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"He is survived by his wife of over eight years, Vanessa, and their two children, ages 4 and 5."
May 26, 2011 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Jose Guerena, 26, was a Marine veteran and father of two. He served two tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2005. On May 5th, he was killed in his home by a SWAT team looking for narcotics

The police say that Guerena was part of a home-invasion ring and was shot 60 times after aiming a gun at them. Vanessa Guerena, Jose's wife, says that she thought the police were a home invasion; two members of her sister-in-law's family were killed that way last year in Tucson.

"An ambulance reportedly arrived in a few minutes, but medical personnel were not allowed inside to see Mr Guerena for an hour and 14 minutes...

In contrast, it took responders only 12 minutes to address Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in Tucson in January"


911 call from Vanessa: Youtube audio

The officers' attorney: Video

The family's attorney: Video

Search warrant and other documents related to the raid on the Guerena's home have been sealed.

The case has provoked outrage from left- and right-wing bloggers.

Forbes: He survived two tours in Iraq, but could not survive our War on Drugs.

Oath Keepers plans to protest on Memorial Day
posted by dubold (465 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
O'Connor:  "It appears that it was 71 rounds were fired."

Waldman:  "Someone on the street might perceive that as excessive force.  In your opinion as a law enforcement officer, was it?"

O'Connor:  "No, it's not, for a couple of reasons.  One, this was an operation being conducted by SWAT members.  They have  special weapons when they're doing this. Also, where this occurred:  There were five officers at the door beginning to make entry into this home, when they engaged this individual that they believed was actually firing at them.  They're going to fire until that threat is no longer.  And in this case, they fired those rounds in approximately seven seconds.  So, it may sound like it's a high number.   But when you have five officers firing semi-automatic weapons, that can be done in less than seven seconds, and that's what happened in this case."


7 seconds is about a million years in an encounter. This ALONE is fucked up. If there were 5 officers with semis, they were shooting twice per second...for SEVEN seconds.

Something really bad is going on.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [21 favorites]


FFS - it isn't a war on drugs, it's a war on personal freedom.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 3:50 AM on May 26, 2011 [25 favorites]


At first, the SWAT team had said Mr Guerena fired first, but then they retracted that statement, saying he had left the safety on.

I don't know the AR15, but can anyone with some knowledge of it talk about the safety? Marines are taught to take the safety off well before an engagement starts.

It seems like he wasn't going to shoot. It really doesn't jive with the SWAT team's version:

As soon as we opened the door, we were confronted with an individual that was in a crouched position, pointing at them with an AR 15 military assault rifle, and saying -- I'm gonna quote what he said -- 'I've got something for you.'
posted by hal_c_on at 3:57 AM on May 26, 2011


As soon as we opened the door, we were confronted with an individual that was in a crouched position, pointing at them with an AR 15 military assault rifle, and saying -- I'm gonna quote what he said -- 'I've got something for you.' Then they engaged this individual who was pointing the weapon at them."

This is such unadulterated horse shit, it is astounding.

This is a trained solider who's been through two tours in life or death conditions. He didn't even get a shot off before they got 71 off. What kind of solider, do you think, is trained that if he needs to shoot, he is going to be the 72nd shot in the situation? None. If he was going to shoot you, he would've gotten a round off, at least. He's not some average joe who's too nervous to shoot his gun, this is a trained solider.

Also, do these monsters think he would've survived two tours if he led with a Stallone line before shooting? If anything, it lends credence to the idea that the guy thought it was home invaders and he was trying to scare them off, not making sure to get a good line in before shooting at SWAT cops.

The police state is embarrassing right now.
posted by dflemingecon at 3:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [76 favorites]


"An ambulance reportedly arrived in a few minutes, but medical personnel were not allowed inside to see Mr Guerena for an hour and 14 minutes"

This is murder, plain and simple. I realize that some people are uncomfortable in applying this term to cops, but you're no different than the assholes who tried to reframe torture as "enhanced interrogation."
posted by bardic at 3:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [106 favorites]


They have special weapons when they're doing this.

Oh, well okay. That explains it then. Nothing to see here.
posted by marxchivist at 4:00 AM on May 26, 2011


So it's drugs in some parts of the US and dissent in other parts of the world. Either way, you're going to have govt. operatives kicking your door in when they please and fucking your & your family's shit up.

As a regular vistor to the US, AZ was one of my top destinations and Tucson was pretty much at the top of the list of places to visit. I've defended PHX many times as a decent place to go and have been slowly persuading my better half that a camping trip in the Grand Canyon (my 3rd visit, her 2nd) would be a great trip.

This sort of thing changes all that. There is so much fucked up shit coming out of AZ at the moment it that it's going to take something really special to get me back there in a hurry. So maybe it'll be more of NV, OR, NM, UT & so on. Or maybe I'll just stick to NYC for the Knicks & SF for the Raiders and screw all the crazy parts that seem to hate people these days.

Better yet, I'll head back to Sri Lanka. Sure it may be a recovering war zone in half the country but I'd actually feel a damn sight safer...
posted by i_cola at 4:08 AM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you're going to act like a fascist regime can you at least make the fucking trains run on time?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:08 AM on May 26, 2011 [80 favorites]


The War on Drugs is an utter failure, a policy that hasn't worked since its inception.

"No drugs were found in their home, and the family had no criminal record."

.
posted by bwg at 4:08 AM on May 26, 2011 [19 favorites]


Lucky for him this happened in Arizona. Here in Indiana, our state supreme court just ruled that citizens don't even have the right to try to defend their homes from illegal or mistaken police invasion.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:11 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


One of the things that should disqualify you from being on a SWAT team is the desire to be on a SWAT team.

As Civil_Disobedient notes, we have all the fucked up bullshit of fascism in this country, without any of the supposed benefits. Though I suppose if you're a billionaire wall street douche, you probably think everything is hunky.
posted by maxwelton at 4:21 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I try not to weigh in on American guns-and-police threads, because I don't really have a handle on how that kind of society works, and I'm willing to accept that there are plenty of cases of police being far too gung-ho in their approach...

...but if (as alleged here, and I'm sure it would be straightforward to find evidence to validate the matter one way or the other) there were 'a lot police vehicles there, with their lights and their sirens on', it would be pretty hard to make the case that someone in the house would mistake this for a 'home invasion'. Not that the rest of it isn't fucked up.

Here in Indiana, our state supreme court just ruled that citizens don't even have the right to try to defend their homes from illegal or mistaken police invasion.

Well thank god there are still states where you're allowed to open fire on the police.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:21 AM on May 26, 2011


Absolutely shameful. Incompetent, and such bold-faced in this attempted bullshit coverup. When do you people really stand up and say "enough of this", and actually start changing this, rolling back the militarization of police? When does it stop being "God bless our brave troops and first responders", no exceptions?

Shame.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:23 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, is everybody here on this drug guy's side?
posted by telstar at 4:26 AM on May 26, 2011


Even if drugs were completely legal, and the very worst came to pass with regard to addictions and loss of productivity and lives and so on -- how could it be even remotely as bad as what we have now?

And it's worth pointing out, for black people, this is every goddamn day. This particular instance is not special because it's a soldier that died. If you are black in this country, unless you're very lucky, this is your reality.
posted by Malor at 4:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [24 favorites]


Here's a thought: Why the hell was the decedent permitted by law to obtain an AR-15 assault rifle? Our beloved NRA is contributing to the militarization of the police by lobbying hard for the militarization of the citizenry, which allows the police to say, "look, we're outgunned, we need to be able to knock once and then call in an airstrike."
posted by Mister_A at 4:31 AM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


When does it stop being "God bless our brave troops and first responders", no exceptions?

Apparently that holds true for the victim in this case. People seem to be ignoring that he was allegedly involved in a drug and home invasion ring and brandishing an AR-15 because he was a veteran.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:33 AM on May 26, 2011


Hey, is everybody here on this drug guy's side?

No drugs were found in the home. Maybe you're talking about the SWAT team member assigned to plant evidence during botched raids--he wasn't on his game tonight, was he?
posted by maxwelton at 4:35 AM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Apparently that holds true for the victim in this case. People seem to be ignoring that he was allegedly involved in a drug and home invasion ring and brandishing an AR-15 because he was a veteran.

A Devildog with an AR15 with the safety on is not "brandishing" it. In fact, he had no intention to fire it if the safety was on.

Being a suspect does not mean you get to be shot at 71 times with your family hiding in the next room.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


kinda defeats the purpose of a fast, quick search raid if you come up to house in your big vehicles and sirens going. if i were a SWAT guy i'd want the opposite--a quick, unannounced entry. so i don't buy those comments about how they made their presence known before they entered the home.
posted by lester at 4:39 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sounds creepily similar to an infamous recent Atlanta case, in which a 92-year-old woman was killed by police raiding her house for drugs. Turns out the warrant pretenses for the raid were basically nonexistent and the police lied to cover it up.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:40 AM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Hey, is everybody here on this drug guy's side?

You made this same adorable and witty comment in the last (subsequently deleted) thread that went up about this. If you'd RTFA, you'd see that no drugs were found in the home and he had no criminal record, so calling him a "drug guy" makes you sound like an ignorant dipshit.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:40 AM on May 26, 2011 [44 favorites]


Here's a thought: Why the hell was the decedent permitted by law to obtain an AR-15 assault rifle?

I think assault-style weapons are crutches for the macho-deficient, but it should be clear that an AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle which functionally isn't any different than the Remington or Winchester semi-autos you can buy to blast away at deer. It's not a machine gun. (In theory, anyway; I suppose you can get the pieces you need to make it an M-16 at that grand olde American institution, the Gun Show, if you know the right people and have cash.)
posted by maxwelton at 4:40 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, is everybody here on this drug guy's side?
posted by telstar at 4:26 AM on May 26


Trolling the other thread wasn't enough?
posted by -harlequin- at 4:41 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's a different view:

"My thesis is this: the Warren Court effectively made policing impossible, crime exploded, the war on drugs was implemented in response, crime dropped. As such, I’m not surprised by this: "the fourth amendment now has a de facto exception clause when it comes to drug -related crimes." I’d only make one minor correction – "the fourth amendment as interpreted by judges in the ’60s."

Is this state of affairs bad? Yes.

Should we end the war on drugs? No. We’re entirely dependent on it to keep crime in check now that we’ve outlawed old-fashioned (i.e. effective) police work." Foseti
posted by Faze at 4:43 AM on May 26, 2011


but if (as alleged here, and I'm sure it would be straightforward to find evidence to validate the matter one way or the other) there were 'a lot police vehicles there, with their lights and their sirens on', it would be pretty hard to make the case that someone in the house would mistake this for a 'home invasion

That's not how SWAT operates. They do not telegraph their intentions precisely because they don't want to give people time to grab their guns, lock their doors, put children in front of windows, etc. You're not supposed to know so you don't have time to prepare.

I can just imagine the scene these lying bastards are trying to paint: the SWAT team walking around banging cans together like they're trying to scare bears away from a campsite. "YOO HOO! SWAT TEAM! BETTER BE NICE AND COME OUT!"

Total bullshit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Mistakes happen. Horrible, horrific mistakes that cost people lives. It is one reason why I could never be a police officer or a soldier - I could not live with a mistake this big.

But if one is going to wield lethal force, then one should be able to carry the responsibility of incorrectly ending someone's life and all that entails. I'm not saying that the SWAT officers should be jailed or killed - that is another discussion entirely. I am saying that the relevant people who ordered the hit (um, sorry, "drug bust") own up to their mistake, fail to make the family whole but pay them anyways, and move on.

As people have seen in many of my other posts, I am pretty much 100% against "recreational" drug use for societal reasons. (Other reasons, too, but those reasons aren't enough to justify police actions.)

And yet The War on Drugs, as it takes place now, sucks. We can argue alternatives all day. But the bottom line is that too many people are shot at, killed or incarcerated for stuff that doesn't matter. When you jail someone for years for a small amount of personal pot possession, what bigger punishment must then be doled out for bigger problems (like amounts fit for a dealer)? And when it is amped up to this degree, people get killed.

This is a consequence of the system. Can I be in favor of some of the goals of the system but hate the implementation of it?
posted by andreaazure at 4:57 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's not how SWAT operates.

Well, given that either the lights were flashing and the sirens on, or the whole thing was absolutely silent, aren't there likely to have been plenty of witnesses to the said lights, sirens or absolute silence on the night in question? It seems like a pretty straightforward thing, especially given the accompanying sound of gunfire. Hardly something you could get away with lying about, especially given that the neighbours will presumably have seen the news coverage.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:00 AM on May 26, 2011


A Devildog with an AR15 with the safety on is not "brandishing" it. In fact, he had no intention to fire it if the safety was on.

According to the interview he was pointing it at the officers and said "I've got something for you." I don't know what you define as "brandishing" but that sounds pretty much like brandishing to me. Of course, I was just going by the one interview, so who the hell knows?

No drugs were found in the home.

Also, according to the interview "[they] found information that was pertinent to this drug conspiracy case, yes." So, yeah, no drugs, maybe he didn't want it around his own kids, or maybe he was innocent. I'm certainly not going to find out the truth from sensationalist news sources.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:01 AM on May 26, 2011


Our beloved NRA is contributing to the militarization of the police by lobbying hard for the militarization of the citizenry, which allows the police to say, "look, we're outgunned, we need to be able to knock once and then call in an airstrike."

This is a great point, and bears repeating.

hal_c_on: In fact, he had no intention to fire it if the safety was on.

Can you stop with this? You have no idea what his intentions were. I'm not interested in authorizing the SWAT version of events, but reading tea leaves about the safety, the guy's previous combat history, or the color of his t-shirt does not lead to the kinds of definitive statements you're making. I know, I know, you're going to come back and talk about how soldiers are trained to unsafety their weapons, and how this proves that, and it all shows what a travesty of justice this is. It may well be a travesty of justice, but you really have no idea what the guy was thinking. For instance, if he did think it was a home invasion, why wouldn't he have had the safety off? If his training was to take the safety off before the engagement, why would he leave it on before the engagement, regardless of who he thought was invading? Indeed, why brandish a gun if you aren't prepared to fire it?

None of these questions condone the actions of the SWAT team, but they do point out that you insistence that "he wasn't going to fire" is predicated on your politics, and not the situation as described. It's really impossible to confront a horrific situation like this honestly without at least trying to remove those kinds of blatant appeals to falsity from your response.
posted by OmieWise at 5:02 AM on May 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Did anyone else notice the complete incompetence and uselessness of the 911 operator?

Who the hell trained this woman?
posted by kuanes at 5:23 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not defending the SWAT's actions, but if he was brandishing a semi-automatic rifle in the direction of the SWAT team entering his home than he was making a lethal threat, whether or not the safety was on.

There's a lot of fucked up in what happened (most recently) in Tuscon, but I can't entirely blame the SWAT for walking into that and opening fire (if that's how it happened, of course.)
posted by Vhanudux at 5:25 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


le morte de bea arthur: " there were 'a lot police vehicles there, with their lights and their sirens on', it would be pretty hard to make the case that someone in the house would mistake this for a 'home invasion'. "

If they were raiding the house, they were relying on the element of surprise. The element of surprise would be rather, uhm, voided, if there were any lights or sirens whatsoever. No, they go in on these things silent and dark.
posted by notsnot at 5:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's a thought: Why the hell was the decedent permitted by law to obtain an AR-15 assault rifle?
Arazona, in particular, is crazy about guns. You don't even need a license to do a concealed carry. Jared Laughner got pulled over on his way to shooting Gabby Giffords, but even if the cop had noticed the guns he wouldn't have been breaking any laws.

Anyway, what difference does it make? Whether it was an AR-15 or a pistol he'd be just as dead.

I don't know what the deal is but AZ just seems hyper militarized for some reason. Probably people are freaking out about violence across the border for one thing. And then this crazy amount of anti-mexican racism that just came out of nowhere over the past 5-6 years.
Should we end the war on drugs? No. We’re entirely dependent on it to keep crime in check now that we’ve outlawed old-fashioned (i.e. effective) police work." Foseti
I suppose that guy just means cops need an excuse to oppress black people, beyond that I have no idea WTF he could be referring too. Looking at the rest of his blog, yes, he an actual racist. thanks for sharing his perspective with us, Faze! I'm sure you read his blog every day.
posted by delmoi at 5:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [20 favorites]




Not defending the SWAT's actions, but if he was brandishing a semi-automatic rifle in the direction of the SWAT team entering his home than he was making a lethal threat, whether or not the safety was on.
The question is why is the first thing you do after getting a tip from a snitch a SWAT raid. You don't, you know, investigate first? Tap his phones? Follow him around? That kind of thing? I mean no drugs were found, right? How the fuck do they even get a warrant for this shit?
posted by delmoi at 5:29 AM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Cops shoot drug criminals
Because cops are afraid of drug criminals
Because drug criminals are afraid of cops
Because cops and judges will send them away for life
Because drug laws are so harsh.

You have to fix things in the right order.

1. Decriminalize drugs.
2. Criminalize the dangerous thing: guns.
3. Get cops used to working without guns. They need to get back to mutual respect. Carrying a gun ought to be something they have to file a special request for.
4. Get criminals used to working without guns. They need to see that it's much, much worse for them to carry a gun, drugs or not, than it is to just get arrested for drugs. If you don't have guns, you're probably going to walk.
posted by pracowity at 5:34 AM on May 26, 2011 [36 favorites]


Portugal.

And, however the why's and wherefores of this, it's fucked up.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:43 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let's say, for the sake of argument, he did brandish the AR-15 assault rifle and point it at the officers and that therefore this shooting was a proper use of force. Let's even give the officers the home invasion crew link.

This: "An ambulance reportedly arrived in a few minutes, but medical personnel were not allowed inside to see Mr Guerena for an hour and 14 minutes... is not proper police procedure.

The 42 USC 1942 lawsuit will turn on those actions and whether or not the provision of medical care could have prevented death.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]



Not defending the SWAT's actions, but if he was brandishing a semi-automatic rifle in the direction of the SWAT team entering his home than he was making a lethal threat, whether or not the safety was on.


What do you consider 7 armed men breaking into your home in the middle of the night with automatic weapons.

I think it's time for an American Spring, to be honest.

We need to end the drug war now.
posted by empath at 5:47 AM on May 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


I mean really, I'm looking forward to armed robbers using that excuse the next time they break into a 7-11 and the store owner busts out a shot gun.

Sorry, self defense, I had to shoot him, he pointed a gun back at me.
posted by empath at 5:48 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not defending the SWAT's actions, but if he was brandishing a semi-automatic rifle in the direction of the SWAT teamunknown and possible criminal invaders violently entering his home than he was making a lethal threat, whether or not the safety was on.

FTFY.

Part of SWAT team training is to create confusion. This, of course, can quite easily lead to a citizen mistaking the police for a criminal invasion. A dozen black-clad and gun-toting men breaking-down the door, all screaming at the tops of their voices is not a tactic designed to elicit a calm, reasoned response on the part of the invaded. It's more likely to elicit confusion and excuses for the police to use whatever force they deem necessary.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:54 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


The 42 USC 1942 lawsuit will turn on those actions and whether or not the provision of medical care could have prevented death.

That's a typo. Ironmouth is certainly referring to 42 USC 1983.
posted by jedicus at 5:57 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


How the fuck do they even get a warrant for this shit?

Wouldn't it be a very nice thing to see every reporter in the area asking the issuing judge that exact question every single time one of these "Osama Bin Laden" style no-knock warrants go wrong?
posted by mikelieman at 5:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


This story is terrible and this war needs to end now.
posted by milestogo at 6:00 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean really, I'm looking forward to armed robbers using that excuse the next time they break into a 7-11 and the store owner busts out a shot gun.

Sorry, self defense, I had to shoot him, he pointed a gun back at me.


Heck, the robbers can use the Amadou Diallo defense, and shoot him as he's emptying the cash register because they were afraid of what he might do.
posted by mikelieman at 6:02 AM on May 26, 2011


I mean really, I'm looking forward to armed robbers using that excuse the next time they break into a 7-11 and the store owner busts out a shot gun.

Sorry, self defense, I had to shoot him, he pointed a gun back at me.


Police procedure is very clear on this sort of thing--if you point a gun at police or a third party, the procedure requires that you shoot.

Seriously, up is down. The police execute a search warrant on a suspected home invader's residence and find him with an assault rifle pointed at them. What are they supposed to do, take rounds in the chest?

And the other thing is this--the police entering cannot see if the safety is on, or if it is a semi-automatic or a fully automatic weapon. They have no idea of anything. They see the rifle pointed at them and they will shoot.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:03 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem isn't the police's response to a gun. It's that the whole concept behind the no-knock entry FORCES the innocent party to point that gun due to the confusion the police cause.

If the cops just knocked and said, "Police, We have a search warrant....", this tragedy wouldn't have occurred.
posted by mikelieman at 6:06 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


The police execute a search warrant on a suspected home invader's residence and find him with an assault rifle pointed at them. What are they supposed to do, take rounds in the chest?


Probably not break into a house in the middle of the night with guns drawn, I don't know. It's not like the guy carries around an AR 15 all day long.
posted by empath at 6:07 AM on May 26, 2011 [19 favorites]


I'm looking forward to armed robbers using that excuse..

It happens fairly often. For instance. You can buy SWAT gear online (except for the firearms). As noted in the quoted part of the story, "Vanessa Guerena, Jose's wife, says that she thought the police were a home invasion; two members of her sister-in-law's family were killed that way last year in Tucson." Why would the now-dead Marine assume these guys were actually cops, after that?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:07 AM on May 26, 2011 [22 favorites]


For instance, if he did think it was a home invasion, why wouldn't he have had the safety off? If his training was to take the safety off before the engagement, why would he leave it on before the engagement, regardless of who he thought was invading? Indeed, why brandish a gun if you aren't prepared to fire it?

Excellent questions.

Maybe he saw that it wasn't a home invasion and this dude put the safety on. And thats when they started firing.

Maybe the officers just shot up an unarmed man. They then found the weapon around the house and just placed it on him forgetting about the safety.

Maybe you don't understand that "brandishing" a weapon is kinda like waving it around, showing it off. I don't understand why you think he was brandishing it.

Take out your finger and point it like a gun. Pretend shoot it 14 times in 7 seconds. Thats what 5 trained officers of the law did to one dude. Did you kinda get bored around the 3 second mark? I did too. They didn't. They kept shooting at him till he had 60 holes in his body.

There are a LOT of possibilities regarding what actually happened. But one I'm not willing to buy is that he threatened them and still had the safety on. I'm not even sure I buy that he was POINTING it at them.

The only people who claim he was POINTING the rifle at them are the adrenaline monkeys that took target practice on a him, and then let him bleed to death on the floor.

Too many things seem wrong here for me to believe that what the cops say what happened is what actually happened.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:08 AM on May 26, 2011 [20 favorites]




And the other thing is this--the police entering cannot see if the safety is on, or if it is a semi-automatic or a fully automatic weapon. They have no idea of anything. They see the rifle pointed at them and they will shoot.

Just as a citizen will arm themselves and aim at whatever is breaking-down their front door.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:09 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Maybe you don't understand that "brandishing" a weapon is kinda like waving it around, showing it off. I don't understand why you think he was brandishing it.

Because that has been in the news coverage for the last week. I've watched and read nearly everything and they all seem to agree that the guy pointed an M-16 clone at a SWAT team executing a search warrant and said some words to the effect that he was going to give them something.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:19 AM on May 26, 2011


Here's a thought: Why the hell was the decedent permitted by law to obtain an AR-15 assault rifle?

2nd Amendment.

-----

He shows a slight bias but this guy's prose is outstanding.

Guerena’s wife, Vanessa, heard a noise outside the couple’s home near Tucson at about 9 a.m. Jose, who had just gone to bed after pulling a 12-hour shift at the Asarco Mine, suspected — correctly, as it turned out — that his family was threatened by an armed criminal gang. Grabbing his AR-15, Guerena instructed his wife and four-year-old son to hide in the closet while he confronted the intruders. According to Mrs. Guerena, the stormtroopers from the Pima County Regional SWAT team never identified themselves as police; they simply stormed into the home and started shooting.

...

“Tucson is notorious for home invasions and we didn’t want it to look like that,” insisted PCSO spokesman O’Connor, exhibiting the dull-witted refusal to acknowledge the obvious that typifies tax-feeders of his station. He also maintained that the death squad “went lights and sirens and we absolutely did not do a `no-knock’ warrant,” a claim refuted by the only surviving witness, Vanessa Guerena. Such details are morally inconsequential, since there was no reason — apart from the institutional vanity of the PCSO and the indecent eagerness of the armored adolescents who compose its SWAT team — to conduct a paramilitary raid to serve a routine search warrant.
posted by BigSky at 6:19 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Looking at the rest of his blog, yes, he an actual racist. thanks for sharing his perspective with us, Faze! I'm sure you read his blog every day.

Ugh. You might want to attach some kind of warning to links like that, delmoi. I feel the need to wash my brain out with something more wholesome. Like goatse or tubgirl.
posted by straight at 6:21 AM on May 26, 2011


No matter what the situation was, 71 rounds is overkill, innit? I mean, why waste all that money on a whole SWAT team if this is the way it goes? Why not just have one guy with a tank?

Ridiculous and shameful.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:22 AM on May 26, 2011


and said some words to the effect that he was going to give them something

I take your general point, but this seems like the most outlandish claim of all. Unless this is the mute SWAT team we've (not) heard so much about, there tends to be a lot of yelling and "GET ON THE FLOOR" going on. But somehow multiple members of the team heard him threaten them with an incredibly calm and collected line.
posted by yerfatma at 6:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Before you come out swinging against the Pima County Sheriff's department, it's worth noting that they're fairly liberal for Arizona. The sheriff vocally opposed the immigration bill, and was subjected to a recall campaign after he suggested that the Gabrielle Giffords shooting (which also took place in Pima County) might have been politically motivated.

This does not reduce the significance or severity of what happened at all. However, it's probably incorrect to ascribe blame to one of AZ's many "gung-ho" Sheriff's departments, as Pima County is notably not one of them.
posted by schmod at 6:34 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The War on Drugs is an utter failure, a policy that hasn't worked since its inception.
Corrections Corporation of America's stock price has increased 5 fold since 2001. That is how success is measured in the War on Drugs. These are the institutions who hand-pick and fund politicians to do their bidding. How can this be seen as anything less than an active corporate war on America and the Constitution?
posted by any major dude at 6:37 AM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Americans have long maintained that a man's home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.
Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, including interactive map of botched SWAT raids.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: "
Also, according to the interview "[they] found information that was pertinent to this drug conspiracy case, yes."
"

We found out this wasn't the guy we wanted.
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


And it's worth pointing out, for black people, this is every goddamn day. This particular instance is not special because it's a soldier that died. If you are black in this country, unless you're very lucky, this is your reality.

As a black person, I'm asking you to quit perpetuating racist images, stereotypes and untruths. Not every black person has to deal with cops every day ok? It's bullshit and wrong to keep slinging that crappy image. I grew up in a middle class neighborhood with plenty of other middle class black people and the biggest threat from cops we had to deal was the stupid shit we'd do at Halloween.

Obviously things are not all rosy and perfect for blacks in America and I'm careful in my few dealings with cops (goddamn speed trap). But the ignorant stereotype you're so lovingly growing with that pile of manure is simply not truth. To authoritatively state that it is doesn't help the situation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on May 26, 2011 [28 favorites]


This just makes me sick. SWAT teams should be illegal. If not, there should be a special warrent for the use of SWAT that requires extraordinary evidence that A) You have the right guy and address, and B) that there is absolutely no other way to go about it.
posted by threeturtles at 6:40 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: "No matter what the situation was, 71 rounds is overkill, innit? I mean, why waste all that money on a whole SWAT team if this is the way it goes? Why not just have one guy with a tank?

Ridiculous and shameful.
"

Arizona and Steven Seagal got ya covered on that one my good man. (fucking police state, and fucking arpaio, and fucking arizona)
posted by symbioid at 6:42 AM on May 26, 2011


Did anyone else notice the complete incompetence and uselessness of the 911 operator?
Who the hell trained this woman?


