. But we don't have information on that do we? Just an article where the allegeg criminals are whining about the mean police. Hardly unbiased reporting...hardly fair....and very likely there is another side to this that you have not read. Time will tell....if the cops were wrong, I'll say so.....but I if the facts support the actions of the police I doubt if you'll admit to acting like a knee jerk liberal.
All that said, if it wasn't for the policies and laws that allow and promote this activity, I dont think we would have officers engaging in it. So my real problem is with our government that believes it has a right to subject its citizens to such treatment on a mere suspicion of (minor)wrongdoing.
"i'm curious how you come to the conclusion that a person who is a drug user (a non-violent misdemeanor offense) is more likely to present armed resistance than a burglar (felony offender)."
I'm curious how you know fopr a certainty that this guy is just a "drug user". I've been in law enforcement for over 20 years. Drug users are far more prone to violence that burglers, even the types involved with minor drug offenses. Again, if they police had reliable and credible information that led them to believe that that residence was being used by individuals to manufacture or deliver cannabis or a controlled substance then the dynamic entry was totally justified. Obviously a judge was convinced of something as a no knock search warrant was issued.
The accused are always innocent until proven guilty. But if facts are developed that would lead a reasonable person to believe that there would be a danger to police in executing the warrant....then I have no problems with them doing what they had to do to stay safe. If that means shooting a dog, so be it. If that means using flash bangs and kicking in doors, so be it.
As I said earlier...there are many facts in this that we simply don't know, and which would go far into establishing if the raid was conducted properly or not.
The fact that some pot was found in the house suggests that if these folks had not been doing something they should not have been doing, they would not have had any problems. The resposnibility for the dead dog and the damages to the house reside with those people that elected to live a lifestyle that exposed them to the possibility that they could be raided. We don't know who their associates were. Were they good friends of know drug dealers. Was a known drug dealer saying that there was a stash in this house? Was there credible information to support a probable cause belief that drugs were in the home? Was the warrant valid? Was the judge aware of all relevant facts about the situation before he/sh issued the warrant? Was there a warrant? If not was there an emergency exigent cirumstance that justified the entry? If so what was the cicumstance? Was the cicumstance reasoable?
There are a whole slate of factors that are in play here...to pass judgement on them without having a solid grasp of all the facts relevant to the decision making process and the conditions encountered by the police as they executed the raid is just knee-jerk in tone and seemingly unworthy of a thoughtful conservative.
Women or woman I wonder?
How many is she exactly?
"They used to do that, just to justify the carnage. Then they discovered we'd sit still for whatever they do no matter what's found, or even if nothing's found at all."
Sic Semper Tyrannis.
Ugh, we primitive, do drug any time. No manu-fac-ture base,
rely on drug grow from ground, ugh! Primitive good.
"That happened here not too long ago (TN). Cops got the address wrong, broke into an elderly couple's home, and the man was shot dead trying to defend his wife. Oh well, so sorry. We were following protocol, after all."
Was that in Lebanon, Tn.?
What really disturbs me is that, after a month long investigation, the fact that some drug residue was found in their trash can justified such action. I should think that if he was more than just a drug user, that after a month of looking they should have been able to find some kind of evidence other than (assumption)roaches and maybe some coke residue. Do you remember the case in Houston a year or so ago where the police mistook some kind of plant a homeowner had growing out by the street for a pot plant, and conducted the same kind of raid on him? He was totally innocent, and found himself face down in his home with a shotgun pointed at his head. Maybe our standard for what justifies this kind of invasive procedure has become a little too loose?
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Yes, that is the case I was talking about.
"Can you explain to me why the police need to wear black ski masks when they make these raids?"
The reason I've read on several Cop websites is they wear them to prevent burns in case of an explosion or fire. Of course there's also the ego factor of looking really frightening.
"Yep, this so called drug war has been the greatest corrupter of the police in US history."
Second that. In addition the WOD is funding/building the richest criminal empire in history.
Jeez, you'd think someone in Washington would remember Al Capone, Prohibition, and all that stuff.
It didn't work the first time. Why is it going to be any better the second time?
And the cops got their testosterone up and were able to pat each other on the butt and tell themselves what a good job they did....
At least the jackboots got the 'right' house.
