Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Civil Rights Are So 18th Century

It has been 14 months since a SWAT team with no warrent broke into the home of a mayor, killed his 2 dogs, and held his family at gunpoint for 4 hours. Cheye M. Calvo - Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo Recounts Errant SWAT Raid - washingtonpost.com Terrorizing innocents is standard fare.
In the words of Prince George's County Sheriff Michael Jackson, whose deputies carried out the assault, "the guys did what they were supposed to do" -- acknowledging, almost as an afterthought, that terrorizing innocent citizens in Prince George's is standard fare.
The internal affairs investigation is not complete at 14 months, but the statute of limitations on police misconduct is 12 months. If anybody did anything, they are off the hook.

Fourth Amendment?
Next, there is significant evidence that the county is broadly violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. After initially claiming that they had a "no-knock" warrant to forcibly enter our home, county police acknowledged that they did not have one. But they went on to contend that there is no such thing as a "no-knock" warrant in Maryland. But this isn't true. A statewide "no-knock" warrant statute was passed in 2005. Effectively, the county is denying the existence of state law. We can't get the county to say whether it has ever followed the law or, at a minimum, even acknowledges it.
Then they tried to concoct a story to "justify" the raid.
The lie disappeared after police learned that I was the mayor. Charges of a police coverup are hardly unusual, but there is significant evidence that county law enforcement engaged in a conspiracy on our lawn to justify an illegal entry. Nothing strikes at the heart of police credibility like creative report writing and false testimony to cover up a lie or even put innocent people behind bars. Swift and serious consequences are the best deterrent.
These guys won't even get a slap on the wrist.

The victim/mayor gets the last word.
As an imperfect elected official myself, I can understand a mistake -- even a terrible one. But a pattern and practice of police abuse treated with utter indifference rips at the fabric of our social compact and virtually guarantees more of the same.
[Via Uncle]

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