Friday Morning Rant: Police As Home Invaders

The family of that girl who shot at a SWAT officer during a pre-dawn raid on her home is saying she thought it was a burglar and not police. Hard not to give that claim some credence. When police start using the same tactics as violent home invaders, how do you tell the difference?

The fact is, these no-knock raids and dynamic entries do little but escalate the potential for violence and militarize the police. What’s more, the number of botched SWAT raids where innocents are hurt or killed is alarming. The head of Dallas’ SWAT team has said time and again he wants to cultivate a “warrior mindset” among his officers. Think about that for a minute. The job of a warrior is to kill his enemy. The job of a police officer is to look at everyone — yes, even suspects — as citizens who have rights that must be respected. When you try to blend the two, what could possibly go wrong?

Comments

  • JS

    Gimme a break. Why did that house have a home security system with cameras and video monitors? Why did they have a loaded gun right next to the bed (didn’t one story say something about an infant also being in the bed with them)? How many home invaders use flash bangs?

    This situation is exactly why courts authorize no knock warrants. You have a repeat drug offender involved in a major trafficking ring. You can be virtually certain he is armed. You attempt to surprise them in the middle of the night so as to minimize their opportunity to grab weapons or destroy evidence. But I’m sure everything would’ve turned out ok if the police had waited until 9 am or so, knocked on the front door, and politely waited for someone to answer.

  • treyg

    I have a video surveillance system and several guns near the bed. So what? Why are police throwing in grenades where they know there are infants?

  • JS

    Have you also been convicted of possession of a controlled substance and spent almost a year in jail? Were you also arrested a couple of years ago for meth distribution, possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful weapons possession? Are you under indictment for conspiring to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and more than 5 kilograms of cocaine (while you are out on bail from the charges in the 2005 arrest)? Hmmm, I wonder why the guy has a video surveillance system.

    I’m all for gun rights, but you have loaded weapons that you can just roll over, grab, and start shooting? That sounds safe, whether or not there is a kid in the house. (BTW, I suspect the police did not know there was a kid sleeping in the same room when they threw in a flash bang, which really is not a “grenade” in the sense that most people think of such a thing).

  • treyg

    Tell you what – you pull the pin on a flash-bang and let it go off in your hand. Now imagine it going off next to an infant.

  • elcerdo

    And where JS, would you store a weapon? Safety must be practiced 1st and foremost. However, for a weapon to be effective for home defense it must be in condition 1, ready to fire and must be accessable in the few seconds it takes a burglar to enter your home.
    How about doing some old fashioned police work BEFORE you execute a no knock warrant? You know the kind where you WATCH and are DAMN sure of what is going on and EXACTLY where it is taking place.

  • Wylie H.

    The increasing “militarization” of police is indeed an alarming trend. The use of no-knock warrants has led to all sorts of mayhem; the most troubling are those incidents where the no-knock warrants have been accidently served at the wrong address and/or on parties with absolutely no connection to the purported wrong doing.

  • JS, the burden of proof is on the police, not the accused.

    The mentality of the police seems to be “The occasional accidental killing of an innocent – because we had the wrong address or something – is okay as long as no officers are killed.”

    No wonder the police have less and less respect lately.

  • Morgan

    Hey JS, what about the repeated wrong-address-raids? It’s not just this case, it’s the trend. I believe police that do not identify themselves as they enter a residence have every right to be shot.

    Drugs are the worst reason, anyway. The place has obviously been sitting for a while, like it’s so critical they get in there and start grenading before they kill someone.

    All this work on the drug war and we release pedophiles daily, people that actually hurt unwilling children. Drugs are voluntary. It’s just not a priority, and it’s not a reason to kill innocent people with late-night-no-knock raids, unless the police are willing to be criminally charged for their mistakes.

  • Max

    Sorry js, I don’t want to live in your country. As Edwin Meese once said, “Of course suspects are guilty. Otherwise they wouldn’t be suspects.” I don’t believe that.

    Maybe you should try North Korea?

  • ATLien

    Funny, JS, none of that guy’s rap shows any signs of violence. I’m not the biggest fan of drug dealers, but it’s essentially a victimless, non-violent crime. Unless the suspect has a history of violent confrontation, there’s no need for the police to use the most aggressive tactics. Period. Besides, the old lady here in Atlanta was supposedly part of a “criminal drug ring”. How’d that work out?

