SWAT Team Raids House And Kills Homeowner Because Criminal Who Burglarized The House Told Them To

from the get-cops-to-do-your-bidding-using-this-one-simple-trick! dept

We’ve heard complaints that warrant requirements for searches are an obstacle to efficient crime fighting. Here’s a timeline of an incident that led to the death of a homeowner during a SWAT team raid in search of drugs it never found. (via PoliceMisconduct.net)

Late Sept. 22nd/early A.M. Sept. 23rd: David and Teresa Hooks’ home was burglarized. Among the items stolen was their SUV.

Sept. 23rd, 3:45 pm: After a brief investigation, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Dept. issues an arrest warrant for suspect Rodney Garrett.

Sept. 24th, 3:45 pm: 24 hours later, Garrett is in police custody, turning himself in after becoming “fearful for his life” when he realized a bag he stole from the Hooks’ home contained crystal meth. He confessed to the burglary, vehicle theft and “other crimes.” (It must be noted that this version of events comes from the warrant application. Hooks’ attorney’s statement merely says Garrett was “taken into custody.”)

Sept. 24th, 9:56 pm: Six hours, later the Laurens County “drug task force” has its warrant application for a search of Hooks’ house signed by Judge Snell, based almost solely on the statements made by an admitted felon in their custody.

From a statement by the Hooks’ attorney, Mitch Shook:

The facts submitted to Deputy Magistrate Snell to convince her that probable cause existed to issue the warrant consisted of the statement by Rodney Garrett a confessed burglar, thief, and a meth addict who was under the influence at the time of his arrest that the approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and 2 firearms found on him at the time of arrest had been stolen by him out of another vehicle at the Hooks home.

The warrant application also lists an investigation from 2009 as more “probable cause.”

In the warrant application, Laurens investigator Chris Brewer wrote that he knew Hooks and his home address from a previous investigation. Brewer said a suspect claimed he had been supplying “multiple ounces” of methamphetamine to Hooks, who re-sold it.

Shook says that investigation was done in 2009. Neither Shook or the Sheriff’s department stated the outcome of that investigation.

The timeline continues. One hour later — at 10:55 PM — Hooks’ home is raided and David Hooks is shot dead.

Here’s the police version:

The Laurens County Sheriff’s office says Hooks was shot after he got out a firearm and started showing aggression.

Here’s his wife’s version:

He says Teresa Hooks, David’s wife, looked outside and saw people with hoods during the evening of the drug search. He says she woke her husband up, thinking the burglars were back. He says Hooks then armed himself.

Which seems plausible. Less than 48 hours had passed and Hooks would have had no idea he was on the receiving end of a drug task force “investigation.” The word “investigation” receives the scariest of scare quotes, considering it mostly consisted of a multiple felon trying to explain away the gun, scale and meth in his possession. If the suspect had claimed he didn’t rob Hooks’ house, the police wouldn’t have believed him. But when this same suspect starts blabbering about finding meth during his robbery, the cops are all ears, as though he were Abraham Lincoln himself, swearing on a stack of Bibles.

How do we know all of this is bullshit? Because the police spent almost as much time searching Hooks’ house — nearly two days — as it did between the point Hooks’ house was invaded the first time (by confessed burglar Rodney Garrett) and the second time (by the SWAT team).

[A]fter taking over the scene at around 11:55 p.m. on the 24th of September the GBI conducted a thorough search of the property that lasted until approximately 8:00 p.m. Friday, September 26th. That search of some 44 hours conducted by numerous agents with the GBI resulted in not one item of contraband being found! This has been confirmed to the family by the GBI and is evidenced by the return of the original search warrant which was finally filed in court on September 29th and indicates that nothing was seized pursuant to the search warrant.

In between these two periods of 40+ hours was a flashpoint: the raid itself. The task force shot Hooks dead in his own home, pursuing the self-serving pipe dreams of a meth addict. The SWAT team broke down the back door and fired “no less than 16 shots” at David Hooks, some blindly through an adjacent wall. Hooks had every right to pick up his weapon and investigate this second home invasion. But in doing so, he gave every raiding officer all the justification needed to shoot first — and shoot often.

He’s too dead to be charged with forcing law enforcement weapons to discharge (because they fire themselves so often in official police statements), and he died as the result of a speedy judge-jury-executioner process that hinged on the arbitrary credulity of the Sheriff’s Department and its drug task force. To call this willing suspension of disbelief an “investigation” is to strip the word of all meaning. (And beat it. And send it naked and bruised into the harsh winter, etc.) A late-night raid has all sort of deadly implications that could have been avoided by an actual investigation. Now, the department has blood on its hands and a lawyer on its trail — all because a burglar told some law enforcement officers whatever came to mind during his interrogation.

