No More No-Knocks, they are Killing Innocent People ~ VIDEO

Opinion

Maryland Man Killed by Police During High Risk Warrant
No More No-Knocks, they are Killing Innocent People

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Here we go again. Another innocent killed by police serving a “No-Knock” warrant in the middle of the night, and another person arrested for shooting at unidentified, un-uniformed, home invaders.

This time it happened in Louisville, Kentucky. Although it is only now attracting national attention, the tragedy took place back on March 12, when 26-year old Breonna Taylor was shot 8 times by 3 plain-clothes police officers who had just kicked in her front door. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he believed the intruders were home-invaders and he fired one shot as the attackers came through the door.

Walker was arrested and indicted on charges of Attempted Murder of a Police Officer. At last report, those charges have been dropped pending the outcome of investigations by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the FBI. If those investigations don’t come out with favorable findings for Walker, he could find himself before another grand jury facing the same or revised charges.

By twisted coincidence, the police raid on the home of Breonna Taylor occurred less than 24 hours after a similar “No-Knock” raid in suburban Maryland where 21-year-old Duncan Lemp was killed and his pregnant girlfriend wounded. As in the Kentucky raid, the stories of the police involved and the witnesses present, don’t agree. Montgomery County, Maryland Police say their officers announced themselves and that the victim/suspect refused to follow police commands before being shot.

Lemp’s girlfriend says police began firing through a bedroom window while she and Lemp were asleep in bed!

That raid was based on an “anonymous tip” that Lemp was in illegal possession of firearms. Lemp had a juvenile record that stipulated that he was not to purchase or possess firearms in Maryland until he had attained the age of 30. Three rifles and two handguns were found in the home that Lemp shared with his parents and younger brother.

Police statements regarding the raid seem to be carefully worded to allow somewhat flexible interpretations, not unlike Bill Clinton’s statements about what “is” means. For instance, police have said that Lemp refused to obey police commands and that upon entry into the bedroom, a rifle was “recovered,” but they don’t actually say that Lemp was threatening officers with the rifle, or that he was even holding it, just that it was in the same room. These ambiguous statements, and the claims of Lemp’s family, have prompted the family’s attorneys to call for the release of the body-cam videos from the officers involved in the raid. So far, Montgomery County, MD police have refused to release any video of the incident.

That refusal to release video has come under additional fire recently, after another officer-involved shooting by the same department resulted in the release of the body-cam video within 24 hours. Skeptics suggest that the reason that video was released, was because it strongly supported the officer’s contention that he had no choice but to fire in that situation. Could it be that video from the Lemp assault is being withheld because it doesn’t support officers’ claims? Are we next going to be told that none of the officers involved were wearing body cameras, or that those that were, either forgot to turn them on or had some technical issue that caused them not to work, as happened in the Erik Scott case in Las Vegas in 2010?

Back in Kentucky

Police in Kentucky say that there was no video of the assault on Breonna Taylor’s apartment, and that’s believable, though inexcusable. In that case, there were only 3 officers involved in the raid, all in plainclothes. Of course, that raises all sorts of other questions, such as why there were only 3 officers involved, why all were out of uniform, and why there isn’t some policy requiring that cameras be used during any warrant service where there’s time and opportunity to do so?

That’s just one suggestion for policies and regulations that states could implement to reduce the problems associated with “dynamic entries” and other aggressive SWAT tactics used by police:

Require that the warrant service be recorded from beginning to end, preferably with a body-cam on every participant.

Another reform intended to reduce these problems, is a law that requires police agencies to submit biannual reports on the use and activities of their SWAT teams, including reporting when, where, why, and how these officers and tactics are deployed, along with data on suspects apprehended, evidence acquired, and any injuries or serious property damage sustained in the process.

Another Texas Police Department Implements Viridian Gun Cameras
Gun Cameras: Require that the warrant service be recorded from beginning to end, preferably with a body-cam on every participant.

