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No Warrant, No Entry

If this video represents how the Watertown “voluntary” searches were conducted at all, then I seriously wonder how the officers would have reacted to this doormat.

Now this may be the nutty libertarian in me, but being met at the door by SWAT teams with guns pointed at you and orders barked to keep your hands up no matter what isn’t what I call a “request” to search your home on a “voluntary” basis. Nor is it just checking the premises to have multiple officers patting down innocent people as they exit said house to screams for them to keep their hands up and to run down the street for further body searches.

I sincerely hope that some government official somewhere is so ashamed of this video that they end up releasing some kind of evidence that there was specific probable cause for this house to be searched in this manner. However, the pessimist in me doubts that will be the case. The video makes it appear as though the only cause for such a response was the delayed answer to non-stop door knocks.

If there was no reasonable suspicion that the suspect had specifically entered this property, I sincerely hope that those people find themselves a damn good lawyer quickly.

40 Responses to “No Warrant, No Entry”

  1. Dave says:

    Furthermore, this was done by Boston PD while operating in Watertown. This video is disgusting.

  2. Applebee says:

    Regarding the possibility of citizens of Watertown bringing suit against the police for unlawful searches:

    http://blog.simplejustice.us/2013/04/20/bringing-out-the-worst-in-us.aspx?ref=rss

    It’s not encouraging.

  3. 1913 says:

    Also found it to be incredibly disturbing that they were aiming their rifles into windows and seemed to have no issue with muzzle sweeping each other. Everything about this is sickening.

  4. motomed says:

    People love to say terrorists win if people live in fear…. well this past week terrorists won for entirely different reasons….. this video being a prime example.

  5. asdf says:

    I never open my door without first looking out of the window. I would have made them kick my door in before opening it.

    • Bitter says:

      That’s what Sebastian suggested. That way there are damages to be won in a lawsuit. Though, the link provided in a comment above notes that Orin Kerr said, “And if they did bring such suits, qualified immunity would bar recovery unless the violation was clearly established — which is unlikely here given the novelty of the facts.”

  6. tjbbpgobIII says:

    Why, I wonder, didn’t they shoot the dog. It was barking.

  7. James says:

    Government official=ashamed of their conduct. HA ha. Tell another one, please!

  8. I’m disappointed that the man’s neighbors didn’t start engaging the state sponsored terrorists going door to door assaulting everyone because they thought they could get away with it.

    • Bitter says:

      I think limiting the response to filming the search is fine. The neighbors might be missing key information. For example, what if this search isn’t the standard method they used? What if it turns out that this house has a resident who was known to the suspects and happens to be in the area of the shoot-out? Given certain sets of potential circumstances, there could be probable cause to believe the suspect was there. The neighbors may not realize that, and their houses may not have been searched with such force and aggression. The camera might have been picked up specifically because they were lining up more SWAT members than they had for other houses, and that increase in force may be related to information only known to occupants and the officers.

      I’m open to the argument that the officers had information that warranted this type of search. However, this is so troubling, that asking questions about their methods is absolutely justified and absolutely demands accountability from the state. These circumstances should not go unanswered in a free society. If the answers don’t come close to justifying anywhere near this kind of search, then punishment should be issued. Of course, I realize that’s hopelessly optimistic.

      • Thomas says:

        I don’t consider it hopelessly optimistic. With out information of what was happening, saying the guilty party was the police or the residence would be jumping to conclusions.

        But this was pretty strange. Even when SWAT is involved a uniformed police office is usually there and patrol vehicles are there.

        I wouldn’t have opened the door either.

      • Zermoid says:

        I don’t think I would have even gone to the door…….

        Just yell that he wasn’t there, and if he was I’d have shot the SOB for them!

  9. WR2A says:

    Biter,

    This is highly disturbing, indeed. True, true, there was an Islamic terrorist on the loose, and of course there should have been an expected sense of sober-mindedness in finding him, with both the police and with the populace, but this…this is unsettling.

    Thanks for posting it.

  10. Ed Warden says:

    I would love to see the tables turned on these officers and watch how they react when this many guns are AIMED AT THEIR KIDS AND WIFE. They are no more than govt THUGS.

  11. Andy B. says:

    I doubt this is a suggestion that needs to be made, but I think we ought to work overtime to make sure this video and the others like it that will emerge, go viral — and not just to our usual circle of crank friends, but to our aunties, local newspaper columnists and editors, business associates, etc.

    Just make sure that what is in the videos you reference, really is authentic before you send it.

  12. LauraB says:

    Bitter, this is a link to another Watertown search video. The police in this one seem to be state police and seem to be much calmer. It may be that in your original video they thought there were suspects within the house or I wonder if this is a SWAT team issue.

    • Bitter says:

      The video I linked is not the house with the suspects. Just looking at the time of day, it’s obvious that’s not the right house.

      • LauraB says:

        Well, then I wonder if it’s a SWAT team issue. They seem to be trained to treat everyone like a suspect and every situation like they’re taking down a Mexican drug cartel. It would be interesting to see if more video comes out, where it falls in the spectrum.

