No Immunity For Cops Who Sent A SWAT Team To A 68-Year-Old Woman's House For Threats Delivered Over Open WiFi Connection

from the probable-cause-=-'internet-threats-plus-an-internet-connection...-somewhere& dept

Earlier this year, we covered the story of Louise Milan, a 68-year-old grandmother whose house was raided by a SWAT team (accompanied by a news crew) searching for someone who had made alleged threats against police officers over the internet. Part of the probable cause submitted for the warrant was Milan's IP address. But the police made no attempt to verify whether any resident of Milan's house made the threats and ignored the fact that the IP address was linked to an open WiFi connection.

While the presiding judge did take issue with the tactics deployed by the SWAT team (which included turning a regular warrant into a no-knock warrant by only giving Milan a few seconds to respond to their knock before battering down the door and hurling flashbang grenades into the house), he didn't have much to say about the department's bogus "an IP address is a person" justification for the raid. This was concerning because the police verified the IP address by wardriving. By doing so, they also could have confirmed the WiFi connection was open and that the threats could have been made by anyone accessing that connection.

The judge, however, refused to grant the defendants summary judgment on the excessive force claims or immunity. This decision was appealed by the police department, which still insists it should be granted qualified immunity. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has a lot to say about the police officers' actions during this raid and the events leading up to it, none of it good.

First, it points out that the police officers could have performed their due diligence on the IP address before deciding to carry out a raid, but chose not to.