  • LSKennedy

    I’m with treyg. Please do that. Its not really a “grenade”, right?

    The fact is, it is not acceptable to have armed men bursting into private residences without making their identity known, especially if they don’t know if there are children or other innocents present. It really should not have been difficult to determine who was inside if the authorities had performed any surveillance whatsoever.

  • The Monster

    If an armed intruder comes into your house, you’re justified in shooting him. The normal penalties attached to “shooting a police officer” can’t apply if the officer hasn’t yet identified himself as such. The shooter can’t be reasonably expected to know he’s a cop, especially suffering disorientation from being half asleep when the flash-bangs hit.

    Think about that for a moment. The entire purpose of the no-knock raid is to catch people when they are most vulnerable, semi- or unconscious, and to deliberately render them even more disoriented. How a person under those circumstances can be expected to see “POLICE” on a SWAT member’s outfit, or be able to hear an oral identification, is beyond me.

  • Henry Bowman

    I guess JS was trained by the Waffen SS…

  • Lindsay

    I’m no expert on these things, but isn’t the purpose of a ‘flash-bang’ to disorient somebody? Add to that the noise of breaking and entering, and being awakened abruptly, and it seems such actions by residents are to be expected.
    All the more reason we should all be disarmed, I guess.

  • bkw

    If I were a criminal planning a forceful home invasion robbery, I would certainly break in to the house shouting “Police! Drop your weapons!”

    Food for thought.

  • Roger

    I’d suggest reading Radley Balko’s material over at Reason Magazine.

  • To quote a television show (Battlestar Galactica, in fact):

    “The police protect the people. The military protects the state. When the military becomes the police, the people become the enemies of the state.”

    Someone should tell that to the head of Dallas SWAT.

  • jaed

    In the days when police wore recognizable uniforms and badges, and didn’t break into people’s homes in the middle of the night, it wasn’t hard to tell good guys from bad guys. Accordingly, a person who shot a cop could be reasonably considered up to no good.

    Things are different now. A group of men break down your door at four in the morning. They’re dressed in black. They’re waving guns. They’re all screaming orders and obscenities at you. They point loaded guns at your six-year-old’s head as they herd him into the living room. They start tearing the house apart. Is this a home invasion burglary? Is the gang about to rob you and then kill you and your family? Or is this a SWAT team executing a no-knock warrant? (Maybe you could politely ask them to turn around so you can see whether they have the word “Police” on the *back* of their jackets?) You’ve got two seconds to decide. Your life and that of your family is at stake. What do you do?

    If cops don’t want to be treated like thugs, they should comport themselves in such a way that it’s possible to distinguish them from thugs.

  • Jlt

    Holy cow! I used to repsect police in my day! this is outrageous, trwoing a flashbang next to anybody in the middle of a night will scare the crap out of them! but next to an infant?? how stupid are they? if somebody came into my house in the middle of the night id be scared as heck, if it seemed threatning i would defend myself with anything! i think most everybody would aggre with me

  • Dan Hamilton

    That is one thing that is great about living in Texas. If the police use excessive force you have the right to resist that force upto and including deadly force.

    Since Dynamic Entry is by definition excessive force. Unless you are a Violent felon shooting the police is quite legal during a Dynamic Entry. The SWAT normally kills anyone with a gun so you have to shoot first and a lot. If you survive you should be no billed by the Grand Jury because of Black Letter Texas Law.

    SWAT should be outlawed and made illegal.

    Remember shoot first, shoot fast, and shoot with something with authority. But only in Texas.

  • Mark Buehner

    The point of a flashbang is to disorient. Think about that. This is a nation where a lot of people legally own guns. This police procedure is to come at night (where the people in the residence are sleeping, and hence disoriented), throw a grenade through a window to disorient, break down the door and rush in in the dark. Their tactics are DESIGNED to confuse and create fear. That cops are being shot or shooting armed citizens should be anything but a surprise. They are intentionally cornering putting people into a panic, as a matter of policy.

  • Andrew

    It started to go wrong around the time
    the courts began to allow confiscation of
    “property” used in commission of a crime.
    Now you have armored personnel carriers
    rolling down the streets of Dallas.
    No knock raids are almost always about drugs.

  • T

    I wonder if you’d say that in front of his family.

