None of us is safe from police raids

None of us is safe from police raids

There are 170 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Sep 2, 2008, titled None of us is safe from police raids. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

Coming home one night in late July, you find on your front porch a large package that, unbeknownst to you, happens to contain a lot of marijuana.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Baltimore Sun.

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Frank

Elkridge, MD

#1 Sep 2, 2008
Cops that break the law (actually, it's known as The Constitution) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Their crimes should be held with greater scrutiny than the Average Joe. Because with power comes great responsibility.

I'm sick and tired of hearing about crooked cops who want to be treated like everyone else when the "you know what" hits the fan. All the while before anything comes down, they run around like their "you know what" doesn't stink.

Can't have it both ways there, Smokey.
There_R_no_liber ties

Fort Myers, FL

#2 Sep 2, 2008
This is a great piece of writing. But I'm offended it took a victim such as a white mayor to bring it to light. This only further affirms the racial degredation in our country. When it happens to young minorities it barely makes the newspaper. How about the AA Co entry team member who shot a pregnant woman, then did it again, on the premise "she was reaching for something." She was doing what any pregnant woman would do - protecting her unborn child (with nothing more then her hands) as idiots broke down her door. This cop not only shot one pregnant woman, he did the same exact thing again on a subsequent raid, and was cleared both times. Had either of these women been convicted even of mass murder, the penalty would not be death to her unborn child. We live in a police state 100% contradictory to what the US Constitution is supposed to provide. Take the white mayor out of the picture you racist.
HWalters

Clearwater, FL

#3 Sep 2, 2008
Why did they have to shoot a harmless family pet in the back as it was running away from them?
Joel

Mesa, AZ

#4 Sep 2, 2008
HWalters wrote:
Why did they have to shoot a harmless family pet in the back as it was running away from them?
Why have all those fancy guns if you can't find an excuse to use them? Anyway, those vicious "Pit Pomeranians" are a danger to the officers.
john

Pittsburgh, PA

#5 Sep 2, 2008
Are you people nuts. Do you not realize this is a WAR on drugs we are fighting. Your police bashing is tantamount to not supporting our troops in a time of WAR. I believe that if we have to sacrifice a few civil liberties in pursuit of a drug free society then it will be worth it. There will always be collateral damage in any war, and this dog is just one example of some of the collateral damage of the drug war. What do you suggest is the alternative??? Keep up the good work drug warriors. You guys rock!!!!
Brandon Bowers

Winter Park, CO

#6 Sep 2, 2008
The alternative, as is obvious to any rational, thinking person, is to legalize drugs, which solves both the problems that the drug war has failed to solve and the problems that the drug war has created. Legalization stops money from going to the criminals who currently control the drug market, allows drug sales to be taxed, allows addicts to seek help without fear of retribution, and most importantly, upholds the US Constitution while allowing each individual citizen, once they reach the age of consent, to make their own choices about what goes into their bodies.
I'm curious, John: what is the actual justification for the war on drugs? You say we are at "WAR", but you neglect to give any reason why. Is it just because it is billed as a "WAR?" Would you feel the same way after your door was kicked in and your family held captive by police who were acting on a "tip" that you had drugs in the house?
harry poutso

Sykesville, MD

#7 Sep 2, 2008
brandon, i think(hope) that john was being very sarcastic. please tell me you were john.
Brandon Bowers

Winter Park, CO

#8 Sep 2, 2008
That thought does make me feel better. Typing is a tough medium for sarcasm.
god save us

Abingdon, MD

#9 Sep 2, 2008
This is the last straw. now these thugs are attacking our elected officials, illegally breaking down their doors and killing innocent animals, and then walking away from it. its only a matter of time before they start shooting our children too. if the founding fathers were alive today those cops would have been rooted out of their homes and dealt with a month ago. this is why they gave us the 2nd amendment. its time to start defending ourselves against these thugs, armed if necessary.
Tom

