Multi-Agency Task Force Raid House To Arrest Someone Already In Jail, Shoot Woman In House Multiple Times Because Reasons

from the ma'am-we're-the-professionals-here-he-said-as-he-shot-her dept

I usually don’t jump in on things like these until a few more facts are in. As much as law enforcement complains about people “rushing to judgment” before every conceivable fact has been examined, here at Techdirt we prefer to be right, rather than first. Hey, we care about our reputation and we know our readers expect better of us.

That being said, there are a lot of tells in this story that suggest this is going to get a whole lot worse for the law enforcement agencies involved in this nearly-deadly raid. Not “worse before it gets better.” Oh my no. The only way it gets “better” is if these officers and agencies have access to a time machine and can undo every fucked up thing they did here.

Here’s a brief summary of what happened, as reported by the Associated Press:

Officers who mistakenly entered a home trying to arrest an Alabama man who was already in jail shot a woman who was inside, news outlets reported.

Ann Rylee, 19, was wounded during the raid on Thursday, television news outlets quoted family members as saying. They said she was hospitalized and was expected to survive.

You can already see one of the problems. The raid was conducted to arrest a person who was already in jail. That someone was shot during the raid is almost expected at this point, since law enforcement agencies regularly treat bog standard warrant service like a deployment on Omaha Beach in 1944.

As you dig into the details, certain things start to stand out. We’ll begin with the lack of due diligence. Raiding a house to find someone who’s already in jail isn’t good. It means no one thought to run a check prior to the raid to ensure the person they were looking for was a.) at that address and b.) wasn’t already in custody. That’s strike one.

Let’s move on.

Mobile County sheriff’s deputies joined federal officers at a home in the Wilmer community looking for Nicholas McLeod, who used to live there. Jail records show he was actually arrested a day earlier on charges including possession of drug paraphernalia and evidence tampering.

A task force was assembled to arrest someone for these charges. What even the fuck. These are not charges that demand an armed response. I realize officers are always armed, but it is really tough to square those charges with a joint task force composed of Alabama deputies, the Department of Homeland Security, and US Marshals.

This seems like overkill, even if it (fortunately) didn’t lead to anyone being killed. Not for a lack of trying though!

The task force rolled up on Christopher McLeod, who was taking out trash. They told him (and the friend he was with) to lay face down while they performed their violent warrant service. McLeod warned the law enforcement officers and agents that his fiancee was inside, asleep in a recliner. He also told them there was a loaded shotgun in the living room, which the couple kept for protection.

The warning went unheeded, apparently. The task force blew through the door and started shooting because why not. They had been told there was a gun in the house.

McLeod said Rylee was shot multiple times and underwent surgery.

But there’s no reason to believe Rylee grabbed the gun or pointed it at officers. At least not at this point. All we have to go on is the word of the sheriff and the one person who happened to be near the residence when it became a war zone.

Here’s the sheriff:

“As agents went up to the house they detained two men outside, who said there was a woman still inside. As they went to make entry into the house… This lady had armed herself with a shotgun and the entry team was giving her orders to drop the gun, put the gun down, drop the gun several times — over a period of a few seconds it seems like… And there is video recordings of that. She didn’t and she pointed the gun at one of them — then two or three agents fired upon her striking her three or four times,” said Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran.

And here’s Christopher McLeod who as at the scene, although outside face down.

Two federal marshals who had approached the home started yelling “gun” and fired multiple times, he said.

First, let’s discuss the second statement. Law enforcement officers shouting “gun” is indicative of nothing more than the existence of a gun. That existence was pre-disclosed by the person lying face down on the ground while officers shot his fiancee. It does not mean Rylee ever pointed a gun at officers.

And that’s taking into consideration Sheriff Cochran’s statement. Even if Rylee raised a gun and pointed it at officers, this does not excuse the officers’ actions. The Second Amendment and the Castle Doctrine are still applicable in this country, even if an untold number of law enforcement officers have done everything they can to make it appear the only people allowed to point guns at anyone are law enforcement officers.

But let’s look at what’s missing in both of these statements. First, no one says officers ever identified themselves as officers of the law. If Rylee woke up and saw people pointing guns at her, it probably made sense to point one back at them.

Even that assumes too much. She may have just reached for it, turning the task force into a “reasonably scared” task force that felt justified in firing their guns until the “threat” was “neutralized.”

There’s something more concerning in the sheriff’s statement, though.

“there is video recordings of that.”

Really. Hmm.

[T]here is no body camera footage because the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have body cameras.

Video footage exists, the sheriff said, knowing none of his deputies recorded the shooting. So that leaves it up to the federal members of the task force. Well, Sheriff Bullshit, federal officers do not wear body cameras. In fact, until very recently, if feds partnered with law enforcement agencies who did have body cameras, the local boys had to leave their cameras at home. So where do these mysterious “video recordings of that” come from?