The defendants say they didn’t know that Mrs. Milan’s network was unsecured and therefore accessible by someone outside the house who could use the unsecured network to send the threatening messages. Although the police had discovered that there was an unsecured network near the house, they hadn’t bothered to find out whose network it was, as they could easily have done, precisely because it was unsecured and therefore accessible. Had they done that they would have known that it was Mrs. Milan’s network and, since it was unsecured, that it might have been used (without her knowledge) by someone outside her home to send the threatening messages. The failure to discover that the network was Mrs. Milan’s was a failure of responsible police practice.
The court notes that the officers' irresponsibility didn't end there. They also ignored the fact that a man who had made threats against officers in the past (Derrick Murray) was spotted sitting on a porch two houses away from Milan's by officers prior to the raid. (And, indeed, Murray watched the raid unfold from this same porch.) They also ignored the fact that none of the three other people they suspected of making the threats (former residents of the house/distant relations of Milan) had been observed entering or exiting the house. Instead, they took the IP address and the info obtained from the service provider and went after Milan. And, despite having no evidence someone dangerous might be in Milan's house, deployed a SWAT team.
So: a house occupied by an elderly woman and her two daughters; no evidence that any criminals would be present during the search although the possibility could not be excluded entirely; no effort to neutralize suspect Murray during the search, as by posting police to watch his house and make sure he didn’t rush over to Mrs. Milan’s house when the search began. But despite their insouciance about Murray and the perfunctory character of their investigation before the search, the police decided to search the Milan house—and in a violent manner.
The "violent manner" is described in greater detail in the opinion. The court grants itself a short tangent during its recounting of the incident to criticize the lingo cops deploy to downplay the violence of their methods and weaponry.
A search warrant was applied for and obtained, and the search was conducted by an eleven-man SWAT team accompanied by a news team. The members of the SWAT team rushed to the front door of the house, knocked, and without allowing a reasonable time—more than a few seconds—for a response (though they hadn’t gotten a “no knock” warrant) broke open the front door and a nearby window, and through these openings hurled two “flash bang” grenades. These are explosive devices, similar to but a good deal less lethal than military hand grenades, that are intended to stun and disorient persons, thus rendering them harmless, by emitting blinding flashes of light and deafening sounds. They can kill if they land on a person, especially a child. The police call them “distraction devices,” an absurd euphemism; we called them “bombs” in Estate of Escobedo v. Bender, 600 F.3d 770, 784–85 (7th Cir. 2010), and United States v. Jones, 214 F.3d 836, 837–38 (7th Cir. 2000).
Then the court gets to the most absurd part of the raid -- considering the danger the police were attempting to neutralize by assaulting both Milan and her house.
That no men were found in the house during the raid confirmed the police in their belief that Murray was responsible for the threats. It took them only a day to discover that it was indeed he who was responsible—he had used Mrs. Milan’s open network to threaten the police. But rather than give him the SWAT-team treatment, the police politely requested that he come to police headquarters, which he did, where he was arrested without incident. The police department’s kid-gloves treatment of Murray is in startling contrast to their flashbang assault on Mrs. Milan’s home.
On top of that, even when it was evident there was no danger and none of the suspects were present, the SWAT team refused to dial back its aggressive tactics.
The handcuffing of the daughter, looking indeed much younger than her 18 years, is shown on the helmet video along with the rest of the search, and she is so small, frail, utterly harmless looking, and completely unresisting that the sight of her being led away in handcuffs is disturbing. All that the SWAT officer had to do was take her by the hand and lead her out of the house, which was rapidly filling with smoke from the flash bangs; there was no conceivable reason to handcuff her.
Everything about the raid bothers the Seventh Circuit Court. The lack of actual investigative work. The over-the-top tactics. The fact that a unit deploying flashbang grenades couldn't even be bothered to ensure any more damage than "necessary" wasn't done.
Precipitate use of flash bangs to launch a search has troubled us before, leading us to declare that “the use of a flash bang grenade is reasonable only when there is a dangerous suspect and a dangerous entry point for the police, when the police have checked to see if innocent individuals are around before deploying the device, when the police have visually inspected the area where the device will be used and when the police carry a fire extinguisher.” Estate of Escobedo v. Bender, supra, 600 F.3d at 784–85. The police in this case flunked the test just quoted. True, they’d brought a fire extinguisher with them—but, as if in tribute to Mack Sennett’s Keystone Kops, they left it in their armored SWAT vehicle.
The court notes that reasonable mistakes made by officers do not nullify qualified immunity, even when the mistakes seem less reasonable by the application of hindsight. But there was nothing reasonable about this entire debacle.
We cannot understand the failure of the police, before flash banging the house, to conduct a more extensive investigation of the actual suspects: Murray, living two doors away from the Milan home and thus with ready access to Mrs. Milan’s open network, and the male Milans. The police neglect of Murray is almost incomprehensible. His past made him a prime suspect. A day of investigating him would have nailed him, as we know because a day of investigating—the day after the violent search of the home—did nail him.
More to the point, the lack of even minimal investigative efforts precludes the department from claiming these "mistakes" were "reasonable."
[T]o repeat for emphasis, the police acted unreasonably and precipitately in flash banging the house without a minimally responsible investigation of the threats. The open network expanded the number of possible threateners and just one extra day of surveillance, coupled with a brief investigation of Murray and the three male Milans, should have been sufficient to reassure the police that there were no dangerous men lurking in the house.
In other words, had the police officers actually performed any sort of police work, Milan's house would have been left unmolested/un-flashbanged and she wouldn't be suing the department for civil rights violations. This lawsuit could have been avoided entirely and the police were obviously capable of taking down a much more dangerous target without extra drama and explosives. But it had a news crew in tow -- one it was apparently "repaying" for the tips about the social media threats. And once it had eyes on it, it couldn't help but deploy its ridiculous "shock and awe" tactics... to take down a 68-year-old grandmother and her "small, frail" daughter.

Filed Under: derrick murray, louise milan, open wifi, police, raid, swat, wifi


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 2:07pm

    Cowardly thugs

    But rather than give him the SWAT-team treatment, the police politely requested that he come to police headquarters, which he did, where he was arrested without incident. The police department’s kid-gloves treatment of Murray is in startling contrast to their flashbang assault on Mrs. Milan’s home.

