Tuesday, September 23, 2014

police raid round-up: stupid, destructive, and evil - just won't stop


WaPo |  There have been a rash of police raid-related stories in the news of late. Here’s a quick rundown:
  • The grandson of a New Hampshire woman who was shot by police during a drug raid says she was reaching for her 18-month-old grandchild when the police fired at her. The bullet ripped through her arm and lodged in her abdomen. Two of the woman’s daughters were arrested on drug charges during simultaneous raids, but neither lived with the woman. According to the grandson, the police then tore the woman’s home apart but did not find any contraband.
  • In a case we’ve been following here at The Watch, an Illinois judge just ruled that police in Peoria did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they raided a home to unmask the identity of the person who had been operating a Twitter account that parodied the town’s mayor. Let me reiterate to highlight the absurdity: A judge has ruled that the police did nothing wrong when they raided a home because someone making fun of the mayor on Twitter. The local prosecutor has already announced that he won’t be seeking charges for the parody, because Illinois doesn’t have any law against impersonating a public official. (They’d almost certainly be protected by the First Amendment even if it did.) But the police did find a small amount of pot during the raid. This ruling means that local officials can proceed on charges related to the pot. There is also a federal lawsuit pending against the town for violating the residents’ First and Fourth Amendment rights.
  • Meanwhile, a federal judge in Utah has ruled that the government isn’t obligated to compensate you when the police damage your home during a mistaken raid. There’s nothing particularly unusual about this ruling. It’s consistent with a long line of qualified immunity rulings when it comes to these raids. But as with the previous item, it’s worth reiterating: The government can send armed men to raid a home, they can then raid the wrong home, and the government is under no obligation to compensate the people who were wrongly raided.