Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Serving Warrants and the Fourth Amendment.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

I have been thinking about writing about this for awhile, but have been concerned about this being taken the wrong way.  So here is my disclosure:  I am not trying to attack police officers in any way, they have a tough job, and I respect and appreciate that.  This is not a criticism of police, this is a criticism of policy.

That being said, I believe that serving warrants in the way they are currently being served is not only extremely dangerous, as we have recently seen, but also a violation of the fourth amendment, as they are unreasonable.  Yes, I know a warrant is issued by judge before a search is conducted.  But in this case, we are using the term "search" rather loosely.  Breaking into a person's house, violently, with a squad of guns pointed at anyone in that house, and claiming that yelling "police" as your busting down the door is adequate notice, is ridiculous.  I understand the need to seize evidence or what not, but there are many ways in which the same results could be attained with a much lower danger to officers or the people inside the house.  What if they have the wrong guy?  If I am sitting in my living room and someone breaks down my door, tosses flash bangs in, and storms my house, you better believe that first thing I am grabbing is my gun.  My response would not be unlike this former Marine Combat Veteran:

  • Mr. Guerena did not fire any shots.
  • The swat team fired 71 rounds, Mr. Guerena was shot 22 time, and denied medical attention for about an hour, while his wife pleaded for someone to give him aid.
  • There were no drugs or paraphernalia found on the premises, nor in his system
  • There has been no arrests in this supposed "investigation."
  • While the swat team did announce their presence, Mrs. Guerena said she had no idea the people invading her house were police.  (I certainly could not hear someone outside my home shouting).
  • Even had he been involved in drug trafficing, which there is no evidence he was, why couldn't they grab him as he was going to work, why is it necessary to raid his house?
Here is a video captured by a helmet cam.

I just don't see how this kind of a raid can be justified.  This is not a search, not in any sense of the word.  This kind of activity is a perversion of the fourth amendment.  Not to mention the refusal to offer aid is despicable.   I served in Afghanistan, and every man knows that you have to triage enemy combatants the same as you triage your friends.  Which means that a Marine in Afghanistan must treat a Taliban fighter before he treats his friend, if that Taliban fighter is hurt more seriously.  Jose Guerena was a damn American Citizen!

From the other perspective:

As a former Infantry Marine, I know that their is nothing more dangerous than raiding a house like this.  It is very easy to defend for a bad guy, yet as the person conducting the raid, you are blind, you have a choke point, (which means that you are bunched up), and the bad guy knows exactly where you're coming in at.  

So why are we authorizing these types of raids?  Recently several police officers were shot in Ogden, UT while serving a drug warrant for someone growing 16 marijuana plants.  Five were wounded and one officer was killed.  Again, why is a raid like this necessary.  It is not worth the life of these officers.  They could have grabbed him at work or when he left his house. 

The man who was in the house was sleeping at the time, and said he did not hear the officers announce themselves.

Now, I am sure many will disagree with me, but I just don't understand how these types of activities are justified.  I believe it is an overreach by government, and a serious danger to personal liberty in this country.


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Utah Firearms Instruction

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