    Makes sense when you think about it. He'd made threats, which meant he might be a threat, and like thugs and bullies everywhere, when faced with someone that wasn't cowed by them, they instead took a conciliatory approach, trying not to provoke someone who wasn't immediately backing down to their usual approach of intimidation and threats of force.

    For the raid, their natural cowardice was overshadowed by their desire to show off, and use all those fun 'toys' of theirs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 8 Aug 2015 @ 9:22am

      Re: Cowardly thugs

      The raid was made because of threats sent via that channel.

      Your theory would imply that they knew to be raiding the wrong house.

      Which would explain why they considered it safe to invite the press along.

      How an "independent" press could report this abysmal performance in a favorable light does not seem believable. They are all in bed with each other.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2015 @ 12:06pm

        Knowingly raided the wrong house

        Yeah, it kinda does imply that, doesn't it.

        Considering law enforcement conduct lately, this doesn't seem to be an unlikely possibility.

        It would be nice if SWAT raids were reserved for known hostage / barricade situations rather than internet threats on an open wifi channel.

        But man, then our officers get to play with big guns and flashbang grenades! Those are way cool super awesome!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Just Sayin, 8 Aug 2015 @ 1:49pm

          Re: Knowingly raided the wrong house

          Having the number, "238" in your call sign would probably pop a few flags up as well.. but they might be more cautious going in balls to the walls, but probably not!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2015 @ 3:35pm

            two three eight

            Fun fact: In CIA there's a status known as light cover. This describes the guy in the embassy who everyone knows is CIA even though he's officially just a functionary.

            His / her job is twofold.

            Firstly, he's the go-to guy for people in the public who want to contact CIA. He's not really a spook but he knows a guy and can pass the word along.

            Secondly, he maintains a habit of leaving the embassy in a suspicious manner and travelling about town and countryside running benign (personal) errands, talking to random folk and otherwise leading merry chase for the numerous tails and stake-outs of the embassy by local constabulary and rival agencies. This is extra useful when a real operation might be going on. Also, he gets to sass the rivals if they overreact and cause an international incident.

            This has been an established modus operandum on both sides of the iron curtain throughout the cold war.

            Cool, huh?

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      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 8 Aug 2015 @ 2:42pm

        Re: Re: Cowardly thugs

        Given how quickly they discovered they had raided the wrong house once they actually bothered to look, I have a strong suspicion they did know in advance they were raiding the wrong house -- and went in anyway to show off to the news crew.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2015 @ 3:10am

      Re: Cowardly thugs

      apparently googling SWATTING was too hard. ....Derp Derp!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SteveMB (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 3:37pm

    It seems that, in the real world, it is the police who are a superstitious cowardly lot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Outside The Chain, 8 Aug 2015 @ 1:52pm

      Re: Superstitious & Cowardly

      It calls into question just where they get their policies pushed in from, doesn't it? They come from the top.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 8 Aug 2015 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: Superstitious & Cowardly

        They come from the top.

        I prefer to think of the whole thing as an upside down pyramid balanced on its point. The point is policy, management, yada, yada. If they don't get the balance just right, the whole thing above them comes crashing down on them. They need to have that perspective.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AC (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:02pm

    Take the "work" out of "Police Work" and "state" comes in to fill the hole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:12pm

    I will defend one part, the handcuffing of the young girl is procedure in a swat raid. All inside (regardless of innocent or guilty) are cuffed for both the officers and their own safety, and how someone looks can never be used as a reasonable method of identifying danger.

    On the other hand, absolutely everything about this raid was wrong in terms of execution, investigation, and the amount of force required.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:15pm

      Re:

      Not to mention how much resolution of the lawsuit will cost the taxpayers with no repercutions to the offending officers themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re:city wealth re-distribution

        what nobody realizes is that this lady is the great great grandmother of the officer's second son's daughter's niece, and now they can all retire....

