The killing of Jamie Dean
September 4, 2007 10:25 PM   Subscribe

The killing of Jamie Dean. "Police in rural Maryland staged a military stakeout and shot a troubled Army vet. As his family plans to sue, they are asking how a soldier being treated for PTSD could be shipped to Iraq."
posted by homunculus (27 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
tangentially related, from the (ugh) Cato Institute a Google map mash-up of botched paramilitary police raids seen on Boing boing a few days back
posted by edgeways at 10:38 PM on September 4, 2007

just think of it as a friendly fire incident, sorta like pat tillman.
posted by bruce at 11:34 PM on September 4, 2007

The purpose of war is to destroy human beings for political or economic gain.

Its just that the people we destroy aren't always "the enemy".
posted by Avenger at 11:40 PM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

If that account is accurate the police went _way_ overboard, even by normal law enforcement escalate higher faster standards. A few cops could have waited this out. It's not like he was a danger to anyone but himself.
posted by Mitheral at 12:24 AM on September 5, 2007

Exactly. How could people, especially cops, not know anything about PTSD? Who goes after a serving military veteran with military tactics? It's a perfect nightmare.

We're a country at war, and we know absolutely nothing about the effects of war? This is rank stupididty and arrogance.
posted by toma at 1:17 AM on September 5, 2007

That link of horrifying.

October 5, 2005—RI
On October 5, 2005, a North Providence, Rhode Island SWAT team raids the home of Paul Foley and his family, including his 14-year-old daughter. Foley tells the Providence Journal that police came "bursting through his front door, yelling and screaming at everyone in his house." They had the wrong home.

Despite the raid, Foley would later profess, "I totally support Mayor Paul Marino and the North Providence Police Department, 100 percent and without reservation."

These are the people who aren't concerned about PATRIOT.

May 22, 2006—WI
On May 22, a narcotics SWAT team storms the home of Kristina Radke and Kenneth Berhenke on a no-knock raid. They shatter the couple's window, roll in a diversionary grenade, then break open the door. Radke and Berhenke, who were preparing for bed, are apprehended, handcuffed and held at gunpoint.

What happens if you shoot a police officer executing a no knock warrant on the wrong address? In say Florida or Texas? Does your next of kin get to sue the department? If you manage to survive do you go to prison?

September 6, 2005—KS
In September 2005, police in Bel Aire, Kansas raid the home of the town's former mayor after mistaking sunflowers in the mayor's backyard for marijuana plants. Police took pictures of the plants, and showed them to a district attorney, who showed them to a judge. All agreed that the photographed plants were marijuana.

The sunflower, incidentally, also happens to be the state flower of Kansas.

I wonder if they can find the US on an unmarked map?

May 9, 2005—NJ

Five state police officers in masks, bulletbroof vests, and donning assault weapons break into the home of Philip Petronella as he's watching television. Though the front door is unlocked, they break it down anyway. They handcuff Petronella, and sit him on the couch while they rifle through his belongings.

The search goes on for hours. Police finally reveal to Petronella, a 63-year-old retiree, that they believe his home is being used for prostitution. "I told them, 'You gotta be kidding. I ain't getting any. Nobody else is getting any out of here,'" Petronella told a local newspaper.

Police later realize that the suspects they were looking for had moved out months earlier.

Hoods and assault weapons? Just how tough are the hookers in NJ?
posted by Mitheral at 1:31 AM on September 5, 2007

That link of edgeways is horrifying
posted by Mitheral at 1:34 AM on September 5, 2007

Despite the raid, Foley would later profess, "I totally support Mayor Paul Marino and the North Providence Police Department, 100 percent and without reservation."

These are the people who aren't concerned about PATRIOT.

I don't know if that's a mistake of the link, the projo, or, most likely, Foley, but Paul Marino was never, to my knowledge, Mayor of North Providence. He is police chief, tho.
posted by Snyder at 2:18 AM on September 5, 2007

There are good reasons for not giving the military police powers, and for not letting the police use military tactics on civilians.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:30 AM on September 5, 2007

Hoods and assault weapons? Just how tough are the hookers in NJ?

Unless you've been there, there's simply no way you can know.
posted by psmealey at 4:04 AM on September 5, 2007

I'd like to know why in the fuck they shot *Anything* into the house, considering yeah, he was armed, but 1) he had no power 2) there was no-one else in there. Just fucking wait it out, let the fellow sober up.

Or were the cops just eager to play with their toys?
posted by notsnot at 4:07 AM on September 5, 2007

Some county's hired killers kill one of the country's hired killers. Maybe it was karma, maybe it was just cops being cops. Who knows? The important part is crying crocodile tears and blaming the situation on Bush.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:33 AM on September 5, 2007

I'd like to know why in the fuck they shot *Anything* into the house,

They thought I could calm him down.