Baltimore, MD

#10 Sep 2, 2008
john wrote:
Are you people nuts. Do you not realize this is a WAR on drugs we are fighting. Your police bashing is tantamount to not supporting our troops in a time of WAR. I believe that if we have to sacrifice a few civil liberties in pursuit of a drug free society then it will be worth it. There will always be collateral damage in any war, and this dog is just one example of some of the collateral damage of the drug war. What do you suggest is the alternative??? Keep up the good work drug warriors. You guys rock!!!!
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-Benjamin Franklin
Janet Wilkinson

Brandon, FL

#11 Sep 2, 2008
They shot their dogs and then brutalized the residents over a small box of pot? Did this really happen in America? Please dear God say it isnt so. My father is a police officer and he would have resigned and turned in his badge before he did a disgusting cowardly thing like these cops did. This sickens almost every brave, dedicated law enforcement offcier in America. These thugs are not cops, they are criminals. Justice will be done. Their fellow officers will shame them out of the force. Trust me, the long blue line is an HONORABLE long blue line.
watcher

Baltimore, MD

#12 Sep 2, 2008
Well now that the police can tap your phone without cause, check your mail without cause, and search your home without cause... there's not much left to do but move to a more civil nation.

What happened to the United States of America? Our Constitution is dead and neither Obama or McCain will revive it.
Vera

Silver Spring, MD

#13 Sep 2, 2008
Thanks all, for taking the time to read my thoughts on what is a chilling and important issue.

to 'god save us': it's not simply a matter of time until they start shooting our children. my point in writing this piece is to show that they already have been shooting our children, but because so many of those targeted are poor folks of color, the violence is allowed to continue unchecked.

to Janet: I don't think it's a case of a few bad apples - I think the problem of police brutality is in fact a systemic example of how racism continues to communities across America.

to There R: I agree that it's offensive that it takes the shooting of a rich white guy's dogs to bring to light the violence done every day against innocent civilians (more often than not people of color, poor, and increasingly women) in the war on drugs. I think it's a reflection of a sick and oppressive society (and my own racism as a person socialized as white in america) that I hadn't heard of any of the other awful cases in which civilians died before researching this story. As a white person, I want to reach out to other white folks and use this as an opportunity, a wake-up call, to recognize the realities lived every day by communities of color. You're right to call me racist. It is my hope that in learning more and sharing what I learn about racism in America with other white folks, and by listening to the experiences and perspectives of folks of color, that I might undo some of the racism that pervades me and our society. It is my hope that by undoing racism we can build a different world where all communities have more self-determination and social and economic justice.
Matt

Canton, MI

#14 Sep 2, 2008
A great piece. I agree with the second comment--it's shameful that the vicitmization of a white mayor was necessary to bring it to light. Some of us (those who are non-white and poor) are at more risk. But none of us are safe.
Christopher

Grand Rapids, MI

#15 Sep 2, 2008
These paramilitary style raids are almost NEVER necessary, except in the case of terrorists who the police KNOW are in imminent attack preparation.
For drugs crimes, kidnapping cases, etc.... they just aren't necessary and are actually putting the police in MORE danger in the long and short run by making a guy think "What the F*** are the police storming into my home for? I haven't committed any crime, they must not be actual police!"

The best thing that our society could do in regards to the drug laws is to legalize all 'illegal' drugs and regulate them. That would solve the problem FOREVER.
Buzz

Yorktown, VA

#16 Sep 2, 2008
"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." ~ Claire Wolfe

http://tinyurl.com/5cg5zq
ballmerboy

United States

#17 Sep 2, 2008
I am really happy to see such a positive response to this op-ed and so much outrage over this police behavior. Let me point out that it's not just the war against drugs; there is also a war against dissent going on here in the US. Look at the stories of the stuff the police are doing in St Paul: SWAT cops (with their faces covered!!) breaking into houses, handcuffing and forcing people to the floor for the "crime" of believing they have a right to express their views. Peaceful demonstrators met by riot-geared police with itchy fingers on the triggers of their pepper spray canisters and the urge to arrest anybody they please, often for no reason.
Frank has it absolutely right. Until individual cops and the police chiefs who wipe their butts with the Constitution start facing criminal charges instead of wrist slaps, it will only get worse.
JMullen