        Or not, but hey the tinfoil is strong in this one

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:28pm

        Re: Re:

        We need to hit them right in their retirement fund. There's lots of money there to pay for their ineptitude.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sigalrm (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:51pm

        Re: Re:

        "Not to mention how much resolution of the lawsuit will cost the taxpayers with no repercutions to the offending officers themselves."

        However much it is, history says it won't be nearly enough to get tax payers attention.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bobbie B, 8 Aug 2015 @ 2:18am

        Re: Re:

        Why don't we force police to insure themselves the way doctors do with malpractice. It could be called "Malpractice of Justice" Insurance. This would out price the bad cops from carrying a badge, while rewarding the ones that actually know the laws and regulations. The private market would put an end to these vigilante cops quicker than the top brass and police unions. It would also take the settlements the taxpayers end up paying and putting it on the police directly. Its a win win for everyone except awful police

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 5:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I like it!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2015 @ 10:39pm

          Insurance [was Re: Re: Re: ]

          Why don't we force police to insure themselves the way doctors do with malpractice.
          A collateral consequence might be that insurance company attorneys would become predominantly responsible for the defense of civil rights lawsuits.

          On the one hand, that might remove some of the conflict inherent in having municipal attorneys defending police. On the other hand, insurance company attorneys tend to be born psychopaths.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:50pm

      Re:

      How does handcuffing a non-threatening person keep them safe? The only safety they have is from cops who are hopped up on adrenaline and ready to shoot something thinking that they see your hands going for your waistband. Handcuffing is essentially a form of arrest (not charges, mind you, just arrest/detention). If you don't plan on arresting someone, you don't cuff them. If you don't know if they're a suspect, you don't cuff them. This pre-emptive SWAT cowboy bullshit is just an intimidation tactic to show who's in charge.

      As we've seen elsewhere with police being cleared of wrong-doing after killing innocent people, "procedure" isn't necessary the right thing to do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:03pm

        Re: Re:

        I am not defending the officers actions, but a cuffed person signifies a person that the swat team can direct out of the building and are secured and therefore targets to avoid shooting.

        In the heat of the moment things can get rough, and like I said, how "harmless" a person appears cant be used to identify potential threats in a tense situation wheras a secured person is much more easily identifiable. This is why hostages are cuffed in additional to suspects, you just cant TELL until after the event is over and they can look at everyone. That is correct procedure in order to ensure everyones safety.

        However, everything LEADING UP to the SWAT raid was wrong. I'm just commenting on the article seeming incredulous at the cuffing of someone for looking frail during a swat raid. I otherwise agree with everything.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, do you have anything to say about Justice Kennedy's concurrence in Muehler v Mena (2005) ?
          JUSTICE KENNEDY, concurring.

          I concur in the judgment and in the opinion of the Court. It does seem important to add this brief statement to help ensure that police handcuffing during searches becomes neither routine nor unduly prolonged. . . .

          The use of handcuffs is the use of force, and such force must be objectively reasonable under the circumstances, Graham v Connor (1989). . . .

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It must be objectively reasonable is the key phrase, in any kind of situation with potential hostile targets it is objectively reasonable for cuffing. It doesn't mean you can just cuff someone on the street or because you don't like them, but SWAT teams tend to be used in situations where it is objectively reasonable to secure all people with cuffs.

            Again, that's in GENERAL, I do not condone or defend what happened in this case, I merely say that being outraged at the cuffing is wrong. Everything else however is legit.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 2:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I merely say that being outraged at the cuffing is wrong.
              Judge Posner's reaction, though, was that he felt disturbed, rather than outraged.
              The handcuffing of the daughter, looking indeed much younger than her 18 years, is shown on the helmet video along with the rest of the search, and she is so small, frail, utterly harmless looking, and completely unresisting that the sight of her being led away in handcuffs is disturbing.
              Of course, you are free to criticize Judge Posner's reaction, just as much as I am free to tell you that Michigan v Summers (1981) was wrong the day it was decided.