    Sure thing, TheNewGuy! Of course, since I live by Houston, I probably won’t see them. But have them drop by the house and I’ll be glad to point out the obvious. If you act like a thug, you’ll get shot like a thug. Them’s the breaks and what you have to expect if you work on a SWAT team.

  • Dan Hamilton

    I wonder if you’d say that in front of his family.

    Of course I would.

    HE BROKE TEXAS LAW BY USING EXCESSIVE FORCE!!

    Unless the person in the home is a Violent Felon with a RECORD of violence Dynamic Entry is against Texas Law. If SWAT gets shoot it is THEIR OWN FAULT!!!

    The only thing bad about this is that more didn’t get shot. If they had then maybe the police would rethink SWAT and go back to being legal.

  • Anyone who thinks that a flashbang isn’t dangerous, especially to an infant, should read the police Flashbang 101.

  • treyg

    SWAT team members are not “operators.” They don’t have the training of military special operators, nor should they. SWAT, like all police, are civilians.

  • TheNewGuy

    HE BROKE TEXAS LAW BY USING EXCESSIVE FORCE!!

    Bolding your statement doesn’t make it true, Mr. Hamilton.

    Weapons were present, and clearly kept at the ready. The home had a counter-surveilance system in place, with multiple cameras (and it worked). The main suspect has multiple drug and weapon charges on his record, going back to 2003. That combo equals no-knock, served by SWAT, on almost every tactical-team threat matrix I’ve ever seen (whether the judge will issue a no-knock warrant is another matter).

    Unless the person in the home is a Violent Felon with a RECORD of violence Dynamic Entry is against Texas Law.

    Then I’m sure you’ll have no problem pointing me to that section of Texas state law (you don’t have to excerpt it here… a simple link will suffice). The judge that signed that no-knock warrant must be unaware of it.

    The only thing bad about this is that more didn’t get shot.

    I applaud the strength of your convictions, and wish you the best of luck acting on them.

  • treyg

    By the way, the legitimate criticism of certain tactics employed by police should in no way be considered a green light to wish harm on police officers. That’s deplorable. I think everyone hopes for a speedy recovery for the wounded officer.

  • TheNewGuy

    SWAT team members are not “operators.” They don’t have the training of military special operators, nor should they. SWAT, like all police, are civilians.

    Not this again… Where did I say police officers aren’t civilians? The term “operator” is used both in military and police tactical teams… but feel free to call them whatever you like.

    Incidently, police DO share many tactics and training schools with military special operators. Choose whatever nomenclature you like, but police tactical teams commonly cross-train with military units, and vise versa; CQB tactics are CQB tactics. The military uses different weapons and ROE, but the flow of team members through a structure, weapons transitions, operator-down drills, use of NFDs, shooting drills… all common ground between .mil and police.

    When I was deployed for OEF, the SF guys I was supporting were very interested in how civilian SWAT teams were doing things. I remember a very long discussion one night with a couple of 5th Group operators about different ways to clear stairwells (their short answer was to use grenades…).

    I await your “militarization” criticism in reponse to the above post.

  • treyg

    Keep waiting. I’m off to drink.

  • TheNewGuy

    By the way, the legitimate criticism of certain tactics employed by police should in no way be considered a green light to wish harm on police officers. That’s deplorable. I think everyone hopes for a speedy recovery for the wounded officer.

    Thank you for that… it wish it were more common to be able to discuss these matters without some people wishing death on their opponents.

  • TheNewGuy

    Drinking is a fine idea… cheers!

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/01/addiction-is-genetic-disease.html

    Addiction Is A Genetic Disease

    So says the NIDA. Link at the above url.

    So how do the cops feel about persecuting people for their genetic differences?

  • TLH

    Don’t forget, Texas judges are ELECTED. Just because the judge issued the no-knock warrant doesn’t necessarily make his interpretation of the law correct. It only makes him a politician who wants to keep his job.

  • TheNewGuy

    The no knock raid is to prevent the ‘destruction of evidence’. That means to prevent druggies from flushing stuff down the toilet.

    No.

    Common misconception, and probably a decade or so out of date. At one time, it was considered acceptable to do that, but most tactical teams have moved away from that, for one simple reason.