As a one-time fire-department dispatcher when 911 was just coming into rural areas, let me tell you, the training was...erm...not much. They gave me a training manual to read, sat me in front of the console and showed it to me, then I was pretty much on my own. There was nothing more terrifying than flying blind that way. One would hope the training would be somewhat more now, but I don't hold out much hope.
posted by LN at 6:46 AM on May 26, 2011


...but if (as alleged here, and I'm sure it would be straightforward to find evidence to validate the matter one way or the other) there were 'a lot police vehicles there, with their lights and their sirens on', it would be pretty hard to make the case that someone in the house would mistake this for a 'home invasion'. Not that the rest of it isn't fucked up.

Except that there has been a rash of home invasion attacks all over the US recently in which home invaders are posing as the police to gain entry to homes.

And since the police in this case were investigating a "home invasion ring" operating in the neighborhood, it seems pretty reasonable to me that people in the neighborhood were more than a little skeptical of people claiming to be the police on their door step.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:48 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have to say, linking that really excellent journalistic work in the Huffington Post as being the work of a "left-wing blogger" in the FPP is a bit lame.

THAT is the piece with all the real money bits. How none of the neighbors reported seeing lights or hearing sirens or pre-shooting announcements. How the supposed "fragment of a law-enforcement uniform" the cops claimed to be looking for was a Border Patrol cap you could order from Amazon. How that Jesús Malverde picture, supposedly a "narco saint", is also often found in homes of poor, immigrants, and those who feel they've been wronged.

There's so much meat in that article. It's hardly a blog post. It's real journalism, and needs to be read and respected as such.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


SWAT team entering a home where someone is holding a weapon, this is going to end badly for somebody. The delay in getting medical care is going to be the issue in the courts. I can't seen any excuse for that.

And, yes, that is the Pima County Sheriff's Department, the one with the good sheriff.
posted by warbaby at 7:04 AM on May 26, 2011


I feel really bad for the wife. First to have her sister and then her husband killed by home invaders. If she hadn't glanced out the window at just the wrong moment and alerted her husband, they probably would have kicked in the door and probably not shot anyone.
posted by 445supermag at 7:06 AM on May 26, 2011


Wait. What was the reason drugs are an issue for us again? I forgot. Its hard keeping track of all the things I'm supposed to be against for no reason.
posted by jefficator at 7:07 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have to say, linking that really excellent journalistic work in the Huffington Post as being the work of a "left-wing blogger" in the FPP is a bit lame.

Excellent point. I am sure that the author, Radley Balko, whose previous jobs include contributing editor at Reason and policy analyst at Cato would find the description of "left-wing blogger" lame as well. His personal blog is here and his archive of blog posts at Reason, here. Also, MetaFilter.
posted by BigSky at 7:09 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


hippybear: I have to say, linking that really excellent journalistic work in the Huffington Post as being the work of a "left-wing blogger" in the FPP is a bit lame.


The Huffington Post is also calling it a blog entry; I don't consider "blog" to be a term of derision. Feel free to mentally substitute the term "progressive" for "left" if that helps.
posted by dubold at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2011


Before you come out swinging against the Pima County Sheriff's department, it's worth noting that they're fairly liberal for Arizona

Murdering people isn't okay if you're a democrat, either.
posted by empath at 7:14 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


How that Jesús Malverde picture, supposedly a "narco saint", is also often found in homes of poor, immigrants, and those who feel they've been wronged.

Regardless, I'm pretty sure it's not cool to kill people for their religious belief in this country, either.
posted by empath at 7:16 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've been living in Tucson for a year and a half now, and one thing I can report is EVERYONE smokes pot. Everyone.

Teachers, hippies, business owners, government types, cooks, cops, veterans, you name it. They either smoke it or know someone who does.

I'll pass by houses with massive pot leaf tapestries in the window. Possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor. It's not uncommon to see people sharing a joint outside a bar, and the most flak they get for it is being asked to mosey.

So, my suspicion here is that this poor guy was murdered for some other reason. If this was standard procedure in Tucson, or if anyone actually cared about pot use, we'd *all* be dead.
posted by chronkite at 7:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says
The Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens; it's worse than you've heard
There's a huge "gap between what the public thinks the Patriot Act says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says," according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). The gap is so big, in fact, that it amounts to entirely different, and secret, law.
Rand Paul agrees (Huff-Po): "Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, a freshman and tea party favorite, all but ran the Senate for three days this week in defiance of leaders of both parties trying to extend the Patriot Act before parts of it expire at midnight Thursday. Using filibuster tactics, Paul has delayed action on the intelligence-gathering measures, contending they should expire... Paul opposes the entire Patriot Act as an unconstitutional intrusion on people's liberty."
posted by kliuless at 7:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


"My thesis is this: the Warren Court effectively made policing impossible, crime exploded, the war on drugs was implemented in response, crime dropped. As such, I’m not surprised by this: "the fourth amendment now has a de facto exception clause when it comes to drug -related crimes." I’d only make one minor correction – "the fourth amendment as interpreted by judges in the ’60s."

This "thesis" is more of the same right-wing police-state bullshit that got us to this point in the first place. Arguing that authoritarian SWAT tactics are necessary because it's all Earl Warren's fault is about as commonsensical as arguing that the current economic crisis is all Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fault because he was busy all through the 1930s fondling John Maynard Keynes.

Meanwhile, the PATRIOT Act expires at midnight. Wait, no, it won't expire at all. Happy Thursday!
posted by blucevalo at 7:46 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The entry team came through a door and saw a person pointing a rifle at them - of course they opened fire. Speculation about intentions, safeties, number of police vehicles with lights on or off, what he said or didn't say: all of that is irrelevant. If an entry team comes through a door and sees a rifle pointed at them, they're going to fire at the person holding it. I mean this wasn't even the wrong house, it wasn't a botched raid. The officers made the right decision.*

If this strikes you as an injustice and as a tragedy, as it does me, you need to realize that the way to stop this from happening is to keep the warrant from being issued. Even better, you need to keep that SWAT team from being trained. SWAT teams are, IMO, a way to get around the injunction to never use the American military against the American people.

Further, there is ample reason for outrage regarding the ambulance. Maybe his life could have been saved, maybe not, but you know what? Unless the weather is utter shit, they can get a medivac helicopter to a Marine in the Korengal valley faster than 1:45.

That quote above about how we need to the war on drugs to keep crime in check because detectives aren't allowed to beat suspects any more is nonsense. Twaddle. The WoD creates crime, both directly by criminalizing activities that ought not to be criminal and indirectly by funding organized crime. And according to one of my instructors this past semester, a nearly 30-year Police veteran, the increasing evidential standards mostly resulted in detectives having to actually arrest the right guy.

andreaazure - to answer the question at the end of your comment, you're allowed to do and think whatever you want. I would, however, argue that the US has actually done a pretty decent job of implementing the drug war. The reality is that organized crime and militarized police and sentencing insanity are things that happen when you criminalize something this broad. I would also urge you to consider the idea that the drug war makes all of the social problems related to drugs infinitely harder to deal with. Addicts that want help can't even ask for it. All of the money that might go into treatment instead goes into SWAT teams and FBI investigations. People regularly die from ODs because nothing is regulated by the FDA, and the drug that was cut with baking soda last week is pure this week. Illegal drugs are far more expensive than the most taxed of legal drugs, so if you're worried about addicts robbing people to feed their habit, the drug war makes that worse too. There is not a single aspect of recreational use of any drug that is not made worse by illegality. There is no "implementation" possible that gets around this.

*the 71 rounds surprises me, I must say. I mean - thank god I never had to put my super-ghetto CQB training to use, because I'd've been killed (yay commo). But when we were doing our hilarious POG room-clearing training, you had your sector of the room and you cleared your sector and that was it. You didn't have the WHOLE TEAM go HOLY SHIT A RIFLE and empty their magazines into one guy. The only reason you should be crossing sectors like that is if the guy with the rifle already killed someone on your team, not least because the second you leave your assigned area you stand a good chance of killing someone with friendly fire. But again, mostly irrelevant, if you enter a room and there's a weapon pointed at you, you fire on it.
posted by kavasa at 7:48 AM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Rand Paul agrees (Huff-Po):

But then Rand Paul also thinks that belief in a right to health care is equivalent to advocating for physician slavery, so his ability to calmly analyze the reality of things without spinning off into crazy over-generalizations, specious inferences and hyperbole is not well demonstrated. Not sure he lends much credibility to the cause.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:48 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by bigZLiLk at 7:55 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm starting to think the SWAT business won't end until people start building hatches in their foyers such that, whenever a locked door is busted in and a smoke alarm is not going off, submachine guns pop out of the floor and, using face identification technology, unloads a few clips towards any helmeted heads. Call it the War on SWAT Teams. Your family, you, your pets might get shot anyway, why not take out a few on the way down?

It's going to be rough on the EMTs, but then Americans have never been afraid of a few civilian casualties in our War on The Latest Thing.
posted by adipocere at 7:55 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are they supposed to do, take rounds in the chest?

Hey, they wear a ton of armor. I'd rather them take one in the chest (and likely suffer no worse than a bruise) than murder an innocent man.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:56 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Initially the Sheriff’s office told reporters that Guerena had threatened officers with a gun, but their story has since changed.

Apparently one of the SWAT team’s deputies accidentally fired his gun, leading to confusion."*
Ya' think it'll change even more?
posted by ericb at 7:57 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


The problem isn't the police's response to a gun. It's that the whole concept behind the no-knock entry FORCES the innocent party to point that gun due to the confusion the police cause.

If the cops just knocked and said, "Police, We have a search warrant....", this tragedy wouldn't have occurred.


Except this was not a no-knock.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:58 AM on May 26, 2011


Brings to mind this 1994 "no-knock drug raid" in Boston -- 75 Year Old Minister Dies As Cops Raid Wrong Apartment.
posted by ericb at 8:01 AM on May 26, 2011


Well, the cops SAY it was not a no-knock. They also say they drove into the neighborhood with their lights and sirens on. Shame none of the neighbors noticed any lights or sirens or any kind of announcement of police presence happening on their street before they heard shots fired.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 AM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


“ ... we absolutely did not do a `no-knock’ warrant,” a claim refuted by the only surviving witness, Vanessa Guerena.

Previous MeFi posts/threads regarding "no-knock warrants"
posted by ericb at 8:05 AM on May 26, 2011


What are they supposed to do, take rounds in the chest?

Hey, they wear a ton of armor. I'd rather them take one in the chest (and likely suffer no worse than a bruise) than murder an innocent man.


Really? You'd be willing to have a suspect fire at you rather than fire at them as the regulations require? You'd take the risk that your armor would fail taking an assault rifle bullet from less than 10 feet, or worse get shot in a leg artery or your head? Is that what you are actually saying?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:06 AM on May 26, 2011


“ ... we absolutely did not do a `no-knock’ warrant,” a claim refuted by the only surviving witness, Vanessa Guerena

She's not the only surviving witness here. The police are also witnesses.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 AM on May 26, 2011


"An ambulance reportedly arrived in a few minutes, but medical personnel were not allowed inside to see Mr Guerena for an hour and 14 minutes"

*this is my unbelievably fucking angry face*

Even if everything else that sounds wrong with this fell into a grey area (which I don't think it does) this one is pretty black and white, he may have been shot 60 times, and he may have been dead-right-there, but I can't think of a single reason that the cops would make that call. They aren't medics, and the only legitimate reason I could ever imagine keeping paramedics away is that the scene itself is too dangerous to let them in, and a residential house in Tuscon doesn't fit that bill.

I'm so tired of reading stories about this occupying army breaking into our homes and killing us. The fact that we've incrementally gotten to a point where there isn't rioting in the streets over this kind of thing boggles my mind.
posted by quin at 8:07 AM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Except this was not a no-knock.

I would not take a word the cops are saying at face value. They've already repeatedly had to change their story.
posted by empath at 8:08 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, the cops SAY it was not a no-knock. They also say they drove into the neighborhood with their lights and sirens on. Shame none of the neighbors noticed any lights or sirens or any kind of announcement of police presence happening on their street before they heard shots fired.

And the wife SAYS it wasn't.

We have differing stories here. Just because you don't like one side doesn't mean that you are automatically entitled to dismiss one side's story.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:08 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have differing stories here. Just because you don't like one side doesn't mean that you are automatically entitled to dismiss one side's story.

Only one side's story keeps changing.
posted by empath at 8:09 AM on May 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


She's not the only surviving witness here. The police are also witnesses.

No they aren't. The police are directly involved. They're either defendants or suspects.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Except this was not a no-knock.

I would not take a word the cops are saying at face value. They've already repeatedly had to change their story.


The "cops" haven't changed their story. The Department Spokesman added information. The cops haven't made public statements because it is a matter under investigation.

I will say that the Sheriff's department has given out far too much information.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:10 AM on May 26, 2011


She's not the only surviving witness here. The police are also witnesses.

No they aren't. The police are directly involved. They're either defendants or suspects.


That makes them not witnesses? Having done these types of cases, you are completely wrong.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:11 AM on May 26, 2011


Feel free to mentally substitute the term "progressive" for "left" if that helps.

Still doesn't fit. Balko's a hardcore libertarian.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:11 AM on May 26, 2011


And the wife SAYS it wasn't.

We have differing stories here. Just because you don't like one side doesn't mean that you are automatically entitled to dismiss one side's story.

Hmm. Well, the wife has neighbors who back up her side. The cops have no disinterested party on theirs. And the cops have changed their story several times. At what point are we permitted to judge one as more likely true?
posted by tyllwin at 8:12 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


I will say that the Sheriff's department has given out far too much information.

To much for what? Too much for the good of their legal position in a civil suit? Because, as a public entity, they should be more concerned about the public knowledge and welfare than over what truths they may be able to withhold in order to give them legal advantage vis-a-vis the widow of the innocent man they shot.
posted by tyllwin at 8:15 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


SWAT teams should be required to have those helmet cams. Also maybe they shouldn't be executing non no-knock warrants.
posted by the_artificer at 8:17 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


We have differing stories here. Just because you don't like one side doesn't mean that you are automatically entitled to dismiss one side's story.

Only one side's story keeps changing


Really? So the police enter the home, see a man pointing a high-powered assault rifle at them, and then hear a shot and then shoot the man. The scene is sealed by IA, who then goes over it using forensic techniques. They find a bullet lodged in a door frame with an entry angle from above. They conclude that an officer discharged his weapon early while bringing it to bear. The police come to the media and say "we've learned that an officer discharged his weapon early."

To you, coming to the public and giving a more accurate picture is "changing their story" and an indication of a cover up. But if it was a fucking cover up, why not just, cover it up?

This is an agency telling the story like it is, but you wish to punish them. why?

Frankly, they should have said it was under investigation, waited until the report was done and released it. But being honest is somehow to be punished?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:18 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The police are also witnesses.

"Five proven, decorated officers says that you're the shooter." (Training Day)
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:18 AM on May 26, 2011


That makes them not witnesses?

That makes them extremely biased witnesses whose observations are naturally going to favor their own actions. Unfortunately, they are also the investigators and, as happens nearly every single time this sort of thing occurs, they won't find any kind of police wrongdoing.

Understand this; I like cops, I want cops to be safe and readily available to protect us, but this kind shit is exactly the thing that makes people afraid of and resent them. Their plans and procedures for dealing with this kind of situation are so fundamentally flawed, and so open to corruption and obfuscation, that they invite nothing other than contempt.
posted by quin at 8:19 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


The police are also witnesses.

"Five proven, decorated officers says that you're the shooter." (Training Day)


Your experience of police shootings is fiction. Mine is reality. You're welcome to cite any fictional film you like to tell us exactly what happened there.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:21 AM on May 26, 2011


This is an agency telling the story like it isthe way they claim it is, but you wish to punish them.

A jury will determine the real way it is.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:22 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those of you that have a subscription to the New York Times can read this article and see that these bullshit "no knock" warrants have been killing innocent people since the early 70s.
posted by zzazazz at 8:22 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


That makes them not witnesses?

That makes them extremely biased witnesses whose observations are naturally going to favor their own actions. Unfortunately, they are also the investigators and, as happens nearly every single time this sort of thing occurs, they won't find any kind of police wrongdoing.


And the wife is not going to be "extremely biased" as well? She wants to believe the best of her husband.

But it is undisputed that they entered the home and he went to confront them with an assault rifle.

Vanessa Guerena was in her son's room, she says, when she saw a man outside pointing a gun at her.

"I was yelling 'Jose, Jose, somebody's here. Wake up, wake up!' so he can hear because the door was closed."

26-year-old Jose Guerena, a Tucson native and former Marine, jumped up and asked what was wrong. When his wife told him, he grabbed an assault rifle and told her to stay in their son's room.


Everyone agrees that he went to meet the police with an assault rifle. Everyone, the wife included.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:24 AM on May 26, 2011


But being honest is somehow to be punished?

No, murdering a man in front of his family is to be punished.
posted by empath at 8:24 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


A jury? You think they're getting indicted for this?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:25 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The "cops" haven't changed their story. The Department Spokesman added information. The cops haven't made public statements because it is a matter under investigation.

"The cops" means, in the colloquial English language that we're speaking here, "the Pima County Sheriff's Office and related administrative entities," not "the specific police officers that were involved in the shooting and nobody else whatsoever." Really, this objection is not far from saying "No, the White House didn't say that. The White House is an inanimate object and incapable of speech. In the event that the White House does speak, you should disregard its advice."

And, *if* ericb's link is correct, the cops have not merely changed their story. They seem to have changed it from "Guerena was in the hall issuing verbal threats while brandishing a firearm" to "One of our officers fired accidentally and the rest opened fire as a result," two states of the world that it's very difficult to imagine could be actually confused with each other.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:25 AM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


But it is undisputed that they entered the home and he went to confront them with an assault rifle.

The dispute isn't over whether he had an assault rifle. Pointing an assault rifle at someone breaking into your home isn't a capital offense.
posted by empath at 8:25 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth: it can't both be a no-knock and a situation where the cops (as they claim) arrived with lights and sirens.

The cops' claims are self-contradictory, without any need to bring in the wife's testimony at all.
posted by orthogonality at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


SWAT teams should be required to have those helmet cams. Also maybe they shouldn't be executing non no-knock warrants people.

FTFY
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


And really, the guy that signed off on a swat team raid is who signed his death warrant, getting into a debate over the minute by minute unfolding of the execution is kind of missing the forest for the trees. Swat team raids have no place in a civilized society. It's a thuggish, police state tactic entirely driven by budgetary concerns and a desire to intimidate the populace. It's obscene and needs to be stopped.
posted by empath at 8:29 AM on May 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


To you, coming to the public and giving a more accurate picture is "changing their story"

OK, I used the phrase "changed their story" and now you use the semantics of that to suggest that the fact of change is what I object to, even if the change is to make it moire accurate. Allow me to be more precise: At least some of the police have shown a willingness to quickly make statements alleging facts in their own interest without bothering to investigate the truth of their assertions, with the official story only being changed when it's indisputably contradicted by the physical evidence. I therefore mistrust their uncorroborated statements. I do not allege a grand coverup involving every single member of the team, their superiors, and their lab techs.
posted by tyllwin at 8:30 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


And, yes, that is the Pima County Sheriff's Department, the one with the good sheriff.

News this week out of the other county sheriff's department ...
3 Cops Under 'America's Toughest Sheriff' Joe Arpaio, Busted For Role In Drug & Human Smuggling Ring.
And ...
The Feds Have Evidence That Joe Arpaio Broke the Law -- When Will The Indictments Come?
posted by ericb at 8:31 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone agrees that he went to meet the police with an assault rifle. Everyone, the wife included.

No, he went to greet the armed invaders into his house with an assault rifle, As was linked upthread, and as his family had already lost members to such an event, it might not have been an unreasonable reaction.

The police departments decision to have this be a breach-and-enter-in-full-tactical-mode is what caused this situation to end in a death, and their choice to not let medical help touch the guy for over an hour is what makes those decisions questionable in my mind.
posted by quin at 8:32 AM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


I gotta get me and my family out of this place.
posted by digitalprimate at 8:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


You can discuss the rest of the story all you want, but the elephant in the room is that the police denied medical attention to the man for over an hour.

Even if the scene was possibly remotely dangerous, any EMT that I know of would have gladly taken the risk, if there was a life that could be saved.
posted by schmod at 8:43 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Everyone agrees that he went to meet the police with an assault rifle. Everyone, the wife included.

No, he went to greet the armed invaders into his house with an assault rifle, As was linked upthread, and as his family had already lost members to such an event, it might not have been an unreasonable reaction.

The police departments decision to have this be a breach-and-enter-in-full-tactical-mode is what caused this situation to end in a death, and their choice to not let medical help touch the guy for over an hour is what makes those decisions questionable in my mind.


There isn't a use of force policy in the country which doesn't call for firing at an armed person confronting police. There is no situation where police are not going to fire in that circumstance.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:43 AM on May 26, 2011


But they were wrong in withholding EMT help. That was likely a violation of their orders and will be what this case turns on, in terms of the family's action against the department.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:44 AM on May 26, 2011


I recently represented Darryl George. Darryl out in his yard at his home in the country. A neighbor heard a lot of yelling coming from Darryl and another man at Darryl's house and called the police. When the police arrived, it was completely dark out. One police car arrived to check things out and the blue lights were not activated. Everyone was in the house by the time the police arrived. The police walked around to the back deck that led to the back door. There were two officers. One of them banged on the side of the house to get the attention of those inside as they approached the deck. There were not lights on in the back yard. Darryl was inside and heard a sudden banging on the side of his house. He was holding his shotgun when he went to the back door to see what the commotion was about. The police never identified themselves to Darryl. It was dark. They shot Darryl five times. None of those facts are in dispute.

Darryl was hospitalized for a month or so and survived. Darryl said that he was sort of using the shotgun as a cane when he walked to the door. The shotgun was not loaded, according to hm. He heard a noise, went to the back door, and was shot several times.

The police said that Daryl fired the gun at them. They said he answered the door, pointed the shotgun at them, and fired it. They both said they saw the blast. A shell was recovered out in the yard. It was pretty old. I am not a gun expert, but the investigation revealed that the shotgun was not able to have been fired.

Darryl was originally charged with shooting at law enforcement. When tests revealed that he the gun had not been fired, he was instead charged with pointing a gun at law enforcement, which is also a felony. The warrant was served on him when he was released from the hospital and he spent a couple weeks in jail before bonding out.

As Darryl was obviously planning to sue the sheriff's department, the DA would not dismiss the case. Dismissing the case would result in considerable harm to the sheriff's department in the civil case. Darryl got involved with the ACLU and opted to use them for his criminal defense. I was very disappointed, as I relished the opportunity to put that case in front of a jury. As of now, the case is still pending.

So this case in the FPP? I can't imagine any cops will get charged with a crime. They would charge the dead guy if they could.
posted by flarbuse at 8:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [28 favorites]


Darryl George.

Counselor, this case does not involve Mr. George. Also, check your MeMail
posted by Ironmouth at 8:48 AM on May 26, 2011


empath: "Murdering people isn't okay if you're a democrat, either."

Nobody said that. We simply stated that you shouldn't be too quick to blame the police-state tactics that have become characteristic of Arizona, because Pima County has traditionally been the one very notable exception to that rule. I don't want to defend this monstrous deed, but I haven't seen any evidence connecting it to an overarching trend in Pima County.

If this happened under the watch of Joe Arpaio, it would be a much different story.


Also, remember that most US jurisdictions legally allow a homeowner to use lethal force against somebody forcefully breaking into their home. If you combine this with no-knock warrants, I'm sure you can see how conflicts can quickly arise. Basically, one of these two things needs to change.
posted by schmod at 8:49 AM on May 26, 2011


Does anyone have a link to the warrant? That would pretty much put to rest any questions of what type of search and siezure this was. It wouls also lay out the evidence they had to justify the search. Also, I'm pretty sure they video these things these days for this very purpose. I see a lot of links going around that point to opinions or heresay, but nothing solid by which to make any actual judgements.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:51 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


the elephant in the room is that the police denied medical attention to the man for over an hour

He was shot 60 times. What difference would it have made?

There isn't a use of force policy in the country which doesn't call for firing at an armed person confronting police. There is no situation where police are not going to fire in that circumstance.


And rightly so, if by "confronting" you mean "aiming at." But I personally don't believe it would ever have come to that point had they loudly knocked, announced "Police, with a search warrant, open up," given him time to comply and showed convincing ID.
posted by tyllwin at 8:51 AM on May 26, 2011


There isn't a use of force policy in the country which doesn't call for firing at an armed person confronting police. There is no situation where police are not going to fire in that circumstance.

I['m pretty sure there are also policies that require police to identify themselves before commencing execution.

There's this pervasive idea in law enforcement that police need to be able to take whatever measures they deem necessary to protect their lives, up to and including the use of lethal force without warning, because we can't allow officers to die in the line of duty if they can prevent it. But if an innocent civilian gets shot in the head because police went to the wrong house, well, that's just life.

And here I thought the entire reason people look up to police officers was because they're willing to put themselves in harm's way to keep the innocent safe.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:52 AM on May 26, 2011 [24 favorites]


Does anyone have a link to the warrant? That would pretty much put to rest any questions of what type of search and siezure this was. It wouls also lay out the evidence they had to justify the search. Also, I'm pretty sure they video these things these days for this very purpose. I see a lot of links going around that point to opinions or heresay, but nothing solid by which to make any actual judgements.

It has been sealed.
posted by Big_B at 8:56 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


There isn't a use of force policy in the country which doesn't call for firing at an armed person confronting police. There is no situation where police are not going to fire in that circumstance.

It seems like you're completely missing the point, perhaps intentionally. Yeah, I mean, if I burst into somone's home in the middle of the night fully armed, i'd probably shoot a guy pointing a gun at me, too.

The problem starts well before the police make the decision to fire.
posted by empath at 8:56 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


There isn't a use of force policy in the country which doesn't call for firing at an armed person confronting police. There is no situation where police are not going to fire in that circumstance.

I'm not arguing that. What I'm saying is that the police created the situation where it was necessary to kill this man. The choice to use a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night against a combat veteran whose family had already experienced deaths due to people breaking in exactly the same way is what led this man to point a gun at them.

And that, according to police procedure, justified killing him.

It needn't have had to come to that, and that, coupled with other irregularities, are what cause people to question the appropriateness of the response.
posted by quin at 8:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty sure there are also policies that require police to identify themselves before commencing execution.

The police maintain that they did so. A video would put this to bed. We also cannot assume that the video would be released to the public simply to put down rumors, it may be sealed pending investigation of the incident.

But if an innocent civilian gets shot in the head because police went to the wrong house, well, that's just life.

In this case however, they were at the house they intended to search and someone got shot in the head.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:59 AM on May 26, 2011


It has been sealed.

Well then, anything said here is just navel gazing until it is unsealed.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:00 AM on May 26, 2011


In this case however, they were at the house they intended to search and someone got shot in the head.

The house they intended to search, yeah, but they didn't find anything. So one way or the other, it's still the wrong house.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:01 AM on May 26, 2011


If you are interested in when deadly force can be used, peruse through these links.

They are actual links to dozens of use-of-force policies across the country. They are based on the standards proposed by CALEA, The Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation and their CALEA’s Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies. A lot of work goes into deciding what these policies are. The policies are enforced by local agencies and generally incorporated into the General Orders of accredited law enforcement agencies.

Here's DC's Use of Force policy for some background reading.

This is a complicated subject, not easily reduced to sound bites. A large number of professionals, the Justice Department and NGOs spend a lot of time working on these issues. Educating yourself will help you become informed and let the government know what you think about the issues. Which is a very good thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:01 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth, you do agree that creating situations where the use of deadly force is almost an unavoidable consequence is bad, yes?
posted by empath at 9:03 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The house they intended to search, yeah, but they didn't find anything.

Again, not according to the police.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:04 AM on May 26, 2011


There's this pervasive idea in law enforcement that police need to be able to take whatever measures they deem necessary to protect their lives, up to and including the use of lethal force without warning, because we can't allow officers to die in the line of duty if they can prevent it. But if an innocent civilian gets shot in the head because police went to the wrong house, well, that's just life.

Boom. That's it, precisely.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:04 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Here's DC's Use of Force policy for some background reading. "

Funny story there....

posted by schmod at 9:08 AM on May 26, 2011


Boom. That's it, precisely.

That may be it in general, sure, but in this specific case all we have is speculation based on a couple of news reports and people's feelings about the topic.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:11 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm pretty sure there are also policies that require police to identify themselves before commencing execution.