One possible answer is a security camera attached to the raided home. But if that existed, you would expect the man whose fiancee was shot to mention it. The only other possibility is someone on the task force was wearing a personal body cam — one not supplied by their agency. If that’s the case, that footage will never be released because it belongs to the camera’s owner, not the agency employing them.

That footage will disappear forever unless it definitively shows every task force member was in the right when they started shooting Rylee. And it’s probably going to disappear forever anyway, because there’s no way every member of a multi-agency task force can justify deadly force deployment when they’ve forcibly entered a house to locate a suspect wanted for non-violent crimes, failed to identify themselves as officers, and shot someone simply for possessing a gun and possibly trying to defend themselves from armed invaders.

There are a ton of holes in the official narrative. Serious, disturbing holes. That’s why this needs to be watched. And that’s why I’ve chosen to bring it to your attention before the story has completely developed. More than one thing went wrong during this raid and the sheriff is out playing PR flack for a couple of federal agencies which should have better things to do than participate in raid to arrest someone wanted for nothing more than paraphernalia possession and witness tampering. This story stinks. And when the details come out, it’s going to be even worse.

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Comments on “Multi-Agency Task Force Raid House To Arrest Someone Already In Jail, Shoot Woman In House Multiple Times Because Reasons”

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93 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

McLeod warned the law enforcement officers and agents that his fiancee was inside, asleep in a recliner. He also told them there was a loaded shotgun in the living room, which the couple kept for protection.

At which point a reasonable police operation would ask him to take them to his fiancee. They had no need to burst into the house, and should have has any back exits also covered.

Until the US police stop treating everybody else as the enemy, these incidents will keep on happening.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Still have to ask...

How do you tell Who lives in a house??
BEFORE you knock on the door?
1) they know the person being arrested.
2) good chance they have been there before.
3) look up owner of the property, and ASK..
4) if they have been there before, Look up other records of WHO was/should be in the house..

Then, Why in helllll are there more then a FEW men there for a Non-lethal arrest?
Why Feds??
Why DHS??
Where is DEA?? at the very most..

How old is the warrant??

Anonymous Coward says:

militarized police + lax oversight

these types of botched police raids are common throughout the nation and wil continue.

problem is a militarized police force geared to violent over-reaction … with little acountability for police "mistakes".

Elected officials and the American political establishment generally see no big problem with this situation.
The news media is generally pro-police and usually accepts initial police accounts/spin of such incidents.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: militarized police + lax oversight

I hate the way cops in this capacity violate all rights of other people in the houses they raid as if those people were automatically guilty by association or close relation. That is the stench rising above our country. The whole world is being purposely shown this treatment of American citizens.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
tom (profile) says:

I always find it interesting that Officers expect that someone that is asleep to fully comprehend what is going on and not take defensive actions toward strangers in her house while at the same time claiming that her actions surprised and/or threatened the officers who had hours to plan the action, minutes to approach the house and assess the situation and many seconds as it unfolds to take cover and deescalate to a safe ending.

Seems like there is a lot of faking of training records going on.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well of course, everyone knows that interacting with police instantly causes everyone from children to the elderly to magically attain perfect awareness and comprehension skills, no matter what state they were in prior to the start of that interaction, such that the only reason someone could have for not immediately understanding what a cops says/demands is willful, malicious defiance.

On the other hand everyone likewise knows that putting on a uniform and badge instantly strips the wearer of all thinking skills and knowledge, such that unless something that been explicitly and in painstaking detail made clear it would be completely unreasonable to expect said wearer to understand it or be held responsible for their actions regarding it.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well of course, everyone knows that interacting with police instantly causes everyone from children to the elderly to magically attain perfect awareness and comprehension skills, no matter what state they were in prior to the start of that interaction, such that the only reason someone could have for not immediately understanding what a cops says/demands is willful, malicious defiance.

If a police officer candidate knew the difference between "defiance" and "defense", they would exceed the permissible intelligence for police work.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

It seems anymore that these stories only serve to enflame rage toward cops whether desrvedly or not. I call this one flamebate because at the end of the day if cops have warrants, they are busting in with guns flailing and if you are inside with a gun or remote or lighter in your hand, they are going to shoot you. Expect it. Maybe you can sue them all later if you survive.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'How about 'no' Scott?'

It seems anymore that these stories only serve to enflame rage toward cops whether desrvedly or not

Multiple groups performed an armed break and enter to arrest someone who had already been arrested the previous day for non-violent crimes, hospitalizing someone in the process. They most certainly earned that ‘rage’/disgust/contempt here.

I call this one flamebate because at the end of the day if cops have warrants, they are busting in with guns flailing and if you are inside with a gun or remote or lighter in your hand, they are going to shoot you. Expect it.

