By "Radical" Russ Belville on January 18, 2011
Huffington Post reports it as “Police Kill Man In Drug Raid Gone Wrong“.
So what’s the “gone wrong” part?
The police had a no-knock warrant (though they forgot to bring it) to search for drugs. Busting down a citizen’s door quickly, loudly, and with overwhelming force is the standard. Sure, the guy they were looking for was a roommate who had already moved out (and they knew it), but it is so vitally important that we find and imprison people smoking weed at home that even a hastily-planned no-knock midnight raid without warrant paperwork is preferable to allowing one more joint to be smoked by a middle aged man in his own home.
It is standard operating procedure to send the “Weber-Morgan County Narcotics Strike Force” in all-black full body armor, toting automatic weapons under the cover of night. If police are confronted by someone wielding arms, like, say, an average cannabis consumer with a former drug dealing roommate who grabs a golf club to defend himself when he’s suddenly awakened in the dead of night by armored ninjas toting machine guns, they are legally allowed to discharge their firearm to defend themselves and neutralize the suspect.
When you break down a man’s door in the middle of the night with guns drawn, somebody dying isn’t an unexpected outcome. This is a drug raid gone right. We send stormtroopers into American homes 100-150 times per day on the premise that finding their drugs justifies risking their lives. Most of the time nobody dies (except the dog) and the few that are killed that you read about are the ones that shock everybody because they didn’t have large amounts of drugs or a firearm on them at the time. Yeah, mistakes were made, but you’ve got to expect some collateral damage in a War on Drugs, right?
Note how many times you read about a raid where “multiple firearms” are found and that is used to justify the excessive force of the raid. How many times do they tell you those multiple firearms are a collection of hunting weapons or sporting arms or handguns for self defense? How about when a “felony amount” of drugs are found, so they must be drug dealers! Have you ever looked at what constitutes a felony level of drugs in some states? It’s 3/4 of an ounce in Florida. It’s an ounce in Oregon (yes, hippie dippie, medical marijuana-lovin’, first-to-decrim Oregon!)
Cannabis is not cocaine. It’s not like we need to burst in quickly before the suspect flushes the evidence. If he’s got any amount large enough for you to think he’s a big time dealer invested in it enough to kill a cop, it’s more than can be flushed, burned, or hidden. And if we’ve been dipping into the stash, unlike cocaine we’re not going to go into some lunatic Tony Montana rage and spray cops with an Uzi. Damn, knock on the door and tell us you’re Domino’s and we’re likely to just let you in!
I know legalization might take awhile. Can we at least stop executing people in their homes over pot?