No-knock disaster raise questions about procedure

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  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 14, 2012 5:11 p.m.

    With the tens of thousands of no-knock warrants that are served there will be mistakes. Anybody ever hear of a passenger plane crashing because a pilot screwed up? Is the solution to abandon flying and take the bus? Buses have been known to crash, killing passengers.

    If you're doing drugs in my neighborhood and the police conduct a no-knock search I'm reasonably certain they'll get the address right, and take the criminals off to jail ..... where they belong.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 3:55 p.m.


    last allowed comment, I have ten pages of this stuff

    Mario Paz 65 years old Compton, California: Mario was shot twice in the back in his bedroom during a SWAT raid looking for marijuana. No drugs were found.

    Manuel Ramirez and Officer Arthur P. Parga 32 years old Stockton, California: At 2 am, police smashed down the door and rushed into the home of Manuel Ramirez, a retired golf course groundskeeper. Ramirez awoke, grabbed a pistol and shot and killed officer Arthur Parga before other officers killed him. Police were raiding the house based on a tip that drugs were on the premises, but they found no drugs.

    Alberta Spruill 57 years old Harlem, New York: Police, acting on a tip, forced their way into Spruill’s home, setting off flash grenades. She suffered a heart attack and died. It was the wrong address

    Accelyne Williams 75 years old Boston, Massachusetts: a retired Methodist Minister After an informant gave police a bad address, a SWAT raid was conducted on the minster’s home. The door was battered down, He died of a heart attack,

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 3:43 p.m.



    Ismael Mena 45 years old Denver, Colorado: Mena was killed when police barged into his house looking for drugs. They had the wrong address.

    Pedro Oregon Navarro 22 years old Houston, Texas: Following up on a tip from a drug suspect, 6 officers crowded into a hallway outside Navarro’s bedroom. When the door opened, one officer shouted that he had a gun. Navarro’s gun was never fired, but officers fired 30 rounds, with 12 of them hitting Pedro. No drugs were found.

    Cheryl Noel 44 years old Dunkalk, Maryland: Substitute Sunday School Teacher Cheryl Noel possessed a registered handgun, which she kept in her bedroom (9 years earlier, Cheryl has lost her 16-year-old stepdaughter in a shooting murder). On January 19, just before 5 am, police burst into her home using flash-bang grenade and battering ram looking for drugs. Both Cheryl and her husband were asleep in the master bedroom. Suddenly awake and fearing an armed intrusion, Cheryl grabbed her gun. Police kicked in the bedroom door and shot her 3 times.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 3:40 p.m.


    some more:

    Willie Heard 46 years old Osawatomie, Kansas: SWAT conducted a no-knock drug raid, complete with flash-bang grenades. Heard was shot to death in front of his wife and 16-year-old daughter who had cried for help. Fearing home invasion, he was holding an empty rifle. The raid was at the wrong house

    Kathyrn Johnston 88 years old Atlanta, Georgia: Kathryn lived in a rough neighborhood and a relative gave her a gun for protection. When she noticed men breaking through her security bars into her house she fired a shot into the ceiling. They were narcotics officers and fired 39 shots back, killing her. The police had falsified information in order to obtain a no-knock search warrant based on incorrect information from a dealer they had framed. After killing Johnson and realizing that she was completely innocent, they planted some marijuana in the basement. Eventually their stories fell apart federal and state investigations learned the truth. Additional facts have come to light that this was not an isolated incident in the Atlanta police department.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    Salt Lake City, Utah

    ok, here you go:

    John Adams 64 years old Lebanon, Tennessee: Shot to death during a SWAT drug raid while watching TV. The house didn’t match the description on the warrant.

    Annie Rae Dixon 84 years old Tyler, Texas: Bedridden with pneumonia during a drug raid. Officer kicked open her bedroom door and accidentally shot her

    Derek Hale 25 years old Wilmington, Delaware: A retired Marine Sergeant who served two tours in Iraq, was peacefully sitting on the front stoop of a house, when police in unmarked cars who had him under surveillance (believing based on his acquaintances that he might be part of a narcotics ring) pulled up and tasered him three times, causing him to go into convulsions and throw up. Because he had not gotten his hand free from his jacket quickly enough (while convulsing) an officer then shot him point blank in the chest with three .40 caliber rounds. Hale’s widow has filed a civil lawsuit.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    Interesting rifleman, you say you are a cop, and yet you spend your nights worried the drug dealers might kick down your door at night.

