No Knock

A local magistrate issued a “no-knock warrant” to raid the house, partly because of the info linking the suspect to “assault-type weapons.” When the cops got there and tried to open the door, they felt something blocking it so they tossed in a flash-bang. The obstacle turned out to be … the playpen, with the baby inside. Here’s a photo of the aftermath, if you can stomach it. The suspect wasn’t even there[.]
Why not knock? The danger is that the drugs could get flushed. That danger has to be compared to other dangers.


raven said...

These cops get off on these raids- they are a bunch of adrenaline junkies wanting to play war without the inconvenience of a two way range.

Bullies, pure and simple, who have learned to wear the cloak of sanctimony. ("it's for the children"-unless we burn them alive.)

Ymar Sakar said...

Knock, knock who's there?

Not sure what difference it makes for knock vs no knock. As far as I can tell, the local bully boys being trained into SWAT teams by the whatever alphabet soup US Regime, thinks a knock raid is when they knock on the door, then kick it in .5 seconds later, yelling "POLICE".

Yea, that's knocking on the door all right.

Ymar Sakar said...

These little desk jockies up at LEO school think they are warriors or something, soldiers of the Supreme United States of America's Armed Forces.

As if.

Yea, they'll soon be complaint in getting rid of WWII veterans from memorials because the Hussein ordered it. Obedience to the Regime, nothing outside the Regime, nothing against the Regime, all within the Regime.

They got all kinds of de-humanizing conditioning tricks and what not. However, unlike me, they got their ROE from the side that said everyone that isn't a LEO is a potential criminal and sub human target. That's not a human baby. That's just a target that is a criminal or getting in the way of arresting the crim.

Well that makes perfect sense, for a US war zone.

Oh btw, I think this was already happening in 2008. It just wasn't... popular enough to be noticed.

Texan99 said...

I wrestled with posting on this myself. What stopped me was my unwillingness to conclude that cops should never be able to bust in unannounced, throwing flash-bangs. The injury to this baby was horrendous; I would guess the officers have barely been able to stop throwing up since they realized what had happened. But isn't it a little like using innocents as human shields and then provoking a power known to fight back with aerial strikes? The people who put this baby into grave danger are the ones who left him in a meth operation, invisible.

Of course I'm not going to argue that cops shouldn't be a lot more careful about deciding which private places are so corrupt that they're entitled to blow in with a knockless warrant, or that adrenaline junky culture doesn't sometimes overwhelm the professionalism of SWAT teams. There have been terrible stories in recent years. But I'm also unwilling too easily to second-guess officers who are trying not to get shot on the way in, or even who are trying not to give a meth operation time to flush the evidence. And I say that even though I have serious reservations about whether it's worth the danger, overall, to outlaw drugs.

If you know before you start reading the story that a baby was horribly injured or killed, you read it in a different way than if you put yourself in the position of cops who have absolutely no way of guessing, in 100 or 1,000 raids, which one will turn out to have a baby used as a doorstop.

William said...

Given the ROE that we had/have overseas how is it a good thing to encourage less restrictive policies on our home soil and use them against our own people? I know for a fact that most police are good folks at heart and I'm sure that a few good cops were lost that day (either through not being able to take it anymore or through becoming more calloused and removed from all us "non cops" in their own minds). The guys on the street Are responsible and should be held accountable for their individual actions. The folks who set up and run the system that thinks this is what right looks like also share some personal responsibility in this tragedy. And the folks who keep electing the people who set up and run the system this way are not free of responsibility either. It's up to us to change the system. It won't be changed by the bureaucrats who've been raised by the system to be exactly what they are. They will defend it with "reasonable words" in spite of the flagrant personal violations and loss of freedoms their orders encourage and protect. I just don't know how to start this conversation on a level where it would do any good. All I can see is it rapidly becoming a defensive wagon circle by the LEOs and engendering even more hate and distance between "us" and "them"... How does one address this without that...? Or in a manner that gets past or avoids the polarization?

William sends.

Ymar Sakar said...

At least Georgia got the right address. That's more than what can be said of other places like Florida.

Slowly, but surely learning how to actually do an op.

The SWAT teams these days have little to no personal initiative. They aren't allowed to do jack, except what they are told to do. And when it blows up in their faces, they go on a several pages length rant to justify to themselves and to the public that their obedience to orders is legit.

That team is already 2 nuts short of a Mai Lai. They're not going to get through the guilt by rationalizing their orders as legit or putting the blame on the "domestic terrorists". (Plenty of those in Nevada keeping Reid from his land grabs).

That kind of "abstract", long term, wish washy motivation isn't enough to harden a human heart to the shock of violence, hate, and death. It's not nearly enough.

Grim said...

Georgia doesn't always get the address right.

I've noticed that the police respond to any call on my end of the county -- the western part of the county, where we rarely see deputies -- with at least three cruisers. I'm not sure why, because as far as I know the area is reasonably safe, quiet, farm country.

The last time I saw this, it was a house I know to be occupied only by a grandmother. She doesn't even own a dog (just a jersey cow).

Speaking of cows, I recently called the police myself. There was a cow running loose on a rural highway I was riding. I chased it out of the road by gunning my engine, and then called 911 to get an animal control officer out there. Lots of folks stopped to talk while I was waiting on the deputy to arrive. By the time he got there -- looking like the last place he wanted to be was chasing cows through hay fields in back-country Georgia -- we'd figured out where the cow belonged, so it was just a matter of collecting it and transporting it. If I'd been in my truck, I could have put a rope on the thing and done it myself long before the deputy arrived.

Grim said...

But I'm also unwilling too easily to second-guess officers who are trying not to get shot on the way in, or even who are trying not to give a meth operation time to flush the evidence.

