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Neighbors call tactics in drug raid militaristic
Eugene Register guard | 12-05-2002 | Rebecca Nolan

Posted on 12/05/2002 4:56:13 PM PST by Rocksalt

Neighbors call tactics in drug raid militaristic By REBECCA NOLAN The Register-Guard

The sound of heavy machinery, exploding grenades and blaring announcements cracked the early morning silence.

Neighbors looked out their windows Oct. 17 to see an armored truck rolling down the street. They saw at least 45 officers armed with shotguns and assault rifles entering a trio of houses, standing guard at alleyways and blocking traffic lanes.

Officers wouldn't explain to startled residents what was going on.

Police pulled four people - including a nude woman and another woman wearing only underpants and a T-shirt - from their beds and kept them in handcuffs in a room of one of the houses for several hours. One woman reported that an officer covered her head with a black fabric bag and removed it only when she agreed to cooperate.

This house at 909 W. Fifth Ave. was one of several raided by police Oct. 17 in a search for illegal drugs.

Neighbors later learned that officers had served a search warrant at three adjacent houses near West Fifth Avenue and Adams Street, where police suspected people were growing marijuana.

The raid sparked immediate outrage among more than a dozen neighbors and friends of the property owners and in recent weeks has become a rallying point for community organizers. The fact that police found no marijuana plants or weapons has only angered neighbors further.

The Whiteaker Community Council dedicated a meeting last month to discussing the raid and plans to issue a formal statement condemning the way the operation was carried out, council President Majeska Seese-Green said. She and three other residents took their case to the Eugene Police Commission, where they questioned the wisdom and safety of such raids.

"It was completely inappropriate to have that kind of militaristic action there," Seese-Green said. "We don't want it to happen in Whiteaker again, or in any other neighborhood."

The criticism has prompted police to explain their tactics and to try to address neighbors' concerns before the Police Commission, but they say their approach that morning wasn't much different, except in magnitude, than other drug raids they regularly conduct.

Although no one tracks the exact number of drug-related search warrants served in Lane County each year, the Interagency Narcotics Task Force averages about one search warrant a week. The task force is made up of officers from Lane County police agencies and assisted in the Fifth Avenue raid.

Add in busts by other county police agencies and state police and the tally creeps close to a hundred drug warrants served a year.

In the Whiteaker case, the complexity of the properties, which included the houses, an inhabited garage and a couple of outbuildings, increased the risk and dictated how many officers participated and the kind of weapons used, said Eugene police Lt. Tom Turner, head of the Metro SWAT team.

Strong tactics are sometimes necessary in the nationwide battle against a violent drug trade as officers become targets of criminals bent on protecting their profits, said Capt. Steve Swenson, in charge of special operations for Eugene police.

And although police sympathize with residents who have complained that the Fifth Avenue raid resembled a military invasion, they aren't willing to sacrifice officer safety to stave off criticism, he said.

"We rely on the element of surprise and speed," Swenson said. "The third element is an overwhelming display of force when you come through the door.

"It sounds bad, but it prevents problems. We don't know who we're dealing with when we go through the door."

Making a strong presence

Marcella Monroe, 41, and Tam Davage, 35, own the three houses searched that day. The married couple, well-known and well-liked by their neighbors, became suspects after an August raid turned up more than 500 marijuana plants at a friend's home in Portland, according to court documents.

After a two-month investigation, members of the Eugene police Rapid Deployment Unit requested and received a warrant Oct. 16 from Lane County Circuit Judge Eveleen Henry allowing the search of the houses at 464 Adams St., 909 W. Fifth Ave. and 923 W. Fifth Ave., their outbuildings and cars.

The unit assembled a team of officers from the Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Metro SWAT team, the Springfield SWAT team and the Portland Police Bureau.

They took advantage of a National Guard counterdrug program that lends out armored vehicles for transporting officers to drug-related searches.

They tossed flash-bang grenades to distract the people inside the houses, and they announced their arrival over the armored vehicle's public address system as they converged on the neighborhood about 6:30 a.m. An ambulance waited nearby, a routine precaution in case someone gets hurt.

The officers jumped from the armored truck and other vehicles and fanned out through the properties. They didn't stop to knock, but forced open doors and wrestled the people inside to the ground. One officer briefly placed a black hood over Monroe's head.

The four people involved said they were frightened for their lives, intimidated by police and shocked by the sudden chaos in their homes.

"They came in here and scared everyone to death," Monroe said. "They trashed our houses and accused us of a crime that they have no evidence for. They found no seeds, no pot, not one single plant - nothing."