Identifying themselves wouldn't have helped if the homeowners were already (rightfully) fearful of fake cops raiding their home. If I had been him, I'd have died like him, because what else could you do when guys with guns raid your house in the middle of the night and threaten your wife and child? Welcome them in? "Well, what a surprise! Enter, gentlemen! Make yourselves at home! I'm sure you're not the same fake cops who recently killed someone else in our family!"

There shouldn't have been a wakeup raid. They could have grabbed him when he went out for the day.
posted by pracowity at 9:12 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Identifying themselves wouldn't have helped if the homeowners were already (rightfully) fearful of fake cops raiding their home

Well, if there are actually police cars with lights flashing through the window, and arriving with sirens -- as they claimed -- that would help. Funny how the neighbors missed that. Maybe a spokesperson will clarify that point.
posted by tyllwin at 9:17 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a huge "gap between what the public thinks the Patriot Act says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says," according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). The gap is so big, in fact, that it amounts to entirely different, and secret, law.

Ron Wyden Strikes Deal With Harry Reid, Withdraws Anti-Secrecy Amendment to PATRIOT Act
posted by homunculus at 9:25 AM on May 26, 2011


Funny how the neighbors missed that. Maybe a spokesperson will clarify that point.

From the first link:

"The neighbors have been interviewed.... They said that the lights and sirens were on. Were they actually on? Did the neighbors hear that? This has been consistent. The neighbors said they heard the officers yelling, screaming, 'Police! Sheriff's Department!' Lights sirens... We'll take this case to the County Attorney's office."

Now, there is the neighbor in the other link that says they weren't on.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:26 AM on May 26, 2011


out of 70 shots, they hit him 60 times...The cops are lying. They never have that accuracy.
posted by couchdive at 9:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trained professionals shouldn't be lining up and shooting a man 60 times. That's not how you clear a room.

Bullshit like this is why people don't trust the law. Conjecture about the safety/no-knock/other home invaders doesn't really matter. A paramilitary force busted into a mans home at night and killed him.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:32 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bullshit like this is why people don't trust the law. Conjecture about the safety/no-knock/other home invaders doesn't really matter. A paramilitary force busted into a mans home at night and killed him.

People don't trust the police because corrupt officers harrass, arrest, beat, and steal from innocent people (and even kill them on occasion), not because of warrented daylight raids following laws, regulations, and clear police procedure. The conjecture in this thread about safety/no-knock/other home invaders is what separates what the police did in this specific instance from A to B.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:40 AM on May 26, 2011


"The neighbors have been interviewed.... They said that the lights and sirens were on.

I see a difference in "the neighbor said" (according to the reporter) and "the police spokesman said a neighbor said."

Also, this is the same guy who said "We did find things that we were asking for in that. It may have been drug ledgers, narcotics paraphernalia, any other connecting material between the residences. Those things were found, in addition to a large sum of money. Somewhat larger that what you would expect to find in anyone's home." Except that they didn't find those things, right?
posted by tyllwin at 9:44 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading the defenses of the SWAT team's actions in this thread has gotten me to thinking that the alleged cop killer in Athens who arranged it so that he surrendered himself to law enforcement on live television was incredibly fucking smart.

Yes, an evil murderer (as much as I'm not fond of crooked and corrupt cops, I would never advocate killing them) but smart.

Here's something else to think about: are cops ever held accountable for the fucked up things they do? It seems like they always get what the NBA refs and commentators call "the benefit of the doubt" when they blatantly let superstars get away with breaking the rules. Here's a case that doesn't involve shooting that has me fuming about how the police seem to get away with some sick shit with little in the way of consequences: NYC police officers acquitted of raping drunk woman they'd helped back to apartment.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:48 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Forgot to note that the NYC police officers link is to the NYT for those being mindful of their clicks.)
posted by lord_wolf at 9:50 AM on May 26, 2011


Are folks reading a different article form the one posted?

"O'Connor: "The neighbors have been interviewed.... They said that the lights and sirens were on. Were they actually on? Did the neighbors hear that? This has been consistent. The neighbors said they heard the officers yelling, screaming, 'Police! Sheriff's Department!' Lights sirens... We'll take this case to the County Attorney's office."
posted by sfts2 at 9:54 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


lord_wolf, FTA:
One crucial piece of prosecution evidence was a secretly recorded conversation days later between the woman and Officer Moreno. In the recorded conversation, Officer Moreno told the woman that he had worn a condom, but only after he had denied numerous times that he had sex with her. His lawyers argued that he lied to her about wearing a condom because she had threatened to make a scene in his precinct station house.

Officer Moreno also made other statements during the conversation that suggested he had had sex with the woman.


Ugh. This happens so often that the officers are acquitted at trial that I barely bat an eye at it anymore which is a sad sad statement. Are there any reliable statistics out there on conviction rates of police officers? Probably hard to determine b/c the officers could have been innocent.
posted by futz at 10:02 AM on May 26, 2011


Ironmouth: so you seem to be the sole dissenter here - but it isn't clear where you really stand.

Are you saying that the police were more or less in the right in this situation? If not, what exactly are you saying?

Near as I can read it, this poor guy was a law-abiding man, literally minding his own business, and at worst made a single terrible mistake when being forced to make a life-and-death decision with no notice whatsoever. On the other hand, if the facts are as reported, the police screwed up from start to finish in almost every way.

As you know, I'm not generally sympathetic to gun users, but considering that this poor guy was a) ex-military b) living in a neighborhood where people had conducted home invasions disguised as police officers c) had only a few seconds to decide what to do, well...

I have to say, Ironmouth, that I do wonder sometimes if you hold these rather extreme pro-authority positions simply to rile the rest of us...


Moving away from the charming characters of Metafilter, there's overall a certain homicidal madness that seems to have gripped our police departments that results in endless tragedies like this.

Suppose the police had simply called him up and politely said, "Hey, we'd like to come and visit you." Sure, that gives him a chance to get rid of his drugs - but is that really a bad thing? A few visits from the police can put the fear into you, stop you from sellingn - and if there's still evidence, then you come in with the SWAT team.

One of the principles of US law used to be that it's better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to suffer. A case like this, where an innocent individual is deliberately and callously put into a position of ultra-high personal risk for what would be minor crimes if they even existed, is the exact reversal of this position - any amount of risk to innocent individuals is worth it if we can capture even one minor criminal.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:04 AM on May 26, 2011 [47 favorites]


There isn't a use of force policy in the country which doesn't call for firing at an armed person confronting police. There is no situation where police are not going to fire in that circumstance.

Maybe that's true, but if a homeowner has a gun they are probably going to point it at someone who bursts through the front door. That is one of the reasons people have guns, after all.

So given that, perhaps the police should try to handle things differently so that they don't get into these situations.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:14 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


lupus wins the thread, imo.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


...One of the principles of US law used to be that it's better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to suffer. A case like this, where an innocent individual is deliberately and callously put into a position of ultra-high personal risk for what would be minor crimes if they even existed, is the exact reversal of this position - any amount of risk to innocent individuals is worth it if we can capture even one minor criminal.

How did my thoughts get into your words, lupus? Well damn said!
posted by de void at 10:23 AM on May 26, 2011


Really? You'd be willing to have a suspect fire at you rather than fire at them as the regulations require? You'd take the risk that your armor would fail taking an assault rifle bullet from less than 10 feet, or worse get shot in a leg artery or your head? Is that what you are actually saying?

No, I am not saying that. I'm not a SWAT cop. I don't want to be a SWAT cop, so I don't have to be willing to take those risks. I am saying they should be willing to take those risks. If you want to be a cop, you should be willing to be shot rather than to shoot an innocent person. That is what I am saying.

Also, they wear leg armor and helmets, too, you know.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


lupus, thanks for saying that. I was about ready to throw my computer across the room.
posted by futz at 10:40 AM on May 26, 2011


A case like this, where an innocent individual is deliberately and callously put into a position of ultra-high personal risk for what would be minor crimes if they even existed

But that is the heart of the conjecture here, was the individual deliberately and callously put into risk or did the police make due dilligence to ensure that no one was needlessly put at risk? Also, based solely on the allegations made to justify the warrant, armed home invasion and organized criminal conspiracy are hardly minor transgressions. Again, I'm not going to defend the use of lethal force here without more evidence, but those allegations do appear on the surface to justify some certain precautions by the police, no?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:47 AM on May 26, 2011



But that is the heart of the conjecture here, was the individual deliberately and callously put into risk or did the police make due dilligence to ensure that no one was needlessly put at risk?


They invaded the house of a two tour veteran who was working nights to save up money for a home and had no criminal record. What kind of due diligence does it look like they did?
posted by PenDevil at 10:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, how long does it take a guy with 60 bullets in him to die? Tops? Because keeping the EMR waiting for an hour and a half seems excessive if all you want to do is make sure there is no witness to your malfeasance. And it shouldn't take that long to arrange the scene to be consistent with your story. So why the hell did they make them wait so long? Excessive caution, making sure they didn't miss anything? I don't understand it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:00 AM on May 26, 2011


They invaded the house of a two tour veteran who was working nights to save up money for a home and had no criminal record. What kind of due diligence does it look like they did?

Now let's try it from the cops' perspective: they entered a house occupied by a person with combat military experience accused of being a member of a violent armed robbery ring and took the steps to obtain a warrant, waited until the suspect's children and wife were supposed to be out of the house, and executed the warrant. The suspect drew on them when engaged by officers after being given at least 15 seconds warning that an entry was about to be made (per procedure) which officers responded to with lethal force.

The truth is probably somewhere between the two. What we need now is actual evidence (eg the warrant, a video of the raid, documentation of the evidence gathered) rather than news articles and applied feelings about the subject.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, this is the same guy who said "We did find things that we were asking for in that. It may have been drug ledgers, narcotics paraphernalia, any other connecting material between the residences. Those things were found, in addition to a large sum of money. Somewhat larger that what you would expect to find in anyone's home." Except that they didn't find those things, right?

"The bag may also have contained a pork pie."
posted by hippybear at 11:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've got to say that the unfortunate fact is that pointing a weapon at police officers can and will get you shot. The comment upthread about the militarization and arming of the populace being reflected in the militarization of the police is pretty apt.

But unfortunately, this is a situation where legitimate rights conflict, and it ended up with someone dead. Barring further information, I think that's the only thing that's reasonable to conclude — Guerena was acting within his rights to arm and defend himself; the police were within their rights to shoot him (they were defending themselves from a legitimate threat as well).

The tragedies come from the delay in medical treatment (which is pretty unconscionable) and the broader policy problems that led to this action in the first place (War on Drugs doesn't work).

But if no one has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force (and the tension between the need for armed police and the second amendment pretty much guarantees that), then both parties can be acting legitimately and still have a tragic outcome.
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


The due diligence I'm talking about is any indication at all that the victim had any association with a crime. From the Arizona Daily Star: "No arrests have been made from any of the other homes where SWAT served search warrants."
posted by PenDevil at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


We need three drug laws:

1) Do not give drugs to children

2) Do not misrepresent the properties of any drug

3) Do not give drugs to people without their knowledge and consent

We already have laws covering everything else; impairment, endangerment, child abuse/neglect, etc.

Anything beyond this requires massive amounts of twisted logic in order to defy the Constitution.
posted by mmrtnt at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


eg the warrant,

I'd love that. But the warrant -- which previously didn't need to be sealed -- suddenly requires secrecy when man convicted of no crime is shot 60 times.

a video of the raid,

Well, only the cops knew about it beforehand, and funny thing, they didn't take a camera along to record it.


But, umm, what crime is this man alleged to have committed that requires a SWAT team and breaking in of doors anyway? What is he? A terrorist? A hit man? A serial killer? Why is this the entry mode at all? Why are they not simply pulling up to the house and knocking on the door?
posted by tyllwin at 11:43 AM on May 26, 2011


Another question occurred to me: how often are the cops met with the kind of violent resistance and overwhelming firepower they keep demanding the resources to combat? It seems like the police taking heavy fire from multiple auto and semi-auto weapons is an extremely rare event, but they gear up and act like they're clearing buildings in Fallujah.

I'll put it this way: I lived in an extremely violent neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale growing up. I heard gunfire nearly every night. I remember hearing what sounded like a fully automatic weapon at least once. Yet I don't recall a single incident where any weapon was used on the police. Probably because the cops were all clearly identified, and everybody -- even the most violent and stupid gangsters and wannabe gangsters -- knew that you were seriously fucked if you shot or even just shot at a cop.

I also recall hearing through the grapevine several incidents where the cops, with guns drawn, surrounded someone with a gun and demanded that he drop the weapon rather than opening up on him immediately. And these were South Florida cops dealing with criminal young black men -- one would think that's the number one recipe for cops unloading. Yet in every instance that I recall hearing about, the suspect dropped the weapon and the cops resolved the incident with no shots fired.

So how did we go from that to the cops just letting fly with everything in their arsenal whenever they see a gun or even think they see a gun being understood as the justified and only logical course of action?
posted by lord_wolf at 11:47 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


They invaded the house of a two tour veteran who was working nights to save up money for a home and had no criminal record. What kind of due diligence does it look like they did?

And apparently the police did not know there was a child in the house. I perform more due diligence before putting on my shoes in the morning.
posted by ryoshu at 11:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Also, this is the same guy who said "We did find things that we were asking for in that. It may have been drug ledgers, narcotics paraphernalia, any other connecting material between the residences. Those things were found, in addition to a large sum of money. Somewhat larger that what you would expect to find in anyone's home." Except that they didn't find those things, right?

The problem I think is Dupnik. He's so defensive he sent that idiot out to say those things without really thinking about it. The reporter did a good job of specifically asking about the case and it put a hole in the entire thing.

Let's be really clear, also. If there was a mistake in going into this house, then it is the fault of the commanders for sending them into the wrong house. It is not the fault of the SWAT Team, who is there to search the residence upon which the warrant was based. Once they see a guy holding an assault rifle, they are going to open fire according to the use of force rules. They are required to do so.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:58 AM on May 26, 2011


suddenly requires secrecy when man convicted of no crime is shot 60 times

No, not suddenly, it is a criminal warrant, there's nothing unusual about it being sealed.

they didn't take a camera along to record it

Do we have any evidence that this is so? In many places this is standard procedure.

The due diligence I'm talking about is any indication at all that the victim had any association with a crime.

They took the time to figure out that he had a wife and kids and that they would likely be out of the house at the time they entered, so I'd guess (just a guess) that they actually shot the guy they were looking to bust.

what crime is this man alleged to have committed that requires a SWAT team and breaking in of doors anyway?

According to the links, he was part of an armed robbery and drug ring.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:59 AM on May 26, 2011


They invaded the house of a two tour veteran who was working nights to save up money for a home and had no criminal record. What kind of due diligence does it look like they did?

And apparently the police did not know there was a child in the house. I perform more due diligence before putting on my shoes in the morning.


actually they said that they waited until school was in session, but did not know the child was not in school but was sick. They thought they were going in when the wife and child would be on their way to school.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:59 AM on May 26, 2011


No, I am not saying that. I'm not a SWAT cop. I don't want to be a SWAT cop, so I don't have to be willing to take those risks. I am saying they should be willing to take those risks. If you want to be a cop, you should be willing to be shot rather than to shoot an innocent person. That is what I am saying.

That's mighty generous of you, isn't it? I mean you are personally unwilling to do the job, but you expect someone else to act that way.

Maybe if we paid them all $100,000,000 a year. I mean really, I don't think that a CEO deserves the kind of money he or she gets if they aren't taking these risks.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:02 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even if the scene was possibly remotely dangerous, any EMT that I know of would have gladly taken the risk, if there was a life that could be saved.

Well, that would mean any EMT you know is breaking the first rule of EMS, which is assuring the safety of yourself and your partner.
posted by rollbiz at 12:06 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


...One of the principles of US law used to be that it's better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to suffer.

There is no such principle. You are likely referring to the criminal procedure concept that it is better that a guilty man be afforded his rights at trial than an innocent man go to jail.

And we have no evidence of innocence or guilt here. We have two stories.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:06 PM on May 26, 2011


actually they said that they waited until school was in session, but did not know the child was not in school but was sick. They thought they were going in when the wife and child would be on their way to school.

Is it standard operating procedure for SWAT to just roll up and start kicking down doors without having someone canvas the place for an hour or two before the raid to make sure that everyone who should be home is home and those who should not be at home are not?

If not, why not?
posted by PenDevil at 12:08 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


José Guerana's police execution is not a consequence of THE WAR ON DRUGS.
José Guerana's police execution is a consequence of THE WAR ON LATINOS.

Arizona is the epicenter against the war on anybody looking remotely "immigrant". José Guerana's police execution is a consequence of that.
posted by liza at 12:10 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"...One of the principles of US law used to be that it's better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to suffer."

There is no such principle.


Sure, Ironmouth, that's increasingly obvious. I think that was exactly what lupus_yonderboy was pointing out. It might surprise you how many Americans still feel this must be one of the basic guiding principles of our law, whether the legal system in practice still feels itself beholden to the will of the people on that point or not.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:16 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Do we have evidence that Guerana was Latino?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2011


According to the links, he was part of an armed robbery and drug ring.

Can you please point me to a link that not only says this, but can corroborate it? Because all the links I've seen flying around here have not said that Mr. Guerena was confirmed as part of any crime. In fact, he had no arrest record at all.

I eagerly await your link.
posted by palomar at 12:27 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


"...One of the principles of US law used to be that it's better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to suffer."

There is no such principle. You are likely referring to the criminal procedure concept that it is better that a guilty man be afforded his rights at trial than an innocent man go to jail.


He is referring to Blackstone's formulation. This principle is found in Blackstone's 'Commentaries on the Laws of England', which according to Wikipedia, "were long regarded as the leading work on the development of English law and played a role in the development of the American legal system."
posted by BigSky at 12:29 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


So how did we go from that to the cops just letting fly with everything in their arsenal whenever they see a gun or even think they see a gun being understood as the justified and only logical course of action?

I've been working on a hypothesis; very much like attitudes that have become more common with the neocons or the religious right: the police, despite having an inordinate amount of power, also carry a strong persecution complex where they believe that they are perpetually on the verge of being victimized, and the disproportionate levels of force frequently exhibited and the coordinated efforts to keep them internal and hidden are the results of this insular mentality.

I have no idea how to fix it, but the similarities in the behavior of the groups, when viewed from a distance, can be remarkably similar at times.

Or I could just have a strong case of confirmation bias going.

posted by quin at 12:32 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is not the fault of the SWAT Team, who is there to search the residence upon which the warrant was based. Once they see a guy holding an assault rifle, they are going to open fire according to the use of force rules.

I actually agree with that part Ironmouth. I don't blame the guys who actually fired. My concern is that it never should have gotten to that point. Breaking down doors with a SWAT team ought to be a rare exception.
posted by tyllwin at 12:33 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can you please point me to a link that not only says this, but can corroborate it?

I mistyped, I should have said he was alleged to be part of the ring, but you will find it as part of the first two links. Corroboration? No, that's the whole problem with both sides of the story, they are just conjecture without anything hard.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:35 PM on May 26, 2011


No, I am not saying that. I'm not a SWAT cop. I don't want to be a SWAT cop, so I don't have to be willing to take those risks. I am saying they should be willing to take those risks. If you want to be a cop, you should be willing to be shot rather than to shoot an innocent person. That is what I am saying.

Exactly right. Needs to be repeated a thousand times.

Policing is actually a very low risk profession, not even close to the top ten.

So ya, I do see Ironmouth's point, they were just following orders. On the other hand, the evidence that precautionary procedures can be relaxed in favour of saving the lives of people interacting with police is very clear.
posted by Chuckles at 12:41 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's mighty generous of you, isn't it? I mean you are personally unwilling to do the job, but you expect someone else to act that way.

Yep. I am also unwilling to be a doctor, but I expect them to act in a certain way and be sued for malpractice when they do not. Cops already get paid good money, but plenty of professions claim to be animated by a higher principle than cash on the barrelhead. It's to protect and serve, not to hold my own life above all others.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:42 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, that's the whole problem with both sides of the story, they are just conjecture without anything hard.

Well, one thing isn't conjecture. A man who served the US for two terms in the Marines is now dead with upwards of 60 rounds of bullets in his body. That's a pretty hard fact.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:42 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth: "That's mighty generous of you, isn't it? I mean you are personally unwilling to do the job, but you expect someone else to act that way.

Maybe if we paid them all $100,000,000 a year. I mean really, I don't think that a CEO deserves the kind of money he or she gets if they aren't taking these risks.
"


Christ what the fuck is wrong with you Ironmouth? It is not unreasonable to expect someone who has been granted the power of life and death over every citizen, to be held to a higher standard? When did 'protect and serve the citizens' become 'protect and serve my crooked-cop ass'?

Can't do it? Find another job! If we held the police to this standard, yes, their salaries would go up from simple supply and demand, because all the shitheads wouldn't be willing to do it anymore.
posted by danny the boy at 12:45 PM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ironmouth, you do agree that creating situations where the use of deadly force is almost an unavoidable consequence is bad, yes?

First, I'm always wary of anything that is "almost an unavoidable consequence." Its a set up like the "ticking time bomb scenario" designed to justify torture.

At some point you wipe out policing. This is what happens when you decide that having a gun is a fucking personal constitutional right. seriously the police are just supposed to let criminals go? If I were a criminal and I knew that being armed would cause the police to not arrest me, well, I'd go about armed all day, no?

Never thought there were this many "guns for home defense" freaks on here.

place gets more and more like reddit every time. Same outragefilter, same taking only one side, same everything.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:51 PM on May 26, 2011


His guilt isn't really an issue. The police have nor more right to summarily kill the guilty then they do the innocent. The issue relates to whether the killing was justified. That extends beyond the man who pulled the trigger to include the decision makers who chose the method and timing of arrest and those who requested and granted the warrant. They all had a hand in this; it required quite a bit of effort to create the circumstances of this man's death. I don't know if they are right or not, or perhaps made understandable (and excusable) errors, but there sure as hell seems an awful lot of ways it could have been prevented. As a random example, what would be wrong with arresting him as he came home? Or executing the warrant when there were less/no people in the house (at least trying)?

The circumstances of the actual shooting are also troubling. 7s of sustained fire totally 71 rounds at someone who didn't fire a single shot back? 7s??? That sounds like an operation very much out of control, i.e. incompetent. That does not bode well. As does the scant reported evidence found. As does the delay in medical attention. All points to something wrong. Not a guarantee, but sure sounds like it needs a very very hard look.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:53 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Christ what the fuck is wrong with you Ironmouth? It is not unreasonable to expect someone who has been granted the power of life and death over every citizen, to be held to a higher standard? When did 'protect and serve the citizens' become 'protect and serve my crooked-cop ass'?

Can't do it? Find another job! If we held the police to this standard, yes, their salaries would go up from simple supply and demand, because all the shitheads wouldn't be willing to do it anymore.


You have quite a callous attitude for the lives of people whose job it is to protect you from crime. They should just be thrilled to take a bullet! Why it is so wonderful, I'm surprised everyone isn't just volunteering!

I mean that. All this yelling and screaming about the life of a man who confronted the police with an assault rifle, who the cops are supposed to spare at the risk of their own life. Its Okay for him to just whip out the gun, but the police have to stand there and take it.

Up is down, people.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:54 PM on May 26, 2011


You are very focused on the people who opened the door, Ironmouth. "The police" includes a lot more then those few souls. What do you think of their actions and decisions?
posted by Bovine Love at 12:56 PM on May 26, 2011


Never thought there were this many "guns for home defense" freaks on here.

In this case a gun was involved. There are plenty of botched SWAT raids where the victim was unarmed.
posted by PenDevil at 12:56 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have quite a callous attitude for the lives of people whose job it is to protect you from crime.

If only they were actually stopping crimes instead of bothering people about drugs.
posted by empath at 12:58 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


There are plenty of botched SWAT raids where the victim was unarmed.

You don't need SWAT either... There are plenty of cases were people "brandishing" hammers and staplers have been killed too. All with cops properly following their training.
Ooops, I meant to say "following orders".
posted by Chuckles at 12:59 PM on May 26, 2011


I personally don't own a gun, hate guns, and would prefer that people didn't have guns. But I've also read dozens of these stories where people are killed in botched SWAT raids. The detective work done here to decide this guy was doing something wrong seems minimal and incorrect on its face. And it's not at all clear why the warrant had to be served in this way.

I think there's a good chance I hate the Patriot Act and the militarization of our police force even more than I hate the idea of individual gun ownership. And that's a big thing for me, because I really hate guns.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:02 PM on May 26, 2011


I'm late to this thread but I just want to say that I hope the following was sarcasm. Most messed up logical train of thought I've seen in a long time unless you were specifically referring to someone with a violent criminal record being able to obtain a gun... That we probably agree on. However, an ex-Marine with a family to protect is definitely on my list of "people capable of owning a weapon".

Mister_A:
Here's a thought: Why the hell was the decedent permitted by law to obtain an AR-15 assault rifle? Our beloved NRA is contributing to the militarization of the police by lobbying hard for the militarization of the citizenry, which allows the police to say, "look, we're outgunned, we need to be able to knock once and then call in an airstrike."
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:02 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have quite a callous attitude for the lives of people whose job it is to protect you from crime.

No, the police protect society, not an individual person. There are court cases about it and everything!
posted by ryoshu at 1:04 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth, are you a robot? You need to update your firmware.

I think he's a lawyer, not a robot. He interacts with the police more than most of us do, and I'm willing to believe that said interactions are probably a lot more civil and less threatening than some of our experiences.

Still though, I still don't understand why a whole SWAT raid was necessary. Nor do I understand 71 shots. Even on full-auto, that's really fucking excessive.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:05 PM on May 26, 2011


You have quite a callous attitude for the lives of people whose job it is to protect you from crime. They should just be thrilled to take a bullet! Why it is so wonderful, I'm surprised everyone isn't just volunteering!

I mean that. All this yelling and screaming about the life of a man who confronted the police with an assault rifle, who the cops are supposed to spare at the risk of their own life. Its Okay for him to just whip out the gun, but the police have to stand there and take it.

Up is down, people.


"Up is down"? What the fuck is wrong with you? The job is dangerous. They know that going in. They are expected to execute the duties of their job within certain constraints, i.e. respecting the rights of all citizens, including alleged criminals. They don't get to rewrite our civil liberties for the sake of lessening their exposure to criminal violence. That's part of the trade off in living in a society that respects individual liberty: a handicap on law enforcement in carrying out their job.

Never thought there were this many "guns for home defense" freaks on here.

What sanctimonious crap. No wonder you're such an apologist for the police.
posted by BigSky at 1:10 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are plenty of botched SWAT raids where the victim was unarmed.

There are plenty of police raids where cops get shot by suspects also. That's why they send in SWAT on raids involving suspects in alleged armed violent crime, right? But that isn't the point to most of the commentary here. We can talk generalities about the drug war, gun ownership, or what is "proper" police procedure, but we cannot really hold this case up as an example without the complete picture. Of course, that does not seem to have stopped people from doing so.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:12 PM on May 26, 2011


"Still though, I still don't understand why a whole SWAT raid was necessary. Nor do I understand 71 shots. Even on full-auto, that's really fucking excessive."

SWAT raid because he was suspected of being part of an armed home-invasion crew. Seventy-one shots, I can't speak to.

This isn't Fred Hampton, folks.

""Up is down"? What the fuck is wrong with you? The job is dangerous. They know that going in. They are expected to execute the duties of their job within certain constraints, i.e. respecting the rights of all citizens, including alleged criminals. They don't get to rewrite our civil liberties for the sake of lessening their exposure to criminal violence. That's part of the trade off in living in a society that respects individual liberty: a handicap on law enforcement in carrying out their job."

The rights of the citizens don't include threatening police with guns. It's a shame that in your zeal to call Ironmouth an apologist, you can't concede that.
posted by klangklangston at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2011


No wonder you're such an apologist for the police.

Who's an apologist for the police? Isn't getting all the evidence laid out before condemning someone what people have been advocating here? Shouldn't that go for the suspects and the cops?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the police are unwilling to adopt the mentality of the military, where the individual's life is a proper sacrifice for the citizenry of his country, they should not have the ability to adopt its weapons or tactics.

