Paramilitary Police Raids and "Collateral Damage"

The increase in militarization of law enforcement in America and the use of paramilitary "no-knock' raids mostly for anti-drug operations is a disturbing trend that needs to be observed by the people.

Here is a short list of some of the botched paramilitary police raids just from the past year that the police and government would rather you not know about.

For a full list and a map of known botched paramilitary police raids in the U.S visit www.cato.org/raidmap/.

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Terrell and Schavon Pennyamon

August 13, 2008—NY

Buffalo police raided the apartment of the family of Terrell and Schavon Pennyamon looking for heroin. During the raid, one officer struck Terrell-an epileptic U.S. Air Force veteran-in the head with the butt of a shotgun and other officers pointed their weapons at the couple's eight children. Terrell suffered a dislocated arm after he was yanked up by police during the raid and also had glass lodged in his foot from broken window glass. Schavon was at work as a certified nursing assistant before being called home after the raid.

The police realized their mistake and raided the apartment upstairs from the Pennyamons and have since apologized for raiding the wrong apartment.

Schavon filed a report with the department's Professional Standards Division and also contacted Mayor Byron W. Brown about the incident. The Pennyamons intend to pursue legal action against the department.

No arrests were made at the subsequent raid either.

Source:

T.J. Pignataro, "Buffalo Police batter their way into wrong house" Buffalo News, August 18, 2008.

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Cheye Calvo and Trinity Tomsic

July 29, 2008—MD

Policemen posing as delivery drivers delivered a package containing nearly four pounds of marijuana to the home of Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo and his wife Trinity Tomsic. After Mr. Calvo brought the package addressed to his wife into the home, the Prince George's County SWAT team initiated a raid into the home using no-knock entry.

Upon entering the home, the officers shot and killed Calvo's two black Labrador retrievers. Calvo, dressed only in his underwear and socks, and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and interrogated for hours-a short distance from the dogs' corpses.

The SWAT team had been issued a standard warrant-not a "no-knock" or "dynamic" warrant that allows for the initial tactics used in the raid.

Subsequently, on August 6, 2008, the Prince George's County police announced that they arrested two men in connection with a delivery scheme to deliver drugs to homes of unsuspecting recipients. The package addressed to Tomsic was among those tied to the men.

A review by the Prince George's County Sheriff's Office concluded that the killings of the couple's dogs were justified.

Neither Calvo nor Tomsic were arrested or charged in the case.

Source:

Rosalind S. Helderman, "Pr. George's Officers Lacked 'Knock' Warrant in Raid," Washington Post, August 6, 2008.

Rosalind S. Helderman and Aaron C. Davis "Killing of Mayor's 2 Dogs Justified, Pr. George's Finds," Washington Post, September 5, 2008.

Rosalind S. Helderman and Aaron C. Davis, "Pr. George's Police Arrest 2 In Marijuana-Shipping Plot," Washington Post, August 7, 2008.

Aaron C. Davis, Police Raid Berwyn Heights Mayor's Home, Kill His 2 Dogs, Washington Post, July 31, 2008.

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Jerry O'Keefe and Cynthia Leon

July 11, 2008—NY

Jerry O'Keefe, 69, and Cynthia Leon, a single mother, are neighbors in New York City. Both of them had NYPD officers raid their homes within moments of each other on suspicion of distributing crack cocaine. They were both named in warrants signed by a judge on a tip from a confidential informant. No illegal activity was found at either residence.

The confidential informant lied to police and hid the suspected drugs he bought from O'Keefe and Leon on his person before presenting it to authorities.

Source: "Misguided raid targeted homeowners" (Eyewitness News)7online.com, July 17, 2008.

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396 First Street

July 3, 2008—NY

The Rensselaer County Drug Task Force and the Troy Police Department's Special Operations Section raided an apartment located at 396 First Street in Troy, New York on a "no-knock" warrant. The woman who lives in the apartment was handcuffed after the police shot the locks off her door and threw a flash bang grenade into the home at 6 A.M.. It was one home in a series of raids conducted that morning.

The unidentified woman was interrogated and released after the police discovered no illegal activity of any kind in the apartment.

The police blamed inaccurate intelligence from a confidential informant that indicated that drugs and weapons were in the apartment.

Sources:

Matt McFarland, "Police apparently raid wrong house" WYNT.com, July 8, 2008.

Kenneth C. Crowe, II, "Troy raid based on a faulty tip" Times-Union (Albany, NY), July 9, 2008.

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Mary Valentine

June 20, 2008—MO

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department raided a two-family home, breaking down the doors, damaging walls and furniture, and using a smoke grenade. The home they entered was that of Ms. Mary Valentine, 86, who was physically unharmed during the raid.

Ms. Valentine has been unsuccessful in her demands for an apology and compensation from the police department for the damage done to her home.

