MN NORML Message Board › Minnesota Gang Task Force
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|Kurtis W. H.|
The age old question remains- who will police the police? When money and property are involved (and, in drug seizures, when isn't it?!) there will be corruption. Police are just people and are equally corruptable as you or me (or possibly more due to structures within police department culture)
|Kurtis W. H.|
I think that they commit these crimes because they are not accountable to anyone. When people find out about these things, they are obviously outraged and seek an end to their behavior. I say that we, the citizens, can help out by being informed and actively getting the word out when our rights, or the rights of our neighbors, are trampled on. There are organizations, such as LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), that would know more information about this specific topic than myself though. WWW.LEAP.CC Cheers!
|Kurtis W. H.|
I just found this site. http://www.cato.org/r...
You can look at failed drug raids throughout the country. Here's some of the situations that Minnesota pulled up...
April 28, 2008—MN
Hennepin County Drug Task Force officers raided the home of Kathy Adams, a 54-year old former nurse and her husband, while they were sleeping. Authorities had been tipped by a subcontractor who had been in the house earlier in the day who noticed a lot of chemicals in the bathroom.
Mrs. Adams had explained to the subcontractor that the chemicals were, as they were clearly marked, used to maintain the couple's salt-water fish tank. The subcontractor went to the police, who obtained a warrant, and raided the home on suspicion of the home being a methamphetamine lab.
The chemicals were those used to maintain the fish tank, as Mrs. Adams had said.
Scott Goldberg, "Police raid suspected meth house, only find fish tank" KARE 11 News, April 28, 2008.
Vang Khang and Yee Mona
December 16, 2007—MN
At midnight, acting on a tip from an informant, Minneapolis SWAT officers charged into the home of the family of Yee Mona and her husband Vang Khang, looking for a weapons cache belonging to a man already in custody. Mona called 911, fearing that violent intruders were breaking into her home. Khang grabbed his shotgun and exchanged fire with the officers.
Khang was arrested, but was not charged with a crime. Two officers were hit in the exchange, but their protective gear prevented injury.
Caroline Lowe, "I-TEAM: Investigating Police Raid at Wrong House," WCCO.com, February 12, 2008.
March 27, 2007—MN
What began as a routine drug investigation ended with police screaming to Nicole Thompson, a mother of four, "If you move, I'll shot you in the f-head".
Police had set up a drug sting with an informant to catch Ryan Robert Baker. The informant stopped to meet Baker in front of the Thompsons' house where they run a video and film production business. Neither the informant nor Baker knew the Thompsons and police found later that the informant chose the house at random.
Baker tried to rob the informant and one of the men rang the doorbell. This is when Nicole Thompson called 911 asking for assistance right before police exited their vehicle and "ordered everyone to the ground". Eventually the officers realized the Thompsons were innocent, but it was too late--Nicole "flinches every time there's a rap on the door" and her husband adds "we're not afraid of the bad guys as much as we're afraid of the good guys."
August 22, 2001—MN
On August 22, 2001, police conduct a paramilitary marijuana raid on the Powell family home in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. As they approach the house to conduct the raid, police shoot and kill a pit bull a man was walking just outside the house. One of the bullets ricochets, and strikes the forearm of 11-year-old Julius Powell, who at the time was taking out the family trash. Police found several packages of marijuana in the target's home.
The raid was the latest in a series of police shootings in Minneapolis, and sparked riots and protests.
Lisa Donovan, Judith Yates Borger, Amy Mayron, and Phillip Pina, "Melee breaks out after police shooting," Saint Paul Pioneer Press, August 23, 2003, p. A1.
November 7, 1995—MN
On November 7, 1995, police in North Minneapolis, Minnesota raid the home of Andre Madison. After local media merely rehashes the police version of events, the City Pages, a Minneapolis alternative weekly, conducts its own in-depth investigation.
According to the paper's stunning account of the raid, police obtained a no-knock warrant on Madison's home after a confidential informant allegedly purchased some marijuana at the residence. At about 8 p.m., the Minneapolis paramilitary police unit, called ERU, deployed flashbang grenades at the front of Madison's home. At the same time, police from the city's housing unit were entering the home from the rear. Reports at the time say police began firing when Madison fired his shotgun at them. But a forensics team later determined that Madison's gun was never fired the night of the raid. Instead, an investigation conducted by the police chief from a nearby county concluded that the housing unit officers mistook the flashbang grenades deployed by the ERU unit for gunfire from the suspect, and so opened fire themselves.
The two police units then mistook one another for assailants, and began to fire upon one another. When Officer Mark Lanasa went down, shot in the neck by a colleague, the commanding officer called for "suppressive fire," giving officers carte blanche to shoot at will.
Upon hearing that a fellow officer had gone down, more police soon arrived at the scene. They too joined in the shooting. Hundreds of rounds were fired into the building. There were bullet holes found in neighboring buildings a half-block away.
Madison, the suspect, was shot in the neck and the arm. Miraculously, no one was killed.
Police found only a small amount of marijuana in Madison's home. He was never charged with a drug crime. He was charged with four felony counts of second-degree assault with a firearm: Not for shooting, but for pointing his shotgun at police. He could have been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Madison insists he thought the police were intruders.
But prosecutors then offered to let Madison plea to a misdemeanor count of reckless use of a firearm, which carries a sentence of just 90 days. The hitch was that a guilty plea to the lesser charge would prevent Madison from suing the city for the botched raid.
The subsequent investigation and report from the outside police chief also concluded that Minneapolis's ERU unit "executes too many warrants and relies too heavily on dynamic (door-ramming) raids," explaining that "There are other alternative tactics that ERU is aware of. However when so many raids are conducted using dynamic entry, other tactics may be forgotten."
Britt Robson, "Friendly Fire," Minneapolis City Pages, September 17, 1997.
Lloyd Smalley and Lillian Weiss
January 25, 1989—MN
In 1989, police in Minneapolis, Minnesota conduct a drug raid at the home of elderly African-American couple Lloyd Smalley and Lillian Weiss after a bad tip from an informant.
The flashbang grenades police use in the raid set the home on fire. Police are certain no one is inside, and so at first make no attempt at rescue. Smalley and Weiss die of smoke inhalation. Police had raided the wrong house.
Ten years later, the same police department would make a similar mistake. The deployment of a flashbang during a drug raid on a triplex would cause the entire building to catch fire, ruining the two homes surrounding the target of the raid.
Karren Mills, "City Image Tarnished By Allegations of Police Racism," Associated Press, March 21, 1989.
David Chanen, "Police device used in search is considered safe, official says," Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 17, 2000, p. 7B.