I haven't been able to verify this by Googling, but Bill Lind (no left-winger by any means) in his FMFM-1A states that the British troops stationed in Northern Ireland are not permitted to fire unless they are actively taking casualties. This is the same standard our police should be held to.

De-escalation should always be the order of the day. Always. Read FMFM-1A. The ill-will toward and mistrust of police is reaching a high level in this country, and it's not the fault of the citizenry. It's not completely far-fetched to think of the problem in 4th Generation Warfare terms.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:15 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ironmouth: "You have quite a callous attitude for the lives of people whose job it is to protect you from crime. They should just be thrilled to take a bullet! Why it is so wonderful, I'm surprised everyone isn't just volunteering!"

I suppose that is the difference between you and me. I'd rather our police forces be made up of people who actually want to be there to protect and serve society, rather than it being the rare byproduct of their 9-5 grind.

Basically I want them to live up to the recruiting message that every police and military organization uses. You seem to want to exempt them from their own promises.
posted by danny the boy at 1:17 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The rights of the citizens don't include threatening police with guns.

It has yet to be shown that this (the victim threatening the police) is true.

Even the cops admitted that the only reason they opened fire was because a member of the raid let a round off accidentally which caused everyone else to shit their pants and start unloading their magazines.
posted by PenDevil at 1:18 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


He is referring to Blackstone's formulation. This principle is found in Blackstone's 'Commentaries on the Laws of England', which according to Wikipedia, "were long regarded as the leading work on the development of English law and played a role in the development of the American legal system."
posted by BigSky at 12:29 PM on May 26 [+] [!]


A little surprised that anyone who claims to be a legal expert did not immediately think of this, because I did and I am about as far from a legal expert as you can get.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:18 PM on May 26, 2011


And we have no evidence of innocence or guilt here. We have two stories.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:06 PM on May 26 [+] [!]


Evidence of innocence is not required.
posted by JenMarie at 1:19 PM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


You know...there are many times when I don't agree with Ironmouth, but I don't think he's being at all unreasonable here. klang nailed it - the zeal with which people are attacking him is a bit...something.

I don't think anybody here denies that there are some unsettling questions about this entire encounter between law enforcement and the deceased — questions that need answering. SWAT teams to serve warrants? Seven seconds of sustained fire? Delays in allowing medical personnel access to the scene?

All important questions, and all will have some bearing on the resolution of this case. I don't see Ironmouth saying any different.

But come on now. Let's call a spade a spade, here. If ever there was an enclave of predominately liberal, mostly white, almost entirely easily-outraged armchair quarterbacks, it is MeFi. I love this place, and read it daily (have for a decade, now -- and I generally fit the preceding description just fine), but I still recognize this uglier side.



And I pretty much hate cops. There are some real cases of police abuse of power out there. This, though a senseless tragedy, is not one of them. Not yet, at least. Not until more information comes to light.
posted by kaseijin at 1:23 PM on May 26, 2011


Ironmouth: "You have quite a callous attitude for the lives of people whose job it is to protect you from crime. They should just be thrilled to take a bullet! Why it is so wonderful, I'm surprised everyone isn't just volunteering!"

I suppose that is the difference between you and me. I'd rather our police forces be made up of people who actually want to be there to protect and serve society, rather than it being the rare byproduct of their 9-5 grind.

Basically I want them to live up to the recruiting message that every police and military organization uses. You seem to want to exempt them from their own promises.
posted by danny the boy at 4:17 PM on May 26 [+] [!]


Hardly. You know, I've done a bunch of these cases. Seen some where I thought deadly force was justified, some where I did not. But I never saw a case where someone pulled or used a weapon on a police officer where the courts did not ultimately exonerate the officer.

let's be clear, he went into that room with an assault rifle. There is not a jurisdiction in this land where the police are not going to shoot first in that situation. And when asked if you would do so if you were a police officer, you refuse to answer, and discuss some sort of higher standard where a police officer is supposed to just sit there when a guy pulls out an assault rifle. There is no such higher standard. As I pointed out and linked to up thread, there are standards, real standards that the police use, standards created by professional accrediting bodies. And those standards, built on years of court cases and experience, make it quite clear that if you respond to a police search warrant with an assault rifle you are going to be shot in short order.

You refuse to answer the question as to what you would do.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:26 PM on May 26, 2011


We might have more money for police salary if we didn't have to keep paying victims of corrupt and botched drug raids. Victims like Kathryn Johnston, the elderly woman in Atlanta who was also shot in a no-knock raid, and then had drugs planted on her.

Sigh, Seattle just had to pay 1.5 million for one of our shooting incidents.

No wonder we're so broke.
posted by formless at 1:26 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The rights of the citizens don't include threatening police with guns. It's a shame that in your zeal to call Ironmouth an apologist, you can't concede that.

"Threatening police with guns" does not bring up the picture of a man responding to the confusion of a no-knock warrant being served in the middle of his sleep. Instead it sounds more like he confronted a cop in public. It's a bullshit way to phrase what happened.

And that's the problem with no-knock raids. The police invite a justified violent response from the residents. The risk of evidence being destroyed is simply not worth the possibility of provoking a violent confrontation.
posted by BigSky at 1:26 PM on May 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


This, though a senseless tragedy, is not one of them. Not yet, at least. Not until more information comes to light.

If this was the only example of a botched SWAT raid enforcing some ridiculous War on Drugs, perhaps yes. Unfortunately, it's not.
posted by PenDevil at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blackstone's formulation is about the presumption of innocence, not the use of deadly force in serving a search warrant.

And it is older than him. It has nothing to do with SWAT teams and assault rifles. Remember, back then, the king's men had absolute immunity from suit. You could not sue the crown or its agents if they got the wrong house or made a mistake or anything.

So please, don't tell me what Blackstone's formulation means.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2011


Policing is actually a very low risk profession, not even close to the top ten.

...and keep in mind that the number of police officers killed in the line of duty >> the number killed by actual violence.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2011


Chuckles: Policing is actually a very low risk profession, not even close to the top ten.

Eh? Where are you getting this? Most sources I'm looking at list police officer somewhere in the top 20 (in fact, they made the number 10 spot here). Saying it's a "very low risk" profession only makes sense if you're comparing it to some of the more dangerous jobs closer to the top of the list.
posted by the other side at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2011


Well, given that either the lights were flashing and the sirens on, or the whole thing was absolutely silent, aren't there likely to have been plenty of witnesses to the said lights, sirens or absolute silence on the night in question?

What do you consider 7 armed men breaking into your home in the middle of the night with automatic weapons.

Probably not break into a house in the middle of the night with guns drawn, I don't know.

If I had been him, I'd have died like him, because what else could you do when guys with guns raid your house in the middle of the night and threaten your wife and child?

A paramilitary force busted into a mans home at night and killed him.


The raid took place at 9:30am. This link was in the FPP, and multiple versions of the news story mention that the family's other child was at school and that SWAT officers mistakenly thought the wife and younger child would be out of the home as well. There is more than enough room to criticize the police based on the reported facts. But if you can't differentiate between really simple things like night or day, you destroy your own credibility straight out of the gate. Welcome to irrelevance.

Please do not construe this as expressing any support whatsoever for the tactical or legal context of this raid. This episode was avoidable and unnecessary.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:30 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


You refuse to answer the question as to what you would do.

How about stop serving SWAT raids for search warrants. What are they worried about? That he's going to flush an assault rifle and body armour down the toilet?
posted by PenDevil at 1:31 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: "You refuse to answer the question as to what you would do."

You seem to be confusing me with someone else in this thread who thinks your position on this (like many things) is bizarrely unreasonable and alien. Understandable. There are a lot of us.
posted by danny the boy at 1:31 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Threatening police with guns" does not bring up the picture of a man responding to the confusion of a no-knock warrant being served in the middle of his sleep. Instead it sounds more like he confronted a cop in public. It's a bullshit way to phrase what happened.

And that's the problem with no-knock raids. The police invite a justified violent response from the residents. The risk of evidence being destroyed is simply not worth the possibility of provoking a violent confrontation.


The man's own wife stated to the media that he left the room carrying an assault rifle. He may very well have been confused. But the use of force guidelines are clear. You cannot run into a room and confront the police with an assault rifle without police properly following the guidelines and opening fire.

And for the millionth time, this was not a no knock warrant.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:31 PM on May 26, 2011


And for the millionth time, this was not a no knock warrant.

According to the bumbling police spokesman. I'm sure we'll find out during the trial.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2011


See, our police forces are just inherently different than other nation's police forces, inherently more dependable; that's why we don't need more systemic checks on police authority to prevent tragedies like this from arising here in the US, while this case was clearly the fault of a corrupt system that empowers its police apparatus too much.

We've got procedures and stuff, while everyone else just wings it--but you can believe in the procedures no matter what.

He may very well have been confused. But the use of force guidelines are clear.

So the rules justify the rules, eh? Nice, taut view of the system you've got there. One that by definition can do no wrong.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:34 PM on May 26, 2011


Ironmouth: "You refuse to answer the question as to what you would do."

You seem to be confusing me with someone else in this thread who thinks your position on this (like many things) is bizarrely unreasonable and alien. Understandable. There are a lot of us.


I apologize if that is the case.

But you cannot ask the police to stand there when serving a warrant when a man with a assault rifle runs into the room and confronts you. There is not a jurisdiction in the US where the rules do not require firing in such a situation. You expect them to sit there and do nothing when he has an assault rifle in hand. Would you stand there if you were a police officer?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2011


If this was the only example of a botched SWAT raid enforcing some ridiculous War on Drugs, perhaps yes. Unfortunately, it's not.

There are plenty of examples. And the "War on drugs" absolutely needs to end. Choir? Preached to!

But as horrible as this senseless and avoidable tragedy is, it does not equal corruption, incompetence, or anything else. Not yet, at any rate. We may yet find out some really ugly details from this that completely point to police mishandling. Wouldn't surprise the cynic in me in the least. But it has not happened yet. What we have here is knee-jerk damn-the-man-ism that MeFi does so well, combined with the unnecessary pillorying of somebody who is, from what I can tell, trying to be reasonable and level headed in this thread (other threads being what they will be).

We don't know exactly what evidence there was against the accused. We don't know why a SWAT team was deemed justifiable to serve a warrant. We don't even know if they came with lights and sirens on.

Reports, as they say, vary.
posted by kaseijin at 1:38 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


But you cannot ask the police to stand there when serving a warrant when a man with a assault rifle runs into the room and confronts you.

Um I think they were the ones running into the room.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:38 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


See, our police forces are just inherently different than other nation's police forces, inherently more dependable; that's why we don't need more systemic checks on police authority to prevent tragedies like this from arising here in the US, while this case was clearly the fault of a corrupt system that empowers its police apparatus too much.

We've got procedures and stuff, while everyone else just wings it--but you can believe in the procedures no matter what.

He may very well have been confused. But the use of force guidelines are clear.

So the rules justify the rules, eh? Nice, taut view of the system you've got there. One that by definition can do no wrong.


Do no wrong? What should officers do when serving a warrant and a person comes in there with an assault rifle. Even the wife says he grabbed his rifle and went to the room where the officers were. Given that situation and guidelines that say fire when confronted by a firearm, the officers followed procedure.

There are plenty of bad shootings in this country. They occur when officers do not follow the procedures in question. But when a man is carrying an AR-15 assault rifle to confront police, the guidelines are clear.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:40 PM on May 26, 2011


But you cannot ask the police to stand there when serving a warrant when a man with a assault rifle runs into the room and confronts you.

No, the police busted through the door of a man's private home, where his family and children were (a family that had previously lost other family members to a home invasion robbery), and that man met the intruders with a gun. You're refusing to analyze the scenario at all from any perspective other than that of the police. That makes for a damnably lopsided view of the situation, and the law.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:41 PM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I mean that. All this yelling and screaming about the life of a man who confronted the police with an assault rifle, who the cops are supposed to spare at the risk of their own life. Its Okay for him to just whip out the gun, but the police have to stand there and take it.

I don't think it's remotely out of line to expect police officers in such a situation to

(1) Have, as their first reaction, commanding the suspect to lower the weapon instead of opening fire.
(2) Hold their fire unless the suspect makes clear and specific movements towards firing their weapon. Holding it don't count.
(3) Be prepared to withdraw and set up a perimeter to avoid shooting.
(4) Be well-enough trained that accidentally firing their weapon is vanishingly rare.
(5) Be well-enough trained that they do not immediately begin firing upon hearing any loud concussive sound that might have been a gunshot, but instead take some fraction of a second to judge the situation, such as observing that the suspect's weapon showed no muzzle flash.

Apparently, officers are not expected to do any of these things and can just shoot out of hand anyone holding a firearm. That makes me sad.

The part that's really scary and depressing to me about crap like this is that I would probably be at far less risk of being shot if I were an Iraqi or Afghan and a bunch of Marines or soldiers kicked down my door than I would be if local law enforcement did so.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:42 PM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


But you cannot ask the police to stand there when serving a warrant when a man with a assault rifle runs into the room and confronts you.

I can. I do. The guidelines are wrong.

The problem with this conversation is your utterly uncompromising adherence to the system. Just following guidelines is no more sufficient a justification than just following orders. Youd on't care about right and wrong, you only care about the system.

Hmm...has anyone made a MeFi alignment chart? Ironmouth should definitely be Lawful Neutral.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:43 PM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


What should officers do when serving a warrant and a person comes in there with an assault rifle.

Draw down on him and command him to stop and slowly put the weapon on the floor.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:43 PM on May 26, 2011


And why are you so determined to defend the cops? They'll have plenty of opportunities through their PR spokesmen and attorneys to do that for themselves.

The same can't be said for the guy who was gunned down in his own house in front of his family. He's not around anymore to stick up for himself--yet another reason the law should not need be disproportionately focused on defending the interests of the police in these kinds of cases.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:44 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Blackstone's formulation is about the presumption of innocence, not the use of deadly force in serving a search warrant.

And it is older than him. It has nothing to do with SWAT teams and assault rifles. Remember, back then, the king's men had absolute immunity from suit. You could not sue the crown or its agents if they got the wrong house or made a mistake or anything.

So please, don't tell me what Blackstone's formulation means.


lupus_yonderboy may have been incorrect in drawing an analogy between Blackstone's formulation and the aggressiveness of the SWAT team, but you claimed there is no principle stating that it is better for the guilty to go free than the innocent to suffer. And that's wrong, there is.

And for the millionth time, this was not a no knock warrant.

You can say it until you're blue in the face it doesn't persuade when I'm reading this:

"We spoke with several of the neighbors," Epps says. "And none of them -- none of them -- heard any sirens that morning. Every one of them told us they didn't hear anything, no knocking, no shouting, until the shooting started. They didn't hear anything until the shooting started." Scileppi, who is conducting his own investigation, wouldn't say if he had spoken to neighbors, but did say of the lights and sirens, "What we've found contradicts what they're saying." Epps added, "What I found disturbing is that none of the neighbors would give us their names. These people are terrified of the police, now. Another thing I found strange, they said the police didn't evacuate them until after the shooting."
posted by BigSky at 1:49 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, the police busted through the door of a man's private home, where his family and children were (a family that had previously lost other family members to a home invasion robbery), and that man met the intruders with a gun. You're refusing to analyze the scenario at all from any perspective other than that of the police. That makes for a damnably lopsided view of the situation, and the law.

You know what, you are exactly right. I am analyzing it from the perspective of the police. Because that is what the courts and the law does when they ask whether or not the officers have acted correctly. The police do not know that some other family members (not in that house), have suffered a home invasion. The police know they have a search warrant and that the suspect is to be considered armed and dangerous. They wait until a time in which they think the wife and child will be gone to school. They enter the home and are confronted by a man armed with an assault rifle. They do not have mind-control devices or the benefit of seeing whether or not his safety is on. They must make a decision right now, in less than half a second. According to the police and the wife, he had an assault rifle in his hand. We only get to decide the case based on what the officers see and know. We don't get to tell them that somebody's cousin had a home invasion. We don't get to tell them it is on safety. We don't get any of that. That is the perspective that counts from a legal standpoint.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:51 PM on May 26, 2011


this was not a no-knock

You could argue that the sound of the battering ram smashing into the guy's front door constituted a "knock".
posted by jeremy b at 1:51 PM on May 26, 2011


You can say it until you're blue in the face it doesn't persuade when I'm reading this:

The warrant, as issued was not a no-knock warrant. The lawyer is on contingency. he is doing his very excellent job by telling the press facts which are likely to win his client the case. That is his job. What's he gonna do, explain to the world that the shooting was justified? Not a good lawyer. But you won't take both sides with a grain of salt. Just the police.

And the one fact both sides agree on is that he went into that room, assault rifle in hand.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:53 PM on May 26, 2011


but you claimed there is no principle stating that it is better for the guilty to go free than the innocent to suffer. And that's wrong, there is.


Again, it refers to innocent before proven guilty.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2011


It has yet to be shown that this (the victim threatening the police) is true.

Be realistic. If someone pointed an AR-15 at you, you would certainly feel threatened, and you would be quite right to feel threatened. That his wife says he left the room carrying the rifle at least corroborates the police account of him being armed - not their account of what he did or said next, but that's beside the point. There is no possible way you could be confronted by someone carrying one of these (image from google, the least tooled-out version I could find) without thinking you were in serious danger.

As for the comments about the safety being on, that seems to indicate the police opened fire immediately. But suggestions that they should have noticed this are absurd. How would they tell from more than a few feet away? The safety catch is not very big or prominent. It isn't like there's a safety light or a beeping noise to tell you the weapon is ready to be fired. The fact that we are aware of the safety being engaged at all is proof that at least some of the police are being honest. It would have been easy for someone to disengage the safety catch after the guy had been shot, and yet somehow we know that it was still engaged.

Again, I'm not supporting this raid or this outcome.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2011


And the one fact both sides agree on is that he went into that room, assault rifle in hand.

Enlighten a foreigner. Is this illegal in America?
posted by PenDevil at 1:57 PM on May 26, 2011


""Threatening police with guns" does not bring up the picture of a man responding to the confusion of a no-knock warrant being served in the middle of his sleep. Instead it sounds more like he confronted a cop in public. It's a bullshit way to phrase what happened."

No.

It appalls me that someone who is a gun apologist would refuse to abide the iron law of firearms — you do not point them at something you do not intend to shoot.

Pointing a gun at someone is a threatening act, even if there is some other justification. And you do not point a gun at someone without threatening them with deadly violence.

This is, like, the very first goddamn lesson in any gun safety course. Guns are fucking serious business.

Further, this was not a no-knock warrant and it was 9:30 in the morning, as far as we know. Until we have a serious source to contradict that, deal with the facts as they exist rather than inventing your own in order to shore up your slant.

(That guns are a lot of fun and have many legitimate uses does not mean that the police are wrong to shoot someone who points a gun at them.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


And the one fact both sides agree on is that he went into that room, assault rifle in hand.

Enlighten a foreigner. Is this illegal in America


Complicated. You may carry a firearm in your own home. Until a few years ago, assault rifles were illegal in the U.S. They are now legal. However, it is a felony to point a firearm at a police officer.

More importantly, if in a situation with police, you brandish a firearm, the police general orders in almost every jurisdiction, and the suggested standards by CALEA the US accrediting body, indicate that use of deadly force is justified.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:00 PM on May 26, 2011


Do not give drugs to people without their knowledge and consent.

Or, let friends leave pot brownies laying about.

Rut-roh!
Kara DioGuardi Talks 'American Idol,' Pot Brownies At Paula Abdul's House.
posted by ericb at 2:01 PM on May 26, 2011


Are particular police procedures terribly flawed? Of course. Is the entire legal system heavily tilted in favor of LEOs at the expense of ordinary citizens? Of course. But what a lot of people don't seem to appreciate, is that a ton of police misconduct and corruption goes way beyond even that. I'm talking about deep corruption - drug dealing, burglaries, murder, extortion and protection rackets. No, I'm not talking about pre WWII Prohibition era. I'm talking today. And I'm not talking about the joke that is New Orleans PD. I'm talking about deep, systemic corruption in our largest PD - like the NYPD; if you thought that the situation since Serpico has been cleaned up, you're sadly mistaken. Take virtually any PD - Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco - no matter how large. We're not just talking the South, or some Podunk PD in Appalachia run by the Sheriff and his relatives.

And why is that? Because we simply have not taken measures to do the most important thing of all, when setting up any law enforcement system - a robust anti-corruption program coupled with extensive and proactive checks and balances mechanism.

Why is it that the police investigate themselves? Why don't we have a permanent agency similar to the FBI, that would be dedicated full time to investigating police conduct across the nation? A proactive system - so that non-stop stings can be set up. Get a house, set it up with cameras and an agent and have a given PD do an arrest, and record every moment to see where rules and laws are broken. Infiltrate PDs to conduct undercover investigations and stings to root out police corruption, civil rights violations as most importantly the "blue wall of silence".

LEOs and PD's are invested with huge powers. That alone tell us, that we also need huge checks and balances to prevent the abuse of such powers. Otherwise, we end up living with LEOs being in effect a mafia in uniform beholden to no-one, operating in their own interest. Public safety suffers, and the public loses confidence in law enforcement.
posted by VikingSword at 2:08 PM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


I so did not want to get in on this free-for-all of accuse and counter-accuse that seems to be going on in this thread, but one very disturbing point just won't quit nagging at me.

I do have some small expertise in these matters as a combat veteran using similar weaponry to great effect in the defense of my country. Enough about me; back to the point at hand...

Even for a firearm with an approximated 900 round per minute cyclic rate like both the AR15 carried by the deceased and the weapon most SWAT officers carry as standard issue, the actual rate of fire is only ~90 rounds per minute. This drop in rate of fire is mostly caused by the heat dissipation ability of the base material of both the receiver and barrel; and of smaller import, but unrelated to this case, is how quickly the shooter can swap out empty magazines for fresh ones. These rates stay the same regardless of whether your firing mode is semi or full auto.

If you do the math here:

900 / 90 * 7 = 10.5 rounds fired per weapon in 7 seconds time

10.5 * 5 = 52.5 total rounds for 5 shooters in 7 seconds time

How did these gentleman fire an 'additional' 18.5 rounds in the same amount of time when decorated special forces operatives can't do that well.

Additionally, how did they get an amazing 84.5% accuracy while wildly firing as fast as their barrels could empty.

It seems the SWAT team members did, in fact, follow protocol by shooting the deceased given the available information. However, I would have shot at least 2 or 3 of them before being taken down with an entirely clear conscience. This bears a lot of detailed scrutiny before any real truth is known, if ever.
posted by schade at 2:09 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Blackstone's formulation seems to have had some influence on the granting of warrants according to this quote from Volokh's paper 'n Guilty Men', "The Court did not revisit the issue until Henry v. United States (1959), which established that "it is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches, that the guilty sometimes go free than that citizens be subject to easy arrest.""

The warrant, as issued was not a no-knock warrant.

I can't find anything that says this. All the articles report the warrant being sealed. Link?

-----

Further, this was not a no-knock warrant and it was 9:30 in the morning, as far as we know.

As far as we know, it is more likely that it was a no-knock warrant. As for it being 9:30 in the morning he had recently finished a twelve hour graveyard shift.
posted by BigSky at 2:09 PM on May 26, 2011


Until a few years ago, assault rifles were illegal in the U.S.

There is no time when the semi-automatic AR-15 was illegal in the US. I legally bought mine in the middle of the assault weapons ban. It was one of the firearms that was mostly excepted as long as it had certain aspects altered, like the bayonet lug and the flash hider threading being removed.
posted by quin at 2:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Until a few years ago, assault rifles were illegal in the U.S.

That's a pretty dramatic misstatement.

First, it's wildly inaccurate to state that they were illegal in the US until a few years ago. The weapons that were eventually classed as "assault rifles" were entirely legal until 1994, illegal for ten years, and then legal again.

Second, the weapons that were classed as assault rifles were a far cry from actual, military assault weapons. Most obviously, they were entirely semiautomatic instead of selective fire. The difference between this "assault rifle" and a boringly normal semiautomatic deer rifle is that the "assault rifle" is substantially less powerful.

Third, as quin notes, the actual classification had nothing to do with the danger of the weapon, but only its capacity to accept attachments.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:18 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even for a firearm with an approximated 900 round per minute cyclic rate like both the AR15 carried by the deceased

Uh, well, while the cops no doubt had fully-auto ARs, it is very, very unlikely that Guerena did.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:22 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've read a lot of stories about American SWAT teams and police being deathly scared of tiny dogs and blasting them to pieces so it's no real surprise they'd do something like this to an actual human.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:22 PM on May 26, 2011


Why don't we have a permanent agency similar to the FBI, that would be dedicated full time to investigating police conduct across the nation?

The federal government does not have this power under the Constitution.

Such an agency, at the state level, would be very good.

I have a lot of experience in these investigations, representing them in all contexts. I have to say that while the level of out-and-out criminal activity amongst police officers is lower than TV and movies would lead the average citizen to believe, there are some who are engaging in illegal activities. A state agency would be fine.

I disagree that "fake warrants" is the right move. No officer should be put in a situation with live rounds believing they are serving a high-risk warrant. That is plain dangerous and stupid.

But there is no doubt, given that many big-city police departments are under DOJ consent orders on civil rights issues, that a state-level agency, designed to educate officers, with a separate arm to investigate civil rights matters would be a good idea.

But you have to understand that the problem with Internal Affairs is generally one of staffing levels and funding. IA officers want arrests and prosecutions as much as other police do when going after general crime. And the supposed "blue wall of silence" is more mythological than real. I have seen some officers defend and sometimes lie in cases. But as many times as not, I have seen officers testify against other officers.

In short the situation is more complicated than TV and movies would lead one to believe.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, well, while the cops no doubt had fully-auto ARs, it is very, very unlikely that Guerena did.

As I stated in the same post, The actual rate of fire is the same for both semi and full auto.
posted by schade at 2:24 PM on May 26, 2011


As I stated in the same post, The actual rate of fire is the same for both semi and full auto.

I do see that you said that now. Somehow I glossed over it initially. Apologies; it's been a long thread.

That said, how does this work? How can someone physically pulling the trigger for each shot be as quick as full-auto (discounting bump-fire).
posted by adamdschneider at 2:27 PM on May 26, 2011


Properly trained, which by the way I am not claiming these SWAT members are, a skilled shooter can pull the trigger just as fast as the hammer can recycle. Ergo, no difference in rate of fire once all real-world physics have had their say in the matter
posted by schade at 2:39 PM on May 26, 2011


The actual cycling of the weapon (bullet being fired, bolt recoiling, ejecting shell, bolt moving forward, grabbing a new round, locking into battery) is the same between a full auto and a semi auto, so if the trigger was capable of being pulled that fast, it could be done.

For several shots with a sufficiently light trigger it would be possible to match the speed of a fully automatic weapon (see the absurdly good speed shooters who use revolvers because the action on a semi-automatic would slow them down too much) but over an extended period of time (more than a dozen or so shots), the shooter's finger would simply get too tired to maintain the rate of fire.
posted by quin at 2:44 PM on May 26, 2011


Thank you quin for fleshing that out for me... It's been a long day and I got lazy.
posted by schade at 2:46 PM on May 26, 2011


And for the millionth time, this was not a no knock warrant.

It's your opinion that the police knocked, identified themselves, and waited 10 or 15 seconds without getting a response before they opened the door? Or, as a hypothethical, does proper service of a "not a no knock warrant" include shouting "police" half a second before smashing open a door and then opening fire half a second later?

But you cannot ask the police to stand there when serving a warrant when a man with a assault rifle runs into the room and confronts you. There is not a jurisdiction in the US where the rules do not require firing in such a situation.


Can you please stop invoking "the rules require" as if those rules have some power to override the law? The police have no innate right to shoot based on their rules if it contravenes the law, do they? It really doesn't matter what the "rules" require -- they cannot legalize an otherwise-illegal death.

You expect them to sit there and do nothing when he has an assault rifle in hand. Would you stand there if you were a police officer?

In hand? Not "threatening with" or "pointing at" or "raising?" Are you now saying that merely seeing a homeowner in legal possession of a weapon in his own home give the police an unconditional right to kill him?
posted by tyllwin at 3:17 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Can you please stop invoking "the rules require" as if those rules have some power to override the law? The police have no innate right to shoot based on their rules if it contravenes the law, do they? It really doesn't matter what the "rules" require -- they cannot legalize an otherwise-illegal death."