    "It's the drug dealer breaking into your house that should have you up nights."

    Seeing as I don't use illegal drugs I'm not very worried, at all, of any drug dealers breaking down my door. Day or night. But of course I'm not worried about cops breaking down my door either.

    And as another poster said, if our cops are busting down the doors of people that have such a small amount of product that they can flush it down the toilet any time someone knocks at the door then, perhaps, we should rethink the use of our police resources.

    I support cops 100%, they put their life's on the line to keep us safe. With that said, your argument, that if you keep your nose clean you have nothing to worry about, is the argument that leads to systemic abuses by police.

    It surprises me that someone that claims to support the Constitution, such as yourself, would not see the blatant abuse of rights inherent in this issue.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2012 2:00 p.m.

    Re: SEY Sandy, UT
    "You seem to be an expert on this sort of thing, so I need your advice."

    Do you know anyone personally was involved in a no-knock search warrant at the wrong address? No, well neither do I, and I've been on the door kicking end of a number of them when working for the SLC S.O. You can't avoid a police mistake, police are human and make mistakes, and hence you were able to Google a couple of them. In the real world I live in the chances of the police kicking my door in by accident are so miniscule that they don't even register on my radar.

    My advice to you? Hide under the bed.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    @ Rifleman: ok, you go ahead and hope it doesn't happen to you or a loved one. I stay away from situations where I could be hit by lightening. I don't know how to avoid a police mistake. I have weapons to protect myself, so how do I know when NOT to have them ready when someone crashes in? You must, too (hence "Rifleman"). And isn't there a better way to do these things? You seem to be an expert on this sort of thing, so I need your advice.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    Re: SEY Sandy, UT
    "Two examples from Wikipedia ......"

    Yes, you were able to find TWO (2) examples of no-knock search warrants that went wrong? Truth be known there are many documented cases but when compare with the hundreds of thousand that went right you have a better chance of being hit by lightning.

    Like I said earlier, keep your nose clean and you won't have to worry about being the victim of a botched no-knock warrant. It's the drug dealer breaking into your house that should have you up nights.

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    I was under the impression that these no-knock raids were supposed to catch drug dealers and manufacturers, not users. In that case, the idea is useless, as the great majority of dealers or manufacturers would never have time to flush even a small part of their products (or equipment) down the plumbing. If no-knock raids catch only those who have so little in the way of illicit drugs that they can flush all their booty down the toilet in a matter of moments, the raids are a waste of time, jail space, and police power. Not to mention the havoc they wreak when the cops make a mistake.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 11:59 a.m.

    Two examples from Wikipedia about the disastrous nature of no-knock search warrants:

    1) Kathryn Johnston (c1914-2006) was an elderly Atlanta, Georgia woman shot by three undercover police officers in her home on November 21, 2006 after she fired one shot at the ceiling, assuming her home was being invaded. While the officers were wounded by friendly fire, none of the officers received life threatening injuries, but Johnston was killed by their gunfire.

    2) Two former Los Angeles Police Department officers, along with 13 others, have plead guilty to running a robbery ring, which used fake no-knock raids as a ruse to catch victims off guard. The defendants would then steal cash and drugs to sell on the street. This tactic led Radley Balko, editor of Reason Magazine, to complain "So not only can you not be sure the people banging down your door at night are the police, not only can you not be sure they’re the police even if they say they’re the police, you can’t even be sure it’s safe to let them in even if they are the police."

    Do you still feel safe?

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 11:32 a.m.

    Get serious, Rifleman. I have no words for that response.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    Re: SEY Sandy, UT
    "This no-knock nonsense makes me more afraid of the police than I am of drug dealers."

    No-knock search warrants allow law enforcement to prevent criminals from flushing their illegal drugs down the toilet. If you keep your nose clean you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than of having your door kicked in.

    If you are more afraid of the police than you are of drug dealers then you don't understand the rules drug dealers live and die by.

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    No kidding, SEY. I'm with you. This is about as far from "to protect and serve" as it gets.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    This no-knock nonsense makes me more afraid of the police than I am of drug dealers.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    Is there anyone who does not take illegal drugs because of unavailability?

    I don' think so. This indicates the law enforcement approach in the war on drugs is not effective. That being the case why do we keep spending money including costly prison space on this approach?

    There is an approach that is more effective. This approach is education. It worked for me. It works for most people.