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Comments on “SWAT Team Raids House And Kills Homeowner Because Criminal Who Burglarized The House Told Them To”

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Rikuo (profile) says:

So basically, SWAT has just put paid assassins out of business with this latest move. Before, if you wanted to bump someone off, you had to pay a third party thousands, tens or probably millions.
Now, you just need a confessed drug addict burglar, while high on his drug of choice, to say he got the drugs from the person he burgled. That’s all the justification SWAT needs to go in guns blazing, to kill someone.

Excuse me a mo. I’m going put in a call to SWAT that a certain man of African American origin living in a certain famous house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC keeps meth in his desk. How do I know he keeps meth in his desk officer? Why, this meth that I’m currently high on and desperately trying to explain the origins of in such a way that I hope will draw attention away from myself was found by me in that desk while I was busy robbing it!
Psst. Make sure you bring lots of guns!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Do you have an invoice from such a person to disprove this assessment? Given the range of payment from $1,000-$1,000,000 it is highly likely the actual cost of hiring such a party is within that range. The travel costs alone could easily exceed $1,000 so it is not a far-fetched estimate, although it is quite a broad one.

That One Guy (profile) says:

The facts submitted to Deputy Magistrate Snell to convince her that probable cause existed to issue the warrant consisted of the statement by Rodney Garrett a confessed burglar, thief, and a meth addict who was under the influence at the time of his arrest

They believed him because they wanted to.

No matter that their ‘source’ was stoned out of his mind at the time, his claims gave them an excuse to play ‘cops and robbers’ with all that gear they love so much, and they’d be damned if they ignored the opportunity by doing something completely insane, like, I dunno, not going in guns blazing, in the middle of the night, busting into a house that had been recently robbed, where the homeowners, thanks to the recently robbery, would already be suspicious of any dark figures sneaking around or looking like they were trying to break in.

Alien Rebel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Naturally, the #2 option of using modern up-the-wazoo surveillance capabilities to gather evidence over time and then make an arrest at some no-fuss-no-muss time and place would be unthinkable. I guess no matter how easy it gets to hack into all the intimate details of a citizen’s life, playing SWAT Team is always gonna be much more fun than playing Geek squad.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

playing Geek squad.

Pffft. You can tell a Judge ‘the clown in your courtroom is playing games with his address to avoid the court system’ via your filing in the case then the Judge writes an order where the Judge chastises the landlord doing an eviction for citing the wrong address.

“playing Geek Squad” – why bother if the Judges are too lazy to read the Squad reporting?

Anonymous Coward says:

‘all because a burglar told some law enforcement officers whatever came to mind during his interrogation’

or could it have been that the police WANTED to go to Hooks place, do a search for drugs because he had got away with something, in the polices eyes maybe, in 2009 and the shooting was just the icing on the cake for them?

Crazy Canuck says:

Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 8th, 2014 @ 2:33pm

We actually have a commercial that’s been playing on the air for the past year. It has a couple settling into bed then all of a sudden a heavily armed swat team comes busting in through the windows and doors with a helicopter shining a searchlight into the room. The people in the bed are all shocked sitting there in bed when all of a sudden one of the swat guys says “Wait a second, you aren’t cartel.” The guy in the bed says “We just bought this place.” The police guy replies “Didn’t your realtor tell you about this place?” To which the man replies “We didn’t use a realtor.” Then they all just look at each other sort of awkwardly.

It was a commercial from the local realtor association where they add some tag line at the end of the commercial like “Realtors may have more information than you do.”

I think it falls in the same category as the “You wouldn’t download a car” type ads.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 8th, 2014 @ 2:33pm

To me that commercial simply points out the fact that the Feds and the Cartel have a deal.

The Feds raid the Cartel House regularly, and the Cartel raises the cost of their product (due to police interference) regularly, claiming scarcity of product.

The Feds knew it was a Cartel House, because they were just there the previous month, and the month before that and so on.

Its an economic marriage. A business model.

Both sides in the War on Drugs, earn their livelihood from the war and thus both sides wholeheartedly want the War on Drugs to continue.

Only the public (the couple who bought the house) suffer any real harm from this occupational hazard.

Cal (profile) says:

Re: Re: (And beat it. And send it naked and bruised into the harsh winter, ..

“… it’s useless these days… “

Why are you blaming the US Constitution? IT assigned these duties to us, “We the people” exactly so these things would not occur. WE are the militia of the several states, it is our duty to train and carry weapons to be able to:

– Enforce the US Constitution and each state’s Constitution,
– Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which is constitutional laws ONLY),
– Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
– “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 11: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.

This – Letters of Marque and Reprisal – is using private citizens in their own privately owned crafts to defend the USA and her people, this is using the Militia.

Clause 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions.

