June 28, 2004
Friendly fire isn't
Two officers of the Beaumont Police Department found one such danger when they entered a yard while responding to a call, and were surprised by a large rottwieler. Feeling threatened, they fired five rounds at the dog, killing it. There is only one problem. They were at the wrong house…If some cops came into my yard and shot my dog, I would want to get even any way I could. Police tend not to apologize in these situations, because they feel they were just "doing their job."
Well, what about the dog? Wasn't he just doing his job too?
Mistakes like this can be intolerable, and can create lifelong rage. It's been more than 30 years since it happened, but I've never forgiven the cops who held guns (two pistols and a shotgun) to my head, made me lie on the ground and called me names, simply because they thought I was with the Symbionese Liberation Army, which had robbed a nearby bank. (I wasn't with the SLA; I was in my own backyard and had no idea a bank had been robbed.)
At least I was alive! People have been killed because of such mistakes.
Armed self defense is not always a good idea when dealing with police, because if you lose, you're dead, and you'll look guilty as hell. The problem is complicated further in the case of undercover raids; if your house is raided erroneously and you're not a drug dealer, you'll think you're being attacked by a gang of criminals, and..... well, it's not exactly a comedy of errors.
There needs to be accountability, yet often there isn't. Sometimes, the only remedy is to hire a guy like Johnnie Cochran. And I say this as someone who isn't anti-police (I've had many good friends who are cops), although I am anti-Big Brother. The laws and the legal system are out of control, and when that happens, those charged with enforcement can get caught up in it. When there's no remedy for such sloppiness as raiding the wrong house, or storming a yard without a warrant because a baby alarm went off, we all suffer.
posted by Eric on 06.28.04 at 10:26 AM
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