"Otherwise illegal death"?

Beg the question much?
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on May 26, 2011


Beg the question much?

Not at all. I don't say that the death was illegal. Only that the invocation of the "rules" is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether it is not. If legal and justified, it is legal and justified without the rules. If illegal, the rules don't legalize it.
posted by tyllwin at 3:29 PM on May 26, 2011


As a law-abiding person who has lived in lower income neighborhoods, I have seen police officers take bribes, I have had officers lie to me to my face to protect a cocaine club, I've watched officers beat into unconsciousness a man who offered them no resistance but had simply sassed them once (specifically, "There are people selling cocaine right over there! Why are you making me throw away my beer?" and he was pointing to literal coke dealers as he said it.)

Because I have an English accent and am extremely polite to police officers, I've never personally been in fear of arrest. On the other hand, I've seen an astonishing amount of police misconduct in my 25 years in New York City, a huge amount of incompetence, lots of hostility and aggression, and yes, a reasonable amount of competence too (particularly detectives - my three encounters with NYC detectives were each extremely impressive).

When the police stopped allowing you to make reports for minor but real crimes was I think the time I decided that the whole thing was a farce - they would not accept my friend's attempt to report a stolen camera, which she needed for insurance purposes and all of us had seen it being snatched, they wouldn't even pretend to write it on a piece of paper... and some months I had literally been punched in the nose by some random guy and I was told by the cops that if I hadn't had to go to the hospital then it's not actually a crime.

Don't get me wrong - I respect the idea of the police, I have friends who are officers and ex-officers (a quote from one: "I was glad that I only had girls and none them wanted to go into police work, because, well, it's not a good job any more").

This is not the fault of your beat cop, who is generally some hard-working and underpaid guy. There's a reasonable number of psychopaths on the force, sure, it's the leather and the shouting, but there are also a reasonable number of saints.

No, the reason that many police officers in New York City at least have no respect for the law is because their chain of command has no respect for the law, all the way up to the mayor.

Another key moment in my relationship with the New York City police was when they arrested almost 2000 people who were intending to demonstrate for the RNC - and then proceeded to charge them with serious offenses based on what I can only say is perjury, because when it turned out that there were video tapes, well over 90% of the charges were immediately dismissed. The City has systematically protected the cops who lied to jail and potentially destroy the lives of hundreds of people (because once you have been convicted as a felon in the US...) - they've protected their identity and are still defending them against lawsuits.

At this point I realized that thinking of cops the way I grew up was just wrong. These aren't British bobbies (who I now know weren't as nice as I thought, either) and they weren't Barney Miller.

These are a team of paramilitary individuals with serious weaponry who believe themselves to be above the law - and much of the time, they are. Some of them are nice guys, some aren't, but these people uphold authority instead of the law.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:44 PM on May 26, 2011 [19 favorites]


jefficator: "Wait. What was the reason drugs are an issue for us again? I forgot. Its hard keeping track of all the things I'm supposed to be against for no reason."

It's because people die from them, ya see. (They never die from overzealous cops or gangs who get money from drugs...)
posted by symbioid at 4:07 PM on May 26, 2011


"Not at all. I don't say that the death was illegal. Only that the invocation of the "rules" is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether it is not. If legal and justified, it is legal and justified without the rules. If illegal, the rules don't legalize it."

Except that the rules are guidelines in establishing whether or not a shooting was consistent with procedure, which does basically preclude the police office from being charged with a crime, so far as I am aware. This is also a defense in wrongful death suits.

The laws, as far as I know, are pretty broad and the enforcement guidelines come from policy. This doesn't absolutely preclude the possibility of illegal shooting by police who are following the guidelines, but that's true only inasmuch as the rules themselves would have to be illegal (e.g. a department adopting guidelines which could reasonably be interpreted as illegal, like advising shooting black suspects but not white ones).

That very much does not seem to be the case with "If someone brandishes a weapon, lethal force is authorized in response."
posted by klangklangston at 4:13 PM on May 26, 2011


The truth is, klang, that in this specific case, I think he probably pointed the gun at them, and I don't blame them for opening fire. I think the situation is deeply, deeply fucked up, but I don't put the blame on the people ordered to go in through the door.

If he was holding an AR-15 pointed at the ground, I don't think they have any right to simply kill him, "rules" and "requirements" be damned, but I doubt very much that this Marine was meekly pointing his weapon at the ground. I think when they broke down the door, he raised it by instinct and training, with tragic results. And I blame the people who decided to send in a SWAT team to force entry in the first place.

But I'm bothered by the casual conflation of "threatened their lives. thus necessitating deadly force" on the one hand, vs phrases like "brandish" or "in hand" on the other as a more general case. One, to me is justified, one is not.
posted by tyllwin at 4:28 PM on May 26, 2011


I think once the fuckup cop who had his finger on the trigger let one loose 'accidentally' ( it's not really an accident if your finger is on the trigger. ) it didn't matter what the poor dead bastard did or didn't do.

Everyone heard a round go off, and it was the gunfight at the OK Corral all over again.
posted by mikelieman at 4:40 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If he was holding an AR-15 pointed at the ground, I don't think they have any right to simply kill him, "rules" and "requirements" be damned, but I doubt very much that this Marine was meekly pointing his weapon at the ground. I think when they broke down the door, he raised it by instinct and training, with tragic results.

Instinct and training would have told him to take the safety off. I think the only witnesses whose testimony will be considered are lying hitmen. And they made too many mistakes this time.

THAT is the reason this story is popular. The cops made too many mistakes for this to go down as another "mexican pointed a cuete at a cop".

Now its time for the reckoning.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:48 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and let me add one more thing.

I grew up in England during IRA times. There are a not of not-good things that could be said about the authorities' handing of these times, but one positive thing I'll always remember was this. After Bloody Sunday, there was supposedly a meeting at the highest levels of the British police, where they decided that not only would any more such massacres lose support for the peace movement forever, but that they were simply against the whole idea of what a police force was, and it was decided that from them on officers could only use force as a last resort.

They knew that this would result in more police dying on the job, but that it was the essence of their job to take risks for the British public. And indeed, through the remainder of the troubles overall the largest single casualty demographic was the British bobby.

We are hearing that today in the US, if you exhibit a weapon in such a situation with police officers, then the rules require that the police officers immediately keep shooting to kill until you are dead - thus 70+ bullets.

I call this cowardice.

This would be justified if cops were being killed by criminals all the time - but it's in fact extremely rare. The number varies but seems to be consistently less than 200 per year - a cop is many times more likely to be killed in a car crash than being shot by a bad guy. Finding numbers on the other way around was very hard but I did find a reference to government report with about 2000 "arrest related deaths" over three years.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:03 PM on May 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


hal_c_on, what scenario are you suggesting then? You think they ID'ed themselves as cops, causing him to put the safety back on and then they shot him anyway knowing he was no threat? I see an institutional failure leading to a needless death. You see cold-blooded murder?
posted by tyllwin at 5:04 PM on May 26, 2011


Murray Humphreys on gun-safety: "If you ever have to cock a gun in a man's face, kill him. If you walk away without killing him after doing that, he'll kill you the next day."
posted by clavdivs at 5:21 PM on May 26, 2011


From the wikipedia article on Humphrey's death (since I didn't know who he was):

When the three selected agents knocked on the door of Humphreys’ apartment it was opened by Humphreys, with a 38-caliber revolver in his hand. One of the agents is quoted as saying: “Murray, for Christ’s sake, you know we’re FBI agents, put down the gun.” The agents overpowered the aging mobster without much difficulty and handcuffed him

Huh. No paramiltary raid? Guess this guy was more dangerous than one of Capone's lieutenants, huh?
posted by tyllwin at 5:33 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


hal_c_on, what scenario are you suggesting then? You think they ID'ed themselves as cops, causing him to put the safety back on and then they shot him anyway knowing he was no threat? I see an institutional failure leading to a needless death. You see cold-blooded murder?

Yes. I see that as a plausible explanation.

Oh, I definitely see this as an institutional failure. But as history shows us, nothing changes until there is a DEFINITE WRONG in the media. Douchebags who get their rocks off by going all cowboy on suspects would be an excellent fall guy for this.

Yeah, this is a failure at a much higher level. I'm not talking about pima, or even arizona...but when i hear about hoosiers also having their right to not be shot in their own homes taken away, I'm tempted to think this is a national crisis. The only way to resolve this is for someone to end up fucking it up for everyone.

These trained officers shot the hell out of a man. They are by no means innocent just because they have badges. Lets make an example out of this and slowly change what you term an "institutional failure".
posted by hal_c_on at 5:41 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stopped trusting cops the day my nutbag right-wing cousin finally made it onto a police force. He had to go to four different cities, four different police departments, before he could find a psych test he could get past. Our grandmother tried to talk him into coming out here to Seattle to apply for SPD a few years back when they were doing a big hiring campaign, and he told her there was no way he could be an LEO in Seattle, "since that place is full of commies and homos and I'd have a hard time not shooting them on principle. Sorry, Grandma, I know you vote Democrat but I don't mean you." What a charmer, that guy.

Now he's a member of a SWAT team famous for shooting a corgi in a botched drug raid.

I used to think he was the exception, as I've known some really good cops. But the good cops I've known have been driven out of law enforcement by this new breed, who apparently just like to kill for killing's sake.

I'm just so angry. I have no idea what to do with it, but holy cripes am I angry.
posted by palomar at 5:51 PM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


But the good cops I've known have been driven out of law enforcement by this new breed, who apparently just like to kill for killing's sake.

Old Guard and New Guard
posted by homunculus at 6:19 PM on May 26, 2011


Even for a firearm with an approximated 900 round per minute cyclic rate like both the AR15 carried by the deceased and the weapon most SWAT officers carry as standard issue, the actual rate of fire is only ~90 rounds per minute. This drop in rate of fire is mostly caused by the heat dissipation ability of the base material of both the receiver and barrel; and of smaller import, but unrelated to this case, is how quickly the shooter can swap out empty magazines for fresh ones. These rates stay the same regardless of whether your firing mode is semi or full auto.

If you do the math here:

900 / 90 * 7 = 10.5 rounds fired per weapon in 7 seconds time

10.5 * 5 = 52.5 total rounds for 5 shooters in 7 seconds time

How did these gentleman fire an 'additional' 18.5 rounds in the same amount of time when decorated special forces operatives can't do that well.

Additionally, how did they get an amazing 84.5% accuracy while wildly firing as fast as their barrels could empty.


Your maths is wrong. A rate of fire of around 800rpm cyclic is closer to reality. Given a 30 round magazine that means an empty mag in less than 2.5 seconds. Given an entry team of 4 men that's approximately 17 rounds apiece which works out at around 1.5 seconds.

Shooting accurately is what SWAT teams tend to practice and I don't think ~85% accuracy is particularly good given the range (i.e. in the same room).
posted by longbaugh at 6:34 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The truth is, klang, that in this specific case, I think he probably pointed the gun at them, and I don't blame them for opening fire. I think the situation is deeply, deeply fucked up, but I don't put the blame on the people ordered to go in through the door. "

That's pretty much where I fall too.
posted by klangklangston at 6:51 PM on May 26, 2011


palomar: "I used to think he was the exception, as I've known some really good cops. But the good cops I've known have been driven out of law enforcement by this new breed, who apparently just like to kill for killing's sake."

Agreed. My cousin is a forensic anthropologist who works CSI cases. She's terrified of some of the people on the police forces she's met through cases and testimony. She said some of them were such obvious sociopaths that it was frightening to think of them having guns and power.

Someone needs to watch the watchers. I agree with the point upthread that there needs to be an independent system to monitor our public safety officials.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:17 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


I agree with the point upthread that there needs to be an independent system to monitor our public safety officials.

I thought you guys had a constitutional separation of powers over there?
posted by doublehappy at 8:00 PM on May 26, 2011


Well, we have three branches of government, Judicial, Legislative, and Executive... But that's not the same as having Watchers to Watch the Watchmen.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 PM on May 26, 2011


If the SWAT team broke the law, the Courts will uphold the law. If they didn't, it's up to the legislature to decide whether to amend the law. Unfortunately, the legislature is elected by people, and people fucking suck.

On the facts I've seen in this and the earlier thread, I think this is devastating and ridiculous, and it scares the shit out of me. But then I feel the same way about the 2nd Amendment, and guns in general.
posted by doublehappy at 8:27 PM on May 26, 2011


> Given an entry team of 4 men that's approximately 17 rounds apiece which works out at around 1.5 seconds.

And given the 85% hit rate, that's over 14 hits for each of 4 officers.

Does this seem right to you? I mean, after you've pumped six bullets into someone, and seen some larger number of bullets hit this person from your colleagues, what sort of person would shoot ten more bullets after that?

Seven and one half seconds seconds is a long time for four people to be pressing their triggers over and over again as fast as they can. Try it yourself...!

Four guys against one, 71 shots fired vs. none. Let's not forget, please, the waiting an hour before allowing the medical team to administer first aid.

I know this isn't the psychopath thread... but what do you call someone who does that?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:15 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


> If the SWAT team broke the law, the Courts will uphold the law.

As I mentioned above, the police perjured themselves to arrest almost two thousand people in New York City and so far the Courts have not upheld Anything...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:18 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"How did these gentleman fire an 'additional' 18.5 rounds in the same amount of time when decorated special forces operatives can't do that well.
Additionally, how did they get an amazing 84.5% accuracy while wildly firing as fast as their barrels could empty."
&
"Seven and one half seconds seconds is a long time for four people to be pressing their triggers over and over again as fast as they can"


Gotta go with Longbaugh on this. Additionally, they most likely had the A2 carbines which would be better in close quarters than a 51cm barrel M16. And you can select fire for three round burst or full auto (cyclic 600 to 940 or so depending on how shit hot your armorer is) so you don't have to keep pulling the trigger and it's just over a second or two.
Typically, in lieu of a room broom type shotgun, you can go full auto to spray and pray you get everyone.
And the hardware is easy to modify, if they have flash suppressors/compensators that would help control muzzle climb on full auto, you can also fit a handle on the side or bottom for greater control. That kind of accuracy at that range with that weapon is not at all surprising.

"Hey, they wear a ton of armor. I'd rather them take one in the chest (and likely suffer no worse than a bruise) than murder an innocent man."

Your wife and kids wouldn't. The men in your squad who might not take it on the armor wouldn't. The two problems there - 1 you couldn't have a family because your duty to die in service is demanded to be greater than your duty to them. And 2. you can't protect or support the (also innocent) men in your team.
I understand what you're saying, and I agree with it philosophically. But just now there's no practical feasible way of doing it. In part it's economic. You would have to buy better armor, replacement for it, pay big medical bills and funeral/pensions when it fails. Mostly though modern day 'armor' is suppressive fire.
Without shooting back you can't protect the people behind you.

Getting rid of guns is a pipe dream. Even if they shut down the factories, people can turn them out in home machine shops by the thousands.
Attacking the root causes for crime (inequality, economic oppression, etc.) is probably a better method. So no one has a need for a firearm to protect their illegal ventures.

"Never thought there were this many "guns for home defense" freaks on here."

My dogs might have gotten hurt. But the police would never have survived that encounter at my house.

We don't know why a SWAT team was deemed justifiable to serve a warrant.

According to the police, they believed the man was armed long before they encountered him. Reason enough.
But do I buy the Marine in a crouched position failed to open fire with, what a cop behind a shield firing first before they get into the door? No. Takes zero time to flip the safety. It's muscle memory. Ingrained.

Do I buy he was in on a drug smuggling/home invasion conspiracy? I doubt it but it's possible.
But for a guy with no prior criminal record, battering down his door was a poor decision.
As was the entire fiasco. Do their planners sit with their thumbs up their asses until just the last second? No one wants to do research? Think tactically?
Say, if we wait until the wife and kids are out AND draw him to the door, say by pretending to deliver a package, or nail him at work where we know he's not going to be toting a firearm and then serve the warrant to search the house...
Aw, that's crazy talk.

Although there are different mission parameters in law enforcement and you have to deal with personnel and shifts, etc. So some slack to be cut there, but still...

I'll say part of the problem is the paramilitary mentality in many police forces. But the bigger problem is the mercenary mentality. Police departments make silly amounts of money from seizures. Silly. And one can be completely within the rules and regs and still be forcing aggressive interactions in order to swipe some folks' goods. And this is typical of drug cases.


"the elephant in the room is that the police denied medical attention to the man for over an hour" &
"He was shot 60 times. What difference would it have made?"


The SWAT team serving a warrant, having the guy put out a gun on them - ok, completely legitimate shooting.
But denying medical attention for over an hour - that's the thing that really takes the jelly out of the cop's doughnut here.

In the first place, you can live with 60 gunshot wounds. Not likely, but possible. In the second place, you administer aid to the wounded as procedure. They did not follow procedure.
This makes me think not "they wanted him to bleed out and die because they're sadistic bastards" but rather: "What is it they did not want the EMTs to see?"

There's no talk of explosives (from what I've read), and the evidence isn't going anywhere, so there's no reason to deny medical technicians access to the house for an hour unless you're going to manipulate the crime scene.

It would be completely speculative to talk about how and why they did. But the big question is what went on for an hour while the EMTs were denied entry?

That line of query could lead to evidence (possibly removed after the fact) of a bad shooting, or planting of evidence or any number of things. And, as Ironmouth mentioned above, even if everything else is completely legit, denying the medical aid is a big thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:29 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Video of the SWAT team's approach and shooting has been released.

A siren was turned on for a few seconds when the car was in the driveway and the cops did yell "Police. Search Warrant. Open the Door." The door is forced open five seconds later and they start shooting five seconds after that. Earlier the cops' attorney had claimed there was 30 to 45 seconds between their announcing themselves and entering the home.
posted by BigSky at 12:31 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth said: You're welcome to cite any fictional film you like to tell us exactly what happened there.

We'll never know exactly what happened here because the honest officers on the team (if there were any) will be effectively silenced or discredited if they fail to parrot the official narrative.

Here's a cite for you:

"We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which honest police officers can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers."

That's a quote from the real-life testimony of Frank Serpico before the Knapp Commission (i.e. not fictional, not from the film). He spoke those words in 1971 -- 40 years ago -- and, sadly and frighteningly, they're just as true today.

My husband, a veteran police officer widely respected in our community as someone who could be counted on to be fair and trustworthy, was forced to leave his department earlier this year because his honesty and his knowledge of civil rights laws put him in danger from his supervisors after an administrative shakeup.

What happened to my husband is only a small part of a sickening trend. Good officers all over the country are being marginalized and pushed out (sometimes aggressively) as traditional community policing gives way to SWATification and commando style law enforcement.

Trying to find redress, even with community support, is nearly impossible because the powers-that-be are afraid to appear soft on crime, so instead of siding with the voices of reason, they continue to give carte blanche to those who favor irrational tactics that are often indistinguishable from martial law.

I hope things change soon, but I have a feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better. The good guys (i.e. good officers) are outnumbered.
posted by amyms at 1:41 AM on May 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


At the risk of oversimplification of the situation, there are plenty of good cops out there who are level-headed, fair, well-trained and who became cops to protect people. They put their lives at risk and never look forward to events that require them to draw their weapons or worse, fire them.

On the other hand, many police departments have their share of the other kind of cop; the swaggering asshole who thinks he can do whatever he wants because he has a badge and a gun.

Unfortunately the misdeeds of the swaggering assholes often overshadow the good deeds of the good cops, making it seem as though all cops are swaggering assholes.

The SWAT team is probably composed of both types of cop, and from everything coming out in the news this seems to weigh more on the side of being a bad shoot. If so, the good cops are going to be under a great deal of pressure from the swaggering assholes to keep their mouths shut.

On preview, what amyms said.
posted by bwg at 3:15 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your experience of police shootings is fiction. Mine is reality. You're welcome to cite any fictional film you like to tell us exactly what happened there.

To be fair, you aren't really citing any verifiable events. Just what sounds like a bunch of cops talking about how bad they've got it in a world where everyone wants to kill them.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:32 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


palomar: "Now he's a member of a SWAT team famous for shooting a corgi in a botched drug raid."

Vic Mackey: Sir, I'm telling you, the kid had no choice. The dog was reaching. It was kill or be killed.
posted by bwg at 3:41 AM on May 27, 2011


The video is clarifying. There was less than 10 seconds of lights and sirens, which means the neighbors probably didn't see or hear them unless they happened to be near a window in those 10 seconds, and if they did they more likely thought it was a car alarm than a police siren.

Around 10 seconds passed between when they left the vehicle yelling and when the battering ram was deployed.

6 seconds passed between the battering ram and the shooting.

I have no idea what proper procedure is for serving what was allegedly NOT a no-knock warrant, but if proper procedure was followed here then proper procedure needs to be revised immediately.

I seriously doubt the victim had time to hear, see, or say anything to the SWAT team before he was dead.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:37 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here is the video.

There is a lot that is left for interpretation since we can't hear anything besides the bullets, and we can't really see what went on.

But can ANYBODY explain to my why there was a LONE shot fired at :48 after the barrage of shots stopped?

And then ANOTHER one at :50?

EVERYONE stopped shooting...and then 2 more shots? For the road, maybe?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:17 AM on May 27, 2011




The link to the video I posted above is about 20 seconds longer. We can see that the sirens were not on as they drove to the house but only turned on for a few seconds in the driveway.
posted by BigSky at 5:51 AM on May 27, 2011


I would have thought that was a car alarm.
posted by empath at 6:08 AM on May 27, 2011


Video of the SWAT team's approach and shooting has been released.

What exactly prevented them from covering all the exits and then turning the lights on and knocking? Why'd they have to pile up in front of the front door, knock, and immediately pound the door down?

Who the fuck is training these people?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:58 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


“ ... we absolutely did not do a `no-knock’ warrant,”

Well, at least the video puts that to rest; a few seconds of sirens in the driveway before someone tells the driver to cut them off, a scream of "Police!" and five seconds later, the sound of the door being broken down.

Pretty much the definition of a no-knock warrant.
posted by quin at 7:19 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:49 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, MeFi. Give me a fucking break.

Even if Jose Guerena were guilty of whatever that mealymouthed spokesflunky cop meandered his way around to alleging, Jose deserved his day in court like any other person. Jose did not deserve to be killed in a poorly executed SWAT raid by ass-covering cops who denied him medical care for over an hour.

He did not fire on the police. The warrant was not for him, but for the residence. The cops' lawyer said that if they had entered non-invasively, no arrest would have been made. There were no arrests made in any of the raids that morning. Where's the seized evidence?

The SWAT team said he fired first, then retracted that statement. Does that sound like people you could trust to tell the truth? Really? Why is an innocent man being smeared to save the reputation of a police force that royally fucked up? What the fuck is wrong with people that they feel the need to tar and feather an innocent dead man to prop up the reputation of the police after their numerous half-truths and gaffes in this debacle?

The Guerena's oldest boy, Jose, turns 6 Tuesday. Ms Ortiz told ABC, 'He went to school, came back and never saw his daddy again. He's asking, "Why did the police kill my daddy?"

'We were so worried when he was over there fighting terrorism, but he gets shot in his own home. The government killed one of their own', Ms Ortiz said.

Mr Guerena was buried in his Marine dress blue uniform.


Let us take a moment to remember Jose Guerena, husband and father of two. He was murdered for no reason by fumbling buffoons who now want to blame him for his own death.

.
posted by i feel possessed at 8:22 AM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


He's asking, "Why did the police kill my daddy?"

And this is someone who will grow up hating (or at the very least mistrusting) police. We are not learning the lessons from Iraq that we need to be learning. This really does feel like the kind of arbitrary bullshit that could go on under an occupying army.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:35 AM on May 27, 2011


We are not learning the lessons from Iraq that we need to be learning.

Sure we are. We're learning that you can subjugate a resistant populace with overwhelming force.
posted by empath at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think that's true, at least not over a drawn-out period. We are simply sowing the seeds of future unrest.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:16 AM on May 27, 2011


After watching the video it strikes me how casual the SWAT team was. If they were really facing a heavily armed threat, there would have been at least 2-3 dead police officers. Herp derp, serving a warrant, casually walking up to the door. At least they got to pop off 70+ rounds into an innocent man. Hope they are proud of themselves.
posted by ryoshu at 9:49 AM on May 27, 2011


doublehappy: "If the SWAT team broke the law, the Courts will uphold the law."

Sure! Of COURSE courts never let cops get off *coughcough*
posted by symbioid at 9:55 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, too, wtf is up with the cop who pulls his pistol and fires blindly into the house? Jesus Fucking Christ. I had better firearms training when I was 12.
posted by ryoshu at 9:59 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Herp derp, serving a warrant, casually walking up to the door. At least they got to pop off 70+ rounds into an innocent man. Hope they are proud of themselves.

Also, too, wtf is up with the cop who pulls his pistol and fires blindly into the house? Jesus Fucking Christ. I had better firearms training when I was 12.

That's what I'm talking about. Having 5 officers pile up in a choke-point behind 1 ballistics shield is not proper CQB procedure. Not only is in dangerous for the officers, it's extremely easy for a suspect to escape.

If they wanted to do a real military style raid, they would have all been through the doorway covering a corner within 1-2 seconds. If they wanted to do it the old-school cop way (assuming they really did think that he was dangerous), they would have surrounded the place and asked the guy to come out with a bullhorn and sirens.

Dumbass tactics like this are risky for everybody.

And before anybody bitches about my armchair quarterbacking, I spent 2 years training with the army. We did a lot of CQB drills.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:14 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Regarding the trust (or lack thereof) police firearm rules inspire, Balko's site reminded me of this incident (WARNING: Unedited video of a man being shot and killed) where a man was shot and killed after he held a golf club threateningly at police while standing in his bedroom doorway during a warrant service. One of the officers said he thought the club was a sword. Internal review determined the shooting was justified.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:15 AM on May 27, 2011


Also, too, wtf is up with the cop who pulls his pistol and fires blindly into the house? Jesus Fucking Christ. I had better firearms training when I was 12.

I noticed that to. Like he just had to get some of the action.

Sickening.
posted by Big_B at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2011


homunculus: "There's a huge "gap between what the public thinks the Patriot Act says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says," according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). The gap is so big, in fact, that it amounts to entirely different, and secret, law.

Ron Wyden Strikes Deal With Harry Reid, Withdraws Anti-Secrecy Amendment to PATRIOT Act
"

Fuck Reid and Fuck Feinstein. And Fuck Wyden for falling for that shit (though I'd still rather Wyden than a lot of these chumps).

And Fuck Daryl Gates for his goddamned bullshit drugwar SWAT tactics.
posted by symbioid at 10:18 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you please stop invoking "the rules require" as if those rules have some power to override the law? The police have no innate right to shoot based on their rules if it contravenes the law, do they? It really doesn't matter what the "rules" require -- they cannot legalize an otherwise-illegal death.

Let me explain. These rules do not override the law. In fact, they are more restrictive than the law.

Let's start slow. All of the deadly force cases are 4th Amendment cases. People can sue local and state governments in federal court under 42 USC 1983. I've worked on both state and federal cases in this area. I've written the briefs--never done oral argument, mind you, but I know the law here pretty damn well.

And the law here is that the government and the officer has "qualified immunity." It means that the officer is immune from suit or criminal prosecution unless he deliberately violated a clearly established right, more or less. Its a really high burden to get over for good reason--otherwise nobody would be a cop and the government would avoid policing for fear of suit.

And usually, out of an abundance of caution, the use-of-force rules are more restrictive or match the letter of the law.

This is what I do for a living. I know it very well. I've been involved on every level, from sitting in a cruiser while Force Investigation Team detectives ask my client questions to drafting appellate briefs. So when I talk about the use-of-force rules, I damn well know what I'm talking about. You, quite frankly, do not. No offense, but this is my job.

And I will say something else--in terms of the actual shooting, the judge is gonna hear the guy went into the room with an AR-15 and he or she is gonna dismiss that case on motion 99.99999% of the time.

Don't know about the failure to treat, however. If true, that would be an issue that would be a problem for the police.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2011


He did not fire on the police. The warrant was not for him, but for the residence. The cops' lawyer said that if they had entered non-invasively, no arrest would have been made. There were no arrests made in any of the raids that morning. Where's the seized evidence?