The militia of each state is taxed with the defense of the USA and her people, not just with the defense of their state; and they are to be armed with weapons that can repel any invasions bearing modern weapons of war. Congress is required to provide those military grade weapons for the militias – NOT to the LE’s, NOT to foreign terrorists, NOT to foreign countries – in Clause 16.

Clause 16: “To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

Joel Barlow, Revolutionary War veteran, American whose political writings were debated on the floor of Parliament said of the US Constitution: “… not only permitting every man to arm, but obliging him to arm.”

Thomas J. Jackson: “The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.”

Thomas Jefferson:“Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

Thomas Jefferson: “None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important.”

Richard Henry Lee, Member of the First U.S. Senate: “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms…”

Daniel Webster: “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the
American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

Abraham Lincoln: “”We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.”

James Madison: An efficient militia is authorized and contemplated by the Constitution and required by the spirit and safety of free government.

Richard Henry Lee: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”

George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

Thomas Jefferson: “The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”

BTW, what those “cops” did qualifies as terrorism against the American people:

28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Change a few words and it IS gun control.

SA Oberfuhrer of Bad Tolz, March, 1933: “All military type firearms are to be handed in immediately … The SS,
SA and Stahlhelm give every responsible opportunity of campaigning with them. Therefore anyone who does not belong to one of the above-named organizations and who unjustifiably nevertheless keeps his weapon … must be regarded as an enemy of the national government.”

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'We don't track those numbers'

Tracking the number of deaths of police? Vital, absolutely necessary to show how dangerous the job is and justify increases in the level of firearms and gear they are allowed to use.

Tracking the number of deaths caused by police? Well, those are all accidents you know, and there’s just so many other, much more important things to focus on, and clearly anyone who would be interested in these statistics have it out for the police, so for ‘officer safety’ it’s best to just not track or report that sort of thing.

Yeah, it’s in their best interest not to have those statistics available, and even if they were, you can bet 99% of the deaths suffered by police would be classified as intentional murder(so no ‘accidental death’, and certainly no ‘self-defense against the officer’), while 99% of deaths cause by police would be ‘accidental’ and ‘self-defense’.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Self-fulfilling prophecy

The police arm themselves with more and more military grade gear because they see the public as a threat, and treat them accordingly, and in turn the public sees the police as a threat, and treat them accordingly.

Keeping people in line and compliant through fear works… to a point. Push too far though, crank up the intimidation and fear enough, and people will switch from defensive, to offensive means to deal with the perceived threat(because once someone is in fear of their life, what do they have to lose?) and once that happens, things are going to be nasty indeed.

New Mexico Mark says:

"To protect and serve"

That statement used to imply that those in law enforcement were expected to protect and serve the public, even at great personal risk.

Now it is hard to even find, but if still used it apparently is interpreted to mean protecting LEOs at all cost while serving an ever-expanding legal machine.

“You know the score, pal! If you’re not cop, you’re ‘little people’.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Remember, not only can SWAT teams legally throw flashbangs at babies and injure them, but they also have the full support of the local trolls.

Doubtlessly this new bit of information has them rubbing their hands in glee. An army of psychopaths with deadly weapons at their beck and call for legal assassination? I wouldn’t be surprised if the notion made Whatever jizz his pants or something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why would you send a swat team to do a search, don’t people play enough Counter Strike and watch enough Tom Clancy movie that the SWAT is lethal force only.

What did the higher up expected the swat to do?
Knock politely on the door, in full swat gear, and ask if they can do a sudden search of the property based on the word of a witness that hasn’t proven themself?

Anonymous Coward says:

There really is no justice in this world

The more times I read about situations like this, the sadder I get about the country I live in. There really is no justice here. The police (i.e. government) can shoot anyone for any trumped up reason and somehow no charges are ever filed.

The swat team that nearly blew up the kid in Atlanta was just let off by a grand jury. They too didn’t find much of anything and were acting on a tip from a known felon.

AJ says:

This is nothing less than state sanctioned murder. The commander of this squad of idiots should be held accountable, as well as the judge that signed the warrant.

If the judge signs the warrant, then he should be accountable if later it is found that the evidence did not support his signing it in the first place. Common sense starts creeping into things when you suddenly have accountability.

What SHOULD have happened is this: Judge; You mean to tell me that you have a drug addict in custody, that’t currently high, brought up on a number of charges, that CLAIMS he got his drugs from robbing a home and you want to conduct a search? How about you go up and ring the door bell and talk to the citizen, have a conversation with them at the scene, if you have any reason at all while your there to suspect something nefarious, then fine, I’ll sign and you can conduct your search, but as it stands I’ll need more than the word of a fucked up drug addict before you go busting down the door.

GEMont (profile) says:

End the War on Common Sense

Drug use at its absolute worst, is a medical problem.

By making it a moral problem and making drug use and possession and manufacture illegal, we have accomplished two amazing feats.

