Shaquille Oneal's Kiddie-Porn-Task-Force Blunder
October 20, 2006 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Shaq's Blue Ridge Thunder blunder just raided and attempted to ruin a Virginia farmer's life based on a "mistaken computer IP address". No mention has been made so far in the press beyond a newspaper of the town closest to the mistaken raid.
Blue Ridge Blunder and SHAQ ATTACK.

"On Saturday morning, Sept. 23, 2006, many police vehicles appeared in our driveway. Men in black with flak jackets ran to and around our house. My wife was at home alone. I drove up and asked, “What's going on?” Men ran at me, dropped into shooting position, double-handed semi-automatic pistols pointed at me, and made me put my hands against my truck. I was held at gunpoint, searched, taunted, and led into the house. I had no idea what this was about. I was scared beyond description. I feared there had been a murder and I was a suspect. My wife and I were interrogated about Internet crime. We are not avid computer users; we do not even e-mail. We knew nothing of what they were speaking. After seemingly convincing them of our computer “illiteracy,” we were questioned about our children and made to doubt their innocence. Our home was searched by a para-military search-and-seizure team. Our computers, digital camera, disposable cameras, DVD's, and VHS tapes were seized. We were held in our home under guard for five hours. Our children came home and were also interrogated. It was awful. We were accused of horrible crimes, crimes that even the mention of would ruin our reputations.
posted by unpoppy (104 comments total)


 
I wonder what the person at the "right" IP did to warrant such a response.
posted by notsnot at 7:08 AM on October 20, 2006


Are they sure it wasn't just the Dateline crew?
posted by billysumday at 7:09 AM on October 20, 2006


It doesn't have anything to do with Shaq other than his getting some honorary badge (which happens all the time) does it? Elvis had an honorary badge. If there is a drug raid gone bad do you say 'Elvis Presley's raiders target wrong house?'
posted by fixedgear at 7:11 AM on October 20, 2006


yeah, what does this have to do with shaq again?
posted by afu at 7:13 AM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Shaq attack!
posted by smackfu at 7:15 AM on October 20, 2006


The US Marshals have gone to great lengths to associate O'Neal with the task force responsible for the botched assault. See the last link.
posted by clevershark at 7:21 AM on October 20, 2006


If they didn't have something to hide they wouldn't be complaining. Jail them until they confess.
posted by srboisvert at 7:22 AM on October 20, 2006


Maybe they had a ROM of Shaq Fu, the digital equivalent of a fine painting by Renoir or Francisco José de Goya.
posted by owenkun at 7:22 AM on October 20, 2006


Surely their innocence is nothing that can't be "fixed" by a few hours of waterboarding.
posted by clevershark at 7:25 AM on October 20, 2006


Where's the second link story?
posted by bobloblaw at 7:27 AM on October 20, 2006


America 2.0
posted by hal9k at 7:28 AM on October 20, 2006


Dragging Shaq into this was a mistake. You sully his reputation just like the police did to this poor family, except worse you actually know he had nothing to do with this raid, they were just incompetent.
posted by caddis at 7:31 AM on October 20, 2006


Vote Republican!
posted by fuddyduddy at 7:32 AM on October 20, 2006


Shaq was on the scene of the raid, as I live within a few miles of where this happened and know witnesses. He's a member of the Blue Ridge Thunder task force.
posted by unpoppy at 7:33 AM on October 20, 2006


I'm not sure what Shaq's relationship to this specific task force is, but hasn't he undergone some legitimate police training? I was under the impression that he had, but I could be remembering wrong. I do remember that he has said several times he'd like to go into law enforcement when he's done with basketball (which should be soon).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:35 AM on October 20, 2006


Oh, someone is a dumbass and his name is Shaq.
Federal agents can be individually liable under Bivens for civil rights violations. Since Shaq has apparently been deputized, the floodgates are open.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:40 AM on October 20, 2006



posted by fixedgear at 7:40 AM on October 20, 2006


Steppin' into the jam and I'm slammin' like Shaquille
posted by prostyle at 7:47 AM on October 20, 2006


I have no sympathy for this "farmer". If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear.

It's not as if the police might have killed him by mistake when they arrested him, like they did to the guy in Fairfax whose crime was playing poker for a few hundred bucks.

9/11 changed everything; if the price of safety is a few raids by SWAT teams in black tactical vests with automatic weapons who mistakenly target law-abiding citizens and interrogate of their kids at gunpoint, that's the cost of feeling safe from terrorists.

God Bless America.
posted by orthogonality at 7:51 AM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Silver lining: at least one family of rural voters now understands why overbearing police power is bad.
posted by adoarns at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2006


If Shaq thinks its cool to associate himself with "save-the-children" law enforcement agencies his reputation should accordingly suffer when said agencies screw up.

I hope this gets a lot more press.
posted by solipse at 7:59 AM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


To quote Shaq's Wikipedia article:

"Police aspirations

Off court, O'Neal has maintained a high level of interest in the workings of the police department, and has become personally involved in law enforcement. O'Neal went through the police academy in Los Angeles, and became a reserve officer with the L.A. Port Police.