My question is whether no-knock raids are worth it in general. There's a clear trade off, in terms of the risk that the evidence will be destroyed and the risk of injury to innocents and bystanders (as well as the 'wrong house!' problem Ymar mentions).

Maybe the surprise factor allows the police an extra margin of safety sometimes. But the decision to execute a warrant with a military-style raid also compels a confrontation where one might otherwise be avoided. Even if the sole and only valid concern were the safety of the officers -- who, like soldiers, exist to protect the very people these tactics so often endanger -- it seems to me that there's a real trade-off here. Sometimes the police are going to end up getting shot by people who might have let them in peacefully if they hadn't kicked down the door.

Texan99 said...

There's no excuse for not getting the address right, but I have a concern about looking at it from that perspective. The reason we're so intolerant of human error re the address is not that someone might get hurt by a flash-bang; the whole purpose of the flash-bang is to give the police officers some protection without being unreasonably dangerous for the inhabitants. Isn't it really unusual fluke for someone to be badly injured by a flashbang? If the police don't use flashbangs, there will be even more violent entries and/or more violent responses from the targets of the raids, and errors (which are inevitable) will get more costly, not less.

We could decide that there's never a legitimate ground for a raid, but that's a harder decision.

Ymar Sakar said...

They didn't use the flash bang because they decided it was the right thing to do in the threat scenario. They did it for other reasons. It used to be SWAT teams were elites composed of combat and battle hardened warriors and soldiers. People who just couldn't "fit" into civilian life any other way, went that route, and retrained themselves for civilian ROE time.

So the Georgia team used the flash bang because that was their SOP training, what other people told them they were supposed to do. Other people not even on site. And their intel consists of obeying authority when they were told there were no children or non hostiles present.

Normally the intel profile would be updated and verified by an actual tactical team member that would be either scoping out the location (undercover or in uniform or in gear) or providing rear asset support during the op or before in the planning stages.

The team leader and his entry specialists, did not verify this information. Which is also why they tend to bust into the wrong address on occasion. Just because. They were told it was the right address. So it's got to be, right.

The public shouldn't be second guessing the decisions of elite specialists, correct. These aren't elite specialists. And it's the specialists second guessing their own judgment. They should know, they did the deed.

Throwing a flash bang before entry is kind of like hearing a thump across the room or wall, and then opening up full auto and emptying out the mag. Then checking around the corner to see what you hit or what got suppressed. You could have just asked them to verify their name and unit designation or asked for their surrender (if they were civilians). People panicked by fear or obedient to authorities, don't get a choice.

Elite specialists can enter a room and kill everyone in it, surprise or no surprise, with a pistol. That's the level a adrenalized cocktail can provide a trained marksman. And for combat level comparison, that has happened on at least one occasion for Iraq. Although probably not merely with a pistol given the number of enemies.

The best decisions are always made by the people on the ground. The US military has been forced to do that more and more as COIN has worked out better than top down bombing and microing. But the United States police departments never had this tradition or asset list. It was never a big one, those SWAT teams.

Literally, the Homeland people gave the police departments federal funding, sort of like how universities get federal funding and then raise their tuition costs to support rich faculty. But money doesn't equal quality. They tried to recreate the US Army Special Forces from scratch. There's no way they could have the LEO community's best specialists train EVERY one of these special door kicking teams. No way. That cadre is way too small.

So Georgia, at least, doesn't have elite specialists on the LEO force making decisions. If they did, it wouldn't matter whether we "let them" do it or not. They would have done it, and nobody would know about it, because of competence.

Police training has been deficient on several levels for some time. It wasn't as noticeable as the US military, since Iraq and Afghanistan got rid of a lot of dead weight in the command structure. You know, the people that wanted to be on combat drops because they would be retiring soon from their command.

These are merely generalities that apply across the spectrum. For an indepth profile of this specific team, more investigation will be needed. The LEO community or the police unions, or whoever pulls the strings there, probably won't let that fly.

E Hines said...

I'm spring-loaded against no-knocks because I have a hard time with the tactics. What happened to the battering ram to drive through the door? The walls adjacent to the door are a whole lot less solid than the door itself in most construction and it's a simple matter to remove a stud to pass an armored cop--and it's easy to detect whether it's the case on a particular execution that the wall really is that ephemeral.

Knocking gives time to flush the drugs? Certainly useful evidence gets lost that way. But the street also loses a drug supply, and often the producer/seller of the drugs loses the income he needs to pay his own vig to his factor supplier. And the plumbing will contain sufficient trace evidence. Even the flash paper the numbers racket used to use left an evidence-useful residue.

Knocking gives time for the occupants to depart the scene through another portal? Who executes a warrant of this nature without having the place surrounded?

I wouldn't ban them just because I can't think of an occasion when they might be justified, but their use really needs to be curtailed. I'd be arguing self defense were I to answer a middle of the night--or day--violent home invasion that turned out to be a no-knock execution.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

I don't have a quarrel with anything you say, Ymar--except that I can't quite be persuaded that there's no such thing as a situation that calls for a no-knock warrant. If no-knock warrants get issued for a lot of situations in which they're not really called for, well, that wouldn't surprise me a bit, but I will defer to the opinion of people who know more about than I do, because my suspicion is based on assumptions about human nature rather than any expertise in the area.

douglas said...

"The people who put this baby into grave danger are the ones who left him in a meth operation, invisible."

Yes, but if the SWAT team thought it was a meth lab, tossing in a semi-incindiery device seems a little unwise, given the occasional habit of meth labs to blow up.

Texan99 said...

Well, that's certainly a good point!

Too much "going by the book."

E Hines said...

I'm not convinced they went by the book at all. Even Dinky Town SWAT teams know better--surely--than to toss matches into inflammatory environments.

Eric Hines

douglas said...

of they knew it wasn't really a meth lab, but... bogeyman.