Source:

Bill Beene "Home search questioned as elderly woman says police ransacked wrong house," St. Louis American, September 4, 2008.

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Vinny "Pops" Hodgkiss

June 12, 2008—FL

Police raided the home of Vinny Hodgkiss, 47, with serving a warrant for suspected drug activity. Officer Javier Diaz shot and killed Hodgkiss who, according to police, had a loaded shotgun in his hand at the time of the shooting. Less than an ounce of marijuana was found at the scene.

Friends and relatives doubt that Hodgkiss, a former pressman at a printing firm too sick to work, would have knowingly confronted a police officer in that way. Hodgkiss had a concealed-weapon permit and no history of felonies or violence.

Sources:

Michael Mayo, "Overzealous drug war claims another casualty" South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 15, 2008.

Michael Mayo, "Pembroke Pines family, police paint two portraits of one man" South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 22, 2008.

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Gonzalo Guizan

May 18, 2008—CT

Police in Easton conducted a heavily-armed drug raid on the home of Ronald Terebesi, Jr, after a woman reported that she had witnessed drug activity at the house that morning. They began the raid by throwing flash bang grenades through Terebesi's windows, then battering down his door and storming the house. According to police, an unarmed man, Gonzalo Guizan, charged the raiding officers, at which point they shot and killed him.

The subsequent search yielded a small amount of cocaine residue and some cocaine pipes. Terebesi was charged with drug possession and drug paraphernalia.

Source:

Maggie Caldwell, "Woman's report triggered police raid" Easton Courier, June 6, 2008.

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Noel Llorente

May 1, 2008—FL

In part of an operation known as "Operation D-Day," DEA agents raided 50 "grow houses"-facilities for growing marijuana-around the state of Florida. In addition, the DEA raided the home of Noel and Isabel Llorente-Cuban émigrés with no connections to drugs whatsoever.

Mr. Llorente was thrown down to the ground and handcuffed at gunpoint in front of his house while the agents searched their home. Mrs. Llorente, fearing that the DEA agents may be imposters, tried to call 911 but was not allowed to do so. The Llorentes only received apologies for the damage done to their home and reputations.

Source:

"Federal Agents Raid Wrong S. Fla. Home In Search For Drugs" NBC6.net, May 2, 2008.

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Officers John Gillis and Anthony Garrison

April 30, 2008—OH

Columbus police raided a building they erroneously believed was a crack house. Two 21-year veterans of the department, Officers John Gillis and Anthony Garrison, were shot as they entered the house to serve the warrant. The injuries were serious, but both officers survived.

Two men were charged with attempted murder for shooting at the police: Michael T. Gravely, 19, has a criminal record and had outstanding charges at the time of the incident. The other man, 38-year old Derrick Foster, is a former football player for Ohio State University and a respected member of his community, a college graduate, and has no previous criminal record or links to drug activity. Foster had a permit for the weapon he used in the shooting.

Charges are still pending as of September 8, 2008.

Sources:

Debbie Gebolys and James D. DeCamp, "Former OSU football player charged with shooting 2 Columbus police officers" Columbus Dispatch, May 1, 2008.

Jodi Andes and Theodore Decker, "2 jailed in shooting of police officers" Columbus Dispatch, May 2, 2008.

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Kathy Adams

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.

Source:

Scott Goldberg, "Police raid suspected meth house, only find fish tank" KARE 11 News, April 28, 2008.

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Andrew Glover

February 28, 2008—CT

A 60-year old man has accused local police of illegally invading his apartment on two occasions in a child pornography investigation. Andrew Glover says that on the second occasion, as he was recovering from intestinal surgery, the officers came into his apartment and assaulted him, ripping out his catheter.

The investigation which led to these incidents involved Glover's neighbors, who were arrested and charged with sexual assault and molesting children. Glover has not been charged in the crimes nor does he have a prior criminal record.

Glover intends to sue the city in federal court for civil rights violations.

Sources:

"Connecticut Man Says Cops Broke Into His Home and Ripped Out His Catheter" AP, May 9, 2008.

Dave Collins, "Man says police ripped catheter from his body" Boston.com, May 9, 2008.

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Burbank Commons Apartment

February 27, 2008—LA

Eyewitnesses claim that SWAT officers raided an apartment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana looking for marijuana. At least one person said that he witnessed an officer throw a flash grenade over a balcony and several witnesses were distressed by the noise.

While the Baton Rouge Police Department declined to comment on the raid, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office did confirm that they assisted in the action.

No drugs were found and no arrests were made.

Source:

J.J. Alcantara, "Police officers raid Burbank Commons apartment," LSU Daily Reveill

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Eric Halperin

February 27, 2008—NC

Police intercepted a package containing 27 pounds of marijuana at a DHL delivery station. The package was addressed to an off-campus Duke University fraternity house. An investigator posted a note on the door of the house saying a delivery was attempted along with a number to call.