The man left the room where he was at carrying an assault rifle and left to confront police. His wife said that on TV. I have never seen a use of force case involving a person armed with a firearm ever get past a motion to dismiss. Ever.

Seriously, up is down.

As for evidence they were seeking, they found body armor and of course, an assault rifle in the midst of the worst county for home invasions in the US. Read the articles.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2011


To be fair, you aren't really citing any verifiable events. Just what sounds like a bunch of cops talking about how bad they've got it in a world where everyone wants to kill them.

I'm not a police officer. I'm a public employment and union lawyer whose done this exact work. As for believing me, that's up to you. If you are concerned, ask others in the community, or check my posting history and the links I post.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 AM on May 27, 2011


"Well, at least the video puts that to rest; a few seconds of sirens in the driveway before someone tells the driver to cut them off, a scream of "Police!" and five seconds later, the sound of the door being broken down.

Pretty much the definition of a no-knock warrant.
"

Actually, no. A no-knock warrant would not have had sirens at all, nor would they have announced themselves as police. Nor, you know, knocked.
posted by klangklangston at 10:47 AM on May 27, 2011


I can't imagine being a gun owner in this country. Cleaning your gun? Well, if someone starts to invade your home you have about 10 seconds to determine if it is cops or robbers before you have no more legal right to live, and plenty of scumbag lawyers will be there to defend your killers.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:55 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for evidence they were seeking, they found body armor and of course, an assault rifle in the midst of the worst county for home invasions in the US.

In the home of a guy who did two tours of Iraq.
posted by empath at 10:56 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


And I will say something else--in terms of the actual shooting, the judge is gonna hear the guy went into the room with an AR-15 and he or she is gonna dismiss that case on motion 99.99999% of the time.

I think you're underestimating the potential political fall out of this case.
posted by empath at 10:57 AM on May 27, 2011


Actually, no. A no-knock warrant would not have had sirens at all, nor would they have announced themselves as police. Nor, you know, knocked.

The sirens only ran for a few seconds before they were cut off, to my way of looking at it, that meant that they weren't intentional and were stifled as soon as possible, but I'm willing to concede that this is just me making assumptions.

But wiki describes a no knock warrant as "In the US, a no knock warrant is a warrant issued by a judge that allows law enforcement officers to enter a property without immediate prior notification of the residents, such as by knocking or ringing a doorbell. In most cases, law enforcement will identify themselves just before they forcefully enter the property."

Which looks exactly like what I saw in the video. Screaming police five seconds before battering down a door really can't be considered knocking or creating any reasonable expectation that someone can answer the door before it's breached.

...the judge is gonna hear the guy went into the room with an AR-15 and he or she is gonna dismiss that case on motion 99.99999% of the time.

empath : I think you're underestimating the potential political fall out of this case.

Unfortunately, I don't think he's going to be wrong at all. Most people will only look at what happened in the two minutes after that door was opened and see that a man with a gun was shot by the police, this fits within the definitions the police use for a justifiable shooting and it will be mostly ignored by the public.

What should be really scrutinized and what the cops should be held wholly accountable for is what happened before that door was kicked open, and what happened in the hour or so that the suspect was denied medical treatment.

That is where this will hopefully become a political shit-storm.
posted by quin at 11:09 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The man left the room where he was at carrying an assault rifle and left to confront police. His wife said that on TV.

He left to confront the people who broke down his front door. You've seriously watched that video and still think he knew those were police officers?

Re: Evidence. If it wasn't enough to make an arrest, I don't think it's what they decided they needed a SWAT team to find.

I have never seen a use of force case involving a person armed with a firearm ever get past a motion to dismiss. Ever.

This is true. So if you hear somebody break into your home, think twice before you try and confront them. It might be legal for them to shoot you 70 times.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:10 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


As for evidence they were seeking, they found body armor and of course, an assault rifle in the midst of the worst county for home invasions in the US. Read the articles.

Uh. Yeah. It's the worst county for home invasions (and knows people who have been killed by them) so he has a weapon to defend himself against...home invasions (plus some body armor he may have brought home from Iraq), so you'd like us to draw the conclusion that he is a likely home invader?

Seriously, up is down.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:32 AM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


In the video BigSky linked above it sounds to me that the song on the radio is left on throughout the "raid". Just curious, can anyone tell what song it is? Why would they do that? The whole thing just seems so casual.
posted by futz at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2011


Also, somebody can correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't police say he had the rifle legally? So they'd have known about it beforehand, meaning the only "find" was the body armor.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:57 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


As for evidence they were seeking, they found body armor and of course, an assault rifle

Body armor which hasn't been described in more detail - hell, could have been his helmet or some other part of his marine uniform that he was allowed to take home after he was dishonorably discharged.

An assault rifle which is legal to own in Arizona.

And don't forget, a drawer full of kitchen knives and a tool box full of screwdrivers, a box cutter and a hammer in the garage.

Fucking bumbling keystone wannabe warrior cops. Falling over, firing blindly into a dark room, shooting holes through the backside of the house. Fuck 'em, every single last one of 'em.
posted by syzygy at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


didn't police say he had the rifle legally?

Well, they said the didn't find any evidence which would have led to his arrest, had they not pumped his body full of bullets while his wife and child cowered in a closet a few feet a way, so yeah, I guess he had the rifle legally.
posted by syzygy at 12:01 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


And don't forget, a drawer full of kitchen knives and a tool box full of screwdrivers, a box cutter and a hammer in the garage.

There was also likely nail polish remover and hydrogen peroxide, precursors to a bomb!
posted by ryoshu at 12:03 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Body armor which hasn't been described in more detail - hell, could have been his helmet or some other part of his marine uniform that he was allowed to take home after he was dishonorably discharged.

A lot of Marines in Iraq ended up buying their own body armor when the government had some supply problems.
posted by the_artificer at 12:05 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


To be clear, by 'every single last one of them,' I am referring to the ones involved in this royal fuck-up, as opposed to every single police officer. I know there are still a few good ones, but it doesn't look like any good ones came within a mile of this operation, from planning through to final execution.

Shame for Mr. Guereno, his young wife and two little boys. Real shame.
posted by syzygy at 12:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I will say something else--in terms of the actual shooting, the judge is gonna hear the guy went into the room with an AR-15 and he or she is gonna dismiss that case on motion 99.99999% of the time.

I think you're underestimating the potential political fall out of this case.


if you are saying that a judge will rule against the law for political reasons, then I would say there is something seriously wrong there.

Listen, if you confront police with a firearm, you can expect to be shot, especially in the situation here. In my experience, the moment you pull a firearm on a police officer the judge will rule against you. Now I've seen a judge rule against a client when the officer was stabbed with the knife, but boy that judge did not read the law. After he denied our motion to dismiss, he stated in the post motion status conference that he was surprised to learn that there was an interlocutory appeal of right and that we could go right to the court of appeals there and then. he was probably equally surprised when they unanimously reversed him a mere 28 days after oral argument. That's the fastest I've ever seen an appeal decided.

The law is very clear on this. If the officer has any reason to think that his or her own life or the life of any other person is in imminent danger, he or she may use deadly force. Here, a man entered the room where a search warrant was being served carrying an assault rifle. This is based on the wife's own statement to reporters. Her lawyer was an idiot for letting her talk to the media. Even if he was entirely innocent, the police are still going to have that right. They don't measure the innocence or guilt of a person in that situation. They measure whether or not the person is an imminent threat to life and showing up in that situation with an assault rifle qualifies people. This is the law.

officers don't even need a gun. The supreme court granted qualified immunity when an officer shot a man who had not been observed with a gun based on the fact that the officer had observed bank employees (bank robbery) with their hands on their heads.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:17 PM on May 27, 2011


Shame for Mr. Guereno, his young wife and two little boys. Real shame.

Well at least it turned out it wasn't a home invasion, I'm sure that's a relief.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:20 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]



As for evidence they were seeking, they found body armor and of course, an assault rifle

Body armor which hasn't been described in more detail - hell, could have been his helmet or some other part of his marine uniform that he was allowed to take home after he was dishonorably discharged.

An assault rifle which is legal to own in Arizona.

And don't forget, a drawer full of kitchen knives and a tool box full of screwdrivers, a box cutter and a hammer in the garage.

Fucking bumbling keystone wannabe warrior cops. Falling over, firing blindly into a dark room, shooting holes through the backside of the house. Fuck 'em, every single last one of 'em.


For the billionth time, the evidence of crime sought for in the warrant is immaterial to the case. The question is whether or not the police believed that their lives or the lives of others were at risk by the actions of the person upon whom deadly force was used.

According to the testimony of the man's wife, he put her in the closet and went to confront police with an assault rifle. Whether or not he believed they were police or not is immaterial. Whether or not the safety was on is immaterial. The question is did the police have an objectively reasonable belief that their life or the life of others was in danger and I don't see how, in the context of a high-risk warrant, a guy showing up with an assault rifle in his hand does not create that objectively reasonable belief.

if any one can come up with a scenario where that is not the case, I'd like to see it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:23 PM on May 27, 2011


I can't imagine being a gun owner in this country. Cleaning your gun? Well, if someone starts to invade your home you have about 10 seconds to determine if it is cops or robbers before you have no more legal right to live, and plenty of scumbag lawyers will be there to defend your killers.

Aimed at me?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:23 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


They brought an APC?

According to Storie, several days before the shooting undercover officers in an unmarked car drove by Guerena's home to do surveillance, and 10 minutes after they drove by, they were alerted that their license plate had been run through the Motor Vehicle Division by someone they say followed the unmarked vehicle from Guerena's home. That was considered countersurveillance on law enforcement, Storie said.


How can this be countersurveillance when the the surveilled become aware he was surveilled and called it in. (DMV check I presume) Eiether an open tail gone bad or they just tipped him off to further danger. IOW, are the police going to say "yes, we followed you". Thats a presumption though.

IMO, these SWAT guys were bunched up and failed to to even get in the door before the firefight. (presumption that)

The lack of medical attention needs an explanation. Though it seems the police made enough police noise as to have little doubt to who they were. I would assume as a solder he has a safe spot to look out and verify. This would hinge on complete element of suprise. Also I would like to see the search warrant and see what was listed to search.

(little surveillance meme to lighten the day-Im out getting smokes on foot and pass a house and see a papered sign on the door...usually means eviction but i saw the word "surveillance"...went closer..."warning this hose is under wireless surviellance...etc. no offical agency just some lawyer speak which i did not hang around to read...8 seconds later the mailman comes...i saw him and figured its nice to have a honest govt worker near...i leave...he goes to the porch...reads it...same wtf face i had we caught anothers eye and i just did a ballon like wtf and left, he just raised his eyebrow..."my what humid day" he said and i laughed half way home. I did not have my phone and think it wise not to appraoch again...until tomorrow.)

shits getting krazah
posted by clavdivs at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2011


As for evidence they were seeking, they found body armor and of course, an assault rifle in the midst of the worst county for home invasions in the US. Read the articles.

Uh. Yeah. It's the worst county for home invasions (and knows people who have been killed by them) so he has a weapon to defend himself against...home invasions (plus some body armor he may have brought home from Iraq), so you'd like us to draw the conclusion that he is a likely home invader?

Seriously, up is down.


The deceased's belief of what was going on is immaterial to this analysis. It is whether the police have a reasonable objective belief that this person could harm or kill someone in order to use deadly force. Dude walked into the room with an assault rifle. They don't know shit about him. They can't read his mind and they aren't going to ask questions and give him a chance to shoot someone in the face.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2011


the house, bah.
this Hose is under survelliance, do not remove or coil
posted by clavdivs at 12:29 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The lack of medical attention needs an explanation. Though it seems the police made enough police noise as to have little doubt to who they were. I would assume as a solder he has a safe spot to look out and verify. This would hinge on complete element of suprise. Also I would like to see the search warrant and see what was listed to search.

The lack of medical attention is a huge issue here. I think the shooting, from what the wife described, is likely legal. I don't know about the denial of medical care.

The search warrant is again, immaterial to whether or not the shooting was legal or not. It was signed off on by a judge. Whether or not the materials are found is also immaterial. These are guys who are ordered to serve the warrant.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2011


The deceased's belief of what was going on is immaterial to this analysis. It is whether the police have a reasonable objective belief that this person could harm or kill someone in order to use deadly force.

I don't know if you're getting turned around by everyone attacking you in this thread or what, but I was responding to your not so veiled allegation that "they found what they were looking for" because he had a rifle and some armor. You seemed to be alleging that he was probably a home invader like they thought. I was offering an alternative (and, it seems to me, more parsimonious) explanation. The shooting itself was not at issue in my comment.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


the evidence of crime sought for in the warrant is immaterial to the case

You're arguing a very narrow case that doesn't really interest me all that much.

Morally, ethically and professionally, the police screwed up here, from what I have seen so far. Whether these particular police will be found guilty of any crime in a court of law, the Pima County Sheriff department screwed up, and the outcome is that a 26-year-old 2 tour, honorably discharged marine with no criminal record, a job, two young children and a young wife, and who was neither charged with a crime nor even named as a suspect is now dead.

That's wrong, and whether the officers are found to be criminally responsible, the fact remains that had they not gone to Mr. Gurena's house that morning, Mr. Gurena would still be alive. He would have been able to attend his son's 7th birthday last week. Legal culpability is not the only form of culpability, and I hold the PCSO, their policies and procedures and their officers on scene responsible for this innocent man's death.
posted by syzygy at 12:33 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


The deceased's belief of what was going on is immaterial to this analysis. It is whether the police have a reasonable objective belief that this person could harm or kill someone in order to use deadly force.

I don't know if you're getting turned around by everyone attacking you in this thread or what, but I was responding to your not so veiled allegation that "they found what they were looking for" because he had a rifle and some armor. You seemed to be alleging that he was probably a home invader like they thought. I was offering an alternative (and, it seems to me, more parsimonious) explanation. The shooting itself was not at issue in my comment.


I was responding to other people who had alleged nothing was found. I noted in the post you were responding to, that it was immaterial to the analysis of whether or not this was a legal shooting.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:35 PM on May 27, 2011


.The deceased's belief of what was going on is immaterial to this analysis. It is whether the police have a reasonable objective belief that this person could harm or kill someone in order to use deadly force. Dude walked into the room with an assault rifle. They don't know shit about him. They can't read his mind and they aren't going to ask questions and give him a chance to shoot someone in the face.

I don't understand why you keep going to the moment where a cop has to decide whether to shoot a guy whose home they just burst into.

The poor decision making started well before then. They signed his death warrant before they drove up to the house.
posted by empath at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Morally, ethically and professionally, the police screwed up here, from what I have seen so far. Whether these particular police will be found guilty of any crime in a court of law, the Pima County Sheriff department screwed up, and the outcome is that a 26-year-old 2 tour, honorably discharged marine with no criminal record, a job, two young children and a young wife, and who was neither charged with a crime nor even named as a suspect is now dead.</em

The police officers involved in serving the warrant acted morally, ethically and professionally. They were given an address to serve a search warrant upon. They responded to the location with sirens on, knocked on the door and yelled police search warrant for what appears to be 10 seconds. There was no response. They entered the location. A man entered the room they entered (according to the deceased wife's own statements to a tv station), carrying an assault rifle. The police cannot read his mind and say, gee, maybe he thinks we aren't police, or what ever. You may discount the police if you wish, but they stated that he pointed the weapon at him. They apparently determined that a guy with an assault rifle was a threat and they opened fire. I don't think this is unreasonable and my personal experience with these cases and the use of force rules of two departments and the law says that this was handled the way it was supposed to be.

posted by Ironmouth at 12:46 PM on May 27, 2011


Aimed at me?

Hell no, I would never aim anything at you, I might end up shot 70 times.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:46 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


By the police's own accounts, they found nothing in the residence that would have resulted in Guerena's arrest.

Had the police been forced to be more circumspect and cautious in executing this warrant, Guerana wouldn't have even been charged with a crime.

Now he's dead, and that's irreversible.

So in order to execute a warrant that now appears to have been essentially a fishing expedition, Tucson law enforcement felt empowered enough to show up with an entire SWAT team raring to go on this guy.

If you watch the video, you can see that the police took less than a minute to arrive, knock on his door, and gun him down in his home.

Maybe if law enforcement officers and their superiors faced a serious possibility of criminal consequences for not taking every possible measure to avoid killing innocent people in their homes like this they'd be a little more creative about finding ways to serve and execute search warrants without barging into people's homes and murdering them like the Stasi.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth,

Why are you so willing to believe he pointed a weapon at the police?

I will admit, that if he DID do that, then thats what will happen.

But the ONLY people who say he pointed the weapon at them were 5 officers who shot at him...and some of those motherfuckers didn't even see that dude until he had tons of holes in him on the ground. Yeah...only then did they start firing upon him. Check it out. Obviously, he wasn't pointing it at them at that point.

Yes, the wife said he put everyone in the closet and went to fetch his rifle. She didn't see anything after the closet door closing, or him leaving the room.

Whats at issue isn't whether he went to get the rifle or not, but whether he pointed it at the police. Why do you think he pointed his weapon at the police...because they shot him?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:50 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


.The deceased's belief of what was going on is immaterial to this analysis. It is whether the police have a reasonable objective belief that this person could harm or kill someone in order to use deadly force. Dude walked into the room with an assault rifle. They don't know shit about him. They can't read his mind and they aren't going to ask questions and give him a chance to shoot someone in the face.

I don't understand why you keep going to the moment where a cop has to decide whether to shoot a guy whose home they just burst into.

The poor decision making started well before then. They signed his death warrant before they drove up to the house.


Because that is the operative point at which the decision to fire was made. That is the point that any case this will turn on is going to be made. It is, simply, the most important point of the case.

And there is no "the police" in this case. There are many officers. The team serving the warrant did not make any of the alleged decisions. They just went to serve the warrant, as was their job.

Exactly what decision was wrongly made?

And I would also like to note that upthread, everyone was insisting this was a totally illegal action. They insisted the sirens weren't on based on a neighbor. They insisted that he might not have had the assault rifle, until it was pointed out that the wife said he took it to meet with the police there.

Now we have moving goal posts. Somehow there are other decisions that were wrong.

Was this man a member of a criminal conspiracy? We do not know yet. At at least one other location, police found drugs. But again, all that is totally immaterial to the decision making of the police there.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2011


Whats at issue isn't whether he went to get the rifle or not, but whether he pointed it at the police. Why do you think he pointed his weapon at the police...because they shot him?

Really? Must he point the rifle at police? Not under the law. The police must determine he is a reasonably objective threat to themselves or others. Carrying an assault rifle into a room where the police have seconds earlier broken down the door to serve a search warrant is more than enough to reach that point. If you think for one minute that you can just stroll around "hi guys, just ignore this assault rifle i have in my hand" you do not know the law in this area.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:55 PM on May 27, 2011


They were given an address to serve a search warrant upon.

You may have been confused by the short, one minute and thirteen second video of this incident, but I can assure you that it began long before.

You insist on focusing on approximately 30 seconds of an incident that likely spans weeks, if not months before the short keystone kops video starts.

You seem to ignore the weeks or months that led up to this incident. You ignore or discount the fact that no evidence that would have warrant an arrest was found in the hours after the 30 seconds you focus your laser on, not to mention the decades of psychological wounds these small children and their mother will have to live through.

So, save your lawyering for a court of law. Legality != morality != ethics.
posted by syzygy at 12:57 PM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


The police officers involved in serving the warrant acted morally, ethically and professionally.

You have to be kidding me. The SWAT team casually walked up to the door, breeched it, then fired 71 rounds into the house -- including the douchebag that blindly fired his pistol. They didn't check to see if the house was clear prior to opening fire and then they waited for over an hour for Jose Guerena to bleed out. The SWAT team acted immorally, unethically and unprofessionally. FFS, the SWAT team busted down the door of the house next door because stray rounds hit that house.

yelled police search warrant for what appears to be 10 seconds. There was no response.

If you are not standing within 5 feet of the door there is no way you are going to be able to answer it within 10 seconds. Hell, the SWAT team *knew* the guy was supposed to be asleep. That may be standard procedure, but it's sketchy as fuck. The police created the situation here and killed a man because of it.

I seriously doubt anyone will be held responsible for this, but hey, who gives a shit if another person dies in our police state?

Fucking amateur hour wannabe soldiers.
posted by ryoshu at 12:59 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth : They responded to the location with sirens on, knocked on the door and yelled police search warrant for what appears to be 10 seconds. There was no response. They entered the location.

Based on your own description, are you still maintaining that this was not, in fact, a no-knock warrant as indicated by the PCSO spokesman? Because as stated previously, the sirens were on for only a few seconds before they were cut, and 10 seconds from announcing to breach is a completely unreasonable amount of time to expect someone to get to a door before kicking it in.

From the video I saw, this was a no-knock warrant in every sense of the word, regardless of what they are claiming, and I won't argue what happened inside the door in those first two minutes was "justifiable" by the standards of the police's rules, but how they got there is completely suspect to me.
posted by quin at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The police cannot read his mind and say, gee, maybe he thinks we aren't police, or what ever.

Wait a minute--so the police have no responsibility to be even the slightest bit aware of the situation there in or cautious about whether or not they're taking a course of action that's likely to escalate a situation into unnecessary tragedy--even if it means that there own negligence or malfeasance or lack of due diligence leads to the death of an innocent man?

The burden must be on the police to do everything in their power to protect any of the citizens they are sworn to protect--even if they think he or she might be involved in some criminal activity. That's the whole point of "innocent until proven guilty." This man hadn't even been charged with a crime. He was still one of the people those officers took an oath to protect, even as they filled him with bullets.

They were allegedly investigating home invasion attacks! They should have known full well there was good reason that any resident in the neighborhood would be reluctant to admit someone who just showed up banging on the front door. But in this case, they didn't wait around long enough before bashing in the door and letting the bullets fly to try even a single alternative measure to diffusing the situation. All so they could execute a warrant that would have ultimately proven nothing anyway.

This is absurd. It's like authorities no longer think there should be any accountability for the outcomes of the legal system at all, just or unjust. And all you seem to care about is the crazy internal logic of the law (which is all just meaningless formalism anyway, when divorced from the realities of human society and cultural values). Law in a vacuum. Law as an absolute. That seems to be what you're advocating.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:03 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Had the police been forced to be more circumspect and cautious in executing this warrant, Guerana wouldn't have even been charged with a crime.

Are you certain of this?

Just off the wire, 57 minutes old:
The man shot and killed by SWAT officers, as well as his brother and another man, were listed as suspects in a complex drug investigation being conducted by the Sheriff's Department, according to documents released Thursday.
That investigation was the reason heavily armed SWAT officers went to Jose Guerena's house to serve a search warrant that ended in his fatal shooting May 5, reports show.
More than 500 pages of officers' statements, evidence lists and witness interviews were released by the Pima County Sheriff's Department. . .

The short video recording shows that deputies approaching Jose Guerena's home turned the sirens on for a few seconds as they approached. It also shows them announcing themselves, then knocking down the front door and firing their guns.
Audiotapes reveal that no SWAT officers entered Guerena's house. Law enforcement officers went into his home only after a robot was sent in and it was determined about an hour after the shooting that Guerena, a former Marine, was dead. . . .

The reports state Jose Guerena; his brother, Alejandro; and Jose Celaya were named as suspects in briefings given to officers before the search warrants were served. Many of the officers' reports refer to the sheriff's long-term drug investigation as the reason for the search warrants.
Reports show about $100,000 in cash, marijuana and firearms were seized that morning from the four homes that were searched.
Items found in Jose Guerena's house included: a Colt .38-caliber handgun, paperwork, tax returns, insurance papers, bank statements and a bank card, reports showed. Another report said detectives found body armor in a hallway closet and a U.S. Border Patrol hat in the garage. . . .

In the video released by the Sheriff's Department, about five SWAT team members are seen jumping out of the vehicle with shields, helmets and bulletproof vests, all marked "POLICE" across the front and back. The sirens stop and the officers begin shouting "Police, search warrant, open the door," alternating with the same command in Spanish three times before they break down the front door of Guerena's house.
A couple of seconds after the door is opened, one officers says, "Hit him," and all the officers begin shooting from the doorway.
One of the officers falls down a couple of seconds after they open fire, and then all SWAT team members back away from the door, the video shows.

Michael Storie, an attorney representing the five SWAT officers who shot at Guerena, said last week that all those officers were separated immediately after the shooting so they could be interviewed and provide objective statements of what happened. The audiotapes reveal that after about 45 minutes, all the SWAT officers are together. They can be heard talking about what happened, according to tape recordings made at the scene.
"That was um, like a movie, the way he jumped out," said the SWAT team leader.
"Well, he waited, he waited and once Hector came up ..." said another SWAT member just before being interrupted by the SWAT leader who said, "What did he say?" Hector is the name of one of the SWAT officers.
Two other voices say they "couldn't hear anything" and that they didn't know if Jose Guerena said anything before the shooting began.
"He yelled something, 'I got something for you' or something," the SWAT leader told them, according to the audiotapes.
The Sheriff's Department said previously that Guerena said something as he pointed his gun at officers.
"I just started boom, boom, boom, boom," said another voice on the tape.
"Yeah, we were all out of ammo when we got back," the SWAT leader said. . . .

One officer wrote in a report that in a briefing before the incident he was told there was an ongoing narcotics investigation and that suspects may be linked to a double homicide. . . .

A second SWAT team served a search warrant at a nearby house in the 6200 block of Oklahoma Street at the same time as the shooting. Later that morning officers also served a warrant at two other houses all related to the same investigation, the reports show.

Detective John Mawhinney wrote in his report that he conducted a search of the residence in the 6200 block of West Oklahoma Street in connection with this case and found a large shoebox full of cash under a bed. A later tally showed the box contained nearly $94,000. He also found a bag of marijuana in the stove and ammunition, his report stated. Inside the home on Oklahoma, a report states, an AK-47 rifle was found. Guns and ballistic vests were found at several of the residences, the reports show. Seven vehicles were also found at the house on Oklahoma. Several reports indicated drug dogs used in searches at the house alerted officers to the smell of narcotics on most of the vehicles there. . . .
posted by Ironmouth at 1:04 PM on May 27, 2011


Damn. So many typos. This topic is upsetting me too much.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:05 PM on May 27, 2011


Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain't no secret
It ain't no secret
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in
Your American skin

-Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The burden must be on the police to do everything in their power to protect any of the citizens they are sworn to protect--even if they think he or she might be involved in some criminal activity. That's the whole point of "innocent until proven guilty." This man hadn't even been charged with a crime. He was still one of the people those officers took an oath to protect, even as they filled him with bullets.

The man had an assault rifle in his hand. That is the long and short of it. You can't be in the midst of a search warrant being served and have an assault rifle in your hand and expect that the officers are not going to open fire. It is clear that officers discussing the matter after the shooting stated that he jumped out and displayed the rifle. We will likely be able to hear all of the audio soon, as well as see the documents.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2011


If you think for one minute that you can just stroll around "hi guys, just ignore this assault rifle i have in my hand" you do not know the law in this area.

You're right. I am very ignorant on this sort of law...I never thought I would have to become an expert on it because I have a family and don't deal in drugs or crime (just like the deceased Devildog here).

I would have thought that there is no way some cops could bust down my door because I don't answer my door in under 10 seconds after a knock.

If I ever hear someone bust down my door, I know my only chance of survival is to not grab any form of self defence. In fact, I'll lay down and beg the people who broke down my door not to shoot me up in front of my family.


WHY THE FUCK DID THE OFFICERS NOT JUST RING THE DOORBELL AND WAIT FOR AN ANSWER?!?

If they really did think there was a huge threat of being fired upon, why were the officers lollygagging around the background where they could have been fired upon from the door? They would have protected themselves better than that if they knew a threat existed. Most of the officers were surprised that a shooting started. Check out the video.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Police created a situation where the homeowner would be disoriented, likely having just woken up (and having worked a long overnight shift shortly before that, for maximum fatigue). Giving a 10-second window for someone to answer the door virtually guarantees forced entry, so this disoriented, sleep-deprived homeowner would be faced with unfamiliar people breaking in his door. They know he's a gun owner, and he's a Marine so they know the gun isn't just for show. Furthermore, any investigation of his relationship to a home-invasion gang would turn up the family connection, so you can safely assume he'll be paranoid about unfamiliar people breaking into his home.

