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No Knock Gone Wrong

Cops knock on the wrong house, a man answers with a gun, and the man ends up dead. I feel fortunate to live in a good neighborhood where SWAT raids are not a regular occurrence, because if someone breaks down my door early in the morning, without announcing their intentions, I’d probably be found in the same position: SWAT team in the living room with me visibly armed. I’d likely suffer the same fate unless I can ascertain they are indeed police officers quickly enough.

I would point out, if it wasn’t for the War on Drugs, we’d have relatively little need for this kind of military tactic. No knock warrants are generally used to prevent destruction of evidence, which if you’re going to do, you had better be sure the crime warrants putting people’s lives at risk. I don’t think preventing people from getting high is worth that, personally.

12 Responses to “No Knock Gone Wrong”

  1. Ben C says:

    While no-knock raids are an affront to the very concept of the 4th amendment and civil rights, this is not what was going on in this case.

    Cops were chasing a guy with an attempted murder warrant. Guy went into an apartment complex and ditched the vehicle. Cops hammered on the first door they came to at 1:30 AM with guns drawn. Cops did not say who they were, just hammered away on the door until it opened then gunned down the citizen inside at their first opportunity.

  2. Not just drugs leads to no-knock warrants. Bookmakers used to use flash paper to record bets so that when the police arrived, they could just put cigar to paper and POOF. Hence, no-knock warrants.

    The fact is that you can’t flush trafficking quantities of illegal drugs in 15 seconds. The risks of no-knock warrants, both to innocent parties and police, are enormous. There is a place for them, but a very sparing place. If judges are issuing no-knock warrants for small quantities of illegal drugs, the judges are idiots.

  3. Andy B. says:

    “If judges are issuing no-knock warrants for small quantities of illegal drugs, the judges are idiots.”

    That or the judges are in the cops pockets, for whatever reason. When I was considerably younger there was a local geriatric judge who used to ask the cops what they wanted him to do. I was very nearly placed on bail, when no charges had been filed against me. They were to be penciled in later! (Instead, I and my parents just walked out the door while the cops’ and judge’s jaws hung, and no charges ever were filed.) Only slightly irregular, of course.

    If I sometimes seem disrespectful of the “justice” system, bear with me.

  4. SDN says:

    “That or the judges are in the cops pockets, for whatever reason.”

    Asset forfeiture laws: the more arrests, the more money.

    During the witchcraft era, Germany had asset forfeiture of anyone accused of witchcraft; England didn’t. The rate of accusation was 1,000 times higher in Germany.

    • I’m curious as to the source on this. Corey Giles refused to plead during the Salem Witchcraft trials because if he pleaded guilty, his property would be forfeit; if he pleaded innocent, and was found guilty, his property would be forfeit. Refusing to plead protected his property from forfeit. Instead, a door was placed on him, and rocks added over a three day period until he could no longer breathe. His last words: “More weight.”

  5. Felix says:

    One of my pet peeves is justifying no-knock warrants by wanting to keep drugs from going down the toilet.

    If the purpose of the War on (Some) Drugs is to get rid of drugs, then all you need is for a couple of cops to show up, knock, announce “POLICE!”, and wait …. hours if need be. Let them flush everything, burn everything, destroy it all any way they can. You have gotten rid of the drugs for the cost of two cops waiting outside. You have also put the druggie in debt to his dealer for a lot of money which he can’t make up by selling the drugs, so he’s going to be out of the business for a while at least.

    The fact that they’d rather waste a ton of money with SWAT raids just shows me that they don’t really care as much for the drugs as they do for the SWAT toys and the rush.

    • That’s actually quite clever! I like it!

    • Alpheus says:

      +1 To accompany Clayton’s liking this!

      The thing about SWAT raids, though, is they started in LA so that the police would be ready to confront snipers and kidnappers with hostages. They weren’t intended for things like the serving of warrants.

      But it became popular for cities to have SWAT teams, and…they didn’t have much to do. Thus, to justify their expenses, they’ve been used to serve warrants on drugs, using “no knock–the evidence will be destroyed!” as an excuse.

  6. McThag says:

    The thing that disgusts me the most in thread after thread on this topic is how so many people elevate officer safety above all other considerations.

    • asdf says:

      Bingo. “Officer safety” should take a very distant back seat to “little people” safety.

      • Alpheus says:

        I wouldn’t quite say “distant back seat”, but “little people” safety should certainly be a primary concern.

        Indeed, the two types of safety go hand-in-hand!

    • Where did you see that? The only reference to police safety was my comment: “The risks of no-knock warrants, both to innocent parties and police, are enormous.” Note: “to innocent parties.”

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