Saturday, May 28, 2011

Police Raid with Guns Blazing

Here is yet another "suspicious" police raid where they go in shooting and ask questions later:

More info from the UK's Daily Mail.

This happens far too often. I understand that a cop's job is difficult and dangerous, but being afraid doesn't mean you have the right to snuff out a life in a hail of bullets. Presumably people are "innocent until proven guilty" but once you are dead all that theory is useless. The innocent die as quickly as the guilty and if the cops don't do their job and bring the suspect before the court, you end up with a judicial murder. A crime was committed, but int his case it looks like the cops are the criminals. The fact that they have changed their story from "he shot first" to "he threatened us with a gun" won't hold water. I can't believe any police force in the world should have the right to bust into a person's home and not expect to face a homeowner scared out of their wits and holding a weapon.

In cases like this, I don't understand why the police don't simply announce "we have you surrounded, give up" and then lay seige to the house. The police can use tear gas to drive a recalcitrant person out of the house. Why are they going in guns blazing? Why wouldn't you expect -- in a country where the citizenry are armed to the teeth -- to encounter a terrified homeowner with gun in hand?

I remember when I was a kid and the Chicago police went in guns blazing and killed Fred Hampton. The initial news report talked about "an exchange of fire" but the news reporter, I think it was CBS, pointed out the strange fact that while there were literally hundreds of bullet holes inside Fred Hampton's apartment, there was no evidence of any bullets going the other way, out toward the police.

The intial story of a "police provoked into a fire fight" ended up being a lie. As you can see by reading this Wikipedia article, the police had used an insider to drug Fred Hampton before the raid:
O'Neal had slipped the powerful barbiturate sleep agent, secobarbitol into a drink that was consumed by Hampton during the dinner in order to sedate Hampton so that he would not awaken during the subsequent raid. O'Neal left at this point, and, at about 1:30 a.m., Hampton fell asleep in mid-sentence talking to his mother on the telephone. Although Hampton was not known to take drugs, Cook County chemist Eleanor Berman would report that she ran two separate tests which each showed a powerful barbiturate had been introduced into Hampton's blood. An FBI chemist would later fail to find similar traces, but no explanation for how Berman's tests could have been flawed was offered and she stood by her findings.


Automatic gunfire then converged at the head of the bedroom where Hampton slept, unable to wake up as a result of the barbiturates that the FBI infiltrator had slipped into his drink. He was lying on a mattress in the bedroom with his pregnant girlfriend. Two officers found him wounded in the shoulder, and fellow Black Panther Harold Bell reported that he heard the following exchange:
"That's Fred Hampton."
"Is he dead?... Bring him out."
"He's barely alive.
"He'll make it."
Two shots were heard, which it was later discovered were fired point blank in Hampton's head. According to Deborah Johnson, one officer then said:

"He's good and dead now."
Hampton's body was dragged into the doorway of the bedroom and left in a pool of blood. The officers then directed their gunfire towards the remaining Panthers, who were hiding in another bedroom. They were wounded, then beaten and dragged into the street, where they were arrested on charges of aggravated assault and the attempted murder of the officers. They were each held on US$100,000 bail.
That was cold blooded murder by the police. The government hated the Black Panthers. Rather than bother with arrests and trials, the "authorities" decided to short-circuit the process and deliver "justice" at the barrel of a gun.

You can only have a civil society if you have the rule of law. That means a functioning police and judiciary and a respect for the lives of citizens. I find it funny that the US can find fault with governments around the world, call them corrupt, but it seems unable to find any corruption at home. It reminds me of the late 1950s and early 1960s when the US went around the world preaching "human rights" while maintaining a Jim Crow, segregated, and brutal police state for the blacks in the Deep South. Hypocrisy comes easy to the government of the US.

You only get the government you deserve if you fight for it. You need to complain about police brutality and thugs in uniform. You need to fight crooked judges and prosecutors and the politicization of higher levels of the police (like the RCMP in Canada or the FBI in the US).

There was a notorious case of police brutality recently in Canada. But there are many more: Robert Dziekański, Ian Bush (a person under arrest who managed to shoot himself in the back of the head, or so claim the RCMP), etc.

Sadly, most people aren't "bothered" by police brutality until it happens to them. But then it is too late. If you don't stop it early, you can easily become the victim of police brutality. In the words of the famous German Protestant minister, Martin Niemöller, during the black days of Hitler's reign:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

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