Inside the houses, police discovered several high-powered fans, fluorescent lights, plastic sheeting, timers, potting soil, fertilizer, plant food, sandwich bags, a scale, 24 electrical outlets and a shop vacuum that contained a trace of marijuana leaves, according to the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant. All are evidence of a well-organized marijuana growing operation that had recently been dismantled, police spokeswoman Pam Olshanski said.

Police gave Monroe and Davage tickets for felony manufacture of a controlled substance. Because most people jailed on nonviolent charges are soon released to make room for more dangerous offenders, Eugene police often write tickets to people who are cooperative, Olshanski said.

One of the couple's tenants was cited for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Police said they found marijuana residue in pipes and baggies inside the house he rents. He will appear in court next week.

More than a month after the raid, no formal charges have been filed against Davage or Monroe in Lane County Circuit Court. Police have returned the items they seized.

The case remains under investigation and won't go to the grand jury for indictment unless investigators gather additional information or evidence, according to the county district attorney's office. The district attorney can wait up to three years to file charges, after which the statute of limitations expires and the case dies.

Monroe and Davage have denied all of the allegations and repeatedly said that they don't use drugs and have never grown marijuana.

The items listed on police evidence forms weren't part of a growing lab, they said, but were used in Davage's jewelry-making shop, Monroe's landscaping businesses and renovation work being done on two of the houses, damaged by trees toppled in last February's windstorm.

Contractors helping repair the Fifth Avenue houses have been in every nook and cranny of the homes, from basement to attic, making it impossible for the couple to operate a clandestine drug operation, they said.

"We've been all through the houses and we've never seen anything - no strange activity," Lesa Fisher said. She and her father, a mason, helped rebuild a damaged chimney.

Monroe and Davage, on the advice of their lawyer, won't discuss further details of the case.

But police stand firm in their conviction that the raid was justified.

"As far as drug investigations go, some are more fruitful than others," Turner said.

He and Swenson said there's no time to be polite during a search.

"In this type of a raid, speed is paramount, along with officer safety," Swenson said. "It just takes one flush of a toilet for drugs to go down the drain. Officers have been shot on drug raids where people have had that extra few minutes to arm themselves."

One unfortunate side effect of morning raids is that people are often pulled from bed in various states of undress, police said. The two women involved in the Fifth Avenue raid said they were humiliated. Officers eventually allowed them to cover themselves.

"What everyone is supposed to do is try to uphold the dignity of everybody as much as they can," Turner said.

Police defend their actions

The day after the raid, neighbors began voicing their concerns about the search tactics. They called police and the newspaper. A few minutes of videotape shot by a neighbor was broadcast on a cable-access show.

Mildred White, a longtime Whiteaker resident, lives next to one of the houses. Upset by what happened, she was among those who went to the November meeting of the Police Commission.

"This particular invasion was called on the flimsiest of factual data," White said later. "I call it a terrorist act because it terrorized the neighborhood. It seems to me it was based on a scenario out of L.A.

"Would police use the same methods in some impeccable, upper-middle class neighborhood that they use here?"

Another neighbor, Michael Wherley, said police should differentiate between marijuana and more hard-core drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. He doesn't believe that the couple were growing marijuana, but even if they were, he said the police response was "overkill."

"The police really overreacted without doing any legwork," Wherley said. "These people are living in the middle of the neighborhood. They're not going to be violent types."

But Swenson said some of the most dangerous people in the drug trade are marijuana growers, who often arm themselves against intruders looking for money and drugs.

As one example, police pointed to a July case, in which two men shot a marijuana grower in the leg during a robbery attempt at his home north of Jasper. The two shooters - one of whom kept police at bay for hours during a stand-off at a Eugene house - were arrested later on attempted murder charges.

In another recent case, officers found 162 marijuana plants - along with 51 guns, including assault rifles, revolvers, shotguns, old military weapons and dozens of magazines loaded with live ammunition - while serving a drug-related search warrant at a Fall Creek house in January 2001.

In that case, no shots were fired. But police also cite a 1982 cocaine raid when Raymond Sander Ainge shot at a Eugene police detective after mistaking police for intruders. The shot missed, and Ainge was later convicted on four drug charges and one count of attempted murder.

"You don't know when you're going in whether this is going to be a docile person or if it's going to be the hostile person," Swenson said.

"If it was a meth lab there, if it was the Hells Angels, you probably wouldn't hear any qualms about the number of officers we had there."

Nothing in the search warrant affidavit, however, indicates why police felt it necessary to arm themselves to such a degree in the Fifth Avenue case.

Neither Monroe nor Davage have any kind of criminal history in Oregon, and no one living at the house had a conviction for a violent crime within the state, court records show.

Police wouldn't discuss many details of the investigation, but Swenson and Turner both said officers had information that indicated a potential for danger at the houses.

"If you have information that one person out of five is violent, you're going to address your response to that violent person," Turner said.