    The reason? Nobody’s life is worth a bag of dope. Going dynamic on an entry means everything moves fast; it’s usually over in a matter of seconds. This done to overwhelm the suspects before they can mount a defense (which is safer for them as well, as it avoids stand-offs, hostage situations, and shoot-outs. You want to arrest them, not kill them). With that increased speed comes increased risk, so no-knocks are generally only done when the risk of knock-and-announce it considered too great (and cops and judges don’t always agree on that either).

    It’s also not so easy to flush 5 kilos of Cocaine and a half-kilo of Meth, which is what the suspect is charged with dealing.

  • Like Jacques was suggesting, the authorities might want to consider the ancient Chinese saying, ‘A man’s toilet isn’t a throne with a tail.’ A suspected drug dealer might get a letter in the mail telling him that, as suspected drugholder, he was going to have a sewer cut out installed for potential collection of evidence in case the police not on steroids might want to come by for a community visit.

  • I note that no drugs were found.

    How is that possible?

  • TheNewGuy

    How is that possible?

    Stash houses aren’t just used to store drugs… they’re sometimes used to cache money, weapons, lab equipment, chemical reagents, etc.

    The suspect was reportedly a guy who laundered money for the rest of the organization, to the tune of about 16 million, which would explain the purported IRS involvement in this warrant. It would also explain the weapons.

  • rifleman

    Personally, I do not care what black letter law or judicial findings or custom say about it. There are limits to how servile I am willing to behave. Responding to a home invasion by armed men with downcast eyes, kneeling with my hands behind my head exceeds those limits by a bunch.

    Invade my home without presenting a warrant and cop or robber my dogs will announce you before you reach the door and I will shoot you, as many as I can, with a rifle that will go through both sides of most vests and the thug in between.

    And no, I would not expect to survive such an experience. “Sooner dead than a serf.”

  • Norm

    Question from a civilian

    Children in the home…

    It sounds like when planning a raid there is no thought given to whether or not there are kids in the home. Is it really so imperative to get a bad guy that the police are willing to terrorize and potentially harm or kill a kid(s) just to get a bad guy?

    I would have assumed that if it were known that kids were in the home then the police would have waited until the suspect came out so as to not endanger others.

    Isn’t this the way it used to work?

  • treyg

    I have yet to hear a solid argument as to why — if a suspect is considered so dangerous — police should not conduct round-the-clock surveillance and apprehend him when he is out of his house and most vulnerable. Even David Koresh went to Burger King.

  • Dan Marino (no relation)

    I hope a few more of these testosterone-fueled SF-wannabees get shot pulling this macho-stormtrooper crap. Not necessarily killed, but a few months recovery might remind them that they were hired as cops, not Space Marines.

    I’m stunned that the wrong-address no-knocks don’t get more play……cops can make mistakes and kill us with impunity while we are held to impossible standards of alertness and care.

    Anyone coming into my house suddenly at night while I’m asleep is getting shot. You want to arrest people, don’t do it in their strongholds where there is almost a guarantee of violence. But violence is apparently what these thugs in blue WANT.

    If you mistake a bad guy for a cop and hold fire, you definitely get raped or killed. If you mistake a cop for a bad guy, you MIGHT survive. They don’t seem to be very good shots (hence the fully automatic weapons).

    Good luck, civilians! Remember, center of mass and don’t stop til they go down. Hopefully it won’t be a cop, but if so, too bad.

  • TheNewGuy

    Question from a civilian

    Children in the home…

    It sounds like when planning a raid there is no thought given to whether or not there are kids in the home. Is it really so imperative to get a bad guy that the police are willing to terrorize and potentially harm or kill a kid(s) just to get a bad guy?

    We’re all civilians, including me.

    Presence of children and other occupants is absolutely taken into account when doing raid planning, and can gain a particular warrant “points” towards having a full-on SWAT team serve it. Intel is generally obtained on location, floor-plan, sleeping arrangements, location of weapons or contraband, type of fortifications, counter-surveilance, dogs, neighboring structures, (is it next to a daycare center or old-folks home?), etc.

    Medical pre-planning is also done, including putting the nearest trauma center on standby if the warrant looks particularly ugly. Children’s services is also brought in beforehand if children are going to be present. If possible, the warrant will be done when the children aren’t there (eg. they go to the ex-wife on the weekends).

