Monday, September 3, 2007

Botched (Wrong House) Raids—A BIG P.R. Problem For Police Departments.

...And sooner or later, someone’s going to get killed!

Oh, wait...never mind.

In Temecula, California the police department raided a two story house. Brandishing firearms and shouting expletives and threats, they quickly ordered two adults and four teenagers to the floor and placed them in cuffs. Then they trashed the place, kicking down interior doors and ransacking the house while they searched for drugs. When the couple’s 5 month old infant began to cry, the mother, who was still handcuffed and prone on the floor, asked a nearby officer about her baby’s condition. She was advised not to move or he’d shoot her in the head. The officers notified their superiors that both floors of the house had been cleared. The officers were informed over the radio, within hearing of the residents, that the house they were supposed to be raiding only had one floor.


Well, at least the city is apologetic, has temporarily disbanded the SWAT team, and is offering to settle in lieu of a lawsuit, with a promise that the officers involved will be reprimanded.

In Philadelphia, PA, the residents were out of town when the police broke down the front door, entered and searched the house. They disabled the security alarm system by tearing it from the wall, emptied cupboards, pulled out and overturned drawers, and then figured out they were at the wrong house. Another house just down the street was raided simultaneously, and several people placed under arrest. Apparently these bozos strayed to the wrong house, unsupervised. Philadelphia P.D. isn’t talking about this incident.

I know police officers are human beings trying to do a very difficult job, and in every human endeavor, mistakes happen. But supervisors need to make absolutely sure that they have the right address. People have been killed, and more will die if this trend continues. I agree with Glenn Reynolds, who says that this sort of thing will keep happening until the penalty for wrong house raids becomes much more severe. The careers of all involved in these incidents need to take a serious hit. If that means dismissal, so be it. Others think there should be some jail time involved. I don't know if I'd go that far unless corruption, not just incompetence, can be proven.

There's more here. The comments are kind of fun. It seems the drug using public is outraged, while others are downright gleeful about the law enforcement community's, um, discomfort.

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