It's standard to call in the SWAT team when narcotics investigators believe that a warrant service could turn violent, he said. In this case, police timed the raid for early in the morning, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., before school buses start their routes and workers leave home for the morning commute, he said.

Once SWAT officers gain control of the scene, they hand it over to investigators who read the warrant, gather evidence and make arrests.

Interagency Narcotics Task Force agents serve about 50 drug-related search warrants a year, team supervisor Lt. Lee Thoming said. The task force calls in SWAT members on 12 to 15 of those.

Another tool available to local police is the National Guard's light armored vehicle, which has been used only a handful of times inside Eugene city limits, Swenson said. It's most often used in county warrant services.

The machine has no mounted weapons and is operated by two unarmed National Guard soldiers.

It provides cover for officers in case of gunfire, it can be used to safely transport injured people from a violent scene and it intimidates raid subjects who might otherwise consider fighting off police, National Guard Lt. Col. Rick Williams said.

The presence of the vehicle disturbed neighbors, as did news that police placed a black cloth bag over the head of one of the women detained in the raid.

Police have used the so-called "spit masks" for about 20 years, Swenson said. Designed to protect officers from saliva spewed from the mouths of suspects, they're also used to calm physically or verbally aggressive people, he said. Once the person settles down, officers remove the mask.

"I'm sure it's terrifying," Turner said. "One of the themes in law enforcement and SWAT in general is that you have to dominate your location. It's very aggressive."

Group calls for changes

Whiteaker residents are right to feel that their neighborhood was invaded that morning, said David Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It was," he said.

But the raid tactics may be a sign that the national government's war on drugs has only increased the profit motive for drug dealers, who now arm themselves against thieves and competitors - rather than an indication that police are abusing their power, he said.

"My gut feeling is that this is an indication of why our drug laws are all screwed up, rather than a case of police being out of control," Fidanque said.

Police have reason to fear for their safety and they can't be blamed for wanting to avoid getting shot, he said. The tactics used by most agencies have been upheld in court, he said.

"Certainly there have been instances where police have gone into a drug raid and gotten into a gunfight," Fidanque said. "In general, going into a situation like that, unless the police have information from a very reliable source, they're going to prepare for the worst."

That doesn't give police a right, however, "to be rude, to use excessive force or to use tactics designed to terrify people," he said. "It's very, very scary for people who get caught up in that net."

The Whiteaker Community Council headed by Seese-Green plans to make the Fifth Avenue raid a topic of public debate, she said. The group wants to see policy changes addressing how such raids are carried out, she said.

In the meantime, the council will distribute its statement against the raid to the city and the media. Some members plan to attend next Thursday's Police Commission meeting. They will also present their concerns at the January meeting of the city's Neighborhood Advisory Board.

Some in the police department find the complaints ironic, particularly since the Rapid Deployment Unit, which spearheaded the investigation and Fifth Avenue raid, originally was created to combat drug use, violence and prostitution in the neighborhood.

"Now, certain people want to decide what kind of cases they do," Thoming of the Interagency Narcotics Task Force said.

But, he said, "Society at large wants us to do this, and the community at large wants us to do this."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; drugsraidwodnews; wodlist
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To: lonewacko_dot_com
Yeah,pretty much nothing but bad PR in this instance I'm afraid. This particular force is quite well equiped for a town of it's size I might add. Seems they came a little overdressed to this engagement.
51 posted on 12/05/2002 7:31:35 PM PST by Rocksalt
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To: Rocksalt
Stories like this make me think that SWAT should be under UCMJ as a condition of employment (or come up with a similar parallel system if that runs afoul of Posse Comitatus concerns). Something like that could put a stop to some of the more egregious acts.
52 posted on 12/05/2002 7:51:01 PM PST by adx
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To: lelio
Jezzz, all this over pot plants?

This is spectacularly stupid. I could only wish that our law enforcement would get this crazy about the titanic invasion of millions of illegal aliens crashing our borders and defecating on our sovereignty.

This is embarrassing!

53 posted on 12/05/2002 7:58:16 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Henrietta
"...(authorities found) several high-powered fans, fluorescent lights, plastic sheeting, timers, potting soil, fertilizer, plant food, sandwich bags, a scale, 24 electrical outlets and a shop vacuum..."

Welcome to ordinary America!

And welcome to the "standing army" our founders feared!
54 posted on 12/05/2002 8:19:30 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed
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To: Rocksalt
When reading articles like this I usually get the mental image of a boot stomping on a human face, forever.
(where is that jpg when you need it...)
55 posted on 12/05/2002 8:19:35 PM PST by philman_36
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To: Beelzebubba
And welcome to the "standing army" our founders feared!

Ta-Da!
Say it again Beelzebubba!