In March 2005 he was given an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal title and named the spokesman for the Safe Surfin' foundation; he will serve an honorary role on the task force of the same name, which tracks down sexual predators who target children on the Internet."

Upon his trade to Miami, O'Neal began training to become a Miami Beach reserve officer; on December 8, 2005, he was sworn in as a reserve officer (he elected a private ceremony so not to distract the other officers from their special moment). Shortly thereafter, in Miami, O'Neal was a witness to a hate crime and called Miami-Dade police, giving them a description of the suspect and helping police, over his cell phone, track the offender. O'Neal credits this as his first "arrest".
posted by davy at 8:10 AM on October 20, 2006


Shaqman, America's Dribbling Superhero!
posted by davy at 8:14 AM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just imagine the fun and games if the person with the wrong IP number turned out to be of Arab heritage.. they would have vanished without a trace.
posted by zog at 8:22 AM on October 20, 2006


He's a big giant cop groupy, what's the big deal? My main problem with Shaw is they never call a walk on him and he gets away with murder in the paint.

Ortho's right though, shit like this makes me feel like there's nothing in the fucking universe that could possibly ever hurt my children!
posted by Mister_A at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2006


My main problem with Shaq too...
posted by Mister_A at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2006


Sorry Shaw whoever you are.
posted by Mister_A at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2006


Welcome to Bush's America.
posted by Ragma at 8:34 AM on October 20, 2006


Because police mistakes never happened before 2000!
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:43 AM on October 20, 2006


Do any of these articles link Shaq to this?? Or am I blind?
posted by dead_ at 8:45 AM on October 20, 2006


unpoppy writes "Shaq was on the scene of the raid, as I live within a few miles of where this happened and know witnesses. He's a member of the Blue Ridge Thunder task force."

I thought I should make sure this appears again as a lot of people seem to have missed it.
posted by clevershark at 8:56 AM on October 20, 2006


To quote the article from the third link, There's a New Marshal in Town...and His Name is Shaq:

"Deputies of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the Blue Ridge Thunder and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces are Special Deputy U.S. Marshals also assigned to the Marshals Service’s Blue Ridge Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (BRFAST) in the Western District of Virginia. Deputy U.S. Marshals in Roanoke assist Blue Ridge Thunder investigators in the tracking and apprehension of fugitive sexual predators identified by the task force.

United States Marshal G. Wayne Pike worked with Sheriff Brown and the Department of Justice to solidify Shaq as a Honorary Deputy U.S. Marshal in furtherance of the missions of these crime fighting initiatives. 'Shaq has always been a tremendous friend and supporter of law enforcement,' said Marshal Pike. 'I am pleased to have him as a member of our fugitive task force as we all work together to protect our most valuable natural resource, our children.'"

You see now? Shaq and the Gestapo law-enforcement authorities have worked hard to associate themselves with this Thunder thing; if you get to take credit for the good shit you got to take blame for the bad shit, nu?
posted by davy at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2006


Because police mistakes never happened before 2000!

Have they always been able to pull that sort of shit (especially the charging into houses and holding people at gunpoint bit)? If so then I guess America has always sucked.
posted by twistedonion at 9:01 AM on October 20, 2006


orthogonality writes "I have no sympathy for this 'farmer'. If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear"


I agree, he definitely had something to fear ! It is clear no policeman will ever abuse his powers to hide up incompetence, that wouldn't be nice ! It is evident the farmer didn't do enough to demonstrate his innocence and why he didn't have an IP address, but the police traced an IP address to him. Incompetence at using computers doesn't imply they didn't abuse one ! Defending the kids is the nation primary interest, as they are our future..if it means tracking them with electronical necklaces or reducing adults privacy and freedom, nothing beats a lot of security for them ! Actually I was thinking about mandatory religion class as well, so they will become morally stable and God fearing !
posted by elpapacito at 9:02 AM on October 20, 2006


It's not my fault that Buttle's heart condition didn't appear on Tuttle's file!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:08 AM on October 20, 2006


I assure you, Mrs. Buttle, the Ministry is very scrupulous about following up and eradicating any error. If you have any complaints which you'd like to make, I'd be more than happy to send you the appropriate forms.
posted by octothorpe at 9:09 AM on October 20, 2006


Shaq will work with task force investigators during his basketball off season time to help “guard the net” from sexual predators.

I think I've found the real crime here.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2006


The Kazaam genie probably made their IP address disappear.
posted by Falconetti at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2006


WTF?

This post is based on a single letter to the editor and a poster who "live(s) within a few miles of where this happened and know(s) witnesses"??

Come on. We'll soon dream for the days when we at least required a front page story from the New York Times.
posted by ?! at 9:21 AM on October 20, 2006


"Have they always been able to pull that sort of shit (especially the charging into houses and holding people at gunpoint bit)?"

Yes.

"If so then I guess America has always sucked."

It has all my lifetime anyway. It was bad enough in "the Sixties" and under Nixon, and since Reagan became Figurehead (when I was 18) it's been steadily getting worse.

And ?!, do you dispute the accuracy of this "single letter to the editor"?
posted by davy at 9:24 AM on October 20, 2006


I am also curious as to what the person with the IP was doing to warrant such a response. I would like to think that they would have to believe someone's life was in immediate danger to send in SWAT without more intel, but nowadays, that's probably just wistful thinking.

