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Utah Police Kill Marijuana Smoker in Own Home

Video Outrage: Utah Police Kill Marijuana Smoker in Own Home

NORML
January 18, 2011

Huffington Post reports it as “Police Kill Man In Drug Raid Gone Wrong“. So what’s the “gone wrong” part?

The police had a no-knock warrant (though they forgot to bring it) to search for drugs. Busting down a citizen’s door quickly, loudly, and with overwhelming force is the standard. Sure, the guy they were looking for was a roommate who had already moved out (and they knew it), but it is so vitally important that we find and imprison people smoking weed at home that even a hastily-planned no-knock midnight raid without warrant paperwork is preferable to allowing one more joint to be smoked by a middle aged man in his own home. (Warning: Video is graphic in nature. Story continues after video.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV6Bq8xeQrU

It is standard operating procedure to send the “Weber-Morgan County Narcotics Strike Force” in all-black full body armor, toting automatic weapons under the cover of night. If police are confronted by someone wielding arms, like, say, an average cannabis consumer with a former drug dealing roommate who grabs a golf club to defend himself when he’s suddenly awakened in the dead of night by armored ninjas toting machine guns, they are legally allowed to discharge their firearm to defend themselves and neutralize the suspect.

When you break down a man’s door in the middle of the night with guns drawn, somebody dying isn’t an unexpected outcome. This is a drug raid gone right. We send stormtroopers into American homes 100-150 times per day on the premise that finding their drugs justifies risking their lives.

Most of the time nobody dies (except the dog) and the few that are killed that you read about are the ones that shock everybody because they didn’t have large amounts of drugs or a firearm on them at the time. Yeah, mistakes were made, but you’ve got to expect some collateral damage in a War on Drugs, right?

Note how many times you read about a raid where “multiple firearms” are found and that is used to justify the excessive force of the raid. How many times do they tell you those multiple firearms are a collection of hunting weapons or sporting arms or handguns for self defense? How about when a “felony amount” of drugs are found, so they must be drug dealers! Have you ever looked at what constitutes a felony level of drugs in some states? It’s 3/4 of an ounce in Florida. It’s an ounce in Oregon (yes, hippie dippie, medical marijuana-lovin’, first-to-decrim Oregon!)

Cannabis is not cocaine. It’s not like we need to burst in quickly before the suspect flushes the evidence. If he’s got any amount large enough for you to think he’s a big time dealer invested in it enough to kill a cop, it’s more than can be flushed, burned, or hidden. And if we’ve been dipping into the stash, unlike cocaine we’re not going to go into some lunatic Tony Montana rage and spray cops with an Uzi. Damn, knock on the door and tell us you’re Domino’s and we’re likely to just let you in!

I know legalization might take awhile. Can we at least stop executing people in their homes over pot?

DEA agents mistakenly raid law prof’s house

 



DEA agents mistakenly raid law prof’s house

DEA agents mistakenly raid law prof’s house

SF Weekly
February 16, 2011


When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for “proceeds” from an illegal marijuana grow.

The SFPD and DEA found no piles of marijuana money at 243 Diamond St., one of six addresses raided simultaneously in San Francisco that morning. Instead, they found Clark Freshman, who rents the penthouse at the two-unit building. Freshman, a UC Hastings law professor and the main consultant to the television show Lie to Me, was put into handcuffs while in his bathrobe as agents searched, despite Freshman’s insistence that they had the wrong place and were breaking the law. “I told them to call the judge and get their warrant updated,” he says. “They just laughed at me — I guess that’s why they’re called pigs.”

Soon they may be called defendants in a lawsuit. A furious Freshman has pledged to sue the DEA and the SFPD for unlawful search and seizure of his home.

In his search warrant, Officer Scott Biggs of the SFPD’s narcotics unit says that prior to the raid, he spent two days and two nights casing the address looking for Mahmoud Larizadeh, the property’s owner. Larizadeh also owns a 13th Street warehouse, a part of which he rents to Bruce Rossignol, a licensed medical cannabis patient who now faces three felony charges for growing pot there.

Biggs describes 243 Diamond as a “two-story, one-unit” building in the warrant. There’s no mention of Freshman or Larizadeh’s son-in-law or seven-months pregnant daughter who were detained in the downstairs unit that morning. But property records — and a quick visual scan of the property — reveal it to be a three-story, two-unit building. That mistake alone may be enough to invalidate the search warrant.

SFPD offered no comment other than reiterating they had a warrant from Judge Richard Kramer to search 243 Diamond. But Peter Keane, dean emeritus of Golden Gate University’s School of Law, says there appears to be a problem. “There’s been cases like this in the past where police have a warrant to search [a single residence], then they get there and it’s a multi-unit building and they search the whole building. In those cases, people have sued and collected substantial settlements. I think whomever is representing the government better get out his checkbook.”

“I’ve been on the fence for years about the legalization of drugs … and now I’m a victim of this crazy war on drugs,” says Freshman, who pledged to sue until “I see [the agents’] houses sold at auction and their kids’ college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century.”

Drug Task Force Leader Charged With Selling Drugs