56 posted on 12/05/2002 8:21:05 PM PST by philman_36
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Comment #57 Removed by Moderator

To: Rocksalt
...saying pot dealers are as dangerous as meth dealers is not true.

I disagree. If you are a hunter and happen upon someone's marijuana patch in the hills near harvest time, you could have a gun battle with one of these idiots. (Fortunately, I can peel off some pretty good groups at 1000 meters.) Like I said, I think it should be legalized, but I consider these folks just as crimminal as the methamphetamine crowd, more paranoid, and would not want any child of mine near them (provided I ever have any).

I have been around the block a few times. I don't buy that medicinal pot garbage either.

I don't differentiate my opinion of drug abusers based on their drug of choice. I think alcoholics are the worst...

58 posted on 12/05/2002 9:37:31 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: Rocksalt
but this sort of thing makes me wonder if they have too much power in certain circumstances,which is an understatement.

The police have always had the power to abuse. They rarely did. They were proud pillars of the community. The position of "law enforcement" required, and received, people who were willing to serve, and protect. You might say it was a calling. Sounds a bit mushy, but true. Where did things go wrong?

P.S. I still have the opportunity to associate with some of them.

One last thought, today they sometimes deal with a SOB who is psycho and strung out, very dangerous, not just stoned hippies of yesteryear.

59 posted on 12/05/2002 9:40:37 PM PST by golder
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To: billybudd
Local law enforcement in Portland Oregon, and justifying this case is not the case in my reply to you, has nothing to do with Federal immigration authorities stoping or not stoping illegals crossing the border. Get your facts straight before you comment like some libertarian (small l no accident).

And before your get your knickers in a bind, I like the illegals crossing the border maybe even more than you do - I think we need to tell Fox (not the news media FOX) where to go.
60 posted on 12/05/2002 9:47:42 PM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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To: Rocksalt
When will they start using these tactics against the illegal aliens or moslem non-citizens here?

So much for 'homeland security'

61 posted on 12/05/2002 10:29:09 PM PST by Mulder
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Comment #62 Removed by Moderator

To: Sir Francis Dashwood
"In another recent case, officers found 162 marijuana plants - along with 51 guns, including assault rifles, revolvers, shotguns, old military weapons and dozens of magazines loaded with live ammunition - while serving a drug-related search warrant at a Fall Creek house in January 2001."

Sounds like someone who collects firearms to me. "old military weapons" may sound incriminating to some, but I'd be willing to bet they were Mausers or something similar.

63 posted on 12/05/2002 11:11:16 PM PST by zeugma
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To: GGpaX4DumpedTea
I understand the distinction between local and federal enforcement. My point was more about the general view, especially among politicians, but also the public, that the war on drugs is more important than the war on invaders.
64 posted on 12/05/2002 11:16:51 PM PST by billybudd
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To: Dark Nerd
Jeez man! Have you ever been in a 7-11 during a munchies run? If you ever do, be sure to stay away from the salted snacks!
65 posted on 12/05/2002 11:20:18 PM PST by zeugma
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Agreed. I've never done drugs and I don't like people who do. Part of the reason the drug culture is dangerous is the drug laws, which ensures that the drug economy is kept underground, in the realm of gangsters and criminals. Legalization would make drugs available at pharmacies, eliminating the drug culture as well as the "forbidden fruit" attraction that many people have to drugs. Parents need to take responsibility in teaching their kids about this stuff and keeping track of what they do.
66 posted on 12/05/2002 11:22:55 PM PST by billybudd
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To: Rocksalt
Well, well, let's just see where this one goes..


Neighbors call tactics in drug raid militaristic By REBECCA NOLAN The Register-Guard

The sound of heavy machinery, exploding grenades and blaring announcements cracked the early morning silence.

Yep, after many years in the military, pre-dawn assault are the tactic of choice


Neighbors looked out their windows Oct. 17 to see an armored truck rolling down the street. They saw at least 45 officers armed with shotguns and assault rifles entering a trio of houses, standing guard at alleyways and blocking traffic lanes.

Officers wouldn't explain to startled residents what was going on.

N $hit, really?

Police pulled four people - including a nude woman and another woman wearing only underpants and a T-shirt - from their beds and kept them in handcuffs in a room of one of the houses for several hours. One woman reported that an officer covered her head with a black fabric bag and removed it only when she agreed to cooperate.

I recently saw photos of POW's being flown out of the war zone in exactly the same condition


This house at 909 W. Fifth Ave. was one of several raided by police Oct. 17 in a search for illegal drugs.

Neighbors later learned that officers had served a search warrant at three adjacent houses near West Fifth Avenue and Adams Street, where police suspected people were growing marijuana.

The raid sparked immediate outrage among more than a dozen neighbors and friends of the property owners and in recent weeks has become a rallying point for community organizers. The fact that police found no marijuana plants or weapons has only angered neighbors further.