Congrats, in your brushing aside the problem you highlighted it quite nicely. Cops treating guns like toys and the public paying for it may be the standard but it shouldn’t be, and dismissing it as just something that should be expected helps to normalize it and ensure that it will continue to be the norm.

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am not brushing aside the problem

Yes, you are. You’re heavily implying that the problem is with the people being shot not acting “properly” and ignoring the people doing the shooting acting exactly like a bunch of armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary soldiers who don’t follow rules of engagement.

Cops and their behavior are the issue. Saying or implying otherwise makes you as much of a bastard as the cops.

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Wothe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Yes you are/ troll

Take off the blinders, knock down that brick wall, take the plugs outa your ears.

He (she?) is NOT defending LEO — merely stating a LEO-mentality based warning/ reality check.

Basically, if you are not a wide awake, physically and mentally intact, proper English speaker, AND experienced at being a LEO survivor of LEO actions/ enquiries —- you stand a very high chance of being damaged.

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ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'How about 'no' Scott?'

And that is the First few seconds, and if its NOT a cop…
I think Crooks that break in Kill less people..
SMART Crooks tend to know whats in the house before entering..
They also know when you are there, asleep, or going to the mall for a few hours..
Why do they know more then the cops??
Diligence..

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
R/O/G/S says:

Re: Re: Re: 'How about 'no' Scott?'

Hey blue, palms out, huh?

Are now adding another twist to the capitualtion protocol?

I think their should be special classes taught from pre-school forwards, that teach kids how to capitulate to an armed police state.

Maybe call it “Palms Out Education” or something similarly crisis PR friendly and buzzy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: 'How about 'no' Scott?'

If your hands are not over your head and open palm facing them, you will most likely be shot.

So much for that 2nd amendment right to defend yourself, amirite?

So when the state comes to take your guns, and they send in these guys, your solution is to just hand them over, palms up of course with your hands behind your head.

Real badasses, I tell you – real patriot badasses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 'How about 'no' Scott?'

I wonder- if cops don’t identify themselves as police (serving) a no Knock warrant, does the 2 amendment help the homeowner king of castle or queen of castle in court? The way they bust down the door and flashbang you, you probably can’t hear what they’re yelling anyway. So maybe it results in a shootout. What then, assuming everyone survives?

That "serve" is the second part of the slogan, "To Protect and Serve" Who are they protecting tossing flashbang grenades into cribs?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

because at the end of the day if cops have warrants, they are busting in with guns flailing and if you are inside with a gun or remote or lighter in your hand, they are going to shoot you.

Even when they have somebody to let them into the house and defuse the situation. That attitude is how they have turned the population against them, and made their own job more dangerous than it needs to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Really at that point harsh as it sounds their job needs to be a lot more dangerous. Because the cravens don’t care about what happens to anybody else only risk to themselves.

That seems to be the only thing which causes them to back down on their recklessness. No knock raids didn’t get pulled back on because suspects were being killed avoidably, or innocent people but because the police were getting killed. They are among the most privileged group who believes the direct consequences of their own actions are unfair if it affects them negatively.

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Couple weeks ago there was a big fire in Philadelphia at the same time as an active shooter a few miles from me. It was interesting to compare the response. The firefighters went rushing in to a burning building, without knowing how many people may be inside, without knowing when the building might fall, putting their own lives in imminent danger to get the job done. The police, meanwhile, surrounded the area, then went to a secure room to watch camera footage for a while, then called the fire department to bring in their robot so they could send that in first to confirm that the shooter had, in fact, already killed himself hours ago. Both groups thought there was an active threat and people were in imminent danger. The firefighters put themselves at risk to save others. The police put others at risk by spending SEVERAL HOURS verifying that they would be safe themselves before attempting to enter the building and rescue the wounded. Every single one of those cowards ought to be looking for a new job right now…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I call this one flamebate because at the end of the day if cops have warrants, they are busting in with guns flailing and if you are inside with a gun or remote or lighter in your hand, they are going to shoot you.

Any pro-second amendment people want to chime in as to how effective your weapons are against this?

We’ve got someone saying, just lie down and take it – where are the pro-2nd amendment folks chiming in on how they’re going to use their guns to protect themselves?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I call this one flamebate because at the end of the day if cops have warrants, they are busting in with guns flailing and if you are inside with a gun or remote or lighter in your hand, they are going to shoot you. Expect it. "

In your own words then, law enforcement is a far greater threat to civilians than actual criminals are? And this is, in your words, "flamebait"?

