Monday, April 13, 2009

Police Raid Roundup

From Radley Balko's The Agitator

  • Lawsuit claims police raided the apartment in Livingston, Illinois last year. Woman claims the police barged through the door and ordered her to the ground at gunpoint. They apologized after realizing they had raided apartment 1 instead of apartment 10. She claims $20,000 in medical bills.
  • Officer trips, accidentally shoots man in the chest during a drug raid in New Jersey.
  • Chicago will pay out $288,000 in damages resulting from a 2006 drug raid on a bar on the southwest side of the city. Drug charges against two bar patrons were dropped after surveillance video showed officers had lied in their police report about what happened after the raid began.
  • A Phoenix couple has settled with the town of Gilbert, Arizona for $185,000 after an officer tossed a flashbang grenade through a window during a raid on their home. The grenade landed on a bed, caught the bed on fire, and burned the couple’s home to the ground.
  • The ACLU is suing over a series of raids in Riverside, California in which police targeted black-owned barbershops. Though they were drug raids, the actions were couched as “health inspections,” obviating the need for a search warrant. I’ve seen quite of few of these stories, lately–where police conduct drug raids under the guise of a regulatory inspection to get around the need for a search warrant. It’s troubling.
  • The police officer who shot Grand Valley State student Derek Kopp in the chest during a drug raid has been charged with the negligent discharge of a firearm. If the officer is actually guilty of that, it’s nice to see him held accountable. But the problem, here, is the policy of sending police into private homes with their guns drawn to enforce consensual crimes. Until that policy changes, we’ll continue to see incidents like this one. Charging the cops or homeowners who make mistakes under such volatile circumstances isn’t going to change anything. We need to stop putting both parties in such a precarious position in the first place–particularly over, of all things, smoking pot.