This law was pushed through the Maryland Legislature back in 2009 by the former Mayor of Berwin Heights, a suburb of Washington, DC. The mayor’s arguments for the law were especially compelling since, a few years earlier, he and his mother-in-law had been held at gunpoint, handcuffed face-down on his kitchen floor, in a pool of blood from his two Labrador Retrievers that officers had killed when they raided his home. The raid was based on a package containing marijuana being delivered to the mayor’s address. It turned out that the package was shipped by a smuggling operation and was supposed to be stolen by one of their operatives from the carport where the UPS driver had left it. They hadn’t planned on the mayor’s mother-in-law visiting and taking the package inside before their operative could acquire the package.

This type of law has only been adopted by two states, Maryland and Utah, and obviously it didn’t prevent the March raid on the Lemp residence, so what else could be done to prevent these tragedies?

For starters, judges need to be more demanding and cautious in their issuance of warrants and perhaps face consequences for signing off on a warrant based on a flimsy affidavit.

Of course, judges don’t want to be seen as micro-managing the police or having to face any consequences, but they must take responsibility for the outcomes of warrants they sign. In cases like the death of Breonna Taylor, not only should the officers who executed the raid, and the supervisor who signed off on it, be held accountable, but so should the judge who approved the warrant. At the very least a judge’s involvement in issuing a questionable warrant should be made public knowledge, especially around election season for elected judges.

Ultimately, “No-Knock” or “Knock-Knock-Bang” warrants should only be issued in very specific and extreme circumstances to save lives. Kicking in doors, setting off flash-bang grenades, rappelling down from the roof and crashing through windows, shooting dogs, using armored vehicles to pull off window bars, and all of these other movie-style tactics, simply don’t belong in our neighborhoods. Like the BATF raid on the Branch Davidian Church in Waco, Texas, there’s almost always a better way, such as capturing the suspect while he’s checking the mail or pumping gas, calling on the phone and asking for a meeting, or simply knocking on the door and showing a warrant.

If the evidence being sought is small enough to be flushed down the toilet during the service of a warrant, then it’s probably not enough to warrant putting police officers at risk to try and procure it with a dynamic raid. If the suspect is so dangerous that a SWAT raid might be warranted then it would probably make more sense to try and catch him away from his home turf, rather than trying to take him from his “castle.”

Examples of warrant service going bad are far too common and almost completely preventable. There have been far too many victims created by the tactics themselves.

People like Cory Maye, who served 10 years on Death Row for shooting at strangers kicking down his door, and Jose Guerena, a former Marine and combat vet, who jumped from his bed when he heard pounding and explosions, and was shot dozens of times because he was holding a gun in his own home. Or Cheye Calvo, the Mayor of Berwin Heights Maryland, mentioned above, or Katheryn Johnston, a 92-year old woman who was shot to death after she fired a shot at a group of home invaders crashing through her front door. It turned out that they were corrupt narcotics officers trying to shake-down a drug dealer, but they got the wrong address.

All were innocent victims of aggressive police raids that I’ve written about in the past. Statistically, these tragedies are rare, considering that SWAT teams or tactics are employed something like 40,000 times a year in this country, but even though only a small percentage of those end up in the news as bungled operations, many more result in unnecessary death and destruction, and even more result in trashed homes, trashed lives, and deep scars among some members of the community, widening rifts that departments should be working hard to close.

It’s well past time for the public, politicians, and police unions to join together to address these tactics that unnecessarily jeopardize the police and the public.



Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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nobodyuknow
nobodyuknow
3 months ago

Any judge that signs off on a “NO KNOCK WARRANT” should be hung by the neck until dead!!! Any LEO that shoots and wounds or kills a citizen while serving a “NO KNOCK WARRANT” should be charged with Attempted Murder or First Degree Murder. Any person in a residence that wounds or kills an LEO while they are serving a “NO KNOCK WARRANT” should be immune from prosecution in that matter! TIME TO STOP MURDERING INNOCENT CITIZENS!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

Tek_180
Tek_180
3 months ago

Let them outlaw no knock, then when the liberals want to kick our doors down and take our firearms they have hamstring themselves. Idiots don’t realize this will bite them in the back side.

