Posts Tagged ‘police’

Do You Know What Your SWAT Team Is Doing?

January 5, 2015

In this post I will accumulate information on S.W.A.T. (special weapons and tactics) and/or Tactical Teams.

Let’s start here with a report from the Washington Post:

In January 2011, a SWAT team raided the Framingham, Mass., home of 68-year-old Eurie Stamps at around midnight on a drug warrant. Oddly, it had already arrested the subject of the warrant — Stamps’s 20-year-old stepson — outside the house. But because he lived in Stamps’s home, the team went ahead with the raid anyway. When the team encountered Stamps, it instructed him to lie on the floor. He complied. According to the police account, as one officer then moved toward Stamps to check for weapons, he lost his balance and fell. As he fell, his weapon discharged, sending a bullet directly into Stamps’s chest, killing him.

As bad as the story is as written, I visualize the scene and a question comes to mind. When I see Mr. Stamp lay on the floor, I imagine he is on his belly. If you’re lying face down, how do you get shot in the chest?

You can’t get far on this topic before you run into the excellent work of Radley Balko.

From the folks at the Cato Institute a map of Botched Paramilitary Police Raids:

Title: Bruce Lavoie

Type: Death of a nonviolent offender.

State: NH

Description: Police conduct a late-night raid on the Hudson, New Hampshire apartment of unarmed Bruce Lavoie, 35, his wife, and their three children. Police Sergeant Stephen Burke kicks open the Lavoie’s front door with such vigor, his gun accidentally goes off in his hand, waking the Lavoies. When Bruce Lavoie rises from his bed to confront what he thinks are criminal intruders, he is shot and killed in front of his wife and three small children. Police find one marijuana cigarette in Lavoie’s apartment. A subsequent investigation found police in the raid to be “blameless,” though investigators did call the raid a “serious breach of police protocol.” In the end, however, the investigation blamed Lavoie for his own death, concluding that he’d never have been shot had he “obeyed clear and concise commands to get down on the floor.” In 1990, however, a judge ruling on a separate raid found that Hudson police “flagrantly” violated New Hampshire’s state ban on no-knock drug raids, and ensuing newspaper reports found that police in Hudson and nearby communities routinely served drug warrants without first announcing themselves, a violation of state law. The city of Hudson eventually settled with Lavoie’s family for $800,000. Sources: Tom West, “Hudson Police Blameless in Report,” Manchester Union Leader, November 7, 1989. Pat Grossmith, “Police Didn’t Knock First; Judge Rips Hudson Drug Raid. Chiefs Say Ruling Has Little Effect,” Manchester Union Leader, July 31, 1990, p. 1. Pat Grossmith, “Some Police Use No-Knock Search Warrants,” Manchester Union Leader, August 1, 1990, p. 1. Kris Frieswick, “Hudson Will Pay Widow $800,000; Bruce Lavoie Shot During 1989 Drug Raid,” Manchester Union Leader, November 17, 1990, p. 1.

Date: Aug 3, 1989

So, should we have grave concern?

“If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern.”
—Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006.

Of course, if we keep no records on the use of tactical teams we will never see a pattern of violations.

I see Chris King has a piece about Bruce Lavoie, I’ll bet he has a few stories.

More as research continues…

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BikerBill Busted

February 25, 2011

Weare, NH police have ended their six month long hunt for the infamous wiretapping outlaw known as BikerBill. BikerBill had cleverly masked himself as Bill Alleman, a mild mannered resident of Weare. In July of 2010, Bill was threatening public safety while making a phone call. Officer Brian Montplaisir thought he was safely ensconced in his privacy bubble while BikerBill was secretly absorbing air vibrations and redirecting those vibrations to a remotely controlled digital conversion device. The actions of BikerBill caused the officer to suffer damages to his Emotive Grandus Organ (E.G.O.). As in most cases where criminals absorb radiation from public officials the damage to the E.G.O. went unnoticed for a period of time. Exposure to YouTube seems to aggravate the damaged E.G.O. causing irrational behaviour of the victim.

