To Serve and Protect?

The latest example of no-knock mistakes:  FBI Uses Chainsaw In Raid On Wrong Fitchburg Apartment

At 6:04 last Thursday morning, just before Sanchez’ alarm was set to go off, she heard a pounding outside her second floor apartment.

[…]

Within moments, the chainsaw had cut through most of her door, and someone on the FBI’s arrest team kicked the rest of it in.

“That’s when I heard the clicking of a gun and I heard ‘FBI, get down!’, so I laid right on down.

[…]

And they said get your dog, so I got her and at the same time I am laying in her urine because she did pee on herself at the same time.”

[…]

Sanchez says they left her on the floor for 35 minutes, with her daughter screaming for her mommy in the other room.

This is sickening, and yet it is a far too commonplace type of event.  The War on Drugs is out of control—a fact made even worse by the fact that it is not even successful.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs. That said, there’s no doubt whatsoever that a major reallocation of law enforcement dollars is necessary and appropriate. I for one would shift a large chunk of federal change from drug law enforcement over to border control and especially to sniffing out and then eradicating domestic Jihadi threats. I’m not too terribly concerned about gang bangers in Pittsburgh ruining with drugs and guns their own neighborhoods. I am concerned, however, about Mohammed Atta II setting off a mass attack in my neighborhood. Yours too. Ergo if we’re going to have the Feds cracking skulls it should be those of terror scum or potential terror scum. Leave the inner city gang bangers to the local cops and to local tax dollars.

  2. jpmeyer says:

    The NYPD has a very large anti-terrorism unit that has thwarted numerous potential attacks.

    They didn’t do it by cracking skulls.

  3. Franklin says:

    Uh, Mohammed ain’t gonna set off a mass attack in your neighborhood. As nutty as Islamaphobes can be, I’ve never even heard them say something so ridiculous.

  4. Franklin says:

    By the way, this incident makes me literally sick to my stomach with anger. Real war has collateral damage, yes. But this isn’t a real war, it’s a farce, and our cops can’t legally be militarized (yes, I realize a chainsaw isn’t much of a military-grade weapon!). How often has this happened? It seems like every couple months we hear about this crap.

  5. What happens if, having heard the pounding, someone was in the process of leaning against the door to look through the peephole and see who it is when the jackboots decide to cut it down with a chainsaw?

  6. @Tsar Nicholas II: Then don’t make the omellete. Focus on a bran muffin instead.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    @ Tsar…

    “…I am concerned, however, about Mohammed Atta II setting off a mass attack in my neighborhood…”

    Funny…that wouldn’t bother me at all.

  8. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs.

    I wonder if you’d be as flippant and indifferent if it was your egg being broken?

  9. @Eric the OTB Lurker:

    I wonder if you’d be as flippant and indifferent if it was your egg being broken?

    Indeed.

    Plus: the odds of the police mistakenly breaking one’s egg is actually far higher than ” Mohammed Atta II setting off a mass attack in my neighborhood.”

  10. dennis says:

    Been on plenty of raids, never broke down a door, destroyed property or anything like that. There is a smart way to conduct a warrant service.

  11. Lit3Bolt says:

    All in all, a small price to pay for keeping African-American males in jail and in the criminal underclass, where they belong. After all, you can’t systemically profile and persecute an entire race without breaking some white people’s eggs.

  12. legion says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs.

    The entire purpose of police in a free society is to protect the citizens. They put themselves at risk to do this. When police start putting citizens at risk in order to make their jobs easier, they stop being cops and become just another gang of thugs.

  13. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Based on reading a number of Balko’s articles, she’s “lucky” that her 3 month old puppy didn’t get shot for being a threat. Cops freak me out.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Tie this in with a pattern of police intimidation against people who are taking photos & video legal manner in public places and the vast increase in the use of electronic surveillance by law enforcement (we can watch you, but you can’t watch us), and it adds up to something pretty scary. Police drones, anyone?

    Oh, and then there is the FBI wanting to spy on people via social media:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/01/31/146090425/what-the-fbi-wants-in-a-social-media-monitoring-app

  15. bandit says:

    Hey Norm says:
    Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 10:52
    @ Tsar…

    “…I am concerned, however, about Mohammed Atta II setting off a mass attack in my neighborhood…”

    Funny…that wouldn’t bother me at all.

    — You need serious mental health help

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bandit:

    You need serious mental health help

    Why? All Norm is doing is being honest. But then, Conservatives are for more comfortable with lying, so point taken.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    All in all, a small price to pay for keeping African-American males in jail and in the criminal underclass, where they belong.

    Indeed…the War on Drugs seems to have done far more harm to poor people of color than the liberal programs that people like Doug compain about…

    You need serious mental health help

    Considering what you have written here, you need to check out a mirror before offering anyone else this advice…

  18. Tillman says:

    Why? All Norm is doing is being honest.

    Honest? Sure. But that’s not all he’s doing. He’s also wishing, even facetiously, for someone else to die, and I condemn that.

    It’s not even facetious, really, ’cause then it’d be at least funny.