It's a shame that a few hundred of the neighbor did not neighbors the "police" and shoved a few "assault rifles in THEIR faces till they got an explanation as to why the "police" had decided to turn their neaborhood into a war zone complete with armored support.

The Whiteaker Community Council dedicated a meeting last month to discussing the raid and plans to issue a formal statement condemning the way the operation was carried out, council President Majeska Seese-Green said. She and three other residents took their case to the Eugene Police Commission, where they questioned the wisdom and safety of such raids.

"It was completely inappropriate to have that kind of militaristic action there," Seese-Green said. "We don't want it to happen in Whiteaker again, or in any other neighborhood."

The criticism has prompted police to explain their tactics and to try to address neighbors' concerns before the Police Commission, but they say their approach that morning wasn't much different, except in magnitude, than other drug raids they regularly conduct.

So, the cops have gotten into the habit of acting like soldier-wanna-bee's?

Although no one tracks the exact number of drug-related search warrants served in Lane County each year, the Interagency Narcotics Task Force averages about one search warrant a week. The task force is made up of officers from Lane County police agencies and assisted in the Fifth Avenue raid.

Add in busts by other county police agencies and state police and the tally creeps close to a hundred drug warrants served a year.

In the Whiteaker case, the complexity of the properties, which included the houses, an inhabited garage and a couple of outbuildings, increased the risk and dictated how many officers participated and the kind of weapons used, said Eugene police Lt. Tom Turner, head of the Metro SWAT team.

GEE, Houses and garages, yea, that;s complex, the prints for the house are on file at the City planners office.

Strong tactics are sometimes necessary in the nationwide battle against a violent drug trade as officers become targets of criminals bent on protecting their profits, said Capt. Steve Swenson, in charge of special operations for Eugene police.

I bet that nobody told this innosent babe in the woods that the job would never involve a scratch, not even a widdle boo-boo.


And although police sympathize with residents who have complained that the Fifth Avenue raid resembled a military invasion, they aren't willing to sacrifice officer safety to stave off criticism, he said.

"We rely on the element of surprise and speed," Swenson said. "The third element is an overwhelming display of force when you come through the door. 

Well, blacked uniformed Nazi types with black hoods over their faces, carrying machine guns and throwing grenades certainly counts as "surprize"

"It sounds bad,
(NO $HIT? YA THINK???) but it prevents problems. We don't know who we're dealing with when we go through the door."

Well Einstein, IF you DON'T KNOW WHO IN THE HOUSE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, I SUGGEST YOU DO A LITTLE BRUSHING UP ON THE 4TH AMENDMENT.

IT GOES LIKE THIS

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons AND things to be seized."

I COULD WRITE THAT IN CRAYON FOR YOU BUT IT WOULD NOT SHOW UP ON YOUR SCREEN.

 

.

Making a strong presence

Marcella Monroe, 41, and Tam Davage, 35, own the three houses searched that day. The married couple, well-known and well-liked by their neighbors, became suspects after an August raid turned up more than 500 marijuana plants at a friend's home in Portland, according to court documents.

After a two-month investigation, members of the Eugene police Rapid Deployment Unit requested and received a warrant Oct. 16 from Lane County Circuit Judge Eveleen Henry allowing the search of the houses at 464 Adams St., 909 W. Fifth Ave. and 923 W. Fifth Ave., their outbuildings and cars.

The unit assembled a team of officers from the Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Metro SWAT team, the Springfield SWAT team and the Portland Police Bureau.

They took advantage of a National Guard counterdrug program that lends out armored vehicles for transporting officers to drug-related searches.

They tossed flash-bang grenades to distract the people inside the houses, and they announced their arrival over the armored vehicle's public address system as they converged on the neighborhood about 6:30 a.m. An ambulance waited nearby, a routine precaution in case someone (A COP) gets hurt.

The officers jumped from the armored truck and other vehicles and fanned out through the properties. They didn't stop to knock, but forced open doors and wrestled the people inside to the ground. One officer briefly placed a black hood over Monroe's head.

The four people involved said they were frightened for their lives, intimidated by police and shocked by the sudden chaos in their homes.

"They came in here and scared everyone to death," Monroe said. "They trashed our houses and accused us of a crime that they have no evidence for. They found no seeds, no pot, not one single plant - nothing."

Inside the houses, police discovered several high-powered fans, fluorescent lights, plastic sheeting, timers, potting soil, fertilizer, plant food, sandwich bags, a scale, 24 electrical outlets and a shop vacuum that contained a trace of marijuana leaves, according to the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant. All are evidence of a well-organized marijuana growing operation that had recently been dismantled, police spokeswoman Pam Olshanski said.

