Monday, May 10, 2010

The War on Drugs

If the police ever serve a warrant on your house, you can evidently count on losing the family pets, even if they're caged.

Via Megan. After being so hard on her over immigration, I should say that she got this one pretty much right.

6 comments:

trumwill said...

Not to defend what the cops did here, but they are claiming that the dog was not caged.

It's a dreadful story. The only hard part, morally, is allocating where the bulk of responsibility should go. The cops? The commanding officer? The DA? The judge? The lawmakers?

Professor Hale said...

The fault is squarely with the police.

1. They used a SWAT team to serve a simple warrant.

2. They have no procedure to handle family dogs other than shooting them. This is UN-F***ING-SAT.

3. They also need a primary procedure to deal with people in the house using non-lethal means.

4. The man will likely not face the death penalty for his crime that they are serving, therefore, they have no cause to give him and his family death in the process of arresting him. Police are permitted to have weapons in the USA for only one purpose: self defense... just like all the rest of us.

5. An armored man is facing no threat from a dog, even a vicious dog. They could have easily locked the dog in a room, roped it, or contained it with their riot shields. If they believe dog attack is a likely threat, they should have protective equipment to deal with that.

Professor Hale said...

Further, a dog that is kept in the house is normally not vicious, but may be protective. Vicious animals are kept outside, by those who choose to keep them.

trumwill said...

Hale,

I can't seem to get much information on the warrant. Some are saying it was a high-risk "no knock" warrant that the DA sought and the judge signed off on. If so, then more blame goes to those parties and less to the police that were simply doing what they were told. Shooting dogs on high-risk warrants is relatively standard. Particularly if it's a Pit Bull (they say they shot the corgi by mistake).

My suspicion is that it was a standard warrant because they did knock and announce their presence. But I don't know that to be the case and a fair number of people are saying otherwise.

If I am right, then it is definitely a police issue. They knocked and waited less than ten seconds before entering with guns drawn. I don't know about you, but my ability to answer the door in ten seconds is not reliable. Further, had he yelled for them to hold on because he was penning his dog up, the yell could have easily been mistaken for a threat. So that, too, would be risky.

Professor Hale said...

This is what happens when you have SWAT teams in every town: You find things for them to do.

There was no risk to having the local cop serve the warrant by knocking on the front door. Team member watches the back door.

When you break in on someone in the middle of the night, bad things always happen.

But the crux of this matter is the relationship between the police and the community. When the police see the community as a hostile fire zone and they are occupying soldiers, nothing but violence will work.

People have rights in this country. A SWAT team killing the family dog reduces risk to police but at the cost of treating the family as if they and all their property exist for the convenience and safety of the police. THIS IS NOT THE AMERICAN WAY.

Towns that do not have a SWAT team still arrest their criminals without having to kill the family dogs on sight.

trumwill said...

According to Radley Balko, it was *not* a no-knock warrant. Further, possession for personal use is supposed to be legal in Columbia. Sigh.