    Simply taking down a suspect when he’s out in public is not as easy as it sounds, primarily due to the greatly increased likelihood of collateral damage. The suspect will generally go mobile (either on foot or in a vehicle), potentially resulting in a running gun battle, or him going to ground somewhere and taking hostages (like the daycare center I mentioned above). A high-speed chase in a vehicle would endanger yet more people, and plenty of police depts have been sued over pursuits.

    At home, the suspect is likely to be surrounded by people he values, rather than random people he’d just as soon use as human shields, or kill if they get in his way. You also have much more control over the scene, and can time your raid exactly, hopefully catching the suspect napping, or even in the shower.

    Home is generally considered better than out in public.

  • Incidently, police DO share many tactics and training schools with military special operators.

    This is really pushing at the edge of the envelope of the Posse Comitatus Act.

    If I were a criminal planning a forceful home invasion robbery, I would certainly break in to the house shouting “Police! Drop your weapons!”

    This actually happened to me. As a result, I would not believe someone saying that unless I could see that they were in uniform – and if I am subjected to a flashbang at 4am, and thus am disoriented, I may not be able to make that split-second judgement; I’d have to assume it is a home invasion robbery and act accordingly to protect my family.

    As the police become more and more violent, and behave precisely like thugs on a home invasion, they will find themselves in ever more tragedies. Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results”.

    It is long past time to change tactics.

  • MarsVsHollywood

    But violence is apparently what these thugs in blue WANT.

    Then why is Miss Villa still alive?

    She shot a cop in the neck. He almost died. If they were looking for an excuse, there it was. Yet the initial report indicates that she was apprehended without the police firing a shot.

  • TheNewGuy

    So the cops are using the suspect’s babies as human shields for themselves.

    And bragging about it.

    Un-freaking-real.

    Bragging? I’m explaining; please reread what I wrote, but this time do it without a chip on your shoulder.

    The police aren’t using anyone as shields or hostages… the suspects, however, have no such reservations. They’re much less likely to pull that stunt with their own wife/kids than a total stranger.

    The police would love to be able to take them alone, with no chance of bystanders getting involved… but that’s not always possible. As with many things in life, you do the best you can when faced with a set of unsavory choices.

  • Nowotherside

    Give me a break…. Do you think these people really cared about that child. NO, what parent that truely cares puts their child in a drug infected, crime scene? These people that deal in this type of behavior have look outs that know what is going on 24/7. Warrants on people like his take planning. I applaud DPD and all other agency that attempt work to clean up these drug infested areas. I only wish that the had enough resources to make a difference. The world we live in today to much to LIBERAL for it’s own good. Gone are the days of safe living. Our children can now longer run and play as they did 40 years ago. Our children can no longer trust people. IT IS TIME TO MAKE OUR WORLD SAFER… IF THAT MEANS RUNNING ARREST WARRANTS AT 6 AM TO GET THESE DRUG DEALERS OFF THE STREETS…. LET’S DO IT NOW. To any Dallas Swat officer reading this. Do not let the words of these liberals get to you, continue cleaning up the streets of Dallas knowing, that the people here would want you doning the same thing in their little world if a multi million dollar drug operation was in thier neighborhood selling to their children!

  • It is a class war. If you have money and standing in the community Drs. will provide meds that fill the exact same receptors that illegal drugs fill.

    If you are lower class the Dr. may not prescribe or you may not be able to afford such meds. Dealers of illegal drugs fill that niche market. Which seems to be large enough to support a whole infrastructure:

    Class War

    BTW any one remember how successful alcohol prohibition was in eliminating the illegal alcohol market?

  • Kev

    On the somewhat lighter side for a moment, did anyone else hear that press conference with the police spokesman the other morning when the SWAT officer got shot? I couldn’t believe the ridiculous questions that some people were asking. Right after the spokesman said that there were federal warrants involved, someone actually expected the spokesman to reveal the nature of the warrant (not his job, genius…and some things might have been covert for a good reason).

    But the coup de grace was when, after the spokesman said that the people in the house were an adult female, three adult males and an infant, someone actually asked if all five people in the house were arrested. I admire the restraint of the spokesman when he explained that, obviously, the infant wasn’t charged with anything.

  • All felons risk capture outside the home in doing their dastardly deeds. I remind you of the Waco incident. They had numerous opportunitys to take David outside the compound. Yet all those people died because maximum force was applied for no reason. Catch the bad guy in the act, if you come into the home in the dead of night you should be shot.