Police gave Monroe and Davage tickets for felony manufacture of a controlled substance. Because most people jailed on nonviolent charges are soon released to make room for more dangerous offenders, Eugene police often write tickets to people who are cooperative, Olshanski said.

One of the couple's tenants was cited for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Police said they found marijuana residue in pipes and baggies inside the house he rents. He will appear in court next week.

More than a month after the raid, no formal charges have been filed against Davage or Monroe in Lane County Circuit Court. Police have returned the items they seized.

NO $HIT...

The case remains under investigation and won't go to the grand jury for indictment unless investigators gather additional information or evidence, according to the county district attorney's office. The district attorney can wait up to three years to file charges, after which the statute of limitations expires and the case dies.

Monroe and Davage have denied all of the allegations and repeatedly said that they don't use drugs and have never grown marijuana.

The items listed on police evidence forms weren't part of a growing lab, they said, but were used in Davage's jewelry-making shop, Monroe's landscaping businesses and renovation work being done on two of the houses, damaged by trees toppled in last February's windstorm.

Contractors helping repair the Fifth Avenue houses have been in every nook and cranny of the homes, from basement to attic, making it impossible for the couple to operate a clandestine drug operation, they said.

"We've been all through the houses and we've never seen anything - no strange activity," Lesa Fisher said. She and her father, a mason, helped rebuild a damaged chimney.

Monroe and Davage, on the advice of their lawyer, won't discuss further details of the case.

But police stand firm in their conviction that the raid was justified.

"As far as drug investigations go, some are more fruitful than others," Turner said.

He and Swenson said there's no time to be polite during a search.

"In this type of a raid, speed is paramount, along with officer safety," Swenson said. "It just takes one flush of a toilet for drugs to go down the drain. Officers have been shot on drug raids where people have had that extra few minutes to arm themselves."

One unfortunate side effect of morning raids is that people are often pulled from bed in various states of undress, police said. The two women involved in the Fifth Avenue raid said they were humiliated. Officers eventually allowed them to cover themselves.

"What everyone is supposed to do is try to uphold the dignity of everybody as much as they can," Turner said.

Police defend their actions 

SEEMS LIKE THE COPS HAVE TO DEFEND THEIR ACTIONS, NO ONE ELSE IS.

The day after the raid, neighbors began voicing their concerns about the search tactics. They called police and the newspaper. A few minutes of videotape shot by a neighbor was broadcast on a cable-access show.

Mildred White, a longtime Whiteaker resident, lives next to one of the houses. Upset by what happened, she was among those who went to the November meeting of the Police Commission.

"This particular invasion was called on the flimsiest of factual data," White said later. "I call it a terrorist act because it terrorized the neighborhood. It seems to me it was based on a scenario out of L.A.

"Would police use the same methods in some impeccable, upper-middle class neighborhood that they use here?"

Another neighbor, Michael Wherley, said police should differentiate between marijuana and more hard-core drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. He doesn't believe that the couple were growing marijuana, but even if they were, he said the police response was "overkill."

"The police really overreacted without doing any legwork," Wherley said. "These people are living in the middle of the neighborhood. They're not going to be violent types."

But Swenson said some of the most dangerous people in the drug trade are marijuana growers,
huh???  who often arm themselves against intruders looking for money and drugs.

As one example, police pointed to a July case, in which two men shot a marijuana grower in the leg during a robbery attempt at his home north of Jasper. The two shooters - one of whom kept police at bay for hours during a stand-off at a Eugene house - were arrested later on attempted murder charges.

In another recent case, officers found 162 marijuana plants - along with 51 guns, including assault rifles, revolvers, shotguns, old military weapons and dozens of magazines loaded with live ammunition - while serving a drug-related search warrant at a Fall Creek house in January 2001.

In that case, no shots were fired. But police also cite a 1982 cocaine raid when Raymond Sander Ainge shot at a Eugene police detective after mistaking police for intruders. GEE I WONDER HOW THE COPS WERE MISTAKEN FOR INTRUDERS???The shot missed, and Ainge was later convicted on four drug charges and one count of attempted murder.

"You don't know when you're going in whether this is going to be a docile person or if it's going to be the hostile person," Swenson said.

"If it was a meth lab there, if it was the Hells Angels, you probably wouldn't hear any qualms about the number of officers we had there."

Nothing in the search warrant affidavit, however, indicates why police felt it necessary to arm themselves to such a degree in the Fifth Avenue case.

Probably because there WAS NO such evidence?

Neither Monroe nor Davage have any kind of criminal history in Oregon, and no one living at the house had a conviction for a violent crime within the state, court records show.

Police wouldn't discuss many details of the investigation, but Swenson and Turner both said officers had information that indicated a potential for danger at the houses.