              It's worth pointing out that in Muehler v Mena, after trial—
              The jury awarded Mena $10,000 in actual damages and $20,000 in punitive damages against each petitioner for a total of $60,000.
              That verdict was upheld in the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court's decision to vacate the jury's award does not sit well with me.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 8 Aug 2015 @ 12:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I am not defending the officers actions, but a cuffed person signifies a person that the swat team can direct out of the building and are secured and therefore targets to avoid shooting.

          Because police officers would otherwise certainly be shooting at young girls.

          At any rate, that's very nice theory once you assume that the only shooters on site are the SWAT team. And once you assume that, what the heck did you bring in a SWAT team for anyway?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 11:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You don't seem to understand, how a person looks is not indicative of potential danger. Guns have made this fact ubiquitis, and just being like "CHILDREN, FRAIL, SHOCK" isn't a good enough reason to not employ good security practices.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              David, 9 Aug 2015 @ 2:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Why not cuff everyone on the street while you are at it? How they look is not indicative of potential danger. I mean, we are talking about a raid because of threatening Emails. What is that girl going to do when left uncuffed? Write irate text messages on her phone?

              Well, with that amount of threat level, there are really few options rather than cuff her or shoot her in the head, for all involved officers' safety.

              After all, getting another unfriendly text might make them break down and cry, and you don't want to have thugs armed to the gills have a nervous breakdown.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 7:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          but a cuffed person signifies a person that the swat team can direct out of the building and are secured and therefore targets to avoid shooting.

          A cuffed person should be escorted out of the building by an officer to where an officer is waiting to keep an eye on them, and this does not require the use of cuffs.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:50pm

      Re:

      Well, for what it's worth, they didn't summarily execute Grandma or her daughters. And presumably there were no pets in the house to be executed either, since there's no mention of dogs being shot out of hand.

      Frankly, given the totality of the circumstances described by the court, the occupants of the house should consider themselves extraordinarily lucky to be alive.

      And I mean that without even a touch of sarcasm.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:06pm

        Re: Re:

        They should, everything about the raid was wrong, I was only defending how they secured the premises using cuffing and not say, lethal force.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:54pm

      Re:

      All inside (regardless of innocent or guilty) are cuffed for both the officers and their own safety…
      That's just fucked up.

      The legal fact that the Supreme Court may have revoked the part that says “and particularly describing … the persons … to be seized” doesn't make it any less fucked up.

      It's so manifestly un-fucking-reasonable that the founders put it the plain god-damn text.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 5:31pm

        Re: Re:

        It seems to be standard procedure to handcuff anyone that has been secured, including hostages. Not the first time I've heard of that.

        I guess that the logic is to prevent a suspect from making it look as if he was an hostage and then messing things up once he's free. There is also the fact that if a hostage suffers a mental breakdown, things can get dangerous for him and for anyone around (let's say, you just rescued someone, he goes crazy and starts running around without care and gets shot).


        Yeah, to be honest, it's quite alienating to be cuffed. At least, they should use other sort of restraints that can't be associated to being detained (such as, idk, specially marked cuffs or something that doesn't say "criminal" the time they put it on you).

        And yeah, better not talk about this case. Investigations only happen in movies and series, it seems.


        PS: hey, new way of messing someone's live. Hack his computer with a trojan, do illegal stuff with it (like CP, terrorism, threats, drug dealing...), wait until the police catches him (or tip them yourself anonymously).

        First, you'll get him arrested like a terrorist or worse. Second, until someone realizes that it was a virus, he will be suspicious of the worst crimes. Third, that's if by any chances your trojan leaves traces or whatever, if you get my drift.

        In fact, some police agencies are requesting untraceable trojans to put on suspects for terrorism and CP, to control their computers remotely and such.

        Now, imagine, just imagine, those getting in wrong hands.