And how does something like this happen anyway? Did the ISP give the the wrong address?
posted by quin at 9:26 AM on October 20, 2006


Do any of these articles link Shaq to this?? Or am I blind?


You are not blind. None of these articles link Shaq to this. The farmer's letter to the editor doesn't make that claim. This is a pretty lame post.

Let's see, a seven foot tall basketball star is standing in your driveway. Now, you are traumatized because men with guns are screaming things at you, but still, Shaq is standing in your driveway. Do you think you might mention this in your letter to the editor? We're not disputing that this event took place, we're kind of doubtful that Shaq, who may be a police groupie, was there.
posted by fixedgear at 9:29 AM on October 20, 2006


"This post is based on a single letter to the editor and a poster who "live(s) within a few miles of where this happened and know(s) witnesses"??"

no it's not. The reason I'm posting this is because the ONLY paper to write anything about it is the Star Tribune...the local newpaper I linked, but because it is a small town, the article they wrote is not online, but just in paper form. The only article online is the letter to the editor.

Maybe someplace there are police records for Pittsylvania County regarding it, but I havent found them yet.
posted by unpoppy at 9:35 AM on October 20, 2006


Since when are kiddy-porn makers/traders assumed to be so heavily armed and dangerous that the default initial approach is a SWAT team?

Maybe in Eastern Europe could you assume that they were paying protection to the local Mafia/Police and had a force on call, but in the USA?

Or do you assume that since they are criminals they may be associated with a meth lab or pot plantation which often have gun-toting on-site protection. I would think a little surveillance could resolve this question.

Or were there budget problems where there was enough money for a big showy raid but not enough extra to some pre-raid investigation.

While I in no way excuse kiddy-porn, its perps level of danger to police is probably more in line with wire fraud than cooking meth.

This raid may be a case where a crime is so henious that some people want the raid itself to be punishing. You know like torturing ("for information, not as punishment") people who might be terrorists.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:37 AM on October 20, 2006


"None of these articles link Shaq to this."

What?!? I suppose you think nothing linked Johnson and Nixon to the Vietnam War Police Action; "After all it's not like THEY were shooting anybody!" Maybe mathowie should require passing a Reading Comprehension test before gaining write permission.

And unpoppy, why not scan the article and post that? If it's too big you could put it on Flickr or someplace and give us a link to it. (It might be good to ask the newspaper if they mind first, but IANAL.)

And I second what MonkeySaltedNuts just said.
posted by davy at 9:40 AM on October 20, 2006


Hell of a way to get an autograph.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:42 AM on October 20, 2006


I also think that Virginia-type earthy-salt-salt farmers who go around bleating about their "Constitutional rights" like some kind of Gloria-churchgoing-taxpayer-Allred need to get a deep (ha-ha!) understanding of waterboarding.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:49 AM on October 20, 2006


Just imagine the fun and games if the person with the wrong IP number turned out to be of Arab heritage.. they would have vanished without a trace.

No lie.
posted by dreamsign at 9:51 AM on October 20, 2006


LINE THEM UP AND SLAP THEM WITH SALTED FISH
posted by Mister_A at 9:54 AM on October 20, 2006


Since when are kiddy-porn makers/traders assumed to be so heavily armed and dangerous that the default initial approach is a SWAT team?

It's not that: it's that all people, men, women, or children, who are not a law enforcement officer are criminals who must be crushed by the most extreme force that a police department can muster. The police are not your friends. If you have a clean record, they just assume they haven't caught you yet.

If they could use the SWAT team to execute traffic stops, they would. They will point guns at infants; they will shoot tiny dogs without remorse; they can and will kill innocent people and nothing will happen except that they get a two-week paid vacation.

I have a clean record, don't use or possess drugs or other contraband, and I still stay as far away from police officers as I possibly can.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:56 AM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


When I lived in the US I found it striking that you can have a takeout place in which there are lots of people waiting for their food, chatting away and joking among themselves... until a uniformed cop walks in (to order food himself), at which point the place became so silent you could hear a pin drop, and everyone was suddenly struck with the urge to look at his/her own shoes.

The friendly banter would start again when the cop left. I have a feeling that even Joe Sixpack has come to realize that you don't say anything, not even the most innocent of chatter, in front of authority, because you never know what might result from it. Ultimately the right to remain silent is the one right that has any sort of enduring quality in America today.
posted by clevershark at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2006


A frail, elderly neighbor called the cops because there was a rabid looking racoon wandering around her yard. They didn't relay this to Animal Control, for some odd reason. Two squad cars pulled up and 4 officers proceeded to beat this shambling, drooling racoon to death with their sticks in broad daylight of a residential neighborhood, adjacent from the bike path to the park. Shaq should have been there to slam dunk it in her yard-waste disposal bin, curbside. Take it to the paint!
posted by prostyle at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


...chatting away and joking among themselves... until a uniformed cop walks in (to order food himself), at which point the place became so silent you could hear a pin drop...

The best part is when it's not even a Cop, but a Rent-A-Cop. Who still has his revolver holstered, its leather backing perched precariously on his sweaty thigh as he shovels a sub sandwich down his throat. God bless the USA.
posted by prostyle at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2006


"I have a clean record, don't use or possess drugs or other contraband, and I still stay as far away from police officers as I possibly can."