Eric Halperin, a resident of the house, called the number and said that no one by the name of the female addressee lived at the house. The package was nevertheless delivered. Halperin accepted the package and sat on the couch with it unopened. A special enforcement unit of the Durham police burst in with guns drawn, arrested Halperin, strip-searched him and charged him with drug trafficking.

Other than accepting the delivery, there was no evidence linking the package to Halperin or anyone else in the house.

Within a month, all charges were dropped against Halperin.

Source:

Anne Blythe, "Durham police chided for marijuana case," The News & Observer, March 27, 2008.

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Detective Jarrod Shivers/Ryan Frederick

January 18, 2008—VA

Det. Jarrod Shivers, 34, was shot and killed serving a drug warrant on the home of Ryan Frederick, 28, who was suspected of growing marijuana. Frederick claims he did not know the police were raiding his home and shot before the police identified themselves. Frederick's home had been burglarized within the previous week.

Frederick has been charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. There was a small amount of marijuana and a water-pipe seized by the police, but there was no evidence that Frederick was growing anything but perfectly legal plants.

Sources:

John Hopkins and Steve Stone, "Fatal shooting of officer leaves neighborhood numb," The Virginian-Pilot, January 19, 2008.

John Hopkins, "I'm not the murderer they make me out to be," says Frederick, The Virginian-Pilot, January 25, 2008.

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Tracy Ingle

January 7, 2008—AR

At 7:40 P.M., North Little Rock SWAT executed a no-knock raid on the home of Tracy Ingle. Ingle reached for his legally-owned although inoperative pistol to defend himself until he realized the "intruders" were, in fact, police. He dropped the weapon on the ground.

Ingle was shot five times by the officers and incarcerated for four days after released from the hospital. No drugs or drug residue were found on the premises, but he was charged with assault and running a drug enterprise-the police found a scale and plastic bags during the subsequent search.

As of September 9, 2008, charges are still pending against Ingle.

Source:

David Koon, "Shot in the Dark" Arkansas Times, April 24, 2008

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Tarika Wilson

January 4, 2008—OH

While executing a "high risk" search warrant, Lima, Ohio, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia shot and killed Tarika Wilson, 26, and injured her one-year-old son.

Tarika's boyfriend, Anthony Terry, was arrested and charged with suspicion of possession of crack cocaine. Subsequently, Sgt. Chavalia was charged with negligent homicide in the Wilson's death and charged with negligent assault in the wounding of her son, Sincere, whose finger had to be amputated. On August 4, 2008, Chavalia was acquitted of all charges.

Sources:

Greg Sowinksi, "Woman killed, child injured during Lima drug raid," The Lima News, January 5, 2008.

John Seewer, "Lima Officer Charged in Fatal Shooting," AP, Mar 17, 2008.

John Seewer, "Ohio Officer Acquitted of Killing Mom Holding Baby," AP, August 4, 2008.

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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.
Source:

Caroline Lowe, "I-TEAM: Investigating Police Raid at Wrong House," WCCO.com, February 12, 2008.

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Kayla Irwin

November 20, 2007—IN

Kayla Irwin, single mother of two, was left homeless after a SWAT raid on her apartment in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Neighbors said that the police had tried to get fugitive Sean Deaton to surrender, but when that failed, they used forced entry and tear gas.

Ms. Irwin claims she did not know Deaton and was not at home at the time of the raid. An eyewitness and Iraq war veteran said that the police "looked like they were enjoying what they were doing. They did not need to do all [that]."

Due to the "acrid gas residue" left from the tear gas, the apartment is unlivable. Originally, Ms. Irwin said that the police had only said they were "sorry for the inconvenience," but after being contacted by the news affiliate covering the story, the police quickly re-approached Ms. Irwin. The assistant police chief said "I’m surprised the incident has not been remedied. We will take care of it the best we can."

Source:

"Woman Works to Rebuild After Police Raid Her Home" WLWT.com, Nov. 21, 2007.

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Pam and Frank Myers

November 16, 2007—MD

While watching a movie together, Pam and Frank Myers were interrupted by Sheriff’s Deputies of Prince George’s county banging on their door. The couple was held hostage by the deputies in the room and not allowed to go to the bathroom for 45 minutes.

Mr. and Mrs. Myers claim that in spite of the trauma, it could have ended well with an apology...until they heard two shots from the yard which killed their 5-year-old boxer, Pearl.

The police had the wrong house. The police later arrested the suspect named in the warrant on felony drug and weapons charges. As of Nov.19, 2007, the Myers family had received no apology.

Source:

"Deputies Raid Wrong Address, Kill Couple's Dog" WJLA -- ABC 7 News Nov. 19, 2007.

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