  • Dan Marino (no relation)

    “IF THAT MEANS RUNNING ARREST WARRANTS AT 6 AM TO GET THESE DRUG DEALERS OFF THE STREETS…. LET’S DO IT NOW. To any Dallas Swat officer reading this. Do not let the words of these liberals get to you, continue cleaning up the streets of Dallas knowing, that…”

    And don’t bother double-checking the address; if you smash into the wrong house and terrorize innocent people, you can’t be sued. You won’t even have to pay for the door. Anyone who disagrees or shoots back must be a criminal themselves.

    And don’t let it bother you that the drug war itself has done far more damage than drugs; you wouldn’t have the cool guns and get to act like Ultra-Badass-Special Forces without it. So get out there and kick in some nursery doors and don’t let reality spoil your fun….HooWaa!

  • TheNewGuy

    And don’t let it bother you that the drug war itself has done far more damage than drugs; you wouldn’t have the cool guns and get to act like Ultra-Badass-Special Forces without it. So get out there and kick in some nursery doors and don’t let reality spoil your fun….HooWaa!

    We live in a nation of laws, Dan… and as long as drugs are illegal (I get the distinct impression you feel they should NOT be), and the drug trade so violent, expect LEOs to continue arresting dealers and money launderers. Generally speaking, Police don’t get to pick and choose what laws to enforce.

    If you want the laws changed, then I’d suggest taking it up with your elected representative. Anything less is an extra-legal morass.

    As an aside, I dearly hope you’re not advocating expanding the scope of “officer discretion” to allow officers to only enforce the laws they like, or make/disregard laws whenever they see fit. That’s how it was done in the bad ole’ days of law enforcement (“street justice,” back-alley beat-downs, etc); I don’t believe any of us wants a return to that.

    Incidently, speaking as a prior-servicemember, there’s no “W” in “Hooah.”

  • Frogwatch

    You come to breaak into my house without knocking, you will get shot. If you are a cop then it is your fault, not mine, too bad for you. When cops act like criminals, they get treated like criminals. This isnt the Soviet Union, it is the USA and we do not tolerate Stormtrooper behavior here.

  • Dan Marino (no relation)

    I never said I thought drugs should be legal, but the massive emphasis placed on the “Drug War” and the continual strengthening of the police arsenal is leading to a serious erosion in the rights of ordinary citizens and an increase in the militarization of the police. This is aside from the fact that it has had virtually no effect on drug availability….just fills up the prisons and has cops thinking of themselves as “warriors”. I think that’s scary. How long before they’re tossing frag grenades into houses?

    I have to think there is a middle ground between making drugs legal and cops running dangerous quasi-military operations in our neighborhoods. Stopping most dangerous and pointless high-speed chases has not led to an explosion in crime, but has reduced the number of citizens killed by police chases.

    And I doubt most of the Cop-Commandos know how to spell “Hooah”, either. After all, they aren’t soldiers….. and I’d like to keep them from acting like they are.

  • If the SWAT team had the wrong house, then they deserve every bit of the firepower they get.

    I’m not sugar-coating anything here, but if the police want to barge on my property – with or without warrants – they better be ready for property rights protection.

    I don’t care if I’ve got 70 kilos of coke in my garage, the property rights protections still apply.

    And if that means a SWAT person gets shot, so be it.

  • Nick

    What the SWAT Team does not want you to know.

    From a study by Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. who teaches law in the University of Georgia
    School of Law

    STUN GRENADES

    “It is now a not uncommon practice for police effecting no-knock entry to detonate stun grenades in residences after they have broken open a door or window but prior to their actually entering the premises.

    This, of course, is exactly what happened in Alberta Spruill’s case. She was a victim of what might be called “explosive dynamic entry.” Alberta Spruill was not the first but, at a minimum, the fourth person slain by American police using stun grenades to execute a search warrant. On Dec. 13, 1984, Los Angeles police killed a woman who died of injuries resulting from the explosion of several stun grenades thrown into the room of her residence where she was watching television, and on Jan. 25, 1989 an elderly couple in Minneapolis, Minnesota died in bed of smoke inhalation after police threw a stun grenade through a window in their residence, starting a fire.”