1. We have caused to manifest an extremely lucrative contraband economy that has made millionaires and billionaires of numerous criminals world-wide, over the last half century, who have been using that money as bribes to buy immunity from prosecution, while hiring armies of men to carry out the process of marketing their wares unfettered.

Our Law Enforcement Agencies have militarized at tax payer’s expense, to keep up with the Drug Dealing Joneses, but have, for half a century, lost every battle, while the “enemy” has continuously grown in size and power.

We call this a War, but only the public suffers casualties, while the warriors on both sides of the law reap massive monetary benefits.

2. We have put thousands of otherwise innocent young people in prison for self medicating and left them there as the playthings of murderers, rapists, robbers and worse. We call this morality.

As long as Law Enforcement wields the laws of morality against citizens who misuse medicines, this awful situation will continue to escalate as it has done since the day the War on Drugs was first declared. As the escalation of the losing war on drugs grows, so too will the atrocities and injustices suffered by the public escalate, as the police try harder to win a single battle.

End the War on Drugs and you end this entire cycle.
End the Legislation of Morality and you end all such cycles.

As a benefit, you take away the most lucrative contraband that organized crime has ever had and cut their profits by 80-90 percent overnight, and therefor also end their ability to run the government through bribery and graft.

Drug abusers need medical attention and care.
Drug users, like all other citizens, need to be protected from morality legislators.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: End the War on Common Sense

and i’m telling you the war on (some) drugs is working just fine…
IF you are a 1%-er…

YOU 99% are expecting it is something to ‘protect and serve’ THEM; wave up, sheeple, it is ALL ABOUT the benjamins…

and NOT for us, but for the 1%: the banksters would be insolvent if it wasn’t for laundering drug money… the prison-industrial komplex would go wanting for young black men to torture if it wasn’t for the war one (some) people… and corrupt politicians would have to actually do some legislating on our behalf if they didn’t have a myriad of distracting hot button issues to deflect and distract us with…

(said hot button issues like abortion, school prayer, etc have NOTHING to do with 99% of us 99% of the time, but let’s talk about that happy horseshit instead of tackling real problems that would mean going against the interest of the korporatocracy…)

underlying causes says:

the US prosecutorial system, the "curveball" syndrome: telling people what they want to hear

(Note: “Curveball” was the CIA codename for the Iraqi defector who told fanciful tales of Iraq’s secret “weapons of mass destruction” program that the Bush administration blindly accepted at face value … leading to the ill-fated Iraq war)

It’s surprising to see that no one pointed out that the root of the problem is the US prosecutorial system, in which suspects are heavily pressured to “name names” to get their own criminal charges reduced to a less draconian level. (and cops, under career pressure to find and convict as many people as possible, are more than happy to jump at any such ‘naming of names’)

People caught with drugs who refuse to rat-out their dealers or smoking buddies will end up getting the book thrown at them, while those who ‘turn informant’ and work with police to ensnare others get rewarded (even when they’re lying). Amid the pressure to “tell cops what they want to hear,” quite often they make up stories (the more colorful, the better) in the blind hope that the people they name just might have drugs on them, and therefore they could get their jail sentence cut in half as a result of a lucky guess. (and even if the cops find nothing, these faux-informers rarely hurt themselves by telling such lies)

An alarmingly high proportion of SWAT raids are approved by a judge who bases the warrant on nothing more than the say-so of a disreputable criminal who has a strong incentive to lie and make up stories.

And as a result, innocent people get SWATTED all the time.

This is a much more common problem than police shootings, and probably ranks up there with ‘civil forfeiture’ as the most often abused violation of a person’s civil rights at the hands of police.

John85851 (profile) says:

We need to hold judges responsible

The problem is with judges who want to “do something”. Like other people are saying, how in the world did a judge approve this? And more importantly, why aren’t we holding him or her responsible. After all, if the judge just told the police to talk with the people, the SWAT team wouldn’t have banged in the door and shot the guy.

I hope the couple’s lawyer sues the judge and finds him or her responsible for the murder of the guy.

toadboy65 (profile) says:

I noticed that the victim did not get off a shot, so I imagine he recognized the intruders as police. I live in a rural area. A reasonably safe place, but there is some meth in the area. My fear is that the police will come to my door by mistake. If that happens, I will probably be killed. It is offensive to me that as a veteran and law abiding citizen that I should have to worry about this. Home invaders sometimes yell “Police!Search Warrant!” when they break into a home. That happened about four miles from where I live. It is my duty to protect my family from those who would do them harm. If Jesus himself breaks down my door, I am going to try to stop him with whatever force I can muster. And I don’t think the homeowner having a gun is a real issue here. I think we all know that he would have been executed if he had been brandishing a knife, or a golf club, or a fireplace poker.

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