        • Zermoid says:

          Actually, that pretty much is what they were originally intended to be for.
          They were supposed to be for “Special” situations where greater force than a regular cop was equiped for was needed, not for everyday police duties like they are used for nowdays.

  13. Keith says:

    How many other houses on the street were searched in this manner? If this was the only one, it would seem that there was a specific reason for that particular house. It did seem like there were a lot of people coming out and at least one woman in hajib, which was not frisked but the first two officers at ground level who were frisking the men, vigorously. Getting all high and mightly without all the facts is like what you are accusing the cops of doing. Seems hypocritical without all the facts.

    • Bitter says:

      Since when is raising questions “getting all high and mightly,” as you call it? Seriously, this was a very calm post given the contents of the video. I also think you’re reaching in the assertion that there was a woman in a hijab (not “hajib”) since it actually looks like someone with shortish hair and their hands on their head concealing most of the view. There *might* be scarf knotted at the back of the neck, but that’s not standard practice with a hijab. It is, however, a common place to secure a scarf worn as a headband.

    • Andy B. says:

      “at least one woman in hajib. . .”

      Gee, that was nostalgic, in a way. It reminds me of the early 1970s when it would be noted how a suspect in a spirited police raid had an Afro ‘do. Or even the mid-1960s, when “long hair” would be cited as an extenuating circumstance.

      Ah, those were the days — that never left, just morphed into something different.

  14. Greg says:

    Pure over reaction here, this was merely a training exercise to teach the people on how they are to behave from now on. Do everything the nice gov official tells you to do oh and by the way turn over your children for indoctrination thank you for your cooperation.

  15. Greg says:

    What would have happened if this occurred in a free state and the home owner came to the door with a gun? Would the swat teams have killed more citizens than the bombers did? I have to wonder.

  16. Countertop says:

    tough to make any judgment without context.

  17. alcade says:

    Too bad Romney wasn’t president, then at least we’d have the media to help us know these kinds of searches are wrong.

    • Geodkyt says:

      ^^ THIS ^^

      • tincankilla says:

        Ha! No way, Romney’s a rich Metrocon like any other. he’d happily see our rights trampled as long as he can keep his low low tax rate, and the 6-figure anchors at FOX would be trumpeting his version of the world.

        • Alpheus says:

          Yes, but we’d actually have a chance of a good reaction from the other news sources about how our rights are being trampled on by an evil Republican president. With a Democrat in the White House: meh.

  18. Andy B. says:

    In my limited experience what we are witnessing in that video is pretty standard police “shock and awe” intimidation tactics, both to discourage resistance, and hoping the witnessed will spread the intimidation message to others, afterward. The only reason we are shocked is, that is not how we have seen Officer Friendly portrayed on TV, even in our “tough cop” TV shows — and even if we won’t admit it, TV is where most of our perceptions of reality come from.

    When I was a little kid the feds came to arrest one of my father’s friends, over a petty crime his brother had committed. They arrived en masse when they knew he wouldn’t be home from work yet, and while waiting for him to arrive (on the bus) lined up the neighbors in his middle class urban neighborhood against a fence with Thompson guns. In those days (and probably still) the media were very cooperative in not reporting such things.

    I have no criminal record, but when I was in my late teens I and some of my friends were on the receiving end of a similar “shock and awe” raid by maybe 12 – 20 cops seeking some desperate teenaged perps who had (hold your hats) towed an abandoned car out of a pasture where it had sat in axle-deep mud for a couple years; unfortunately neglecting to get its papers in order before moving it. For police purposes they called that “auto theft.” In any case, I am more familiar than most with police intimidation like that; having experienced it, you will not forget it.

    • PubliusII says:

      Yes, it’s outrageous. And for all the huff-and-puff, they still didn’t catch the guy. It took an ordinary citizen about 10 minutes after the lockdown was lifted to find him.

      That’s the message we need to be spreading. Up-armoring, Humvees, APCs, tacticool — none of it was as effective as a citizen checking his property.

  19. Braden Lynch says:

    To add to the chorus, it was one guy left running around. To shut down a city and go on these types of raids (status of a warrant is unknown to me) is total over-reaction.

    How much more damage could he really have done if normal police search procedures had been followed? The simple acceptable use of more police at transit points looking for him, questioning neighbors, family, and friends about his likely whereabouts, and pursue leads within proper channels is sufficient. It’s not like he can hide forever.

    To those of you who say that he could have compatriots planning other attacks and other bombs, does that mean that you will ask for torture to pry that information out of him upon capture. A speedy capture breaking all the normal rules does very little to improve our safety. I does set a terrible precedent though.

    I’m afraid the Constitution died a little that day.

    So, if terrorists want to shut down America they need merely stagger multiple Mumbai-style attacks in succession and many cities will be locked down virtually for eternity. This over blown type of response has to be abandoned. Heads should roll in Boston over this.

  20. SammysDad says:

    The amount of time and men used for this search of 1 house would have taken them 1 year to search Watertown. If suspect #2 was not injured, he could have been in CT by the time the search was over.

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