Thursday, August 07, 2008

Law Enforcement Gone Awry

What were they thinking? The police officers who without a warrant recently broke down a door and savagely killed two black labs in the name of drug enforcement? My heart goes out to the Berwyn Heights mayor and his wife who were the victims of this tragedy.

Apparently trained dogs in Arizona had sniffed out the 32 pounds of marijuana in the box addressed to the mayor’s wife. A SWAT team then descended on their house after the package was delivered.

The sheriff’s deputies entered without knocking, tied up the mayor and his mother-in-law, and began shooting, killing 7-year-old Payton first, then shooting 4-year-old Chase as he ran to another room. Later the deputies said they regretted shooting the dogs but that they had felt threatened by them. Come on, black labs? These obviously were not attack dogs!

The unopened package containing the drugs was found after the dogs had already been killed.

That was July 29. Today’s Post reported that two people were arrested in a marijuana-shipping plot that included the box sent to the mayor’s wife as well as at least a half dozen more sent to other unsuspecting addressees.

It’s still a little sketchy as to how this supposed to work. But the plan seems to have been that one deliveryman would drop off the package and a second man would come by shortly thereafter and retrieve it.

What I find most appalling is that not only have the Sheriff and the PG Police failed to apologize, but they continue to defend the actions of the morons who carried out this misguided raid and fail to remove all blame from the mayor and his wife.

It’s very scary to think that one moment you could be petting your dog in your house and minding your own business and the next you could be tied up and your dog could be bleeding at your feet. What in the world has this world come to when things like this can happen?

Meanwhile there is absolutely no way anyone could compensate this couple for the loss of their two family pets. I am incredibly sad for them. I’m glad I don’t live in PG County, where the Police often seem to think they can take the law into their own hands.


Blogger bozoette said...

When it became clear that my son was going to become a police officer, I told him that he was Forbidden By Me to apply to DC Metro, Baltimore City, or PG County. This is why. (He works in Ocean City instead.)

3:33 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

It gets even worse. The law enforcement authorities KNEW of the delivery scam, and therefore, they knew that any initial recipient of the package was likely NOT involved in the drug smuggling. That automatically raises the level of care that the authorities were required to use when they came to the Mayor's door that day. An OUTSIDE investigation is needed, and those found to have been derelict in their duties need to be punished.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bozoette -- I hope Ocean City Police are a little smarter than these guys!

MC -- Grrr! What can I as a common citizen in another county do to bring justice to this situation? I have been treating Jake so nicely today as I think of those beautiful black labs who were so viciously and unnecessarily killed.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

What a world we live in. I'm glad they didn't shoot the mayor or his mother-in-law.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- Yeah, especially since the package was addressed to his wife!

4:39 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a travesty and a tragic story!

shoot first ask later....

however, regarding the analysis of what happened and this remark "Come on, black labs? These were not pit bulls!" as someone who is very sensitive to 'breedism' I say shame,shame that you singled out pit bulls inherent by doing so is the implication that all pit bulls are vicious ....any type of dog can be vicious and trained to do harm as any human can..... as the actions of these police officers so clearly demonstrate.

in fact perhaps you will find this passage illustrative it from an article that gladwell wrote in the new yorker earlier this year:
"Dobermans and Great Danes and German shepherds and Rottweilers are frequent biters as well, and the dog that recently mauled a Frenchwoman so badly that she was given the world’s first face transplant was, of all things, a Labrador retriever."

hummmm what was that about being black labs?

I don't want to set off a heated debate, however I do believe we must be careful not to further the injustice against the breed...

thanks for allowing me to comment on this.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mouse -- Oops! Truthfully I have never know an aggressive pit bull, but I guess I was just thinking of my dear departed black lab Dylan who would never have hurt a flea. I fully acknowledge that vicious dogs are a result of training and not birth. Shame on me!

5:13 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

After Mouse's comment, I took out the offensive mention of pit bulls. This travesty has nothing to do with the breed of the dogs, but with the fact that they were the innocent victims of trigger-happy cops. They could just as easily have been mutts and the sadness would be every bit as great.

5:30 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

As to your question of what you can do about this as a citizen of another county, I think you're doing it, by writing an informative and emotional blog post that helps spread this story around the world. Good job!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- Unfortunately it would take a lot more than a post or two on my Blog to fix the law enforcement ills of PG County. But thanks anyway...

10:12 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

I thank you and all the sweet, gentle pit bulls out there thanks you.
hugs to your jake!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Check out this latest update in the Washington Post today: FBI to Review Raid that Killed Mayor's Dogs. I hope the FBI sends the right message to the law enforcement offices associated with this case. But unfortunately the dogs are gone forever.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I hadn't even heard about this story. Outrageous! I think Kristen hit the nail on the head -- it's bad enough that the police killed the dogs, but they could just as easily have killed the people!

That said, I wouldn't want to be a police officer either, and walking into situations where my life could be in danger before I was even fully aware of it. I can see why they might be a bit jumpy. That doesn't excuse their actions, though.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous twas a random click said...

his is definately a black eye for the PG County police dept - especially so soon after the murder of the (alleged) cop-killer kid....but i have two things to mention:
1. If memory serves me correctly, it wasnt PGPD SWAT that was on the call, they were apparently occupied, i believe that the SWAT team was Maryland State Police.
2. I was sharing this story (and the one linked) w/ acquaintances, and was told that when raiding drug houses (where resistance is expected), killing the dog is standard op. because even when the persons are down, the dogs are at the command of the humans...

It seemed to me that in that light, the SWAT action at least made some sense. The 'intelligence' and the chain of command, that okayed the SWAT action is what should be examined here.
They F-ed up. Badly - now this family has to live w/ the consequences.

Here is the other story...and as you can see, there is little remorse for the actions of the PD. I think that the Chain of Command here, is also faulty there needs to be better control on when it is acceptable to call on (what is a paramilitary group) to operate in towns and cities.

You will be suprised at the number of incidences of SWAT 'mistakes' over the last decade.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- As MC pointed out, the police already knew about the scam and an undercover policeman delivered the package to the mayor's house. I don't for the life of me understand why they couldn't have knocked on the door and had a peaceful conversation with the mayor, who is hardly a drug lord, while his dogs slept peacefully out of harm's way.

I can understand the uncertainty that often accompanies a SWAT team's actions, but this was never such a case.

RandomClick -- I would not be surprised at all at the number of SWAT team raids gone wrong. The Minneapolis story you linked to is just one more example.

But what actually sickened me was the number of other cases where animals had been senselessly killed as reported in today's WP article. I happen to consider animal life as sacrosanct as human life, but obviously out there sport killing is alive and well.

10:31 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...



2:59 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bulletholes -- It is definitely BULLSHIT. Innocent animals should never need to suffer.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Mo said...

Oh my god, this is terrible! I'll save the political rant for another time, but suffice it to say that the killing of those poor, innocent dogs makes my blood boil.

Before I left Chicago, I worked part time as a dog walker, and one of my favorite visits was to a giant black lab named Casey, the world's biggest cuddler. Argh!!! I hate ignorance like this!!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mo -- Terrible indeed. I'm sure DC isn't the only place where this happens unfortunately.

10:25 AM  

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