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May 17 11 3:15 PM
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Jun 12 11 5:51 AM
Drudge has been all over this one today, but it bears comment anyway. This is the sort of thing that should never, ever happen in a free society. Armed, officious, thuggish bureaucrats in a pre-dawn raid burst into a man’s home and handcuff him in front of his children because his estranged wife is late on student loan repayments. This is sick. It is outrageous. It is inexcusable. The bureaucrats, the SWAT team itself, ought to be thrown in jail for this type of behavior.
This is an increasing problem. It is the sort of thing that ended up with a small town’s mayor’s dogs killed and his mother-in-law terrified within an inch of her life in a mistaken raid in Maryland a few years ago. And there are a horrific number of similar stories, all indicative of the fact that we are all subject, at the whim of idiots without any good reason to carry arms, to tactics reminiscent of a terrible police state.
When I was at The Washington Times, exactly one year ago yesterday, I wrote about the proliferation of armed agents in federal departments that shouldn’t let any of its workers within BB-gun distance of a real firearm. Why, for instance, do the Small Business Administration and the Railroad Retirement Board have armed agents?!? How about the IRS: Isn’t that agency scary enough, and doesn’t it have enough access to regular law enforcement, without arming its own agents?
Congress is utterly at fault here. Congress should de-arm federal agents. It also should stop overcriminalizing honest mistakes or clerical errors, and weed out thousands of criminal laws from the federal code. Congress is shirking its responsibility to keep federal power in check, and thus to protect individual freedom.
Words cannot express how dangerous it is for these sorts of abuses to continue unchecked. Again, it is the SWAT teams, and the bureaucrats who order them, who ought to suffer, and face imprisonment, for these abuses.http://cfif.org/v/freedom_line_blog/10014/bureaucrats-on-armed-power-trips/Black Blade: Nothing will become of these so called "mistakes" and no one will suffer the consequences other than the victims because bureaucrats, law enforcement, judges and politicans are above the law that they force upon us lowly peasants. In a just world they would be held accountable - but they won't.
Jun 14 11 10:34 AM
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Jun 16 11 4:59 PM
As regular readers know, I’m not one for hyperbole, so perhaps some are thinking that my title is ironic. Nope, I mean it. An accumulation of events in recent months leads me to no other conclusion than that we are in fact living in a police state in the good old US of A.
The list of reasons is fairly long, but we can certainly start with our favorite gropers at the TSA. In my ideal world, airline safety would be the responsibility of those with the most directly to lose financially from doing it poorly: the airlines and the airports. But even in a world where government has taken on that responsibility, we should be protected by the Fourth Amendment against “unreasonable” searches. It’s one thing to walk through the standard metal detector, which seems reasonable, but when we are expected to pose virtually nude in a submissive position for government agents, and when refusing to do so earns you a feel-up that would count as sexual battery in most states, that is something else entirely.
If I had told you 20 years ago that in 2011 this is what would happen every day to thousands of travelers — including toddlers and the handicapped — at U.S. airports, you would not have believed me. And on top of everything else, it doesn’t work! It’s mere “security theatre.” When residents of the United States have a legitimate fear of being sexually abused by agents of the State when engaging in peaceful air travel, we live in a police state.
Add to this 1) the militarization of the police, with no-knock raids by full SWAT teams being the norm for everything from minor possession of marijuana to suspected student-loan fraud, and 2) the Supreme Court’s complicity in eviscerating the Fourth Amendment — and two more pieces of the police state are in place. These raids often feature what writer Radley Balko calls “puppycides.” The cops shoot and kill any dogs in the house routinely, regardless of their behavior. Of course the cops often raid the wrong house, terrifying innocent people in the middle of the night and killing their dogs too. When residents of the United States have serious reason to fear the door being busted down in the middle of the night by armed agents of the State despite having done nothing wrong, we live in a police state.
Jun 19 11 10:53 AM
Jun 20 11 6:44 PM
Twenty Gilbert police officers, some in masks and riot gear, stormed a home last week after receiving a tip that the owner was in possession of an ounce of marijuana.
The homeowner, Ross Taylor, is a card-carrying patient under Arizona's new medical-marijuana law, which allows people to qualify to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of pot legally. He's also the owner of Cannabis Patient Screening Centers, a new company that hooks up patients with doctors for medical pot recommendations.
After handcuffing Taylor and his wife, the cops served a search warrant on the home and found two ounces of marijuana a small amount of hashish, which is just concentrated marijuana. Police seized the "medicine" and some paraphernalia from an upstairs closet, even though the total weight of the weed was under the legal threshhold, then told Taylor he'll probably be hearing from the prosecutor's office about criminal charges.
Sergeant Bill Balafas, Gilbert PD spokesman, tells New Times that because Taylor bought the pot from another person, as opposed to growing it himself, the possession wasn't legal despite his status as a patient."People are being harassed," says Taylor, who called New Times this week to report the tale of law enforcement overkill. "They want political control."
We're still waiting for the release of the police report, but for now, Balafas confirms many of Taylor's details.
Besides the waste of resources for a pot-possession bust, the incident also reveals the state of confusion that reigns following November's passage of Proposition 203 by Arizona voters.
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Oct 16 11 3:08 PM
A Colorado Springs grandmother who suffered a heart attack when drug agents stormed into her home in 2009 has filed suit claiming the officers’ tactics were “extreme, unreasonable and outrageous.”Rose Ann Santistevan, 71, is suing for medical expenses and noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering.An emphysema sufferer, Santistevan was alone in bed receiving oxygen on Oct. 6, 2009, when a multijurisdictional SWAT task force with a search warrant surrounded her home in the 200 block of South Prospect Street. They threw in a flash-bang grenade before rushing in with guns drawn, authorities have confirmed.Stricken by a heart attack, Santistevan was admitted in critical condition at Memorial Hospital Central, where she remained for several days. A search of her home yielded no arrests and turned up no drugs, the family said.The personal injury suit — filed in June in U.S. District Court in Denver — marks the latest allegation to plague a major drug operation dubbed Operation Jeez Luis.The seven-month probe was spearheaded by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and involved the multiagency Metro, Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit. It includes members of Colorado Springs police and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, who are named as defendants along with the FBI.[...]Santistevan’s home was searched on a day when her son and other relatives were arrested during a series of SWAT raids in Colorado Springs.The family said agents were watching the home and should have known Santistevan, who is disabled, would be alone.Joseph Santistevan, a son who wasn’t implicated in the drug ring, said the authorities believed Perez had been hiding drugs inside his mother’s home after seeing him carry in a birthday cake for a relative’s party.Representatives of the agencies involved couldn’t be reached for comment.Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lt. Lari Sevene defended the raid in 2009, saying a SWAT task force was acting on information gathered during the investigation.“You have to look at the individuals we’re dealing with and what their prior history is,” she said, referring to the drug suspects.
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