Thank you, Optimus Chyme, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. One big reason I'm glad I got on the Infobahn is the chance to see I'm not the only "unreasonably paranoid" person around.

And prostyle, "4 officers proceeded to beat this shambling, drooling racoon to death with their sticks" -- only STICKS? No M16s like real heroes use? Did anyone complain about this gross dereliction of duty?
posted by davy at 10:34 AM on October 20, 2006


"4 officers proceeded to beat this shambling, drooling racoon to death"

How inhumane. They didn't stun it first with a flashbang grenade? Somebody call PETA!
posted by davy at 10:43 AM on October 20, 2006


Did Kobe Bryant make this post?
posted by xmutex at 11:06 AM on October 20, 2006


Crap, I live in the southern part of the county where this happened. It coulda been me!

But seriously, why didn't the Danville paper write anything about this, considering it's the closest thing to a real newspaper we have in this county?
posted by cropshy at 11:07 AM on October 20, 2006


Some friends of mine were raided in very similar fashion in the late 90s. Military-style, scary weapons, helicopter, SUVs, etc. Held the wife at gunpoint while searching the house.

This was aimed at the neighbors across the hill (this was out in the country). Cops had the wrong address. The neighbors were pretty egregious, planes landing/taking off at night from the property, cars coming and going all the time. They were gone by the time the police figured it out and went to the right address.

My friend got an apology only because he was a lawyer and was going to sue. It never made the news.

--> War on drugs --> war on terror -->
posted by jam_pony at 11:09 AM on October 20, 2006


Also pretty stupid, considering that rabies is an easily communicable, often fatal disease.
posted by hattifattener at 11:09 AM on October 20, 2006


Did you people miss the point that Shaq was there, personally, at the raid? None of the articles mention it because the main article is not online. The press release on Shaq spesifically mentions his involvement with the task force that carried out this raid.
posted by delmoi at 11:14 AM on October 20, 2006


Bedford Bulletin: Shaq stops by Bedford
According to Sheriff Mike Brown, Shaq did some computer work with Blue Ridge Thunder and helped with a drug raid and in executing a search warrant for child porn.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:31 AM on October 20, 2006


A frail, elderly neighbor called the cops because there was a rabid looking racoon wandering around her yard. They didn't relay this to Animal Control, for some odd reason. Two squad cars pulled up and 4 officers proceeded to beat this shambling, drooling racoon to death with their sticks in broad daylight of a residential neighborhood, adjacent from the bike path to the park. Shaq should have been there to slam dunk it in her yard-waste disposal bin, curbside.

As long as they didn't let Shaq try to free throw it into the bin. They don't have all day.
posted by Falconetti at 11:35 AM on October 20, 2006


from 2002: Shaq cleared of wrongdoing in drug raid
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office says it's cleared Shaquille O'Neal of any wrongdoing when he rode along with deputies during a Sept. 3 drug raid.
...
The television station was told that O'Neal roughed up a suspect.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:38 AM on October 20, 2006


upoppy: Please accept my apologies. Looks like the link posted by MonkeySaltedNuts places Shaq in Virginia from 9/22 - 9/24 and says he helped to execute a serach warrant. It boggles the mind.
posted by fixedgear at 11:47 AM on October 20, 2006


Because police mistakes never happened before 2000!

We should strive to make only new mistakes.

MonkeySaltedNuts writes "Since when are kiddy-porn makers/traders assumed to be so heavily armed and dangerous that the default initial approach is a SWAT team?"

A no knock heavily armed response is SOP for arrests on hackers. The theory is that if they only sent a cop than the hacker would thermite his hard drive or something and all the evidence would be lost.

It's also not unusual for the cops to seize not only the CPU but also monitors, printers, manuals and basically everything with a power cord even vaguely related to a PC. There was one semi famous take down where they even seized the guy's alarm clock radio. And of course there is the wild over reaction afforded to Mitnick who couldn't even use a phone while in prison.
posted by Mitheral at 12:10 PM on October 20, 2006


davy: "And ?!, do you dispute the accuracy of this "single letter to the editor"?"

I don't consider a letter to the editor worthy as the main basis of a post. I'd like a little more meat. Scanning the news article would have been wonderful. But, then again, I'm one of those who hold newsfilter posts to greater scrutiny.

As for the accuracy of any letter to the editor: I'd rate them above a Fox News report, E! "News" and anything Mitch McConnell says while he is standing on 7th Street, but, no, not as high as an article in the same paper.
posted by ?! at 12:14 PM on October 20, 2006


These heavy-handed approaches are actually designed to get people killed. The expected reaction an American will have to someone kicking down their door in the middle of the night is reaching for a gun. If they don't have a gun, it's still easy to excuse any shooting of an unarmed man on the darkness, confusion, and intensity of the raid.

This reminds me of a case in Southern California from a few years ago where they raided a house for drugs. Several years earlier the drug suspect had packages sent to a certain address.

Rather than check to see whether the suspect was living there (or ever lived there), they decided to raid the house in the middle of the nights.