    Stun grenades were introduced into the arsenal of American police agencies, and deployed for the first time, by Los Angeles, California police in 1982. Although there can be no doubt that the police tactic of using stun grenades to serve warrants on residences has been steadily increasing, or that the grenades are now used for this purpose by police throughout the United States, it is difficult to obtain reliable statistical information on the matter.( This is unsurprising. Although the government collects and disseminates gigabytes of statistics on crimes or acts of violence committed by citizens against other citizens, or by citizens against police, there are hardly any official statistics on crimes or acts of violence committed against citizens by police. Crime statistics do not, for example, tell us how many people are shot or clubbed or Maced by police, or suffer injuries while being arrested or while in police custody, or are subjected to a chokehold or fingerhold, or bitten by a police dog.) A 1987 California Supreme Court decision discloses that in 1985 the Los Angeles police deployed stun grenades on 25 occasions, and following Alberta Spruill’s killing New York City police announced that while executing search warrants in the late 1990’s the Emergency Service Unit used stun grenades 50 to 75 times a year, 66 times in 2000, 129 times in 2001, and 152 times in 2002. Between Jan. 1 and May 16, 2003 it used stun grenades to serve warrants 85 times.

    “It seems indisputable that during the past 20 years police have effected hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of explosive dynamic entries all over the country and that during the past five years there have been more such entries than in all previous years.

    A stun grenade, unlike the traditional grenade, the purpose of which is to kill or wound, is designed to stun and distract by producing a temporarily blinding light and a temporarily deafening concussion, but without the propulsion or dispersion of shrapnel.

    A stun grenade produces a sensory overload with a loud bang and a brilliant flash which disorients and confuses persons nearby.

    It also produces smoke.

    Stun grenades carry a warning label that misuse can cause physical injury or death.

    To downplay the sinister police-state implications of their growing use of these explosive devices, police refuse to call them stun grenades, preferring to use euphemisms such as “flash bangs,” “distractionary devices,” “diversionary devices,” “cylindrical pyrotechnical devices,” or even “a type of firecracker.” In 2000, however, a federal court of appeals, vigorously expressed its disdain for both these linguistic affectations and the increasing police use of stun grenades, remarking that “police cannot automatically throw bombs into the drug dealers’ houses, even if the bomb goes by the euphemism ‘flash bang device.'”

    Stun grenades are regarded as nonlethal weapons, but they are inherently dangerous and can, as the killing of Alberta Spruill proves, cause death. “The term ‘nonlethal’ refers to the goal which is to avoid fatalities,” Lt. Col. James C. Duncan writes in an article published in the Naval Law Review in 1998. “The public should be aware that the use of a nonlethal weapon always raises the possibility of serious injury, death, or destruction of property.”

    STUN GRENADES produce over 180 decibles of sound, intense heat, 8 million candle power, concussion and are designed to blind, deafen and disorientate. And the SWAT nazi’s then have the balls to say “well you should have seen and heard us yell police”. Yea Right.

  • Truth Be Known

    “Unless the person in the home is a Violent Felon with a RECORD of violence Dynamic Entry is against Texas Law.”
    “That is one thing that is great about living in Texas. If the police use excessive force you have the right to resist that force upto and including deadly force.

    Since Dynamic Entry is by definition excessive force. Unless you are a Violent felon shooting the police is quite legal during a Dynamic Entry. The SWAT normally kills anyone with a gun so you have to shoot first and a lot. If you survive you should be no billed by the Grand Jury because of Black Letter Texas Law.”

    WOW! I haven’t even read to the bottom of these post, but I had to stop and question this. What, exactly, is Black Letter Texas Law? Where can I find it? There is a man in McKinney that was shot 7 times by SWAT, who was “serving a warrant” to him on bogus charges. He was tried for Aggravated Assualt on a Public Servent, and received a 5 year sentence. He is an innocent man. His attorney has filed a motion for a re-trail and the hearing for this is coming up in a few weeks. I would like this information if it will help him. Please tell me what you can.

  • Nick

    A cite on so called “black letter laws”: http://www.answers.com/topic/black-letter-law

    Unfortunately the presumption that an explosive dynamic entry “is by definition excessive force” is not supported by the concept of “black letter laws” – although I wish that were true.

