Police departments across the country have been buying up military style equipment for years, and increasingly use “no-knock” raids to arrest suspects accused of drug-crimes.
But the extremely aggressive tactics often lead to disaster and embarrassment.
Police are often amped up for a SWAT-style raid, and suspects or innocent people behind the wrong door often believe that they are being attacked.
Sometimes they fire a weapon at cops thinking they are being burglarized. Sometimes the cops fire at them because they see something in their hands. Sometimes the police just make elementary mistakes.
What follows is a baleful litany of botched raids that include chainsawing through the door of the wrong address, executing friendly family dogs in front of weeping children and slamming grandmothers into the wall.
Mother watches her door get chainsawed and then gets held at gunpoint in front of her crying daughter. Oops! Wrong Address.
Last week in Fitchburg Massachusetts the FBI conducted a 'no-knock' raid and chainsawed through the door of Judy Sanchez's apartment. They held her at gunpoint in front of her three year old child for 30 minutes.
About then they realised they had busted through the wrong door.
From the story about the event on MSNBC
'I took two steps, face the second door, and I heard the click of a gun, and saying, 'FBI, get down,' so I laid down on my living room floor,
A state police raid on a Winthrop Avenue apartment netted no drugs or arrests--but it left Tomas Torres hospitalized and his apartment in tatters.
Torres (pictured), who's 54, said state cops broke down the door of his first-floor Winthrop Avenue apartment Wednesday afternoon, punched him in the face, stomped on his head, and then laughed at him as they tossed his apartment looking for drugs.
Police said he tried to jump out the window, then resisted their efforts to detain and handcuff him.
They had the wrong guy, said Torres. The police found nothing in his apartment and released him to go to the hospital, where he said he was told he has a fractured arm, he said.
It's the second recent incident in which an unarmed New Havener has accused a state drug cop of brutality. (Click here to read about the previous one.)
Read about the whole thing here.
Police looking for a stolen X-Box slam a grandmother into the wall and execute two dogs in front of the kids. No stolen goods.
From WHOTV in Des Moines, Iowa
Matthew Spaulding says he and his family were terrorized at their own home by police who slammed his grandmother to the ground and shot his dogs-- missing his head by less than an inch. 'Told us to get on the ground. I got on the ground they put me in handcuffs,' Spaulding recalls, 'Then they threw my dad to the ground and my dog Sadie was right here sniffing my head. She was next to me. They shot her. The blood got on my face and then she took off running behind me and they shot her like three more times.'
Cops knock. Teenagers open and offer to tie up dog. Police refuse and then shoot it. Arrest one teen. No drugs. No conviction.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Teenage brothers Thomas and Darren Russell were in their second-floor apartment in the 9200 block of South Justine Street in February 2009 when officers announced they had a warrant to search both units of the two-flat. Thomas Russell, then 18, opened the door and found officers with their guns drawn, according to the lawsuit. Russell said that he put his hands in the air and asked permission to lock up his 9-year-old black Labrador, Lady, before they entered.
Police refused the request and came into the house, the lawsuit said. When Lady came loping around the corner with her tail wagging, Officer Richard Antonsen shot the dog, according to the suit, which alleged excessive force, false arrest and illegal seizure for taking the dog's life.
Thomas Russell was arrested and charged with obstructing police but was later found not guilty. No drugs were found in the Russell family's apartment, though police recovered drugs in the building's other unit, the family's lawyers said.
Framingham SWAT Officer shoots and kills an unarmed grandfather while he was laying face down on the floor.
From the Daily News:
Embarrassed cops on Thursday cited a 'computer glitch' as the reason police targeted the home of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys.
Apparently, the address of Walter and Rose Martin's Brooklyn home was used to test a department-wide computer system in 2002.
What followed was years of cops appearing at the Martins' door looking for murderers, robbers and rapists - as often as three times a week.
It took several years to fix the glitch.
Rickia Russell suffered permanent injury when police raided her house and threw a flash-bang grenade in her direction. It rolled under her legs and when it exploded it burned the flesh off them.
The police were looking that day for a drug dealer, narcotics and a firearm, but found nothing.
On the night of Feb. 16, 2010, 18 officers were executing a search warrant on the apartment at 5753 Sander Drive based on a tip that narcotics were being sold at the address by someone named David Conley.
In what Bennett called 'a cascading series of errors,' a Minneapolis police SWAT team smashed down the door with a battering ram without warning, when the search warrant police had obtained required officers to announce themselves before entering.
Police had applied for a 'no-knock' warrant but did not get it, Bennett said.
Police insist they shouted 'search warrant' before knocking down the door, according to police reports, and say the grenade was dropped on the door threshold and not rolled toward Russell. Officer Cliff Taylor wrote in after-action reports that he was the one who dropped the flash-bang grenade.
Russell was arrested on a misdemeanour for having a 'disorderly house' but never charged. She sued the city in federal court last year.
The city had to pay out $1 million in damages.
SWAT Team puts 22 bullets into a former Marine, while his wife and child cower in a closet. Nothing illegal found.
Jose Guerena went to sleep after a late-night shift at his night job. His cousin had recently been killed by a squad of men. He awoke to a noise that sounded like a car-alarm and then a loud knock on his door.
He told his wife to hide with a child in a closet and pulled out his rifle. He kept the safety on.
His front door busted open and police fired 71 rounds at him. They did not call a paramedic for an hour. And Guerena was pronounced dead at the scene.
No evidence has turned up showing that Guerena is guilty of a crime.
Officers originally claimed that Guerena fired on them, but later admitted that the safety on his rifle was still engaged.
From the Daily Mail:
But a search of the home found nothing illegal. Officers found a handgun and body armour in the house.
The five SWAT team members remain on active duty. No criminal charges have been filed and no disciplinary action taken
Here is a helmet video of the raid.
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