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May. 5 2010 - 1:44 pm | 23,682 views | 3 recommendations | 20 comments

What tyranny looks like

I admit to feeling something close to rage watching this video of a SWAT team breaking into this family’s home, shooting their dogs in front of their seven-year-old boy, and then arresting the father and charging the parents with child endangerment all over the possession of a small amount of marijuana. Perhaps it was empathy I was feeling, but it felt a great deal more like rage. I suppose it was both.

Radley Balko writes:

I’d urge you to watch it, and to send it to the drug warriors in your life. This is the blunt-end result of all the war imagery and militaristic rhetoric politicians have been spewing for the last 30 years—cops dressed like soldiers, barreling through the front door middle of the night, slaughtering the family pets, filling the house with bullets in the presence of children, then having the audacity to charge the parents with endangering their own kid. There are 100-150 of these raids every day in America, the vast, vast majority like this one, to serve a warrant for a consensual crime. But they did prevent Jonathan Whitworth from smoking the pot they found in his possession. So I guess this mission was a success.

How can we give our government the authority to trample on its own citizens like this over what is by every sane and rational argument – not to mention every piece of scientific data – an incredibly harmless substance used consensually without any real side-effects? It boggles the mind.

And sometimes, it breaks the heart. Imagine your own home being burst into in this way, bullets flying, your children traumatized. Imagine they were after that six-pack of beer in your fridge. Imagine yours was the wrong house, as Balko points out is often the case.

This whole horrible war on drugs is a disgrace.


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  1. collapse expand

    The real problem does not lye with the police officers conducting the search and seizure but the city, county, or states attorney that requested the search warrant and the judge that approved it. Probable cause has a fine line and only if evidence can show this person has an intent to distribute why would any official pursue this case.
    I would like to know more about the background of evidence that led to this incident. I agree that this video is difficult to watch and as a dog lover myself its easy to want to blame the officers involved.
    True, this type of thing happens quite often and I certainly would not want to be on the receiving end. Lets put the blame where it squarely belongs and not on the police officers who were professional in all aspects when confronted with the possibility of a dog attack.

    • collapse expand

      You’re absolutely right. The police were just following orders.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      The jury is still out as to whether the DA/judge is to blame or the officers (or perhaps just the commanding officer). If they had a regular warrant instead of a no-knock warrant, the ten seconds between announcing their presence (not generally required in a NKW) and busting down the door contributed heavily to the result. If they were authorized and directed to pursue a full-on assault, then it is the fault of whomever gave that order.

      Since they did knock and announce their presence, I am currently assuming that they had a standard warrant. Right now my anger is directed at the the commanding officer (and/or the cops collectively) that decided to go paramilitary on a pot possession charge.

      And I’m still not sold on the idea of a Welsh Corgi as a vicious enough attack dog to warrant killing it.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Yeah, and I guess in michaelruark’s world the Nazi soldiers that rounded Jews into the shower stalls were just following orders too. Real professional-like.

      Any cop that feels the need to shoot a Welsh Corgi because he’s that threatened by it is too much of a pussy to be a cop, and shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    It’s Colombia. There are no laws and the weed was probably planted. US citizens: you’re tax dollars funded this.

    • collapse expand

      I totally agree that in “the war on drugs” the victims of the drug culture are the ones being punished. Why do you think our prisons are over crowded and the drugs keep coming in without much problem? Guess it’s easier to catch the users than it is the importers and distributors.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    how exactly do you justify putting FOUR BULLETS in a dog not much bigger than a cat? that is some DEEP evil there, the only reason they put the last three into it was because it was making so much noise after they already shot it for barking at them.

    the officer who shot the dog should be fired and the idiot in charge should be subject to what the dog was and child endangerment? surely firing off four rounds into a family home is putting a child in WAY more danger than some weed smoke.

  4. collapse expand

    proof that weed kills, just by cops hands, what happened to LIFE LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS? fashizm at its finest. We just beat Hitler to the end means. where are our citizens with back bones to stand up to this tyranny. the cops were way more life threatening than weed. Whats next rounding up all these people with drug addictions ,put them in a gas chambers. these are our brothers, sisters , moms, and ,dads. where is our freedoms? Gone to a policed state FASHIZM

  5. collapse expand

    Police and authorities across the American nation have begun to form a certain type of superior ego. We have to some how let them know that we are all the same, unless it come to intelligence.

    We need to crack down on these officers, what makes them better than any of us? Only we would think to do this and justify it as a form of “self defense during a warranted operation. ” I am American and I love it here, but the bullshit officers have been pulling lately makes me feel shameful for our country. Obviously we’ve taken our nation’s practice of law into a corrupt and manipulative fashion.

  6. collapse expand

    Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and a tyrant
    And i declare him my enemy.

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