But here I'm not kidding: this article is one of the saddest things I've read. He was what sounds like a pretty sweet guy. Then this disgusting war follows him home and torments him to death in front of his family. Fuck that shit.
posted by Anything at 4:38 AM on September 5, 2007

Jeez people, it's called 'collateral damage'. Flag and move on.
posted by pompomtom at 5:05 AM on September 5, 2007

Finally, Dean stepped out of the front door. As he raised his gun and pointed it at the armored vehicle, a sniper located 70 yards away shot him.

Does this basically sound like suicide by cop? I mean, he's in a standoff, and he comes out with the gun raised.
posted by smackfu at 5:39 AM on September 5, 2007

Hell of a welfare check. "We're not sure he's okay, ma'am, so we'll kill him for refusing to tell us he's all right."

What the fuck? What fucking grounds did they have to assault his house? He wasn't even wanted for anything. He had committed no crime. He got the death penalty for refusing to leave his home.

This has got to be the single most fucked-up police abuse story I've ever seen.
posted by Malor at 6:09 AM on September 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

I notice that it goes from

by trying to assure Dean they didn't want to arrest him, they just needed him to come outside and tell them everything was all right.


At just after 4 a.m., those SWAT-like teams began firing tear gas into the house. The canisters smashed through the windows and penetrated the walls. Police fired between 40 and 60 rounds into the house, 10 times the amount needed to incapacitate a person.

without any significant escalation of Dean's part. If this went down as described in the article, the cops are in the wrong and should be prosecuted.

As to the fact that he was suffering from PTSD and was being shipped back? I've been saying for a while how bad it's going to be for soldiers who are returning and aren't being treated, but this? This is just madness.
posted by quin at 10:32 AM on September 5, 2007

As a PTSD sufferer: jesus fucking christ, I hope the Maryland PD assemble a book in his memory. A textbook on how not to deal with someone who has PTSD.

Luckily, mine isn't from anything remotely resembling a combat situation. Still... there are lots of similarities. Flashbacks aren't just the technicolor clip-reel you get in the movies. Sometimes, lots of times, it's emotional. It's how you react to otherwise-innocuous things that remind you of the really heavy shit that fucked your head up in the first place. It's sudden adrenaline that makes you fully aware of every notch in your spine and every muscle in your body. It's an instant jolt into full-bore terror, fight and flight, shame or fear or anger, all mixed up and swirled around, and you know it doesn't fit the situation but God help you, you can't stop it either, it just keeps going and you're every bit as scared by it as everyone around you. You don't know how to act, you don't know how to react, and the worst part of all is that you don't know how to make it stop.

The kind I have is bad enough. I can't imagine what it's like to have combat experience on top of it. I'm pretty sure, though, that the last few hours of Jamie Dean's life were as though the world decided to act out his own version of hell.

He didn't deserve that. Nobody does.
posted by cmyk at 12:11 PM on September 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

As a result of 9/11, funds for "anti-terrorist" equipment have allowed police departments* across the country to purchase equipment they would never have been able to afford in the past. In most cases, grant money is available simply for the asking, no real justification beyond "we need it to fight terrorists". Even if they're in the middle of nowhere where no terrorist is ever going to attack.

Of course, equipment is easier to get than training. So now we end up with police departments equipped like the military but with no clue as to how (or when) to use the equipment. This case is a perfect example.

*The money is also available to fire departments and ambulance services, although they don't usually purchase firearms or armored vehicles.
posted by tommasz at 12:46 PM on September 5, 2007

Here's another fun one:

In 1995, the family of a depressed, 33-year-old Albuquerque, New Mexico man named Larry Harper called police out of fear that that Harper was about to commit suicide. Police responded with a nine-member SWAT team, dressed in full military gear and armed with automatic rifles and flashbang grenades.

Harper's family overheard one officer say, "Let's go get the bad guy," before the SWAT team chased Harper through the woods of a local park. According to the New York Times, Harper died when the SWAT team "found him cowering behind a juniper tree and shot him to death from 43 feet away."