    Over the past 20 years the Posse Comitatus Act has been , in essence eliminated, Habeas Corpus obviated by simply (and without any substantiation) calling a person a terrorist. The Supreme Court citing Judge Scalia’s phrasing of the “new professionalism” of the police forces has removed virtually all restrictions on SWAT Raids — even allowing the infamous “no-knock and no announce raids” which DIRECTLY contradict the States Castle Laws. And no matter what the attackers do, if they are criminals and you don’t defend yourself — you are dead or worse — if they are cops you are dead or charged with first degree felony assault — even if they are attacking the WRONG HOME. Because MAGICALLY, in split seconds, you the terrified homeowner are supposed to figure all this out and make the “right decision” in about 3 seconds. Oh — and all the private property destroyed — to include you house burned to the ground? Tough. Insurance companies do not cover acts of the government. SO your only option is to sue and you better have between $250,000 to $500,000 laying around to take your case to Federal Court. Taking the case to the same county as the city and police department is from — shall we say — is a wasted effort.

    For just one example, you would think a judge signing a warrant would have to review and approve the execution of a pre-planned (i.e. no exigent circumstances at the scene)”no-knock, no knock” violent explosive dynamic entry wouldn’t you? WRONG!

    In McKinney, Judge Curt Henderson received a subpoena to testify about the McKinney Police departments claim that they don’t even have to inform the judge about SWAT raid plans — (no matter how ridiculous and unwarranted.) Believe it or not, Judge Curt Henderson testified that it absolutely correct. His “policy” which he has made known to the MPD is they have his approval carte blanche — don’t even bother to tell him about it.
    So, the police write the warrant, they decide AHEAD OF TIME to go in to f*ck somebody up and the judge’s policy is a “rubber stamped don’t ask — don’t tell”. Wanna bet who the MPD takes all their SWAT attack warrants to for “approval”?

    The saddest thing for our Constitution and Bill of Rights is to see SWAT shows like Dallas SWAT which glamorize what used to be violations of our most basic rights. Does anyone remember “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?” Unfortunately, people have become so uneducated these days about what our country is supposed to be about (the rule of law for one thing) that they don’t even see or understand the irony.

  • Truth Be Known

    My heart truly goes out to this girl. I know what she is going through. I will follow her case closely.

  • NICK

    JS @ October 19th, 2007 at 9:26 am wrote:

    “Gimme a break. Why did that house have a home security system with cameras and video monitors? Why did they have a loaded gun right next to the bed?”

    —————————————
    JS with respect that is one o f the dumbest pieces of “non-logic” I have ever read.

    First of all neither is illegal.

    Second of all doing so is a Constitutional right.

    Third, I keep (and know many LEO’s who do the same) a loaded ready to go firearm at my headboard and always have.

    Fourth, my home came equipped with an external home security system.

    Fifth, and best of all (just wait) When I had every single one of the standard smoke detectors in my house (every room, every hallway, every stairwell) upgraded to ones containing mini surveillance devices.

    Sixth, both external and internal security systems are hardwired and wirelessly connected to my DVR server – backed up on site and off site containing days of video.

    (You’d be amazed what they contain and how useful those images are going to shortly going to be! In fact they are worth many millions!)

    In any case, your statement that people who have security systems and avail themselves the protections of the 2nd amendment are ludicrous.

    It sounds to me as if you are simply jealous that you can’t afford to have had such a system installed in your house or apartment.

  • aaweaversgirl

    I know this girl personally and have to believe that she must have been scared to death. Something to ponder also is… alot of people don’t wake instantly alert, especially when being awakened abrubtly. With that in mind, I can understand her mind set. Protect first, ask questions later. Neither of them are violent people, nor do they have a violent history. So, that being said, until you walk in her shoes, you can only speculate what you would truly do in the same situation. Regardless, she is only 19 and a new mother with her whole life ahead of her.

  • Truth Be Known

    She is not alone in what has happened to her. Many recipients of SWAT attacks have thought to defend themselves from intruders, only to be brought up on charges like hers. I wish I could help her. Look at the Urquiza case in McKinney. Only he was horribly wounded.

  • jeremy

    first of all if you have a home surrounded why not let your self known where can the suspects go and who can tell the diff between flash bangs and gunfire during something like that if you ask me the cops are wrong Guns are for protection of your home where she was at this was not on the streets she did what anybody else what have did SWAT is suppose to apprehend all suspects with lil or no gunfire they are suppose to be professionals what they did makes them just like the criminals they go pick up during these raids like i said b4 if the home is securely surrounded why not knock where can they go to the bat cave