More Exposure, Please

Glad to see this story is getting more exposure:

A Maryland mayor is asking the federal government to investigate why SWAT team members burst into his home without knocking and shot his two dogs to death in an investigation into a drug smuggling scheme.

“This has been a difficult week and a half for us,” Cheye Calvo, mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, said Thursday. “We lost our family dogs. We did it at the hands of sheriff’s deputies who burst through our front door, rifles blazing.”

The raid last week was led by the Prince George’s County Police Department, with the sheriff’s special operations team assisting, after a package of marijuana was sent to Calvo’s home.

Authorities say the package was part of a scheme in which drugs are mailed to unknowing recipients and then intercepted.

It is probably too much to hope that this will change anything. At the very least, some bad cops will get fired or demoted.

So When Will Charges Be Filed?

Remember that story last week about the SWAT teams breaking down the door of a Maryland Mayor and shooting his two dogs? It gets better:

Threatening Mayor and his wife.

Prince George’s County authorities did not have a “no-knock” warrant when they burst into the home of a mayor July 29, shooting and killing his two dogs — contrary to what police said after the incident.

Judges in Maryland can grant police the right to enter a building and serve a search warrant without knocking if the judge finds there is reasonable suspicion to think evidence might be destroyed or the officers’ safety might be endangered in announcing themselves.

A Prince George’s police spokesman said last week that a Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and county police narcotics officers were operating under such a warrant when they broke down the door of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo, shooting and killing his black Labrador retrievers.

But a review of the warrant indicates that police neither sought nor received permission from Circuit Court Judge Albert W. Northrup to enter without knocking. Northrup found probable cause to suspect that drugs might be in the house and granted police a standard search warrant.

Radley Balko has more.

In other news on the war on your neighbor, a California man who was selling medical marijuana with the blessings of local officials and under the legal protection of California state law was convicted by the feds. Take it away, Radley:

Maybe some right-winger can explain to me the wisdom of having a bullying, overbearing federal government forcing the states to deny sick people the medication that gives them relief. I’d also like someone on the right to explain to me why federalism should prevail when it comes to allowing the states to arrest gay people, ban dildoes, or to trample all over civil rights, but when it comes to letting sick people use marijuana to keep their medication down, we ought to genuflect before the power of the federal government.

There are crimes being committed in this country on a daily basis, and they are not being committed by the citizenry. For all the general hysteria about the loss of civil liberties due to the war on terror, the war on drugs is the original mac daddy of abusive government and erosion of civil rights. Our policy regarding drugs is irrational, counter-productive, and dangerous to the actual concept of America, and the rot is thorough. Whether it be the militarization of the police force, no-knock raids, the devastation of the Constitution, asset-forfeiture, or the prison-industrial complex, all of this finds its genesis in the war on drugs. It needs to be stopped. It needs to be fought. It is an outrage, and this is one of those cases where you can honestly say that the Democrats have been almost as bad as the Republicans.

The status quo is obscene, offensive, immoral, and unjust.

Your Priorities Suck

The weirdest thing about this Will Saletan piece regarding the LA City Council’s decision to ban additional construction of fast food joints that Matt and Ezra mock is not his apparent lack of understanding of the widespread practices of zoning boards all across the country, but that this is a priority at all for premier column space. And so as to not engage in the concern troll wankery that is all too popular among the bobbleheads in the village, in which you state “there are far more important issues” and then never discuss them but instead furl your brow and tut-tut about the unseriousness of everyone around you, here are at least two things that individuals concerned with freedom should be far more upset about:

1.) Federal agents can take your possessions, without cause, and do whatever the fuck they want with them:

Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop’s contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“The policies . . . are truly alarming,” said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government’s border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.

The STASI called. They are jealous.

2.) SWAT teams raid a Mayor’s house and kill his dogs without so much as attempting to knock or handle things in a non-aggressive manner:

As the police came in, Calvo said, they shot his 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, Payton, near the front door and then his 4-year-old dog, Chase, also a black Lab, as the dog ran into a back room. Walking through his house yesterday, Calvo pointed out a bullet hole in the drywall where the younger dog had been shot.

“I understand they have a job to do, but it didn’t have to go like that,” Calvo said. He said the police could have knocked on his door and asked him about the package. “I’ve never done drugs in my life. Anyone who knows me knows that I am so adamantly opposed to them.”