Baltimore, MD

#18 Sep 2, 2008
watcher wrote:
Well now that the police can tap your phone without cause, check your mail without cause, and search your home without cause... there's not much left to do but move to a more civil nation.
What happened to the United States of America? Our Constitution is dead and neither Obama or McCain will revive it.
This is what you can call a Living Constitution, and it has turned into a Frankenstein monster. As Dr. Frankenstein famously stated: It's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE! Not to mention that famous leftist quote that all rights are subject to reasonable regulation and no right is absolute. This is the sad and tragic result when objective principle is instead interpreted as a fluid concept. It can mean almost anything at any time depending upon the expediency of the moment and who is making the judgement call.

This is also what happens when you surrender liberty and freedom for the promise of security. You end up with neither freedom, liberty, or security since security is a corollary of freedom and liberty rather than a polar opposite.
sceptical

Baltimore, MD

#19 Sep 2, 2008
In the first Wash Post articles Cheye Calvo was described as a latino mayor. Now he's white? he asked for a civil rights investigation by the feds. I don't think whites have that right, practically speaking, perhaps theoretically they do.
In any case americans have been brainwashed to give up many of their rights in the name of the 'war on drugs' it's like prohibition in the '20s. MADD is working on that by the way.
Donna Jean

AOL

#20 Sep 2, 2008
Janet Wilkinson wrote:"They shot their dogs and then brutalized the residents over a small box of pot? Did this really happen in America? Please dear God say it isnt so. My father is a police officer and he would have resigned and turned in his badge before he did a disgusting cowardly thing like these cops did. This sickens almost every brave, dedicated law enforcement offcier in America. These thugs are not cops, they are criminals. Justice will be done. Their fellow officers will shame them out of the force. Trust me, the long blue line is an HONORABLE long blue line."

~~~~~~~~~~

I'm afraid "it is so." And it is a very sorry truth but that "long blue line" that was once so honored and respected is almost nonexistent in America today. It would be nice if the honorable fellow officers could and would shame these thug cops out of the force. However, the abuse of power by police officers and SWAT Teams has become so prevalent in our society today that it is highly unlikely things will change until the culture of the police departments is changed and police officers, especially SWAT Team members, are held accountable for killing/maiming innocent people and minor offenders, for targeting the wrong homes and for destroying private property. Several months ago, in Lima, Ohio, a unarmed mother of six, huddling with her children in a bedroom, holding a baby in her arms, was shot and killed and her baby's finger blown off by a SWAT Team member who claimed he was "in fear for his life." The mother was not the target of the raid....her boyfriend was suspected of having drugs. Recently, that officer who did the shooting was cleared of any wrong doing by the police department in Lima! The mother and the baby were just the collateral damage of the raid.
This goes on all the time all over the country. And for what??? For some small amount of drugs???? Is serving these arrest warrants for some minor amount of drugs so important that a SWAT Team must be called out? Is blasting into someone's home, throwing flash bang grenades, and destroying private property and then killing a mother and maiming an infant really worth getting that arrest warrant served with a SWAT raid?? Is there ANY arrest warrant that is worth all this tragedy?
And what about all the times SWAT gets the WRONG house? Some would like us to believe that this rarely happens....but don't believe it for one minute. It happens all the time....and today there are innocent homeowners in prison, or awaiting trial, or dead, for "assault on an officer"......because when they were awakened in the middle of the night by police storming into their homes, they thought their home was under attack by criminals and they tried to defend themselves and their families. The police are routinely exonerated from any wrong doing and juries just accept the police version of the incident because after all, aren't these men and women sworn to uphold the law, to be truthful and honorable?

Vera, I am glad you wrote this piece......we need to have this gross misuse of SWAT Teams exposed in the media so that all citizens will become aware of what is going on. There are people all over the country working to contact their local and state representatives, the federal government, and the news media asking them to investigate this terrifying abuse of our rights as citizens of the United States of America. This is something that every citizen should speak up loudly about. You think it can't happen to you....... but it can, regardless of who you are, where you live, or how innocent you may be.

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