Funny thing about drug dealers, they will often avoid sending drug shipments of things to their own homes. Instead, they will often pick the address of a working family in the neighborhood who isn't home during the day, then pick up the package off of their doorstep. Police know that too, of course, but…

Anyway, based on information that was several years stale, they raided the house in the middle of the night using SWAT-team tactics, machine guns, etc. When they kicked down the bedroom door, the man in bed reached for something so they shot and killed him. The woman in bed with him was also injured while they detained here (apparently she wasn't cooperative with the orders they were screaming at her to be quiet and not move – go figure).

Turns out it was a retired couple. He was a retired marine sargeant, she was a retired school teacher. He was reaching for his glasses. And they were black.

Of course, it turned out the couple never had anything to do with drugs. They also found out, when the did a little bit of research that the drug dealer had never lived in that home and that this couple had not lived in the home when these packages were allegedly delivered. All things they could have easily confirmed prior to a raid, but… hey, if you waited to use your paramilitary weapons only when they were absolutely needed, you might never use them and funding for them might dry up. Use or lose the toys.

One of the best methods for arresting someone with the least chance for gunplay or violence is to arrest them in the morning when they are leaving their home (to get the paper, get in their car, etc.). They are least likely to be armed in the morning, more likely to be tired, oblivious, slow in their reactions, etc. and less likely to suspect a police raid then.

Morning arrests used to be a much more popular choice before the drug war really started gaining momentum. The problem is that the drug war brought new funding to all kinds of agencies (from local police departments to federal agencies like the department of agriculture) to buy para-military weapons and equipment for use in possible drug raids.

Unfortunately for us, you have to justify budgetary expenditures – use your toys or risk losing them. It becomes an incentive for police to use overwhelming force. The problem is that most police departments can go years, even decades, without every having a real justification for using these weapons and tactics.

No matter how dangerous your suspect, it will still look absurd if a news crew films 20 officers in body armor and machine guns arresting a guy in the driveway, wearing a bathrobe, and holding the morning paper.

That's why nighttime raids are so popular. No matter how innocent and meek your target, a nighttime raid of kicking down doors, sweeping through hallways, all to infrared light or weapon-mounted flashlights while helicopters fly over will always look cool for the cameras. Suspects are terrified and screaming, often get shot – it makes for great TV.

So if you're a local police chief and are about to lose a couple hundred thousand dollars of budgeting for cool paramilitary weapons and body armor (which you're just sure you MIGHT need ONE day)… you might be tempted to use the SWAT tactics at your next best opportunity. If you're a sleepy town, that unfortunately might mean sending in the SWAT team to invade a local farm house over what should have been a simply service of a search warrant related to a suspected non-violent internet crime.

(Heck, if you're going to go through that kind of trouble for a raid, you might as well have the decency to plant some evidence to justify the effort and expense. Am I right?)

Obviously we should not be allowing para-military SWAT tactics for everyday police actions (like serving a search warrant). They should be reserved for the extremely rare situations when heavily armed suspects are known to be involved. Oh well.
posted by Davenhill at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2006 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the insight Davenhill. I wonder what it will take for there to be more accountability. Basketball stars, maybe.
posted by jam_pony at 12:32 PM on October 20, 2006


"...they will shoot tiny dogs without remorse;"

This happened to one of my Dad's former neighbors. He was raided by the MPD "Tactical Squad", assault rifles and all, they shot his dog and in the end the raid netted a whopping half a joint from an ashtray. America...Fuck Yeah!
posted by MikeMc at 12:38 PM on October 20, 2006


"I have a clean record, don't use or possess drugs or other contraband, and I still stay as far away from police officers as I possibly can."

"Thank you, Optimus Chyme, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. One big reason I'm glad I got on the Infobahn is the chance to see I'm not the only "unreasonably paranoid" person around."


Yeah, I'm in that group as well. So now that there's three of us, we should probably have a blog or something.
posted by davejay at 1:03 PM on October 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Since when are kiddy-porn makers/traders assumed to be so heavily armed and dangerous that the default initial approach is a SWAT team?"

Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house.

At least these folks (if the story is true) got an apology and all of their stuff back.
posted by drstein at 1:06 PM on October 20, 2006


Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house.

Wow, that's an interesting way of interpreting his inquisition. Any citation for your "IED style booby traps"? Spring guns aren't anything new to law enforcement, so that's a red herring. Implied drug manufacturing, pfft.... nice. It's amazing that you can justify this action after the fact because the victims "got an apology and all their stuff back" while completely ignoring the fact that it was absolutely worthless bullshit compounded by a culture that finds these acts acceptable. Hope this doesn't happen to you, and I hope you and a member of your family doesn't walk away with a sucking wound in your skull cavity... but if it does, I'll be sure to remember you thought they were just doing their job.
posted by prostyle at 1:17 PM on October 20, 2006


and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house.

Seems to me from reading this thread that this is the sort of thing we need more of -- and not just in the homes of meth dealers, either.