        Like, you know, governments that just want to mess your country a lot...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 3:00am

      Re:

      Not every warrant needs to be served by a swat team.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      Procedure doesn't make it right. Putting flash bang grenade tactics in the procedure manual won't make that right too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:18pm

    These pigs act like they are in a war zone and everyone is a threat. When did the Police become such pussies?
    -
    Yeah... we have homegrown terrorism. They are called The Police. Thugs in masks kicking down doors throwing "bombs" with no care whatsoever. Then trying to cover their tracks by destroying surveillance equipment so they can play darts and eat pot brownies. Its absolutely disgusting.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cop-confrontation-goes-viral/vi-BBludH6?ocid=iehp

    Point and shoot first, ask questions later. Protect and serve is a myth. What has become obvious is... The police hate you, it's US vs. Them mentality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:18pm

    Whats up with the comments being held?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 5:54pm

      Comments held?

      Whats up with the comments being held?

      Someone hates you, the world isn't fair, and it isn't all about you? How'd I do?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 6:24pm

      Re:

      Probably someone has been posting shit from your IP address through your unsecured wifi... be ready to duck and cover.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      Happens to me frequently, probably because I use TOR. Don't listen to the local trolls and/or shills when they claim it's part of some censorship plot. It's just a faulty spam filter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    andy, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:42pm

    NOOO

    One thing the news crew, questions I would ask are, how much do the news crew pay the cops for taking them along on no knock raids and how much are the news crew used in the setup of the illegal entry made into the house, do they ask for flashabangs to be used to make the scene look more exciting than it is, do they ask for the cops to ensure it is a violent incursion as a non violent one would not be newsworthy is this why they handcuffed that innocent young girl for the camera.

    Maybe if the courts started asking those questions maybe we could look for laws that prevent news crews or anyone from riding along on possible violent intrusions into peoples homes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:52pm

      Re: NOOO

      The news crews don't have to ask. The cops are all too willing to show off for the "good" cameras. Ever watch Cops? They brag about going in like they're Rambo.

      The implied or explicit agreement with the news crew is to paint the cops in a positive light with their coverage and make it look like they're heroes in the community. If they make them look bad with the coverage, the news crew loses its access to such opportunities.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      avideogameplayer, 7 Aug 2015 @ 4:53pm

      Re: NOOO

      Hopefully they'll sue the tv station, too...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 5:08pm

    Must be the same elderly lady the NSA strip searched at the airport. The mainland Chinese flag will soon fly over our home, I wonder how the locals will take to that. Bad boys bad boys what you gonna do, what you gonna do when they come for you? Great idea for a new reality show, Coppers. From stupid crooks to stupid cops, the circle will be complete.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 7:41pm

      Re:

      The Chinese would never do something like this. They already have enough problems with controlling their populace. If they Chinese are going to arrest someone, it will be as amicable as physically possible. They won't risk so obviously creating a martyr by storming a house with a swat team in broad daylight. instead, they'll be quietly and politely taken down to the local police department and never seen again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 5:31pm

    sadly the keystone cops see no issue with their conduct

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Binko Barnes (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 5:45pm

    "Standard Procedure" does not over-ride constitutional protections. If we are learning one thing these days it's that a lot of cop standard procedure is illegal, thuggish and criminal in it's own right.

    Cops have zero right to handcuff anybody unless they are arresting them. They can't handcuff people for their convenience or for their sacred "officer safety" unless they have cause for an arrest.

    It doesn't matter what "standard procedure" they have made up. If they have a warrant to arrest a specific person they cannot simply cuff everybody in the vicinity no more than arresting somebody in the street gives them the right to cuff everybody else standing nearby.

    The number of police apologists still to be found on discussions like this is appalling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:11pm

      Re:

      In a swat raid it's impossible to determine who is and isn't guilty, therefore standard procedure is to use cuffs (which are plastic ties rather than actual handcuffs) to secure everyone in the premises.