"If you have information that one person out of five is violent, you're going to address your response to that violent person," Turner said.

It's standard to call in the SWAT team when narcotics investigators believe that a warrant service could turn violent, he said. In this case, police timed the raid for early in the morning, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., before school buses start their routes and workers leave home for the morning commute, he said.

Once SWAT officers gain control of the scene, they hand it over to investigators who read the warrant, gather evidence and make arrests.

Interagency Narcotics Task Force agents serve about 50 drug-related search warrants a year, team supervisor Lt. Lee Thoming said. The task force calls in SWAT members on 12 to 15 of those.

Another tool available to local police is the National Guard's light armored vehicle, which has been used only a handful of times inside Eugene city limits, Swenson said. It's most often used in county warrant services.

The machine has no mounted weapons and is operated by two unarmed National Guard soldiers.

It provides cover for officers in case of gunfire, it can be used to safely transport injured people from a violent scene and it intimidates raid subjects who might otherwise consider fighting off police, National Guard Lt. Col. Rick Williams said.

The presence of the vehicle disturbed neighbors, as did news that police placed a black cloth bag over the head of one of the women detained in the raid.

Police have used the so-called "spit masks" for about 20 years, Swenson said. Designed to protect officers from saliva spewed from the mouths of suspects, they're also used to calm physically or verbally aggressive people, he said. Once the person settles down, officers remove the mask.

"I'm sure it's terrifying," Turner said. "One of the themes in law enforcement and SWAT in general is that you have to dominate your location. It's very aggressive."

Group calls for changes

Whiteaker residents are right to feel that their neighborhood was invaded that morning, said David Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It was," he said.

But the raid tactics may be a sign that the national government's war on drugs has only increased the profit motive for drug dealers, (COPS) who now arm themselves against thieves and competitors - rather than an indication that police are abusing their power, he said.

"My gut feeling is that this is an indication of why our drug laws are all screwed up, rather than a case of police being out of control," Fidanque said.

Police have reason to fear for their safety and they can't be blamed for wanting to avoid getting shot, he said. The tactics used by most
MOST??? agencies have been upheld in court, he said.


"Certainly there have been instances where police have gone into a drug raid and gotten into a gunfight," Fidanque said. "In general, going into a situation like that, unless the police have information from a very reliable source, they're going to prepare for the worst."

That doesn't give police a right, however, "to be rude, to use excessive force or to use tactics designed to terrify people," he said. "It's very, very scary for people who get caught up in that net."

The Whiteaker Community Council headed by Seese-Green plans to make the Fifth Avenue raid a topic of public debate, she said. The group wants to see policy changes addressing how such raids are carried out, she said.

In the meantime, the council will distribute its statement against the raid to the city and the media. Some members plan to attend next Thursday's Police Commission meeting. They will also present their concerns at the January meeting of the city's Neighborhood Advisory Board.

Some in the police department find the complaints ironic, particularly since the Rapid Deployment Unit, which spearheaded the investigation and Fifth Avenue raid, originally was created to combat drug use, violence and prostitution in the neighborhood.

Huhhhhh.... there was no drug use or violence (except by the cops) found.

"Now, certain people want to decide what kind of cases they do," Thoming of the Interagency Narcotics Task Force said.

But, he said, "
Society at large wants us to do this, and the community at large wants us to do this."

Thoming of the Interagency Narcotics Task Force needs to reread these two paragraphs...

The Whiteaker Community Council headed by Seese-Green plans to make the Fifth Avenue raid a topic of public debate, she said. The group wants to see policy changes addressing how such raids are carried out, she said.

In the meantime, the council will distribute its statement against the raid to the city and the media. Some members plan to attend next Thursday's Police Commission meeting. They will also present their concerns at the January meeting of the city's Neighborhood Advisory Board.

I GUESS WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE MORE OF THE SAME UNTIL NEIGHBORS WANDER OVER AND SUGGEST TO THE LITTLE NAZI DRESSED "COP" THAT THEY OFFER UP A GOOD EXPLANATION WITH THE EVIDENCE WHEN THEY DECIDE TO BRING IN THE TANKS BECAUSE A "RELIABLE SOURCE SAID " SOMEONE IN THEIR NEGHBORS HOUSE ALLEGEDLY BROKE A LAW.   PERSONALLY I JUST CANT UNDERSTAND HOW THE DEADLY AND VIOLENT UNARMED CRIMINALS WERE GOING TO FLUSH several high-powered fans, fluorescent lights, plastic sheeting, timers, potting soil, fertilizer, plant food, sandwich bags, a scale, 24 electrical outlets and a shop vacuum DOWN THE TOILET IN THE 1 TO 2 MINUTES.