If these pigs want to wage a war on the American people, they damn well ought to be dying for it.
posted by vorfeed at 1:24 PM on October 20, 2006


For the record, most pro athletes have clauses in their contracts that forbid them to do anything overtly dangerous (i.e. riding dirtbikes, hang-gliding, etc.) during the offseason, so I doubt Shaq was actually taking part in the raid.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:35 PM on October 20, 2006


drstein writes "Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth "

Seems pretty unlikely that guys with a low profile habit like child pornography are going to get messed up with unreliable druggies on any kind of regular basis.

The Card Cheat writes "I doubt Shaq was actually taking part in the raid."

And an athelete of his caliber probably writes his own ticket.
posted by Mitheral at 2:01 PM on October 20, 2006


Paramilitary Police Raids
posted by homunculus at 2:22 PM on October 20, 2006


When you have a hammer all problems look like nails, when you have an MP5...
posted by Tenuki at 2:51 PM on October 20, 2006


Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house.
posted by drstein at 1:06 PM PST on October 20


You're full of shit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:27 PM on October 20, 2006


drstein writes "Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house."

OMG METH KIDIIE PR_N ARMAGEDON!!!!!!!!1111


or, what optimus said
posted by mr_roboto at 3:50 PM on October 20, 2006


Oh yeah and those damned Republicans were responsible for all those dead kids at Waco too!!! Oh wait...

Well those Ruby Ridge fuckers deserved it right?
posted by vronsky at 4:09 PM on October 20, 2006


Yes, automatic weapons are GREAT to protect you against IEDs. Just ask anyone who's served in Iraq!

I think *that* was a bit of a rectalogism, if you'll pardon the coinage.
posted by clevershark at 4:31 PM on October 20, 2006


vronsky writes "Oh yeah and those damned Republicans were responsible for all those dead kids at Waco too!!! Oh wait..."

If you can elaborate as to WTF you're talking about we'd all appreciate, I'm sure. Rectalogism seems to be out in full force today.
posted by clevershark at 4:32 PM on October 20, 2006


Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house.
posted by drstein at 1:06 PM PST on October 20


But the targets of this raid weren't suspected to have guns, explosives, or be involved in manufacturing drugs or it would have been specified in the search warrants.

Your argument would allow any search warrant, even those for non-violence crimes such as Internet indecency (as here), unpaid parking tickets or child support to be treated as though it were a search warrant for anything and everything.

It's also disturbing to suggest that anyone suspect of any crime (even non-violent internet crimes) should nevertheless be treated by the police as though they are narco-terrorists running meth labs and armed with assault weapons, explosives, and booby-traps.

Even assuming you were dealing with a narco-terrorist, it would be far safer for everyone involved to lay in wait for them and arrest them on your own terms (in their driveway, in their car, at work, in town shopping, etc). These types of arrests also involve far less resources. The rub is that if you don't use your paramilitary equipment, you risk losing funding for it.

Also, if the police suspected they were dealing with an armed and dangerous narco-terrorist who never left their property, you would have expected a remedial amount of due diligence surveillance to determine who was on the property, who comes and goes and when, and… you know… whether or not you even have the right address in the first place.

Let me suggest to you that the path to tyranny never starts out labeled as such. You usually arrive at tyranny by a series of path choices where fear and safety are chosen over facts, reason, and the rule of law.

Rationalizing bad acts (such as using overwhelming force against civilians) with hypothetical fears is how you end up with police states and unnecessary wars like we have in Iraq.
posted by Davenhill at 4:33 PM on October 20, 2006


I think what is important to note in this blessed event is the amount of money and celebritarianism involved in these kind of businesses. Just like the prison industry, but much easier to sell to progressive bleeding heart in us all is the child-fucking-monster.

Let's advertise a SHAQ ATTACK on this monster and protect our weakling children by pretending to be children online while having cybersex with adults.

art isnt this good !
posted by unpoppy at 6:02 PM on October 20, 2006



"I have no sympathy for this "farmer". If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear.

It's not as if the police might have killed him by mistake when they arrested him, like they did to the guy in Fairfax whose crime was playing poker for a few hundred bucks.

9/11 changed everything; if the price of safety is a few raids by SWAT teams in black tactical vests with automatic weapons who mistakenly target law-abiding citizens and interrogate of their kids at gunpoint, that's the cost of feeling safe from terrorists.

God Bless America."




Well clevershark, a few of the comments seemed to want to lay this on the Republicans, which I have no great love for, but to insinuate that these kind of things would not happen under the Democrats is infantile. Swat teams won't break into the wrong houses under Hillary? Hmmm...

Why this was such a mystery to you makes me wonder if you don't need a better screen name. Like dumbasshark, or idon'tgetitshark, or whatsthepointagainshark.
posted by vronsky at 6:23 PM on October 20, 2006


I think we have a clear case here (both in the actors of this case and some comments in this thread) of Hollywood 'Reality' vs. real reality.

Shaq seems to want to be a real-life Hollywood super-hero who rounds up bad guys and the people who set up the raid seem to have wanted to oblige him.
O'Neal was sworn in as a Bedford County sheriff's deputy last summer and as part of that had to pass the same firearms qualification test as all deputies. At that time he was issued the Sheriff's Office's standard side arm, a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the .40 cal. S&W cartridge.
When he arrived for the raid, he was requalified, so I'm sure he was packing heat.

If the raid hadn't been a complete screwup, we would have seen lots of Shaq and Bedford in the media. As it turned out the raid has essentially been covered up.