But no, nobody could possibly have foreseen this and maybe thought to say "Police! Lower your weapon!" before opening fire.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:08 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's an actual video of the raid again, lest any late-comers to the thread get confused by the oh-so-reasonable sounding media descriptions of the raid some here seem compelled to keep citing as if it's really just the different words people are using to describe what happened that are contributing to the outrage.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:11 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The burden must be on the police to do everything in their power to protect any of the citizens they are sworn to protect--even if they think he or she might be involved in some criminal activity. That's the whole point of "innocent until proven guilty." This man hadn't even been charged with a crime. He was still one of the people those officers took an oath to protect, even as they filled him with bullets.

Put another way, no, this is wrong. They didn't even know if this person was a target of the investigation. They knew that the were about to enter a home when a person "jumped out" carrying an assault rifle. They opened fire. This has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Innocent until proven guilty describes the state's burden at trial, not the standard by which deadly force is legal, which, again is, whether there was an objectively reasonable belief in the officer's mind that themselves or others were in danger of serious bodily harm or death.

Here, a man jumped out with an assault rifle and apparently made a statement of some kind. The police opened fire upon him.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:12 PM on May 27, 2011


You're right. I am very ignorant on this sort of law...I never thought I would have to become an expert on it because I have a family and don't deal in drugs or crime (just like the deceased Devildog here).

I think the case is out on that one. Was he involved in the drug dealing and home-invasions? It is way too early to say.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:13 PM on May 27, 2011


But no, nobody could possibly have foreseen this and maybe thought to say "Police! Lower your weapon!" before opening fire.

and take a bullet in the face? If a weapon is pointed at officers, they are authorized to open fire immediately and not wait for the person to fire.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2011


Are you certain of this?

A second SWAT team served a search warrant at a nearby house in the 6200 block of Oklahoma Street at the same time as the shooting. Later that morning officers also served a warrant at two other houses all related to the same investigation, the reports show.

Detective John Mawhinney wrote in his report that he conducted a search of the residence in the 6200 block of West Oklahoma Street in connection with this case and found a large shoebox full of cash under a bed. A later tally showed the box contained nearly $94,000. He also found a bag of marijuana in the stove and ammunition, his report stated. Inside the home on Oklahoma, a report states, an AK-47 rifle was found. Guns and ballistic vests were found at several of the residences, the reports show. Seven vehicles were also found at the house on Oklahoma. Several reports indicated drug dogs used in searches at the house alerted officers to the smell of narcotics on most of the vehicles there. . . .


Guilt by proximity?
posted by the_artificer at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2011


They knew that the were about to enter a home when a person "jumped out" carrying an assault rifle. They opened fire.

Why do you keep saying that they opened fire because they were threatened.

They opened fire because a member of the assault team let off a shot accidentally and everyone else forgot their minimal training (seriously did you see that video?) and decided to empty their magazines.
posted by PenDevil at 1:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's an actual video of the raid again,

Just watched it. From the time they stuff the door, I didn't hear a word until the barrage of gunfire started.

Don't they usually go in yelling "POLICE! SEARCH WARRANT!" at top volume and repeatedly so as to identify themselves in a confusing situation?

That video looked like something out of Iraq.

Maybe that's the point.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're right. I am very ignorant on this sort of law...I never thought I would have to become an expert on it because I have a family and don't deal in drugs or crime (just like the deceased Devildog here).

I think the case is out on that one. Was he involved in the drug dealing and home-invasions? It is way too early to say.


No, it's not, since we know they can hit the wrong address or get a bad tip. The possibility of police storming your house is something we all must prepare for regardless of this particular incident.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2011


Here's an actual video of the raid again

Here's some more professionalism: the officer with the riot shield *holds it behind him when the shooting starts.* Not to be outdone, a full 2 seconds after the shooting stops, another officer with a pistol pulls off another shot. Well trained!
posted by ryoshu at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


^ Oh, I see, you meant on the innocence part not the "Armed men might storm your house for no reason" part.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2011


The man had an assault rifle in his hand.

Why do you persist in using the prejudicial term "assault rifle"? He was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, not an assault rifle. Most of the news reports have this correct. It's curious that you have repeatedly presented this falsehood in this thread. From Wikipedia, "It must be capable of selective fire." Selective fire means having at least one automatic mode in addition to at least one semi-automatic mode.
posted by BigSky at 1:20 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


They opened fire because a member of the assault team let off a shot accidentally and everyone else forgot their minimal training (seriously did you see that video?) and decided to empty their magazines.

Just for reference, if there was any kind of actual policing of officers for following weapons protocol, that guy would have a desk job for the rest of his career (which he will not, because there isn't). Nobody -- NOBODY -- who is practicing anything that could pass for gun safety puts a finger directly on the trigger unless they're in the process of firing the weapon. As a friend of mine once said, trigger guards aren't there so you can spin the thing around.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:24 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


and take a bullet in the face? If a weapon is pointed at officers, they are authorized to open fire immediately and not wait for the person to fire.

Do we know that the weapon was aimed at police officers? Are you saying that an armed person is fair game for a police officer to open fire on? Think about that second question for a bit.
posted by ryoshu at 1:24 PM on May 27, 2011


Now we have moving goal posts. Somehow there are other decisions that were wrong.

I'm pretty sure that everybody here can agree that this situation was predicated by a clusterfuck of piss-poor decisions.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:25 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


The warning is only to be used in Pima county if circumstances allow. This is the Pima County Sheriff's Deadly Force Policy (download .pdf and chapter 3 is what you are looking for):




• Deadly Force
B. Deadly Force
1. Definition: Deadly force is the execution of any calculated action that is likely to cause death to the person against whom the action is directed.

2. Deputies or on-duty Correction Officers, in the performance of their official duties, are authorized to use deadly force when it reasonably appears necessary to do the following:
a. Protect themselves or others from immediate threat of death
b. Prevent a crime in which the suspect's actions place persons injeopardy of death
c. Apprehend a fleeing felon who has used deadly force in the commission of a crime and where there is substantial risk the fleeing felon will cause death, or injury likely to cause death, to others if apprehension is delayed

3. Under circumstances that permit the use of deadly force and prior to employing the use of deadly force, the officer employing that force must:

a. Establish personal recognition of the person against whom the deadly force will be used, or
b. Establish the knowledge that the person against whom the deadly force will be used is the one against whom the force is justified;
c. And warn the suspect about the use of deadly force if circumstances allow. (emphasis added)
4. Warning shots are prohibited unless deadly force is justified.

Here a man jumped out with an assault rifle.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:26 PM on May 27, 2011


Welp, on to the next one.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:27 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now we have moving goal posts. Somehow there are other decisions that were wrong.

I'm pretty sure that everybody here can agree that this situation was predicated by a clusterfuck of piss-poor decisions.


Which decisions, specifically? Explain.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:27 PM on May 27, 2011


Here, a man jumped out with an assault rifle and apparently made a statement of some kind. The police opened fire upon him.

Can you point out where it is indicated he "jumped out" with a firearm? Also, I don't hear any statement from him in the video.

Why did they not roll up to this house with a few officers and a well dressed detective?

Oh yes...because its another case of a mexican with a cuete.

Better get the adrenaline monkeys to shoot first and ask questions later.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:28 PM on May 27, 2011


You mean the decisions we've spent the last day talking about?

Police created a situation where the homeowner would be disoriented, likely having just woken up (and having worked a long overnight shift shortly before that, for maximum fatigue). Giving a 10-second window for someone to answer the door virtually guarantees forced entry, so this disoriented, sleep-deprived homeowner would be faced with unfamiliar people breaking in his door. They know he's a gun owner, and he's a Marine so they know the gun isn't just for show. Furthermore, any investigation of his relationship to a home-invasion gang would turn up the family connection, so you can safely assume he'll be paranoid about unfamiliar people breaking into his home.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:29 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here a man jumped out with an assault rifle.

To defend his family from armed invaders.
posted by ryoshu at 1:29 PM on May 27, 2011


Here a man jumped out with an assault rifle.

For the second time (or to mimic your sophistry: "For the millionth time", "For the billionth time"), he did not have an assault rifle.
posted by BigSky at 1:33 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you saying that an armed person is fair game for a police officer to open fire on?

First, "fair game"? This is not a game. These officers are going to have to go through a lot of investigation and may have PTSD issues. Second, a man is dead. Third, even if that man's actions were the cause of him being shot by police, his wife is a widow and his children have lost their father.

Second, when that person jumps out in front of officers with an assault rifle, yes. Some courts have ruled the weapon need not even be seen:

Court rules officer need not see a gun before shooting fleeing bank robber; observing employees with hands held over their heads supports shooting under Garner rules. Ford v. Childers, 650 F. Supp. 110 (C.D. Ill. 1986).

Read those case digests, you'll get an idea of what is going on.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:36 PM on May 27, 2011


Game as in hunting. Open season. Et cetera.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you point out where it is indicated he "jumped out" with a firearm

See the linked story with extensive quotes above that I posted excerpts from. Officers in conversation with one another after being interviewed mention it in an audio tape.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2011


See the linked story with extensive quotes above that I posted excerpts from. Officers in conversation with one another after being interviewed mention it in an audio tape.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!!!!!
posted by hal_c_on at 1:41 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Second, when that person jumps out in front of officers with an assault rifle, yes.

LOL

Keep on keeping on with your blatant horseshit. Hey man, I get it - somebody needs to come with the disingenuous rhetoric to try and justify the authoritarians. Apparently, that would be you.
posted by BigSky at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


without barging into people's homes and murdering them like the Stasi

You are doing a real disservice to the Stasi, who above all else were methodical gatherers of intelligence. They would never have barged in guns blazing like these morons did. If he was known to have a weapon, it would certainly be confiscated while he wasn't there and he would be quietly and effectively arrested and detained.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


See the linked story with extensive quotes above that I posted excerpts from. Officers in conversation with one another after being interviewed mention it in an audio tape.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!!!!!


You can believe what you want. But the audio tapes show that the officers in discussion with one another stated that he jumped out at them. The wife said he had an AR-15 in his hand. These are unguarded statements.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2011


Keep on keeping on with your blatant horseshit. Hey man, I get it - somebody needs to come with the disingenuous rhetoric to try and justify the authoritarians. Apparently, that would be you.

Let me ask you, what exactly does it matter. The weapon was classified as an assault weapon and banned for 10 years until GOP assholes allowed people to carry it. But let's say it was his .38 instead. Does it matter?

The man had a firearm. Police attempting to enter the home saw him, and according to their unguarded statements, recorded on audio tape, he jumped out with it. These are the only direct statements we have on tape from anyone regarding the situation. There are no others. What evidence do you have that he did not have the weapon?

here is your problem, there is no evidence he did not jump out with the firearm and the papers and his wife have reported him armed. Where is your evidence? I have provided evidence. You are entitled to disbelieve that evidence all you want. But you have no other evidence.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:49 PM on May 27, 2011


First, "fair game"? This is not a game.

No, it's not, but nice way to miss the definition. However the SWAT team you are defending thought it was game. By their nonchalant approach, the inability to control their weapons, firing blindly into a house and popping off a round after the shooting stopped, the SWAT team showed they were unprofessional. By denying care to a wounded man -- waiting an hour for him to bleed out -- they showed they were unethical and immoral.

These officers are going to have to go through a lot of investigation and may have PTSD issues.

Yes, those poor, poor officers. Apparently busting down a person's door and killing him isn't a walk in a park (not a literal walk in a park. I'm not suggesting the SWAT team was strolling through public lands at a medium gait (gait as in locomotion, not gate as in hinged barrier)).

Second, when that person jumps out in front of officers with an assault rifle, yes.

Stop. You have now been corrected on this multiple times. An AR-15 is not an assault rifle.

Third, even if that man's actions were the cause of him being shot by police, his wife is a widow and his children have lost their father.

The man's actions were to defend his home from unknown invaders. The police could have easily avoided this entire situation. Instead they decided to play soldier (poorly).

Some courts have ruled the weapon need not even be seen

Being an open carry state, I guess any person who exercises his right to open carry can be shot by the police. Doubly so if they are carrying a gun in their home. Basically, if you own a gun a police officer can shoot you at any time. Amirite?
posted by ryoshu at 1:53 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


That video looked like something out of Iraq.

While there have been way, way too many jackasses and cowboys over there, the infantry doing that sort of grunt work in Iraq and Afghanistan have seemed to me to be far more careful about their use of force and far more professional than these schmucks.* In no small measure, I'm sure, because they have orders to be so, and a chain of command who actually enforce those orders.

*Until they aren't and their gloves come off. Then you get Fallujah.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:53 PM on May 27, 2011


Which decisions, specifically? Explain.

Maybe the decision to send a APC and a SWAT team to the home of a 2 tour Marine with no criminal record? That seems like a pretty stupid fucking decision.

Or the decision to keep the paramedics away for over an hour? Another stupid fucking decision.

The decision to hire under-trained goons to dress up like soldiers? Another stupid fucking decision.

I don't necessarily blame said goons for this (except the bloodthirsty motherfucker who took a pot-shot blind, what a dick), but his superiors definitely need to be put up on trial. You still haven't given us a good reason why they didn't treat this like a normal investigation with a real detective present.

I have provided evidence.

You have provided statements from the officers. You are a Police union lawyer. Do you understand why some of us might not be so ready to trust the police?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:55 PM on May 27, 2011


*their superiors
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:55 PM on May 27, 2011


here is your problem, there is no evidence he did not jump out with the firearm and the papers and his wife have reported him armed.

This is not my problem. I have never argued this point.

Let me ask you, what exactly does it matter. The weapon was classified as an assault weapon and banned for 10 years until GOP assholes allowed people to carry it. But let's say it was his .38 instead. Does it matter?

It matters because it's a prejudicial term. It's a shift in tone to your rhetorical advantage and it's false. Also false is your claim that the AR-15 was banned for 10 years. It was not. If it had certain features, e.g. a flash suppressor, it was classified as an "assault weapon" and could not be sold. An "assault rifle" is something else entirely. The basic rifle has always been legal for civilians to own. Do facts matter? I say yes. You might feel differently.
posted by BigSky at 1:58 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


It matters because it's a prejudicial term. It's a shift in tone to your rhetorical advantage and it's false. Also false is your claim that the AR-15 was banned for 10 years. It was not. If it had certain features, e.g. a flash suppressor, it was classified as an "assault weapon" and could not be sold. An "assault rifle" is something else entirely. The basic rifle has always been legal for civilians to own. Do facts matter? I say yes. You might feel differently.

But it is immaterial to the legal analysis. If he had produced the .38 found at his home it would be the same.

To satisfy you, I will say AR-15 from here on out.

Metafilter=Guns are excellent!
posted by Ironmouth at 2:03 PM on May 27, 2011


Well, in terms of whether or not is an actual weapon doesn't really matter for self-defense; if it appears to be a weapon and appears to be a threat, that is typically enough.

I personally think the police/system create the situation where this man was killed, and created that situation in serious error. But arguing over what the weapon actually was (it could have been a non-firing replica for that matter), whether or not it was loaded, safetied, etc. are not really relevant.

I think firing 71 rounds with no returning fire is relevant, though quite likely would not have made a difference in the outcome. It does point to an uncontrolled situation though.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:05 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have provided statements from the officers. You are a Police union lawyer. Do you understand why some of us might not be so ready to trust the police?

no. I linked to a newspaper story describing audio tapes of individuals talking amongst themselves about what happened after they had provided statements. They were talking casually, as indicated by the nature of the statements. Read the article. That's all I ask.

Why the same degree of scrutiny is not to be given to the wife's statements I don't know.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:06 PM on May 27, 2011


I think they would be smart enough to remain guarded at that point had they actually done anything they needed to lie aout.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:08 PM on May 27, 2011


Yes, those poor, poor officers. Apparently busting down a person's door and killing him isn't a walk in a park (not a literal walk in a park. I'm not suggesting the SWAT team was strolling through public lands at a medium gait (gait as in locomotion, not gate as in hinged barrier)).

You know what? I've spoken to an officer less than 20 minutes after being involved in a use of force incident where the person was killed. And you know what? They are not happy. They are scared as hell. Really scared and really shaken up. I think you do everyone a disservice by just dismissing the officer's issues that come out of this. Police officers commit suicide nearly twice as often as the general public. It is a very stressful job. I've seen it over and over again.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:09 PM on May 27, 2011


Metafilter=Guns are excellent!

By the way, this too is false. MetaFilter is actually quite biased against civilian firearms ownership. I could link to various threads displaying this prejudice but instead I'll just point out that in this thread some of the posters felt it necessary to proclaim their dislike of firearms.
posted by BigSky at 2:11 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I do feel for cops, but until they do things like support ending the drug war in greater numbers they are going to be stressed by the results of insane expectations for their abilities.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:12 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think they would be smart enough to remain guarded at that point had they actually done anything they needed to lie aout.

This is casual conversation, obvious from the tone. We'll have audio soon enough.

Here's what's been happening here. I am consistently adding more evidence to the mix. Consistently, every piece of evidence is not being countered by other evidence, but discounting the evidence and my statements.

I've brought the newest evidence, the actual Pima County Sheriff's Office Policy on Deadly Force. I've brought links to the criminal cases and discussed by extensive personal experience with these issues.

You have brought no evidence, and have no personal experience with these incidents or the law underlying them (with one exception, above).

Let's see what you actually have in terms of facts, rather than just dismissing the actual evidence I have brought to the table.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:13 PM on May 27, 2011


Why the same degree of scrutiny is not to be given to the wife's statements I don't know.

Well, for one thing, she didn't kill anybody. For another, she's not part of a massively powerful organization that many perceive as being inimical to their interests as free citizens.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I do feel for cops, but until they do things like support ending the drug war in greater numbers they are going to be stressed by the results of insane expectations for their abilities.

it isn't the personal responsibility of individual police officers to "end the drug war."

That's our job. And I think at base, that is what people are angry at here. They want to see most drugs legalized, and see the effect that enforcement has on society, on everyone else. And I think they are right. But the police are sworn to enforce the laws. They aren't allowed to stop enforcement of the laws. Nor should they be. That is the job of the politicians and more importantly, us.

So, if you don't want this to happen, then write your congressman or woman and tell them you support legalization.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:17 PM on May 27, 2011


Ironmouth: "It is whether the police have a reasonable objective belief that this person could harm or kill someone in order to use deadly force. Dude walked into the room with an assault rifle. They don't know shit about him. They can't read his mind and they aren't going to ask questions and give him a chance to shoot someone in the face."

The only people allowed to have "Objective Beliefs" are followers of Ayn Rand, otherwise those two terms are pretty fucking exclusive. That's the great thing about them. Beliefs, I mean. The pigs can say "we were justified" and you just have to believe they're being completely objective in the face of an utterly subjective situation. Except for the fact that the objective actuality in this case (unlike a belief) is that the man is dead, shot too many times by some very very objective bullets.
posted by symbioid at 2:19 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is casual conversation, obvious from the tone. We'll have audio soon enough.

Again, had I been involved in a conspiracy involving a death I would not suddenly reveal the truth in casual conversation, because I'm not an idiot. Not saying they are lying, I've said very little about this despite your weird use of the word "you" here.

The thing you have to understand is that some of us have personal experiences with the law that you don't have. The law and its enforcement is a living breathing force in the lives of many people, not words on a page. They don't tell the whole story.

You don't particularly impress me when you reveal that the cops have a story that the law will back them up on, I would not expect it to be otherwise since I lack fundamental faith in the system.

This isn't a courtroom.

it isn't the personal responsibility of individual police officers to "end the drug war."

It most certainly is their responsibility to try if if they want me to take their complaints about how stressful enforcing it is seriously.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've brought the newest evidence, the actual Pima County Sheriff's Office Policy on Deadly Force. I've brought links to the criminal cases and discussed by extensive personal experience with these issues.

Note that there is a large organized entity actively gathering exculpatory evidence, but no such countervailing organization, so it isn't that impressive.

Ironmouth, you are acting exactly like an attorney advocate for the police. You insist on the veracity of your evidence, dismiss the weight of countervailing evidence, and studiously avoid addressing the holes in your own story. Although understandable in a court of law, this doesn't lead to a very productive or enlightening discussion on a site such as MeFi. You are clearly intelligent enough to see this, but you persist in your combative, take-no-prisoners, defense attorney stance, rather than addressing all the issues in a balanced and comprehensive manner. I think that is what is driving others to frustration with you. If your intent is to mount a vigorous defense in the "court of MetaFilter" then you have succeeded. If your intent is to have a mutually informative discussion of this even and the potential culpability of the police, you have failed epically.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


OOOOOOOOOOOH, well, now I see he was a drug dealer. His death by overwhelming force is certainly justified then. Sorry. I was all wrong. Carry on, boys in blue. Carry on!
posted by symbioid at 2:22 PM on May 27, 2011


...this event...
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:22 PM on May 27, 2011


I think, Ironmouth, many of us have a hard time seeing what bearing your evidence has.

I'll stipulate that the man had what appeared to be an assault rifle and that the officers believed that he was a threat. Under those circumstances, them firing will likely be ruled a justified shooting.

You can add as many facts to that as you want, but it won't really matter because what some of us see as the problem is that the situation was created by the police. His "threat" or "danger" was a self fulfilling prophecy, where the police (not necessarily those officers who went through the door) created a situation where that citizen -- a veteran of a combat zone whose family has been subject to home invasions -- was almost guaranteed to consider the situation a threat, particularly while still sleepy.

And I'll agree that the policemen involved are likely to have a bad time of it, but I fail to see what bearing it has.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:23 PM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Being an open carry state, I guess any person who exercises his right to open carry can be shot by the police. Doubly so if they are carrying a gun in their home. Basically, if you own a gun a police officer can shoot you at any time. Amirite?

2. Deputies or on-duty Correction Officers, in the performance of their official duties, are authorized to use deadly force when it reasonably appears necessary to do the following:
a. Protect themselves or others from immediate threat of death
b. Prevent a crime in which the suspect's actions place persons injeopardy of death
c. Apprehend a fleeing felon who has used deadly force in the commission of a crime and where there is substantial risk the fleeing felon will cause death, or injury likely to cause death, to others if apprehension is delayed

So, yes, if you fit the qualifications of anything under subsection two.
posted by klangklangston at 2:23 PM on May 27, 2011


"It matters because it's a prejudicial term. It's a shift in tone to your rhetorical advantage and it's false. Also false is your claim that the AR-15 was banned for 10 years. It was not. If it had certain features, e.g. a flash suppressor, it was classified as an "assault weapon" and could not be sold. An "assault rifle" is something else entirely. The basic rifle has always been legal for civilians to own. Do facts matter? I say yes. You might feel differently."

Dude, you want to bitch about sophistry and then you spend 15 comments trying to dance around the fact that GUERENA WAS ARMED WITH A LETHAL WEAPON.

Oh, but it wasn't an "assault rifle." So, what, it was a supersoaker? It didn't look like it could kill someone?

The only obvious fuck-up here is that they delayed medical treatment. We simply do not have enough evidence to second-guess the warrant. While this was a dramatic and tragic incident, that doesn't support any larger arguments except the tangential and obvious note that the drug war is fucked up (though it's not even clear that the drug war was the primary motivator in the warrant being served — home invasion is a crime too).

Christ, this is like all the horseshit when the fucking Census guy killed himself and MetaFilter was creaming their jeans to blame the tea party, and it shows a very real problem with newsfilter premature posting — there is no way that the facts are all in on this, and all it does is serve as outrage fodder for a bunch of pre-existing biases.
posted by klangklangston at 2:31 PM on May 27, 2011


If your intent is to mount a vigorous defense in the "court of MetaFilter" then you have succeeded.

He's making a legal argument about what cops can get away with, rather than a moral argument about what should be done.
posted by empath at 2:32 PM on May 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think, Ironmouth, many of us have a hard time seeing what bearing your evidence has.

I'll stipulate that the man had what appeared to be an assault rifle and that the officers believed that he was a threat. Under those circumstances, them firing will likely be ruled a justified shooting.


I've only, from the beginning, been discussing whether or not this shooting was justified. Many have said it was not. But I do not see how that is possible, given that the only evidence we directly have a report on is the wife saying that he went to meet officers with an AR-15, and that in casual conversation with one another after the fact they stated that he "jumped out at them."

You can add as many facts to that as you want, but it won't really matter because what some of us see as the problem is that the situation was created by the police. His "threat" or "danger" was a self fulfilling prophecy, where the police (not necessarily those officers who went through the door) created a situation where that citizen -- a veteran of a combat zone whose family has been subject to home invasions -- was almost guaranteed to consider the situation a threat, particularly while still sleepy.

Let's be clear. I'm not making statement one on whether or not the police made an error in picking this particular house. I do not know, none of us know. I have been focused, as much as possible, on the officers who were involved in the shooting. A few times I've stepped out and countered a few persons who have stated that the man was "innocent." etc.

I am not sure what you mean by "created" the situation. Hundreds of warrants like this are served every day, across the united states. it is very rare that a person will appear on the scene with an AR-15. So when that happens, it is highly likely that there is going to be a police-involved shooting. What I am saying is that the officers involved with the actual shooting acted correctly.

But let me make a prediction, based on what I've read. Just a pure guess, based only on the statements that the police had been informed that he was the "muscle" in a drug and home-invasion gang. I bet that the 700 pages of information will show just that. Pure speculation on my part, i fully admit.

and Klang: The only obvious fuck-up here is that they delayed medical treatment

It looks like they were so worried about the weapon that the scene supervisor ordered a robot into the home and poked him multiple times and that it took a long time to get all that done. I don't know if this was the right call, but it lead to him not getting medical treatment.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:36 PM on May 27, 2011


They shot him 70 times and were worried he was just playing dead?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:38 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've only, from the beginning, been discussing whether or not this shooting was justified.

Perhaps you need to continually remind everyone that the only context you're addressing is that of a legal defense of the cops who could be accused of murdering an innocent civilian while performing their assigned duties?

People see your analysis, and respond to it as if you were discussing the ethical and moral aspects, which of course you aren't.
posted by mikelieman at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2011


Hundreds of warrants like this are served every day, across the united states.

This is the problem, you know.
posted by empath at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


I am not sure what you mean by "created" the situation. Hundreds of warrants like this are served every day, across the united states. it is very rare that a person will appear on the scene with an AR-15. So when that happens, it is highly likely that there is going to be a police-involved shooting.

"Created" : They came in hot and loaded for bear. It is a great tragedy if hundreds of warrants are served like this every day (vrs warrants like this are served every day, not sure which one you meant).

I'll stipulate that there is evidence that he was the muscle; the warrant was hopefully not granted on nothing. For starters, he is still innocent (unless your telling me that the whole innocent until proven guilty thing has been abandoned), and should be treated as such. Now, I'll give you that his background and the evidence may point to him being dangerous. Given that it would seem that they picked the most dangerous possible approach; about the only thing they could do worse would be to just start shooting *through* the door unannounced to start a gun battle. I mean seriously, kick down the mans door into his home knowing the chance of him being armed is very high? That is pretty much a recipe for violence. I don't care how often its done that way, that doesn't make it right. It is a clear escalation of violence and practically not attempt whatsoever was made to ensure a peaceful resolution; by all appearances, every attempt was made to make things worse.

Since the warrant was for the property, they could have just done it while he was at work, for god's sake. It isn't fucking complicated to work out better ways then kicking they guys door down after a few seconds of warning.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:48 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Since the warrant was for the property, they could have just done it while he was at work, for god's sake. It isn't fucking complicated to work out better ways then kicking they guys door down after a few seconds of warning.

I think we would all feel a lot safer if the douchebag who "planned" all this had to answer for his choices in a court of law...
posted by mikelieman at 2:56 PM on May 27, 2011


I think we would all feel a lot safer if the douchebag who "planned" all this had to answer for his choices in a court of law...

No, I'm pretty sure how that would end up.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:58 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


given that the only evidence we directly have a report on is the wife saying that he went to meet officers with an AR-15

You know when the police could have met him when he didn't have an AR-15? At any point he wasn't defending his wife and child at home.
posted by ryoshu at 3:01 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Two weeks ago the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a civilian has no right to resist unlawful entry (Barnes v. State). Over the last ninety years or so the courts have largely ruled against a citizen's right to resist an unlawful arrest or warrant. The opinion from the court states, "In the 1920s, legal scholarship began criticizing the right as valuing individual liberty over physical security of the officers." It's true that suspects can bring greater force to bear against arresting officers than they could have in prior centuries, increasing the possibility of a loss of life and with little chance of preventing arrest. But what are we giving up when we deny the right to resist unlawful entry? We allow, or rather encourage, erosion of the Fourth Amendment. From the dissent, "[T]he common law rule supporting a citizen‘s right to resist unlawful entry into her home rests on . . . the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Indeed, “the physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 585 (1980)."

