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Nov 26, 2008

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DOG SHOT: Video Shows Columbia, Missouri SWAT Team Killin...

The matter here is quite straight forward…proper procedure…poor execution. Here is the long and the short of it. At first blush the officers were “over prepared” and “over zealous” in the arrest of the father and the confiscation of a small amount of marijuana. I agree… a kind of overkill for the “result.” However, when a police officer (special weapons and training or not) goes into a house they do not know what will be behind the door. It could be a crackhead with a shotgun or in this case a father, mother, young child and two dogs. The tactics used (at least initially) were textbook and designed to protect the officers. Uh… when serving a search warrant for suspected illegal drugs you generally do not allow the people in the house time to hide or dispose of the contraband – why the door was taken out after the officers identified themselves and the door was not opened. Further, the warrant was issued because “dad” was dealing out of the house… not keeping a private stash of weed for personal consumption. The warrant was not issued by the police but rather a judge… a person who I am confident is familiar with what the US Constitution has to say about search and seizure. So far… this is where the officers got it “right.” One can only assume that the search was being conducted for training purposes… and several of these men deserve a D- . Specifically, the bad actors were the officer(s) who shot the dogs and the one who secured the suspect. This was clearly a case of adrenaline and testosterone winning out over professionalism. The discharge of a firearm is only authorized when an officer is in “imminent” danger of “deadly” harm…not just harm. This is why they also carry pepper spray and tasers. While I acknowledge the damage that a pit bull can do (not a huge fan of the breed) they do not constitute a deadly threat to an officer clad in Kevlar body armor. In a confined area pepper spray would have done the trick (maybe even put down the deadly Corgi). The extra-curricular actions by the officer cuffing the suspect should result in suspension without pay.  (May 10, 2010 | post #795)

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