Good going, genius. There is no nation in the world where the above can be called anything but a royal fuck-up, this side of China, Russia or North Korea. Good of you to drop the bar on standards to that point for the US of A.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Ok, they will put you in a chokehold compressing your throat close forcing blood backwards into your brain while they cuff you at gunpoint and smash your face with the buttsyock or their automatic rifle all while you are on your knees surrendering peacefully in your kitchen having not committed a crime.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'My girlfriend in canada who you've never met has it.'

Video footage exists, the sheriff said, knowing none of his deputies recorded the shooting. So that leaves it up to the federal members of the task force. Well, Sheriff Bullshit, federal officers do not wear body cameras. In fact, until very recently, if feds partnered with law enforcement agencies who did have body cameras, the local boys had to leave their cameras at home. So where do these mysterious "video recordings of that" come from?

I can answer that one: Thin air, the same place the claim likely came from.

Barring them producing some footage I strongly suspect that ‘there is video evidence that shows us in the right’ was pulled straight from their backside in the hopes that people would simply accept it as true and not ask any more questions. If they had video evidence that cleared them they would have provided it, rather than just empty claims about it.

OGquaker says:

The power of film

Before the August, 2000 Democratic Convention, Los Angeles had set up 12 foot fenced ‘containment zones’ (Kettling) a city block away from it.
‘Protesters’ had complained to the Courts, so the LAPD conducted a ‘Lakers riot’ a week or two before the festivity, where ‘Citizen Rioters’ broke a few windows out of the Veteran’s Patriotic Hall (since confiscated from the Veterans by the County and re-named ‘Bob Hope’) in which ‘protesters’ had rented two or three floors for media, NPR, Gore Vidal & Adriana Huffington’s UnConvention; she was than a Republican. The night after the Lakers Fans contrivance, I bet my brother that they would need ‘pick-up shots’ so we drove into LA at midnight, and there was the LAPD filming snippets around the vacant Convention Center. This propaganda was projected at the next City Council meeting, the fences stayed & Rage Against The Machine got their concert without paying for expensive $permit-sions as a sop to the courts. The week of the ‘private’ Convention was a massive training exercise for govern-ment ‘Law Enforce-ment’ groups from as far away as Israel, and the TV head-beating message was "Stay In Your Couch".
Disclaimer: the $5,000 T-1, ISDN lines and 20 POTs line were on my credit card.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Wothe (profile) says:

"The Team" commanded "drop the gun" and " put the gun down".

Were there any "don’t move", "get on the ground", "show me your hands", "hands behind your head", "turn around", "Walk back slowly", hands behind your back", etc ?

How many voices screaming conflicting (and probably unintelligible} orders?

All it takes is for *ONE of those voices (hyped up on adrenalin) to "see" non-instant-responsiveness to his (or her) voice as a challenging threat, and fire — the others knee-jerk follow.

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Anonymous Coward says:

One minor point about the post, Tim quotes the AP article and then writes:

" `Mobile County sheriff’s deputies joined federal officers at a home in the Wilmer community looking for Nicholas McLeod, who used to live there. Jail records show he was actually arrested a day earlier on charges including possession of drug paraphernalia and evidence tampering.’

A task force was assembled to arrest someone for these charges. What even the fuck. These are not charges that demand an armed response."

It is not clear that the charges the task force were assembled for were the ones that Nicholas had been arrested for the day prior. Without more/clearer information it is hard to tell if an armed task force was necessary.

(Regardless, the preparation, performance, and outcome of this warrant is unnacceptable.)

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Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Spoliation

"there is video recordings of that."

I presume that at some point there will be litigation. No doubt the sheriff’s department will be named as a defendant, if only because they were at least grossly negligent in going in, armed and without announcing, to arrest someone they knew was already in jail.

At that point, the sheriff is a likely witness. He’ll be asked to produce the “video recordings of that”. If he does, well.

But if he does not, I think the plaintiffs get a spoliation instruction, essentially that they should presume that the sheriff’s dept destroyed the recording because it hurts their case.

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R/O/G/S says:

Re: Re: Feely Joe Biden

What are you on about?

There were no strawmen anywhere in the thread, #bro

But just about the time ROGS is about to join the gun grabbers (and its tempting to buy their arguments) along comes a case like this.

Which is every week now in the US.

….still laughing to myself about Feely Joe, Americas Catholic answer to Nelson Mandela (apparently)recommending that everyone get a shotgun for home protection against dangerous armed marauders

Anonymous Coward says:

Hmmmm. No mention of the warrant?

I can only assume they had one and it was a no-knock?

So in obtaining the warrant, what information was supplied to the judge confirming that he was actually present at the house and required the use of an armed no-knock warrant?

Considering what happened at the botched raid at Houston and the details that emerged about the lies that Officer Gerald Goines gave to get their warrant, I can only surmise that it will be some interesting details to emerge about this case.

Then again I fully expect there will be a quick "there was a gun" rush to exonerate everyone involved.

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