Pioneer
Pioneer
3 months ago

No knock warrants have a legitimate purpose, but as with many things they have been overused and bastardized in the so-called war on drugs. In my 37 year police career, I’ve written many warrants which were peacefully executed. No knock warrants were originally intended to prevent the destruction of evidence, or the prevention of armed resistance and were rarely granted. With the advent of “reality” TV-police shows, it has become trendy to dress up in tactical, ninja suits and when the director call “action” the battering ram swings into action, with several officers yelling over one another in a manner… Read more »

nobodyuknow
nobodyuknow
3 months ago
Reply to  Pioneer

Pioneer . . . what a load of BULLSHIITE!!! I personally know of two cases where No-Knock warrants were served at the WRONG ADDRESS and three innocent citizens WERE SHOT TO DEATH BY POLICE WHILE TRYING TO DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM WHAT THEY PERCEIVED WERE HOME INVASIONS!!! THERE SHOULD NEVER BE ANOTHER NO KNOCK WARRANT ISSUED IN THE UNITED STATES!!!!

a.x. perez
a.x. perez
3 months ago

Please remember that in gun banners fantasy world no-knock warrants are used to serve red flag orders on gun owners.

a.x. perez
a.x. perez
3 months ago

As I read this article there are demonstrations turning into riots in some places as the result of an incidence of police brutality resulting in death. Which no knock warrant will push people over the edge into rioting aimed at executing police?

It is time to end this systemic violation of the 4th Amendment.

nobodyuknow
nobodyuknow
3 months ago
Reply to  a.x. perez

a. x. perez . . . AMEN!!!

joefoam
joefoam
3 months ago

Personal responsibility for all. From the judge down to the alleged perp. Maybe they’ll think twice.

RG
RG
3 months ago

unfortunatly the SWAT teams, MRAPs, all that military equiptment an training represents huge amounts of federal funding for alot of municapalites. So they have to show they are putting the money to good use. yes they screw up an kill inoccents and then get sued and pay out millions but those millions are tax payers money. Not the cities.More times than not theses units are succesful and run a smooth operation but their still has to be accountability when something goes terrably wrong. I do support the blue line and will continue to but we the people are not insurgents… Read more »

Jonesy
Jonesy
3 months ago

judges need to be more demanding>
Just like they were for those FISA warrants

gregs
gregs
3 months ago

qualified immunity has to be removed from all people involved in these incidents, judges, supervisors, officers, everyone! holding them criminally and financially accountable is the only way that will help reduce these types of tragic events. civil asset forfeiture is another issue needs to be addressed. you might be friends with them, but government agents are not your friends.

Vern
Vern
3 months ago

No-knock warrants, when executed on innocent people should be an instant prison trip for those involved. If they can’t get their homework done right and innocent people die, they are guilty of murder. Period.

Get Out
Get Out
3 months ago

IMOA, No-knock warrants should be done away with. No-knock warrants have been proven to be dangerous for everyone involved and especially the people they’re serving the warrants on. LE then have to cover-up for the LEO’s involved and hoping we don’t see through the BS of their crimes. In some cases they’re based off incorrect address or an informant who’s given LEO’s false information etc..

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
3 months ago

“The RIGHT of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That’s simple enough for a child to understand. Laws that go against the constitution are illegal. Marbury vs Madison. Now, who is the criminal? RED FLAG LAWS ARE CRIMINAL. If someone or a group of people act like a criminal, the cartel or a terrorist, they are likely to die of natural causes, natural to their line of work. Just because someone says they are the cops or even dress like cops doesn’t mean they are cops. There is/was a group of home invaders in Phoenix… Read more »