A lot of people — innocent people — and their pets have wound up dead during no knock raids in recent years in this country.
A no knock raid is when officers can serve a warrant on a house without notifying the residents first. At all. Period. Without ringing the doorbell, calling first, a knock, nothing. Police typically do it in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning, too, when people are more likely to be asleep. The majority of these raids aren’t even for violent crimes or imminent threats to life and limb, but drug crimes.
We live in a country where the citizenry are armed. If it’s the middle of the night and you hear someone busting through your front door, and if you exercise your 2nd Amendment rights by owning a firearm, your first reaction is going to be to draw that firearm to protect yourself and your family.
If you do that when a burglar or worse is breaking into your house to possibly cause harm to you and your family and property, then you’ve done the wise thing. That’s called self-defense.
However, if you pull your gun in the same scenario, only replacing the burglar with a SWAT officer, it’s very likely you, and possibly your family and pets, might end up dead. Really dead. Shot 22 times and left to bleed to death dead, like this Marine:
U.S. Marine Jose Guerena was shot twenty-two times by a SWAT team planning to execute a search warrant. He retrieved a legally possessed rifle in response to sudden intruders, and the SWAT team opened fire on him before establishing any communication. The team later retracted its initial claims he had opened fire when it was established that Guerena had never fired and his safety was still on. The police refused to allow paramedics to access Guerena for more than hour, leaving Guerena to bleed to death, alone, in his own home. Members of the SWAT team subsequently hired legal defense and a large following of fellow Marines held a memorial service at his home with his widow.
Or you might end up charged with capital crimes because you thought you were defending yourself but you didn’t realize the people breaking into your home were actually police officers.
Here is just another example of exactly why no knock raids are stupid.
Killeen, Texas resident Marvin Louis Guy is currently being held at the Killeen City Jail on a $3 million bond for opening fire on a Killeen Tactical Response Unit and a Central Texas Organized Crime Unit that jointly descended on his home at 5:30 in the morning without knocking first to serve a narcotics search warrant last Friday.
Multiple officers were hit. Detective Charles Dinwiddie later died from his injuries.
Based on this excerpt from the Killeen Police Department’s press release, the officers weren’t even going in through the front door:
On Friday May 9, 2014, just after 5:30am, members of the Killeen Police Department Tactical Response Unit and the Bell Organized Crime Unit were attempting to serve a narcotics search warrant. The TRU was beginning to breach the window when the 49 year old male inside, opened fire striking four officers.
While police may refer to this as a “dynamic entry,” it really just seems like a dumb idea — especially in Texas — or at the very least, a bad idea for a gang of armed men to break in through someone’s window at the crack of dawn and not expect a response in-kind.
And why is all this deemed necessary over some drugs? No one’s life was in immediate danger here. It begs the question why these officers couldn’t have waited for this man to leave his apartment to go to the grocery store to arrest him, because certainly that would have happened at some point. Now one of those officers had to die over it. Was it worth it?
Is it ever worth it?
What happened to cops who protect and serve? These officers aren’t soldiers, but they dress up like them to fight a phony war on drugs which, like the war on terror, will never be won. Prohibition has never historically worked. Besides, if cases can’t be made without paramilitary style no-knock raids conducted on sleeping people in their homes, perhaps the officers don’t have a very good case to begin with.
We live in a country of increasingly militarized police forces. Over 90% of towns with 50,000 people or more have SWAT teams now. Why exactly are our government agencies doling out billions of dollars in military weapons to our local police departments? The American Civil Liberties Union makes a pretty good point: towns don’t need tanks.
During the commission of these no knock raids, many innocent people have been gunned down. Children and pets have been shot and killed all across the nation. Elderly people who attempted to protect themselves have been slain in their homes and officers later found out they weren’t even in the right homes to begin with.
When the officers do it, it’s considered their “duty”; they were just doing their jobs when someone’s eight-year-old accidentally gets killed during a raid. On the other hand, when the average citizen fires under what they thought was the guise of self-defense on people they did not know were officers for breaking into their homes unannounced in the middle of the night, well…those people get charged with capital murder.
Although, sometimes the Grand Jury fails to indict. Capital murder charges were recently dropped against 28-year-old Henry Goedrich Magee after he shot and killed a cop during a no knock raid on his Central Texas home over some marijuana plants he had been accused of growing. The state ultimately couldn’t prove Magee knew it was police and not intruders who were entering his home before he opened fire nor could they disprove that he was acting in self-defense…because he was.
Some 40,000 of these no knock raids happen every year in this country. The CATO Institute not only released an interactive map of botched paramilitary raids, but awhite paper with an extensive catalog of mistaken raids and abuses that, at 103 pages, is long enough to prove that no knock raids are a horrible pratice that needs to stop.
This writer knows that she lives in America, so we at least have the superficial appearance of a Constitution and Bill of Rights that includes a Fourth Amendment which is supposed to protect the nation’s citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. Just having probable cause a crime was committed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to at least ring the doorbell first.
The longer these raids continue, the more people are going to needlessly die. What justice are these ill-advised tactics possibly serving?