67 posted on 12/06/2002 12:54:17 AM PST by TLI
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To: TLI
Should make a great civil suit. Of course, the LEOs won't pay, the city (read taxpayers) will. But then maybe the people will think twice about supporting this kind of crap.
68 posted on 12/06/2002 4:37:00 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: Dark Nerd; billybudd; zeugma; golder; TLI; Wolfie
Could you please relate your many experiences with violent pot-heads?

I will relate one incident...

I came across a pot patch once on a hunt. Two men fired upon us. We were well out of range for their cheap 9mm carbines. They were within range for my .300 Browning and I proved to them what an expert marksman I am by picking off their tent poles from 600 meters. Although they decided to run after this demonstration, they did fire first.

My partner was a Marine on leave. (We talked about hunting them down like animals.) It ruined our outing. They were fortunate we returned to the truck, drove to a ranger station and made a complaint. We were never called to ID them or to testify, so I assume they weren't found even though their precious marijuana was.

I think it should be legalized, however, I don't differentiate drug abusers by their drug of choice. All of them are a danger to kids, especially to the teenage girls who a lot of these creeps try to get high to reduce their inhibitions about having sex with them.

I have been around the block a few times, so don't try to piss on my leg and tell me it is raining.

69 posted on 12/06/2002 5:23:17 AM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: Rocksalt
Execute those who push hard drugs. Problem solved!
70 posted on 12/06/2002 5:25:00 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
The same thing will occur if you happen upon a still in Kentucky. Black Market suppliers are notoriously violent, as they are protecting a large profit margin.
71 posted on 12/06/2002 5:33:13 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: GovernmentShrinker
Sounds as of they simply favor aggressive assault over skilled surveillance and intelligence work.

Well, of course, silly...(rolling eyes and clucking tongue) skilled surveillance and intellingence work takes skill and intellingence. Agressive assault merely needs an assaultive personality and a weapon, and the po-lice have plenty of both of those. Why spend time surveiling when you can use your fun toys, rip people out of bed naked, and watch others tremble before your mighty show of force?

72 posted on 12/06/2002 8:12:40 AM PST by Henrietta
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To: willyone
Many people who go into police work just like to push people around. Not all but far to many for the good of society.

Not ALL, just MOST! My theory is that these are guys who didn't get enough respect in high school, couldn't get dates, and have really small penises to boot.

73 posted on 12/06/2002 8:14:31 AM PST by Henrietta
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To: Rocksalt
The TV cop shows have played a significant role in glorifying this type of raid and in the public's acceptance of this type of tactic."Cops" did a long run in the Pacific NW several years ago,and alot of the raids they showed were pot growers and other druggies.

It seems that these TV cop shows are played up, to and for the masses, so as to soften up any resistance; pacify and desensitize the sheeple for the up-coming NWO,  IMHO...

 

74 posted on 12/06/2002 9:32:50 AM PST by ShapeShifter
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
I have been around the block a few times, so don't try to piss on my leg and tell me it is raining.

No argument on the pot garden dangers. I should mention that I wander in pot growing areas often, have had no interaction, I do carry Betsy (45 auto) at all times in said area. Now, lets discuss drugs as a method of raping somebody's children. For years I had the opportunity to employ hundreds of teenagers. It was an opportunity, I considered it a perk, loved those kids! Seems to me, alcohol would be the drug of choice for rape.

Although I'm anti WOD, don't frame me as pro drug.

75 posted on 12/06/2002 11:20:19 AM PST by golder
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To: Dark Nerd
Hey, I've seen a lot of pot related violence too. Mostly by the cops.
76 posted on 12/06/2002 11:27:02 AM PST by breakem
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To: Rocksalt
"It sounds bad, but it prevents problems..."

Except for the problem of roughing up the innocent, of course.

77 posted on 12/06/2002 11:32:32 AM PST by Oberon
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To: Wolfie
The same thing will occur if you happen upon a still in Kentucky. Black Market suppliers are notoriously violent, as they are protecting a large profit margin.

Yes. The same is true of marijuana growers and methamphetamine manufacturing...

78 posted on 12/06/2002 6:35:07 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: golder
Now, lets discuss drugs as a method of raping somebody's children. For years I had the opportunity to employ hundreds of teenagers. It was an opportunity, I considered it a perk, loved those kids! Seems to me, alcohol would be the drug of choice for rape.

I wasn't referring to forceable rape. A lot of the adult and teenage male pot crowd will prey upon young females with the allure of getting stoned. I do think alcohol is the worst drug of choice.

-

Although I'm anti WOD, don't frame me as pro drug.

Wouldn't dream of it my friend...

-

I do carry Betsy (45 auto) at all times in said area.

I like the 1911A, but prefer the Colt Python (revolvers never jam).

79 posted on 12/06/2002 7:09:21 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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