Next we come to the perception of how dangerous the suspects would be to apprehend. In the Hollywood version, they are genious master criminals that control kiddy-porn, meth labs, and heavily armed protectors. They are involved in international terrorism. They booby-trap their 'compounds' and have thermite rigged to destroy their computers so the computers can't reveal their network's secrets.

Unfortunantly, I think Shaq, the cops, and several posters to this thread buy in to the Hollywood version - if there is only a .001% chance that such a big picture might be true then the only prudent thing is to assume it is true. And anyway it gives them an excuse to act like Rambos.

My guess about kiddy-porn networks is that the successful (= uncaught) members mainly rely upon secrecy and strong encryption. Most of the prosecutions that make the news are uncareful people on the edge of a not very large center.

Why do cops want to seize computers? For most kiddy-porn cases I would think they already have enough counts to get a warrant. Sure 1000 more pictures gives 1000 more counts. The real value of seized computers is that they can divulge contacts (i.e. the hidden network).

This is the main area in which I think kiddy-porn diverges from military/terrorist organizations. While kiddy-porn cells may have organizaional structure similar to terrorists, I doubt that the porn masters would be willing to die to protects the secrets of the group so that kiddy-porn will take over the globe.

I would expect a smart porn-master, if raided, to just trust in the strength of encryption. The main fear would be that decryption could add to counts, not reveal the network.

This is why if think claims like "SWAT is needed to keep the thermite from destroying computers" is Hollywood. Can anybody Google/other up any real example of a pornhome/bookie/whatever using thermite to hide the evidence? I doubt that if I had "bad" stuff on a computer in my home that I wanted to destroy (because some suspicious people were approaching my door) that I would thermite my disks. Thermite burns hot and long and would set the whole house on fire.

However I am only guessing about criminal networks here. Does anybody have any real (not Hollywood) info?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:35 PM on October 20, 2006


I think most of this is based on the energy generated from the kiddie-humpin television show. It's not a matter of child porn anymore, but of baiting any loser that has to hook up with underage kids out of desperation.

money in the bank for what was normal a few hundred years ago......just like marijuana maybe...

see Gogel Bordello -

[Ukrainian]

Drop the charges!
[Ukrainian]
The fire and the power, yuh?!

[Ukrainian]

(In the old time it was not a crime, drop the charges,
Don't you realise the sun rises?)

(Drop the charges, man! Drop the charges!)

(Right you are! And this time, let the people know...)

In the old time, in the old time,
In the old time it was not a crime!
(What are you talking about?)
In the old time, in the old time,
In the old time it was not a crime!

Not a crime!
(It's all nonsensical!)
Not a crime!

In the old time, in the old time,
In the old time it was not a crime!
In the old time, in the old time,
In the old time it was not a crime!

(*coughs*)
Not a crime!
Drop the charges!
Not a crime!
Not a crime!
Not a crime!

Reality!

[Ukrainian]

Spices, creation, realisation, naturalisation,
What are you talking about? It's all about time 'cos today you go to nature.

Not a crime!
In the old time, in the old time,
In the old time it was not a crime!
In the old time, in the old time,
In the old time it was not a crime!

(Not a crime, not a crime!)
Not a crime!
Not a crime!
Not a crime!
Drop the charges, man!
Not a crime!
Drop the charges!

[Ukrainian]
Not a crime!
[Ukrainian]
Not a crime!
(It's not a crime, it's legal - perfectly natural).
posted by unpoppy at 6:42 PM on October 20, 2006


prostyle - wow, touched a nerve, eh?
"Any citation for your "IED style booby traps"" I attended a seminar a few weeks ago where the booby traps were examined & detailed. Actually, just Google for "booby trap meth house." I'm not going to do your work for you, but here's a quote: "Finally, first responders should be alert for booby traps at methamphetamine labs. In one incident, firefighters and EMTS were asked to stand by in a Midwestern city while police conducted a raid on a suspected meth lab. Just as police entered the private residence, an explosion occurred and the building was engulfed in flames. Firefighters put out the blaze, and luckily nobody was hurt. An investigation by the fire marshal concluded that the fire probably was the result of a booby trap placed at the house's front entrance.

These devices are designed to protect the lab operator's cook site while it's unoccupied. There may be concealed holes in the floor, spring devices with nails, pipe bombs, acid containers propped over doorways, hand grenades rigged to explode when doors are opened, acid jars and other ingenious devices. Lab operators also have been known to keep large snakes and attack dogs for defense."

Meth dealers booby trap their meth labs. Folks that have been involved in child pornography are often linked to other activities. Do you really believe that to be some police conspiracy? That might explain all of the biased indymedia links around here.

I know people that deal with this shit day in & day out.

Optimus Chyme: See for yourself, dumbass. You're even dumber than I thought if you think I'm making it up.

"Your argument would allow any search warrant, even those for non-violence crimes such as Internet indecency (as here), unpaid parking tickets or child support to be treated as though it were a search warrant for anything and everything."

I was NOT arguing for such activity at all. I was giving an example of why such a response would have happened at all. I see it as more of a "We're going to cover our asses and be prepared" while others in this thread are stuck in the "OMG police state! AmeriKKKa!" mode. Clearly our experiences are different.