Part of the problem is the increasing availability of SWAT and other paramilitary gear, but I think this sort of thing has a lot to do with the culture in the department as well. You hear about this sort of thing quite a bit in New Mexico, and it's just about always ABQPD (no, really, take a look at the map I linked to above). For some reason, the cops in Albuquerque are just plain crazy compared to everywhere else, even though there are plenty of towns in this state with higher violent crime rates than ABQ. There must be something going on with the atmosphere in that department, but damned if I know what.
posted by vorfeed at 2:27 PM on September 5, 2007

Some county's hired killers kill one of the country's hired killers. Maybe it was karma, maybe it was just cops being cops. Who knows? The important part is crying crocodile tears and blaming the situation on Bush.

gee mayor curley, youre so insightful, knowing we are thinking of bush even tho youre the only one to mention him. i just don't think we can handle your insight, maybe you should save it for people who appreciate your genius
posted by Snyder at 2:59 PM on September 5, 2007

Sweet jesus, what a fucked-up system.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2007

The problem with the system lay (here, and many other places) with the state’s attorney and lack of police oversight. My jaw dropped when I read the SA ruled the shooting justified. That’s absolutely unacceptable given the facts of the case from this article. It’s possible there’s some information not in here, but given he didn’t have a hostage or anything, this is madness.
This is utterly appalling. For me, the cherry on top here is that there are police departments that are professional and not trigger happy goons and are overseen by vigilant state’s attorneys offices and other institutions. It is infuriating to know the system can and does work just fine when it’s allowed to and to see this kind of madness go on.
There was a shooting a while back - a guy refused to leave his house, he had a gun and there were kids in the house. SWAT waited, negotiators talked, and he let the kids go. But he refused to leave. So sandwiches were ordered. People drank coffee, etc. etc. just wait him out, right? But after a bit the guy says he’s going to kill himself and SWAT has to go in (lawyers). They get the key to the door from his wife and take in the big sheilds and try to talk the guy down. So he’s locked himself in the bathroom and won’t come out. SWAT is still talking to him when he shoots. Bullets bounce off the sheilds (9mm) and they bust into the john and bowl the guy over with the door, get on top of him, cuff him and take him to the hospital. No shots fired except for the guy.
Now I grant, training, training, training, but the simple fact is either it is done properly or it isn’t. Oversight is typically in your DA’s office and their either appointed by whomever is your top executive (say county commissioner on that level) or elected. But there’s your check and public oversight.
Police brutality has been with us a long time. Lots of nasty stuff went on under Clinton, so it’s not necessarially a political thing. Where Bushco enters into the picture is on the federal level - your federal prosecutor does stuff like uncover corruption (at least in theory). Ergo when Bush stacked the deck in the U.S. Attorney’s office, that affected oversight which affects the odds of federal LEA doods getting away with this kind of thing
(Of course, out here we have Pat Fitzgerald and a wonderful U.S. Atty’s office that completely kicks ass - granted, it’s a target rich environment for corruption in Cook County, but still...)
That aside, that’s how the system is supposed to work, the guy you elect appoints the guy who oversees the police or you elect that guy directly.
Somewhere in there either people don’t know how it works, or they don’t give a crap that this kind of thing is happening.
I think it’s a bit of both (mayor curley’s comments are instructive as to the latter), I think many police departments delude themselves not having oversight is an ideal position and that they aren’t able to be held accountable by publically elected officials and they give off that aura, speak in that language.
They are wrong.
But of course, so often folks don’t know that and it isn’t in anyone’s interest in power to inform them.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2007

(I mean hell, jewels like Fitzgerald aside, a lot of people don’t go into public service because they expect to work for a living)
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2007

Smedleyman writes "they don’t give a crap that this kind of thing is happening."

See victim Foley's opinion in my comment. Some people out there honestly think these kinds of tactics are justified and good even when they are on the recieving end. How do you fight that?
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on September 6, 2007

“How do you fight that?”

No, no, just a reflex there.

Yeah, good point, it’s tough. Reminds me of the “ Myth-busters have the odds against them “ thread. I think they’ve been convinced this kind of authoritarianism is a good thing. I gave a local guy a pretty good (verbal) slap down (response to the good ole boy style “ahmana run ya in” tripe). Long story short and objectively speaking, I wasn’t doing anything wrong and was more than willing to go to the station, so once we got the alpha male junk out of the way he was all about hero worship. Mentioned my military background he says “yeah, you’re built for it” etc. etc. Vague homoeroticism there aside (and aside from a lot of people have only those two interpersonal gears dominant or submissive) there needs to be more emphasis on civic duty. Not only as duty, but as empowerment.
Otherwise you get the same sort of response to authority as value in and of itself. Authority is just a tool. Unfortunately many people have been taught it’s a fetish.
And there seems to be more interest/benefit to certain concerns in that than - certainly - there is in learning about civic responsibility and the reciprocal nature of authority and citizenship.

As it is, I think there has been more education going this direction. Doesn’t seem ubiquitous but at least around here... More kids are doing community service projects, seeing how government and community connect and that they can get the attention of legislators and such. Not that they’re mouthy with the cops, but someone in office tolerating this kind of injustice is going to be out on their ass pretty quickly.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:31 PM on September 6, 2007

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