The War on Drugs is Out of Control

I first learned yesterday of a police raid gone wrong.

Busting down the door when the warrant doesn’t specify no-knock? Bad.

Shooting the dogs as they ran away, then leaving them to bleed to death while you interrogate the homeowner? Worse.

Refusing to believe that the homeowner is in fact the Mayor as you force him to kneel on the floor handcuffed in his boxer shorts for hours? Worse still!

But wait! there’s more!

The unopened package containing the drugs giving the cops the “grounds” for the warrant was delivered by the cops! That’s the worst.

There is clearly more to this story, and more keeps dribbling out every day. But as things stand, this stinks.

Yes, one of many reasons we need a Fourth Amendment. You know what we also need? A law that says cops are responsible for the damage they do if it turns out they don’t find what they are looking for. All of a sudden, I think cops will be a lot more careful about busting down doors and shooting dogs.

Cross-posted on ShortWoman.

         

Author: BRIDGET MAGNUS

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12 Comments

  1. I cant help but feel a little wary about this story. There are very real human costs from the war on drugs that are exacted everyday. As a society, we don't seem to get upset about those.

    But now that a white dude got his dogs shot we better call our Congressmen? Weird.

  2. This is, unfortunately, not that uncommon. SWAT teams serving warrants, doing no knocks and getting the wrong house. People have been murdered in these raids, but it doesn't seem to discourage the cops. There is just no reason for serving warrants in this fashion over drugs.

  3. absolutely shameful. the “war on drugs” is a war on people who enjoy substances other than alcohol and cigarettes. it's another pretext to increase the power of the state.

  4. Radley Balko does great job of covering these types of cases at his blog, The Agitator.

    When police raids go wrong, it's almost always on a drug bust.

    As libertarians used to say , the war on drugs is a war on your neighbors. It's especially a war on your neighbors' dogs.

  5. I'm not criticizing cops in general. Being a cop is a hard job. They deal with knuckleheads, and worse, all day long. And they're expected to grin and bear it. So if they forget to grin, I'm not going to complain.

    But the cops in this case are supposed to be trained to know what they're doing.

  6. Every cop I have ever met has a bully attitude. I don't know if they trained that way or if people go into police work because they enjoy being tough guy and looking for opportunities to get physical or psycological advantage over lesser physical specimens. I have NEVER heard a cop say please or thank you. I would NEVER trust a cop with anything.

    In the above case the Sheriff refuses to apologize. Such a simple act would probably diffuse the entire situation. But of course real men and bullies NEVER say sorry. If you notice in all these situations it's never the police who apologize, it's always some flack in the prosecuters or mayors office.

    The police in America seem to have become militarized. They seem to feel they are in a war and everyone they meet is a threat. It's like the case here in NJ where there was an auto accident and the police asked a lady on the sidewalk(she looked hispanic) if she would help translate for the police in questioning the accident victims on what happened. She complied but after the ambulances had left with the people she told the cop she had to leave to pick up her child at daycare. The cop adopted an attitude and told her she had to stay until HE said it was okay to leave. She turned to leave and he tackled her, slapped her in handcuffs and took her to jail. The charges were eventually dropped but the poor lady was out lawyers fees etc. Nothing happened to the cop – not even an admonishment. That's what you get for helping cops. Thanks but no thanks.

  7. I think it was AustinRoth or Jazz who said it well in a thread before. Cops do have a tough job and most of them are decent people. There are bad apples in all groups but not all groups have guns and search warrants. :)

    I'm kind of with the libertarians on this, legalize it and let Darwin take over. That also mean no state sponsored treatment programs.

  8. jdledell . . . Yes, such stories are legion, unfortunately.

    There was a case on CNN today about a female cop in Chicago who for years has been waving her gun, badge and handcuffs around in no less than six Starbucks outlets in order to get free coffee and pastries.

    She was suspended for 15 months by the police commission.

    Bridget makes a good point, in focusing on the “war on drugs”. Somehow, cops feel the very word “drugs” gives them carte blanche to do whatever they want. I imagine there will be lawsuits in this case . . . and the police will settle out of court (the warrant issue opens them up, for sure. If this goes to the Supremes, even Scalia would roast their asses). The public's taxes will foot the bill, ultimately.

    Nothing will happen to the cops, I imagine. Unless the Mayor is prepared to make a big stink, that is, and spend the next few years looking over his shoulder. He won't be able to even jaywalk without being busted. Alas . . . one of my best friends being a prosecutor of many years experience . . . I know that cops have long memories for those who cross them.

  9. Remember, this bust wasn't done by the local police department. It was the county sheriff's department and they didn't even let the local cops know what was going on. They didn't even involve the Feds even though this involved a package they knew was coming in from Arizona. I really doubt the city police department was amused at all by this.

  10. This is what we have Section 5 – the enforcement clause – of the 14th Amendment for. Congress might have to pass federal civil rights legislation to address a pattern of 4th Amendment violations by localities engaging in what amounts to home invasion. That's the suggestion of Instapundit, who – like Bridget Magnus – additionally favors the idea of stripping cops of immunity when they act not as cops but as common thugs.

  11. Drug reform is overdue. Civil asset forfeiture (fortunately not a big issue here) is obvious abuse (plunder, in fact) and a little logic from the-rise-of-HMOs days is in order here, using a similar institution to our corrections system for enlightenment: Prisons, like hospitals, are expensive, dangerous places and their use should be reserved for those who belong there. That means, in the case of prisons, mainly for the violent (even as this constitutes an admission of the overlap of the corrections system with the mental health system run by governments). Let the non-violent offenders be subject to fines, some seizures (after conviction!), debts, garnishments, and so on.

    100% legalization is silly but reform of our laws makes sense. (It would and should be done on a drug-by-drug basis.)

  12. Jdledell, you are over-reacting if you over-generalize, but yes, there are instances where people are hiding behind the badge to be able to “break heads,” as a radical colleague of mine in Seattle put it. I'm not as worried as some on the so-called militarization of police (while many want to weaken our military and convert it to a UN-style peace-keeping police force at the same time!); some inner cities still require a heavy response to the gangs. It wouldn't bother me to see Strykers sold to and used by SWAT teams; even more may sometimes be needed. In the 1992 riots I was still living in California (in LA, working 2 miles from some of the riots) and I was asked by people elsewhere, “Where on earth was the ARMY?”).

    It depends on how these people are managed.

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