And prostyle, fuck you. Seriously.
posted by drstein at 7:36 PM on October 20, 2006


How are paramilitary style no-knock raids an effective countermeasure against IED booby traps? Are they trying to take the trap by surprise? Do they think it's going to be asleep at 4 am?

If anything, the possibility of booby traps argues for arresting the suspect away from his residence and moving slowly and cautiously, preferably in the light of day. It calls for a bomb squad, not a SWAT team.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:48 PM on October 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


#drstein: Meth dealers booby trap their meth labs. Folks that have been involved in child pornography are often linked to other activities.

References please, or are you just promugating Hollywood scare myths?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 8:14 PM on October 20, 2006


vronsky writes "Well clevershark, a few of the comments seemed to want to lay this on the Republicans"

And yet you're exactly the second user in this thread to mention the word "Republican", although admittedly one other mention was made to George Bush specifically. In a thread with 90 comments in it. While describing that as "a few" (in the dictionary sense of "more than one") is technically accurate, your obsessing about this seems quite childish and, frankly, anally-retentive.
posted by clevershark at 8:52 PM on October 20, 2006


I'll just say that mention of Bush or anti-Bush seems like something for people interesting lazy marketing. Pardon me while I get off track from the topic and fill up space with text I think iyou'll think is important !

then again, I love 70% of the input here. Thanks for fighting the apathy.
posted by unpoppy at 9:31 PM on October 20, 2006


and you'll have to forgive my editing.
posted by unpoppy at 9:34 PM on October 20, 2006


Since some of them are also involved in other illegal activities such as meth and they started wiring explosive IED style booby traps to doors & other parts of the house.
posted by drstein at 4:06 PM EST on October 20 [+] [!]


Right. Because if there is one thing every successful profitable meth operation does well, it's keeping live explosives next to the volatile industrial solvents they use to make meth. Makes sense to me.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 AM on October 21, 2006


Optimus Chyme: See for yourself, dumbass. You're even dumber than I thought if you think I'm making it up.

I'm not doing your research for you. I want you to tell us how many people in possession of child pornography also happen to be in the meth-making business. Go on.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:09 AM on October 21, 2006


I would also like to note that a shock assault on a meth lab would be a horrible idea; it could easily blow up, incinerate, or poison half the assault team. You don't send anyone into a meth lab but hazmat.

All the various suggestions (traps, meth labs, and destroyable evidence) call for catching the suspect away from home. Rushing into traps or drug labs is just about the unsafest way possible to deal with them, and the suspect can't destroy evidence if you take it while he's not home. The only time no-knock raids are called for is when you are SURE the suspects are armed, entrenched, and ready for a shootout, and you can't delay (for example, if there's hostages.) Computer hackers don't usually fit this description, and stealth tactics would be safer for all involved. This just stinks of political showboating.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:13 AM on October 21, 2006


drstein, you have made some interesting contributions OT, can you clarify what you mean here:

I know people that deal with this shit day in & day out.

I could see how being asked to walk in to a situation where you expect to be blown up would be undesirable, so why not take on board some of the suggestions for alternative ways to deal with the situation?

So far all I have gleaned from your response is that people might (inappropriately) want to be heavily armed when entering a situation where they might be subject to shrapnel damage. That in no way excuses the use of unnecessary force and firepower in these police raids. It suggests that more intelligence, both surveilance and brain power, should be brought to bare on these situations rather than firepower.

Unless the desired response is, as Davenhill suggests, to increase the number of police shootings and justify spending on largely unnecessary weaponry.
posted by asok at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2006


I know people that deal with this shit day in & day out.

You know people that have to deal with pederastic methhead explosive experts every day?
posted by Falconetti at 12:35 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Meth dealers booby trap their meth labs. Folks that have been involved in child pornography are often linked to other activities.

Any proof that these "other activities" involve meth dealing? Please. It's such a weak connection it's ridiculous.

It all comes down to probability. There may be a few meth dealers out there who rig their labs, and there may be a meth dealer who's also into kiddy porn, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to expect kiddy porn users to also be bomb-making crank heads.

It's just a bunch of fear-mongering bullshit.

Unless you can come up with a specific example of a kiddy porn fiend with a booby trapped house, I think it's reasonable to just ignore you.
posted by delmoi at 7:36 PM on October 21, 2006


Cool clevershark, sorry for the snark.
posted by vronsky at 12:39 PM on October 22, 2006


Unless you can come up with a specific example of a kiddy porn fiend with a booby trapped house, I think it's reasonable to just ignore you.

I'm pretty sure this is like the eighth time he's defended no-knock raids and extreme force, and glossed over the effects those have on the innocent. He won't ever provide actual evidence, because he is a liar and a coward.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:45 PM on October 22, 2006




Nuckols also said in a telephone interview that he heard O'Neal was at his home, but didn't specifically see the 7-foot-1, 325-pound All-Star in all the commotion.

He heard it from the OP.
posted by fixedgear at 2:14 AM on October 25, 2006


Apparently he was there and apparently he's not admitting it.
posted by nj_subgenius at 9:51 AM on October 25, 2006


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