A no-knock raid was executed on a St. Paul, Minnesota family’s house recently. The police had a search warrant for drugs and weapons. As for the probable cause, which is supposed to be the basis of a warrant, I have no idea if they had any. They claimed to have reliable information. But if all they had was hearsay from some anonymous person, that’s not good enough.
These days, having adequate probable cause isn’t a concern for police. They just want to be able to “legally” raid as many houses as they possibly can in hopes of securing more federal funding based on the number of arrests they make and the amount of drugs and weapons they seize.
Most of the time, they don’t find anything, but a relatively small percentage of the time, they find something, which seems to justify breaking into everyone else’s house, in direct violation of the 4th Amendment.
In the latest case, police raided this family’s home around 7 in the morning and ended up shooting and killing the family’s two dogs, because they felt their lives were threatened by them. Here’s the local Fox affiliate:
It was 7 a.m. when police executed what is known as a no-knock search warrant. Arman said he and his two children were sleeping on a mattress when armed members of the SWAT team barged through the front door. The next thing he remembers is seeing the family’s long-time dogs stagger and fall.
The blood of the two pit bulls — named Mello and Laylo — is still staining the carpet, and Arman’s sneakers.
“One was running for her life, and they murdered her right here,” he said.
Arman’s girlfriend, Camille Perry, was in the bathroom at the time. She raced to cover the couple’s young children, who she contends were right in the line of fire while sleeping at ground level.
“The only thing I was thinking was my kids were going to get hit by bullets,” she said.
A St. Paul police spokesman told Fox 9 News that the dogs charged at officers, and that they feared for their safety. The spokesman also explained that law enforcement has the right to eliminate potential threats with lethal force, and he pointed out that a judge signed off on the search for weapons and drugs and that investigators believed they were entering a dangerous situation. Arman says that couldn’t be further from the case.
“Yeah, I smoke marijuana,” he said. “I do.”
Arman admits he is a recreational smoker, but he is not the only one questioning the police tactics on East Maryland Avenue. Neighbors aren’t pleased either.
“All of a sudden, we see the dogs thrown out like pieces of meat, like they were nothing,” Shawn Miller said. “We teared up because they are like family to us. Those dogs are real good dogs.”
The only items seized during Wednesday’s raid included clothing, a glass bong and suspected marijuana remnants in a metal grinder.
So, basically, all they got was some marijuana residue and another piece of evidence suggesting that someone smokes marijuana. No weapons, no evidence of a wholesale drug operation. Just some guy who likes to smoke marijuana sometimes.
Even if you think our drug laws are great and that marijuana should be an illegal plant, was it worth it to kill the two family dogs over it? They very well could have killed members of the family (it wouldn’t be the first time), and they’d claim their “lives were threatened.”
It’s a good thing the family didn’t have any weapons. Otherwise, that would have been enough to justify calling them all “potential threats” and killing all of them.