A clear recognition of our Fourth Amendment rights, including the right to resist unlawful police actions would result in the police having a greater incentive to not only make sure their actions are lawful but to also convey this lawfulness to the homeowners and arrestees. The security of our right to defend our homes and law enforcement's recognition of the possibility of lawful resistance would be an effective check against the expansion no-knock warrant and perhaps a reduction in the number of warrants served at the wrong address.

So no, klangklangston, I am not at all trying to dance around Guerena being armed. Guerena being armed is not a problem, it's his legal right. Law enforcement needs to dial down the aggression and present themselves more appropriately. To a certain extent they need to justify themselves to suspected criminals or perhaps better put, recognize their rights as citizens. One way of doing that in this case that would be surrounding his home and using bullhorns to ask Guerena to come out before forcing entry. The police managed to handle the SLA in just this manner, so I don't see it as such a terrible handicap.
posted by BigSky at 3:25 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


This whole discussion is reminding me of a situation in Seattle from last year where a man was shot and killed by a cop on a public street because he was carrying a closed knife and the cop thought he was being threatened. The entire encounter lasted about seven seconds (sound familiar)?

Cops make bad judgement calls. Cops playing fancy dress-up in paramilitary armor who may be feeding off each other's confrontational energy may make even worse judgement calls.

In the Seattle case, the eventual judgement was that the killing was unjustified and the man was stripped of all police powers and employment.

Will there be any similar outcome here? Probably not. This guy was inside his house and there were no witnesses to what happened.

And people ask me why I don't trust or like the police no matter what city I live in. It used to have a lot to do with being a longhair bearded pot smoker (who has always held down a job and been a productive member of society). It also used to have a lot to do with being a faggot who was routinely harassed by police for having a rainbow flag sticker on my vehicle. Anymore, it has mostly to do with incidents like this. We need to demilitarize the mindset of the police. Stop showing COPS on television, stop giving police departments huge budgets for bullshit armored vehicles and semi-automatic weapons. It's ridiculous that we publicly fund the very army which is occupying our cities.

Too many cops have an "us vs. them" attitude, where the "us" is the police force and the "them" is everyone else. That's a bullshit way for them to think, but I've heard them voice that and seen them act on it too often to believe it isn't close to universal. Even here in my tiny town of 10,000 people, the cops set my teeth on edge because they always walk around with one hand on their gun unfastened in its holster and they never treat people like they're innocent from the outset, even if it's clear that they are.

The cops are not your friends. That is something everyone needs to learn, something every child needs to be taught. They aren't there to help you. They are there to catch bad guys, and EVERYONE is a bad guy in their eyes. You just haven't given them any evidence yet which will let them arrest you or shoot you.
posted by hippybear at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


The weapon was classified as an assault weapon and banned for 10 years

You need to read up on your laws a little, counselor. Not every AR-15 falls under the "assault weapon" definition, as set forth by the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act.

You should do yourself a favor and drop the loaded rhetoric, especially since it's clear that you don't know what you're talking about, at least when it comes to this specific topic.
posted by syzygy at 3:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Memorial page: Remember Jose Guereña.
posted by ericb at 4:10 PM on May 27, 2011


I am not sure what you mean by "created" the situation.

Maybe the umpteenth time's the charm...

Imagine that you're in bed after a long day at work and hear something on the street outside - a siren or car alarm, it's hard to tell which - and then some yelling, muffled through the walls. You look outside and see armed men gathering outside your home. Then there's a huge crash - they've broken open your door.

You live in an area known for its high rate of home-invasion robberies. You've already lost one family member in such an attack. You own a powerful, intimidating-looking rifle and are extensively trained with it.

Do you go downstairs armed or unarmed?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:12 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


"A clear recognition of our Fourth Amendment rights, including the right to resist unlawful police actions"

You do not have the right to resist unlawful police actions with force. You do have the right to fight them in court. While I agree that we need stronger fourth amendment protections, that does not include the right to resist by arming oneself.

Further, this was not an unlawful police entry — this was the legal execution of a warrant. Your conflation of the two is distracting you from the facts in front of you.

"Guerena being armed is not a problem, it's his legal right."

When confronting police, it is a problem. It may be his right, but it will, and did, get him shot. There is literally no way that you can argue that citizens should have the right to confront police officers with guns outside of some libertarian militia fantasy.

It is a shame Guerena is dead. However, it seems to pretty clearly fit the use of force policy posted above, and you have given absolutely zero arguments to show that it didn't, and have instead argued a raft of counterfactual propositions.
posted by klangklangston at 4:15 PM on May 27, 2011


syzygy: "You should do yourself a favor and drop the loaded rhetoric"

DROP THE LOADED RHETORIC NOW OR WE'LL SHOOT!
posted by symbioid at 4:15 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Maybe the umpteenth time's the charm...

Imagine that you're in bed after a long day at work and hear something on the street outside - a siren or car alarm, it's hard to tell which - and then some yelling, muffled through the walls. You look outside and see armed men gathering outside your home. Then there's a huge crash - they've broken open your door.

You live in an area known for its high rate of home-invasion robberies. You've already lost one family member in such an attack. You own a powerful, intimidating-looking rifle and are extensively trained with it.

Do you go downstairs armed or unarmed?
"

You are a police officer, investigating a ring of home invasions. You announce yourself and see a man with a powerful, intimidating-looking rifle who may kill you or your colleagues if you do not act immediately. Do you shot or don't you?
posted by klangklangston at 4:17 PM on May 27, 2011


You are a police officer, investigating a ring of home invasions. You announce yourself and see a man with a powerful, intimidating-looking rifle who may kill you or your colleagues if you do not act immediately. Do you shot or don't you?

You are a police officer, investigating a ring of home invasions and serving a search warrant on a home. Do you execute your warrant peacefully during the 12 hours overnight that your suspect is at work, or do you wait until he comes home from work and then shoot him 71 times in 6 seconds?
posted by hydropsyche at 4:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


You do not have the right to resist unlawful police actions with force.

This was a recognized right in the common law for hundreds of years, with some legal scholars arguing that it is rooted in the Magna Carta. The Supreme Court affirmed this right as recently as 1948.
posted by BigSky at 4:24 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


More importantly, who should have already received dozens if not over a hundred hours of training about how to behave in situations where you think you may be threatened but you shouldn't necessarily exercise deadly force because you might be killing an innocent citizen?

These events have a context, and if you're a police officer, that context SHOULD contain huge amounts of training on how to keep exactly these kinds of events from happening.

Either the cops in this case didn't receive the training they should have, or their commanding officer sent greenhorns out on a SWAT mission, or they were all too hopped up from playing dress-up in their fancy armor and playing GI Joe driving their armored vehicles to the scene that they allowed their training to escape their conscious minds.

If your police isn't being trained to avoid this kind of situation at ANY cost, their supervisors aren't doing their job correctly.
posted by hippybear at 4:25 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Counterfactual. I have not "announced." I have just broken into this man's home after a short amount of unaided (no bullhorn, etc.) yelling from outside a locked door. If he was not already expecting a police visit, I've created the impression that I am an armed intruder there to rob and/or kill him. I remind myself that I'm paid to prioritize the safety of citizens over my own, announce again and order him to drop his weapon. If he does not show willingness to disarm, despite having the announcement made to his face, then I use force.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


syzygy -- Body armor which hasn't been described in more detail - hell, could have been his helmet or some other part of his marine uniform that he was allowed to take home after he was dishonorably discharged.*

Point of fact/clarification: He was discharged honorably.

* -- a typo on syzygy's part?
posted by ericb at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


police had been informed that he was the "muscle" in a drug and home-invasion gang

I may be blind, but I haven't seen that claim anywhere but in your posts in this thread. I've read through the article you linked most recently. If you'd care to link to a cite for the "muscle" idea, I'd appreciate it.

...

So, how's this for a twist - it would appear that the sheriff department may have suspected a connection between the Guerenas and the home invasion murder of Vanessa Guerena's family members.

1. According to a report, a detective interviewing Jose Guerena's younger brother, Jesus Gerardo Guerena, asked him about the slayings of Manuel and Cynthia Orozco. Jesus Guerena said he knew the couple because they were related to his brother Alejandro's wife.
According to Star archives, Manuel and Cynthia Orozco were killed during a home invasion in March 2010.


2. Vanessa Guerena thought the gunman might be part of a home invasion -- especially because two members of her sister-in-law's family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, were killed last year in their Tucson home, her lawyer, Chris Scileppi, said.
posted by syzygy at 4:31 PM on May 27, 2011


ericb: A very unfortunate typo on my part. Thank you for catching it and calling it out. Apparently I'm not the world's greatest typist when I get riled up. My apologies to the readers of the thread and to Mr. Guerena.
posted by syzygy at 4:33 PM on May 27, 2011


Also, remember: Only one side in this confrontation knew an incident was going to happen ahead of time. Only one side dictated the terms. If you've chosen to enter by breaking down the door, you should be expecting the possibility of well-intentioned resistance. The appearance of a homeowner with a weapon, though certainly not the happiest thing in the world, shouldn't be a completely shocking event prompting a fight-or-flight response.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


CNN is citing a preliminary report from the medical examiner indicating 22 bullet wounds.
posted by droomoord at 5:36 PM on May 27, 2011


I have to say, Ironmouth, that I do wonder sometimes if you hold these rather extreme pro-authority positions simply to rile the rest of us...
So it turns out to be true, "We'll always have Paris."
posted by fullerine at 5:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth, you are acting exactly like an attorney advocate for the police.

He's a defense attorney for a cop union (as far as I can tell). He even mentioned it earlier. Hit CTRL+F "union".

I get why he's getting hung up on this.

Ironmouth: only a few people actually think that the cops on the ground are at fault. Personally, I think they may have been too bloodthirsty and exceedingly undertrained. The truly guilty party is the person who planned the operation (and the people who trained the SWAT team).

They knew when he wasn't home. They knew when his kids went to school. If they wanted to search the property, they could have served the warrant while he was at work. If they wanted to question him, they could have sent a detective around, without the goon squad.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 5:48 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


You are a police officer, investigating a ring of home invasions and serving a search warrant on a home. Do you execute your warrant peacefully during the 12 hours overnight that your suspect is at work, or do you wait until he comes home from work and then shoot him 71 times in 6 seconds?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:21 PM on May 27


Excellent point hydropsyche. I'm sure that someone will try to tear it apart in 1...2...3...
posted by futz at 5:59 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


You are a police officer, investigating a ring of home invasions and serving a search warrant on a home. Do you execute your warrant peacefully during the 12 hours overnight that your suspect is at work, or do you wait until he comes home from work and then shoot him 71 times in 6 seconds?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:21 PM on May 27


This is a trick question, right?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:18 PM on May 27, 2011


Look, statistically it's more unsafe to drive around at night, we can't ask these officers to put themselves in that kind of danger.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:19 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look, statistically it's more unsafe to drive around at night, we can't ask these officers to put themselves in that kind of danger.

THEY HAVE FAMILIES!!!!!
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:34 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Counterfactual. I have not "announced." I have just broken into this man's home after a short amount of unaided (no bullhorn, etc.) yelling from outside a locked door."

Bullshit. They yelled "Police!" both in English and in Spanish. That is "announcing."

The "unaided" yelling is a red herring.

Your sophistry won't help you dodge the question.

"You are a police officer, investigating a ring of home invasions and serving a search warrant on a home. Do you execute your warrant peacefully during the 12 hours overnight that your suspect is at work, or do you wait until he comes home from work and then shoot him 71 times in 6 seconds?"

While there's a certain amount of hindsight available here, you're engaging in a non sequitor — the police were serving a legal warrant, and the shooting was undoubtably not the desired outcome. If the police had gone there to shoot him, then that would be criminal. Instead, you're letting your sympathy for criminals (or antipathy for police, but as long as you're being uncharitable I see no reason not to frame it as sympathy for criminals) override a reasonable interpretation of the incident.

Further, the raid (as far as we can tell) was scheduled with the priority being to have it take place when the children were out of the home, so saying they should have done it while he was at work means that you're saying they should have done it to maximize the chances that the children were home.
posted by klangklangston at 7:38 PM on May 27, 2011


Well that would have been fine, right? There would have been no big scary drug muscle with an assault cannon which was the only thing that went wrong here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:41 PM on May 27, 2011


Sophistry? Dude, I could barely make out that they were yelling anything in the video and I was listening for it. To somebody sitting in their house, with a wall between them and the police, who doesn't expect anything to be shouted at them at that particular moment, that's not exactly fair warning that you're about to have your door busted open. You're assuming that he should have been fully cognizant that the people in his house were police, and I've repeatedly given reasons why that's not a fair assumption.

Also, criminal? Innocent until proven guilty. Not innocent until shot to death.

Also also, if the kids were home and the parents away, the SWAT team would still have gone in rifles out, fingers (unconscionably, I can't stress this enough) on the trigger? You can't see how insane that is? The police somehow simultaneously thought their target was a threat to try and police if they tried to serve a simple search warrant without full SWAT regalia, and also decided to time and execute their search in such a way as to maximize the chance of an armed confrontation. And yet they've done nothing wrong because civilians are expected to have psychic cop-sense that tell them in advance when police are going to burst into their homes. It's not like this could have surprised and confused him, or anything.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Try and KILL police. I fail at proofreading.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:23 PM on May 27, 2011


"Dude, I could barely make out that they were yelling anything in the video and I was listening for it."

Uh, they're yelling through the door, in an opposite direction from the mic. This isn't Hollywood — there's no redub or foley artists retouching.

"Also, criminal? Innocent until proven guilty. Not innocent until shot to death. "

Like I said, sophistry.

By that definition, James Oliver Huberty committed no crime.

"The police somehow simultaneously thought their target was a threat to try and police if they tried to serve a simple search warrant without full SWAT regalia, and also decided to time and execute their search in such a way as to maximize the chance of an armed confrontation."

The police were pretty justified in thinking that Guerena would be a threat — he was armed with an AR-15 when he confronted them. But arguing that they maximized the chances of an armed confrontation is purely an assertion without any evidence to back it up — that there was an armed confrontation does not necessitate them maximizing the chances of it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 PM on May 27, 2011


I mean yeah, they could have gone in earlier and punched his kid which would have increased the possibility of violent confrontation with him when they came back in an hour, but I think the point you didn't address is why they could not go in when he wasn't there. Were the wife and kid threats too?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:29 PM on May 27, 2011


Which decisions, specifically?

The decision to conduct a paramilitary raid on the home of a citizen with no priors, no current charges, and no outstanding warrants. This outlandish show of force was for a search warrant, not an arrest warrant. The warrant wasn't for him, it was for the premises. They could have searched the house while he was at work. Instead, they irresponsibly chose to serve the warrant in the most dangerous and provocative way possible.

Take the thin blue scales off your eyes and let this sink in: When the decision-makers were planning the particulars of when and how to execute the warrant, there was no exigent circumstance requiring them to conduct a tactical high-risk entry. They made the deliberate (and deadly) decision to do so. Whether they ever pay a legal price for their actions, they bear the moral liability for what happened.

Let's see what you actually have in terms of facts...

Fact: Unless you're serving a warrant on a barricaded, booby-trapped, armed-to-the-teeth suspect, there is no logical justification for a SWAT raid.

The sheriff's department had apparently been surveilling Guerena for quite some time. They knew his schedule and his habits, none of which indicated a necessity for a use of force, and certainly not to the outrageous level displayed here, especially at a home where two small children lived. Tellingly, the officers in charge of surveillance were so incompetent in their abilities -- and derelict in their duty -- that no one seems to have realized only one of the children was of school age (the department claims to have believed that the mother and both of the children would be gone during the raid).

During my husband's career, he and his partners somehow managed to serve countless search warrants and arrest warrants without the use of an armored personnel carrier. How can any self-respecting law enforcement officer (or their apologists) justify the negligent and unprofessional decisions that led to the death of Jose Guerena?
posted by amyms at 9:46 PM on May 27, 2011 [23 favorites]


Point of fact. Gurerena has not been charged with any crime.

Guerena has not been convicted of any crime.

Guerena will NEVER be convicted of any crime.

He is, and always will be an innocent civilian. Period.

So let's stop trying to smear the guy, ok?
posted by mikelieman at 12:18 AM on May 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


amyms: "How can any self-respecting law enforcement officer (or their apologists) justify the negligent and unprofessional decisions that led to the death of Jose Guerena?"

Exactly. Guerena is dead (with 71 bullet holes let's not forget. 71, WTF?), and since there is no way to unkill him, someone needs to be held accountable for this gross misuse of power.

What a terrible end for a guy who put his life on the line to serve his country.
posted by bwg at 2:24 AM on May 28, 2011


Instead, you're letting your sympathy for criminals (or antipathy for police, but as long as you're being uncharitable I see no reason not to frame it as sympathy for criminals) override a reasonable interpretation of the incident.

I have sympathy for victims of violent crime. In this case, that's Guerena.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:16 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]




I'm honestly beginning to wonder if having police as we currently do is superior to not having police.

I like the idea of police in the abstract, and I'm not even remotely a believer in anarchism of any sort. But the implementation we have of the idea of police in the USA seems inherently flawed. The system seems almost designed to protect bad cops, turn good cops into bad cops, and generally abuse the public the police are theoretically there to protect and serve.

Obviously the War on Drugs is a factor that is exacerbating the problem, but even without the War on Drugs the way our police structure works seems so very bad that I'm not sure it's possible to fix without tearing out the entire current system and completely replacing it.

At the absolute minimum I think we need to massively reassess our belief that SWAT teams are worth having. The idea isn't a bad one in theory, but in practice we're seeing SWAT teams deployed to situations they shouldn't be. They were, IIRC, originally conceived as a blunt instrument to be used only in rare and extreme circumstances, but today they seem to be used for petty things as a routine matter.

Also, much to my dismay as a liberal pro-union sort of guy, seeing Ironmouth in action is making me question whether police unions are a good idea.
posted by sotonohito at 5:28 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


When police unions are used to protect their members from being abused by their bosses, that's a good thing.

When police unions are used to protect their members from the criminal charges, that's not a good thing.

I'd like to see police union lawyers only used for personnel issues. Ironmouth can go to work representing them in the subsequent disciplinary hearings, but when it comes to a possible criminal charge, well, you and I don't get us a police union lawyer, do we?
posted by mikelieman at 7:28 AM on May 30, 2011


On reflection, maybe I need a better union.
posted by mikelieman at 7:42 AM on May 30, 2011


Law enforcement needs to dial down the aggression and present themselves more appropriately.

BUT IT'S DRUGS!!!! DRUGS, I TELL YOU!!!!!! THEY'RE DESTROYING AMERICA AND MUST BE STAMPED OUT AT ANY COST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


When police unions are used to protect their members from being abused by their bosses, that's a good thing.

When police unions are used to protect their members from the criminal charges, that's not a good thing.

I'd like to see police union lawyers only used for personnel issues. Ironmouth can go to work representing them in the subsequent disciplinary hearings, but when it comes to a possible criminal charge, well, you and I don't get us a police union lawyer, do we?


Really? So its ok, unless its people you don't like? What about constitutional freedom of association? Seriously, two for me, none for thee.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on June 3, 2011


Well, well well,

Looks like the brother was target of a long-term investigation.

TUCSON, Ariz. — Records show the older brother of a former Marine shot and killed by Tucson law enforcement officers was the primary focus of a long-term drug-trafficking investigation.

The Arizona Daily Star reports a traffic stop led detectives to begin investigating Alejandro Guerena. The documents show he had several close associates who were involved with trafficking and remained the main focus of surveillance operations that took place many times a week for about six months.

Guerena’s brother, Jose Guerena, was killed by a Special Weapons and Tactics team on May 5 while serving a search warrant at his house. His wife and son were home but escaped injury.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department released the affidavit, probable-cause statements and search-warrant returns after a judge filed a ruling Thursday unsealing the documents.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:36 AM on June 3, 2011


Good thing they shot the brother, he sounds like a real dangerous scumbag.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Indeed, it turns out that the complaints that other family members may have been victims of a home invasion appear to actually be linked to the family:
Two weeks after the shooting, officers were alerted to a storage room at Ajo Kinney Super Storage, 5175 W. Ajo Highway, rented to Jose Guerena's mother, Bertha, Dupnik said.
Inside the locker, officers found a large number of financial documents and ledgers that "make it clear to us that this is drug money and money owed to a number of individuals," Pima County sheriff's Bureau Chief Rick Kastigar said via telephone during Dupnik's visit to the Star. Officers also found high-end military gear and advanced weather protective clothing inside the storage locker, Kastigar said. Three other homes were searched May 5 as part of the investigation: one home owned by Jose Guerena's mother, Bertha, and two homes owned by Jose Celaya, a listed suspect in the drug and homicide investigation.
Jose Guerena's older brother, Alejandro Guerena, is also listed as a suspect, documents show. Officers recovered at least one stolen vehicle, marijuana, drug ledgers, about $100,000 in cash and numerous weapons from the two homes owned by Celaya, documents released Thursday show. But since the deadly raid, no arrests have been made.
Dupnik said that's because deputies are still investigating. The homicide investigation Dupnik and other officers referred to in previously released documents is a March 2010 case in which husband and wife Manuel and Cynthia Orozco were shot to death inside their southwest-side home, reportedly in front of their two daughters. The woman killed was a member of the Celaya family and the sister-in-law of Guerena's brother, Alejan- dro, but Dupnik could not say if Guerena was a suspect in the slayings or if he was linked to the homicide simply by family ties. "I can only say that some of the people involved in this particular group may be suspects in the homicide," Dupnik said.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 AM on June 3, 2011


Good thing they shot the brother, he sounds like a real dangerous scumbag.

again, if you pull out an AR-15 on the police, you will be shot.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 AM on June 3, 2011


Oh hey, has there been any developments on justifying thinking he was playing dead for an hour with twenty+ bullet wounds or why they had to do the search while he was at home?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:48 AM on June 3, 2011


Dupnik could not say if Guerena was a suspect in the slayings or if he was linked to the homicide simply by family ties. "I can only say that some of the people involved in this particular group may be suspects in the homicide," Dupnik said.

That's super weaselly.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:57 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, that solves that. His brother may have committed a crime. Perfectly okay to execute him, then.
posted by empath at 10:05 AM on June 3, 2011


Well, well well,

Looks like the brother was target of a long-term investigation.


Well, well, well,

That's a really shitty way to introduce your point. Also, now I'm terrified that my brothers might break the law and someone will raid my house while I'm asleep.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


again, if you pull out an AR-15 on the police, you will be shot.

Even in your own home and even if you aren't sure it's the police, apparently.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Again, the police create a situation where violence was highly likely in order to execute a *search warrant*, not even an arrest warrant. I do not see one iota of evidence that a SWAT team was necessary, and that a simple knock and presentation of warrant would not have worked perfectly well.

At best the operation could be called incompetent. Criminal negligence causing death would likely be more appropriate. If I unnecessarily created a very dangerous situation and someone died, that is likely what I would be charged with.

And seriously Ironmouth, his brother? C'mon, please tell me that you don't actually think that justifies anything, legally, morally or in any other way. You can't be serious there.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:06 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, well, well...

His aunt got a parking ticket once.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:26 AM on June 4, 2011




Yeah, that student-loan SWAT assault is a new benchmark in how much too far the militarization of the police has gone. And the Department of Education's statement does nothing to mitigate it:
While it was reported in local media that the search was related to a defaulted student loan, that is incorrect. This is related to a criminal investigation. The Inspector General's Office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments.

Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we can't comment on the specifics of the case. We can say that the OIG's office conducts about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.
Which of those crimes warrant a military-style assault on a citizen's home?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:18 AM on June 8, 2011


Arizona SWAT Team Cleared in Former Marine's Killing
The SWAT team that gunned down a former Marine in his Tucson, Ariz., home was cleared today of any wrongdoing in the incident.

Jose Guerena, 26, was killed in a hail of bullets from the SWAT team, which broke down the door to his home on May 5 while trying to serve a search warrant as part of a home invasion probe.

Guerena did not fire a single shot in the incident, but Pima County Chief Criminal Deputy Attorney David Berkman said in the report issued today that the five SWAT team members were justified in using deadly force because the former Marine pointed his weapon at them.

"A close examination of the rifle revealed it appeared to have been damaged by being fired upon from such an angle that it must have been pointed toward officers," Berkman wrote. "The officers were mistaken in believing Mr. Guerena fired at them. However, when Mr. Guerena raised the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in their direction, they needed to take immediate action to stop the deadly threat against them."
posted by Rhaomi at 1:26 PM on June 15, 2011


Well thank god the police have determined that the police didn't murder that guy.
posted by empath at 1:31 PM on June 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


The angle most certainly could not have shifted during all the shooting, so I'm convinced.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:45 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That follow-up is sickening but predictable. I often wonder, do the offending officers ever recognize, even in the privacy of their own thoughts, that they have become the criminals? I doubt it, not when they have people willing to jump through such twisted semantic hoops to defend them.

Case in point, from the article: A close examination of the rifle revealed it appeared to have been damaged by being fired upon from such an angle that it must have been pointed toward officers," Berkman wrote. "The officers were mistaken in believing Mr. Guerena fired at them. However, when Mr. Guerena raised the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in their direction, they needed to take immediate action to stop the deadly threat against them.

When speaking of what the officers "needed" to do, their spokesman conveniently ignores the real issue here, and that is that they didn't "need" to conduct a paramilitary raid in the first place. Not for a search warrant, and not for the home of a family who didn't meet any of the criteria for a high-risk entry. If they thought the situation was dangerous enough for SWAT, why were they conducting the raid when anyone was home at all? They had ample prior surveillance to ascertain the family's schedule, and they knew perfectly well that Jose Guerena would be home (and getting ready for bed) after his overnight shift at work. Was the SWAT team secretly hoping for a deadly confrontation? It certainly appears that way. As I said in a previous comment, they chose to serve a search warrant in the most dangerous and provocative way possible. There were so many other options available to them; why did they choose the most expensive and unnecessary one?

Another example of willful disingenuousness, from the article: A SWAT officer, Sgt. Bob Krygier, told officials of the sheriff's office who investigated the incident that the raid on Guerena's home was probing "possible drug running, home invasions and potential homicides."

What they were "probing" is irrelevant. They were there to serve a warrant on the premises not on the person. It doesn't matter if they were investigating mass murder or illegal bingo, they could have gone in while the house was unoccupied.

In emphasizing the crimes they were investigating, the law enforcement agencies are hoping to sway public opinion in their favor. They know they can literally get away with murder if they can get enough people to think "Oh, well, gosh, Jose Guerena might have been a drug-running, home-invading murderer so it's okay that the police killed him." At this point, we don't know for certain whether Jose Guerena was guilty of the criminal activity in question or not. He might have been a vicious sociopath or he might have been a poster boy for virtuous living, but the fact remains that his hypothetical guilt or innocence is immaterial. The SWAT team is not supposed to be an execution squad.

Most of us are probably familiar with Blackstone's Ratio (i.e. It's better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer). I'll apply that to Jose Guerena: It's better that ten guilty persons be spared from a paramilitary raid on their homes, especially when there's an alternative, than that one innocent man or woman be subjected to the horrors of an out-of-control SWAT team.

The law enforcement agencies in this situation want you to focus on everything but their own culpability, everything but their own irrational decision-making process, everything but their incompetence. They will spotlight irrelevant details and spin or deny relevant ones until they've airbrushed reality enough to make sure that they're never held accountable for their actions.

I've seen it happen first-hand in my husband's former department when his knowledge of the law got in the way of someone else's agenda. It was (and still is) a scary time, and this was a small department in a mostly quiet town, I can't imagine how much worse it is when there are more layers of hierarchy to protect the bad seeds. Well, yes, I can imagine how much worse it is; we've seen it laid out before us in the murder of Jose Guerena.
posted by amyms at 2:42 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


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