Police said yesterday that, when they seized the package during the raid, it was unopened.

Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick Murphy said county police and the Sheriff’s Office had not notified his department of the raid. He said town police could have conducted the search without a SWAT team.

“You can’t tell me the chief of police of a municipality wouldn’t have been able to knock on the door of the mayor of that municipality, gain his confidence and enter the residence,” Murphy said. “It would not have been a necessity to shoot and kill this man’s dogs.”

And I could go on and on. There are far more serious and dangerous violations of your civil liberties happening every day done in the name of safety and the war on drugs and the war on terror, all committed by nameless, faceless, and unaccountable folks, and there is really nothing you can do about it. Fight back and you will be shot or tasered to death, or jailed for resisting arrest if you are lucky. And no one, that I can tell, other than Russ Feingold, the corpse of William kunstler, a few folks at Reason magazine, and some DFH’s, seems to give a shit.

At least with the LA City Council decision, you can address the issue. If it is unpopular, elect council members who will do your bidding. There is a course of action available.

Who do you turn to when the DEA shoots your dogs? Where do you go when Customs Agents steal your laptop? Who do you turn to when federal agents commit home invasion. That, to me, seems far more troubling than having to go to one of the already existing 200 McDonalds in LA for a burger.

*** Update ***

Or, you know, this:

His aunt says he is undergoing major surgery for a broken back and broken heel. While he was lying on the ground, she wonders why Ozark police used an electric stun gun on him up to 19 times.

“I’m not an officer, but i don’t see the reason for ‘Tasering’ somebody laying there with a broken back. I don’t consider that a threat,”

His dad says the use of the stun gun delayed what would have been immediate surgery by two days.

“The ‘Tasering’ increased his white blood cell count and caused him to have a temperature so they could not go into the operation.”

“He refused to comply with the officers and so the officers had to deploy their Tasers in order to subdue him. He is making incoherent statements; he’s also making statements such as, ‘Shoot cops, kill cops,’ things like that. So there was cause for concern to the officers,” said Ozark Police Capt. Thomas Rousset.

Police say although there are several unanswered questions; the reason for the use of a stun gun is not one of them.

Kid falls off a highway overpass 30 feet to the ground, breaks his back. Cops use a stun gun 19 times because he won’t get up.

In a decent society, every single fucking one of those cops would be facing hard time.

Great Moments in Home Ownership

Goota love the war on your neighbor:

Brooklyn Park police were looking for a meth lab, but they found a fish tank and the chemicals needed to maintain it.

And a few hours later, when the city sent a contractor to fix the door the police had smashed open Monday afternoon, it was obvious the city was trying to fix a mistake.

It happened while Kathy Adams was sleeping.

“And the next thing I know, a police officer is trying to get me out bed,” she said.

Adams, a 54-year-old former nurse who said she suffers from a bad back caused by a patient who attacked her a few years ago, was handcuffed. So was her 49-year-old husband.

“They brought us here and said once we clear that area, you can sit down and you will not speak to each other,” she said.

Police were executing a search warrant signed by Hennepin County Judge Ivy Bernhardson, who believed there was probable cause the Adams’s home was a meth lab.

I think my favorite thing about home invasions like this is how the police maintain that they did nothing wrong. This quote, from the Capt. Roehl regarding the information that was used to invade the home, is just priceless:

“Everything this person told us turned out to be true, with the exception of what the purpose of the lab was,” Roehl said.


Huffin’ a Sharpie

Absolute stupidity:

Adams School District 50 is defending its decision to punish a third grader for sniffing a Sharpie marker.

Eight-year-old Eathan Harris was originally suspended from Harris Park Elementary School for three days. Principal Chris Benisch reduced the suspension to one day after complaints from Harris’ parents.

Harris used a black Sharpie marker to color a small area on the sleeve of his sweatshirt. A teacher sent him to the principal when she noticed him smelling the marker and his clothing.

“It smelled good,” Harris said. “They told me that’s wrong.”

Eathan’s father, John Harris, says the school overreacted for treating Eathan as if he was huffing, or inhaling, marker fumes.

“I think it’s outlandish,” John Harris said. “It’s ridiculous.”

But it’s progress in the War on Drugs™. After all, Sharpies are gateway markers. Today, Markers. Tomorrow, Rust-Oleum!