Gusee there is no REALK crime to deal with in sugar land like rape robery murder white collar crime etc etc.
Maybe they could get informants down at the marina to let them know when someone might have an undersized redfish in their cooler. You know those fisherman also own guns, so lets kick the door in and get'em before they can eat the fish.
as earlier noted, this is more a problem of judicial issuance of warrants like these being way to easily granted, and policy decisions that establish a low bar for what qualifies for applying for such a warrant.
I'm disappointed by some here who only see a crime, not the disproportionality of response to it. How about if someone told the police that your teenager snuck a beer up to his room? Its a crime, after all, and if they knock on the door the evil villan will have time to destroy the evidence.
" That happened here not too long ago (TN). Cops got the address wrong,.."
Not the only raid on an innocent homeowner due to wrong information. I am not sure if there is a site that tracks these incidents but I bet it would make interesting reading.
If drugs were legal not only would none of this happen but the huge cartels and probably half the crime in the world would be ended overnight. People get high now and they'll get high if drugs are legal. It's called freedom.
I don't do drugs and wouldn't if they were legal but that's my choice. Choice is part of freedom. No knock violent raids with grenades and machine guns are not.
As I said in my first post, this industry would now be dominated by Phillip Morris etc. rather than by drug cartels and not fund terrorism.
If no one is bleeding and no one is ripped off, the government should stay out of it.
I Imagine that it's SOP to shoot any dog that dosen't cower in absolute fear.
She had a joint - kill her and her family. Drugs are evil. < /sarcasm>
"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you,d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur, what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked? The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!"
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
No, the real issue is the unnecessary violence. I remember a retired black pastor in Boston who died in one of these raids. They had the wrong house.
I remember an east coast southern couple with a dog being pulled over in their car and their dog shot as the cops chased after a fictitious robbery based on a phone call from an idiot.
I remember four plain clothes cops (three of which were rookies) pumping 41 bullets into a black man as he tried to get into his apartment building. They thought his keys were a gun.
None of these cops were ever were punished. In the dreaded private sector, you always get punished for your mistakes. This is not the case for public workers.
So if some loser puts some contraband in the trash in front of my house and makes a phone call I'm suddenly targeted for investigation and can have my door kicked in, life threatened and house damaged? Seems that since the law provides no privacy protection for your trash they shouldn't be able to use what's in it as evidence since anyone walking down the street could have put it in there. On the bright side, it sounds like the Dhimmicrats have a new tool in their toolbox to expel conservatives. /s
I tend to freak out over attacking dogs (not scared, more like an adrenalin reaction that turns me into Dr. Jekyll's monster). That said, if you can't take a golden retriever out with the standard police bataka (club) - geez. It's not like retrievers are particularly big, or trained as attack dogs, or even dangerous if they WERE trained as attack dogs.
I despise "law enforcement officers". They enforce the law.
And why is that, do you think?
BTW, it's "likelihood".
And don't forget that this raid cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars. But it was worth it! Our brave law enforcement officials go two joints off the streets!
Travis, you need to rethink that.
One of the things (maybe) which separates us from tyranny is that our military personnel are taught that they must not engage our citizens on our own soil.
Cops are becoming different.
They could refuse if they wanted to do so.
There, all fixed.
It's SOP to shoot the dog.
It should be SOP to shoot the invaders.
Cops are becoming different.
They could refuse if they wanted to do so."
Our Soldiers could also refuse orders that they don't agree with. That would not necessarily make them virtuous. When the rank and file start concerning themselves with the way that things ought to be and acting upon those impulses, rather than acting upon lawful orders of those appointed over them, that is when we're really screwed. What separates us from tyranny is not just that our military personnel are legally forbidden from engaging citizens on our own soil, but that they are led by professionals who recognize their subservience to that law and to their civilian masters. Take away the professionalism of our military leaders and then you have the potential for problems because that is when posse comitatus is worth no more than the paper it is written on.
Likewise, the rank and file police officers do not make their own rules. They follow the procedures within their departments. When they abandon their professional ethic and start acting upon their own impulses, which are obviously going to be skewed by their day in and day out dealings with the lowest dregs of our society, then that is when abuse of power and outrages really begin.
My answer is that they wear the masks because they are afraid of US.