The UnionLeader reports on the arrest and possible connection to a gang known as the Free State Project. BikerBill claims he is not a member of the FSP gang but it is clear that his blog post was intended to irritate the E.G.O.’s of his victims. It is believed that he had made a secret assault on a couple of public servants in Concord as can be seen in this video:

In the aftermath of this assault on governmental privacy the Attorney General’s office is seeking a Federal grant to install new security equipment.

The War on Drugs II

February 25, 2010

The Tompkins County District Attorney, Gwen Wilkinson, promises transparency in the investigation of the killing of Shawn Greenwood. Then goes on to say in the Ithaca Journal story:

“This investigation will likely end up as a grand jury presentation,” Wilkinson said. “It would be inappropriate for me to taint that process by sharing a lot of details. But I am going to share with you what I can.”

Which is to say, ‘I’ll tell you things I want to tell you but you’ll only get details if there is an indictment and trial’. This will always be the problem when the government is left to investigate its own actions. Grand juries need independence from the District Attorney. Will the grand jury be allowed to report their findings:

  § 190.25 Grand jury; proceedings and operation in general.
    4. (a) Grand jury proceedings are secret, and no grand juror, or other
  person  specified in subdivision three of this section or section 215.70
  of the penal law, may, except in the lawful discharge of his  duties  or
  upon written order of the court, disclose the nature or substance of any
  grand  jury testimony, evidence, or any decision, result or other matter
  attending a grand jury proceeding. For  the  purpose  of  assisting  the
  grand jury in conducting its investigation, evidence obtained by a grand
  jury  may be independently examined by the district attorney, members of
  his staff, police officers specifically assigned to  the  investigation,
  and  such  other  persons  as the court may specifically authorize. Such
  evidence may not be disclosed to other persons without  a  court  order.
  Nothing  contained  herein  shall prohibit a witness from disclosing his
  own testimony.

    6. The legal advisors of the grand jury are the court and the district
  attorney,  and  the grand jury may not seek or receive legal advice from
  any other source. Where necessary  or  appropriate,  the  court  or  the
  district  attorney, or both, must instruct the grand jury concerning the
  law with respect to its  duties  or  any  matter  before  it,  and  such
  instructions must be recorded in the minutes.

That pretty well tells you that the grand jury is just another organ of the state. The purpose of a grand jury is to investigate corrupt government officials as well as standing guard over the People’s right not to be railroaded into court proceedings.

There is a piece in the article that brings to mind a very important point:

In clothing marked with police insignia and badges clearly displayed, the officers approached Greenwood’s van, which was parked but running in a parking spot in front of the liquor store entrance, Wilkinson said. When they identified themselves and tried to persuade him to exit the van, Greenwood resisted arrest, drove over a curb and hit a Dryden police officer with the front of his van. The officer was thrown onto the van hood, then off the hood a few feet onto the grass in front of the van, she said. Officers on both sides of the van screamed for Greenwood to stop as he continued to accelerate toward the downed officer.

The front of the van apparently went over the officer, and Bangs fired his service pistol at Greenwood, Wilkinson said. The incident took about three seconds, and though reports vary, Bangs may have fired three rounds, she added.

“At that moment in time, Sgt. Bangs had to make a decision about the employment of lethal force,” she said. “He made his decision, he discharged his service weapon, and Mr. Greenwood was struck by bullets.” The shooting followed officers’ attempts to pull Greenwood from the vehicle and Taser him, she added.

Now it may just be a reporting style but most people will report an incident in chronological order. I’d really like to here the details of this Taser attempt. Without the details I have to wonder if the victim was in fact shot with the Taser. If he was shot with the Taser he might not be responsible for the accelerating vehicle. I don’t like speculating. We need facts.

Shoot first……

October 29, 2008

Hard to say from here but cops should show just a little more courage.

Police chief: Officer fatally shot innocent man

Julian Alexander, 20, of Anaheim dies in hospital.

ANAHEIM – A police officer running after a group of suspected burglars early Tuesday shot and killed an innocent 20-year-old man who had come outside to investigate the noise, police said.
Julian Alexander was apparently roused by the suspects, who jumped a fence on his side yard around 1:30 a.m. He apparently grabbed a broomstick to defend his pregnant wife and in-laws, family members said.
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