      This is specifically for SWAT raids which are supposed to be called down in issues of extreme tension and danger. The actual calling down of the SWAT raid was the problem, but the actions of the swat raid (cuffing, no shots) were fine. THIS DOES NOT EXCUSE THEIR ACTIONS, it is merely an explanation of proper procedure.

      "Cuffing everybody" applies because when you enter a building yo ucan have no idea who is with or against your target, and swat raids tend not to be targetted at an individual but an organization or building with many potential targets. After this a detainment process is gone through and those who are determined to have been hostages/innocents are released and their statements are taken.

      While the officers who called in the SWAT team deserve punishment, don't fault them for doing the job properly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 9:04pm

        Re: Re:

        I would say the ones dressed up in SWAT gear are the guilty ones most of the time because they could not be bothered to do their job right and instead wanted to treat it like a game where they shoot up the place

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 8 Aug 2015 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re:

        While the officers who called in the SWAT team deserve punishment, don't fault them for doing the job properly.

        If my grandmother calls a carpenter for mending a broken pipe and he nails a floorboard across the broken pipe, you can bet your ass that he'll get the bill for malpractice. He's the expert and thus responsible for recognizing when the job is outside of his job description.

        This very much reminds me of My Lai where a bataillon was told to make a counteroffense against Vietcong fighters, and they only found children, women, and senior citizens and were happy that their "counteroffense" was so easy to perform since they just rounded up and killed everybody in sight without danger to themselves.

        If you read the protocols and read stuff like

        Q: What were the children in the ditch doing?
        A: I don't know.
        Q: Were the babies in their mother's arms?
        A: I guess so.
        Q: And the babies moved to attack?
        A: I expected at any moment they were about to make a counterbalance.
        Q: Had they made any move to attack?
        A: No.

        you have to ask yourself just what kind of brain is working in those people. And the chain of command, of course, was quite successful in burying reports (a lone helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson, who had recently arrived and was supposed to be backup for the ground troups, ended up ignoring the chain of command, threatening his fellow soldiers in order to keep them from killing unarmed civilians and managed to fly something like a dozen people to safety with his crew before his comrades were able to butcher them. He was ostracized and considered a traitor for his acts and harrassed even after returning from Vietnam and returning to civilian life).

        The first and most important duty of a military or paramilitary group is to figure out when they should do nothing, and then THE HELL do nothing.

        People are not playthings and practise targets. Grenades and guns are not toys but potentially lethal weapons, and by far the most frequently correct way to employ them in some random situation is to keep them locked away.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I did not defend the officers actions, I merely defended the cuffing of the girl. I even specifically called out that everything about the raids initial execution was wrong.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            David, 9 Aug 2015 @ 2:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The cuffing of the girl only would have made sense when the girl's description was a match to the physical threat the Swat team was supposed to be necessary to counter.

            Being able to show off "standard procedure" for a hostage situation (which absolutely was not the case here) to a news team is absolutely no excuse for bereaving a person of freedom.

            It doesn't matter that the Swat team was able to follow procedures for a fantasy situation of their own pretense.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              tqk (profile), 9 Aug 2015 @ 6:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think the reasonable thing to do is to help her into the back seat of a squad car, perhaps with company if she wants it. She didn't ask for any of this BS.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 11:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Additionally, you would sue the company the carpenter belongs to. The general thing when sueing is you sue the higher ups who have a duty of care rather than the individual. This is due to a higher payout due to deeper pockets and to hold the people above accountable for bad hiring choices. When a bank repossesses your home illegally, you sue the bank, not the individual movers. When a carpenter damages your home, you sue the company, not the carpenter.

          Generally it's about trying to hold the source of the problem accountable rather than just some guy they hired and can be scapegoated.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 7:43pm

    Why do the work when you have toys to do it for you?
    Why not turn alleged threats into a package perfect news block showing everyone how they are being kept safe?

    Perhaps if we focused less on giving them left over military toys, that we wasted money on creating, and instead more education about how to solve problems with something other than the end of an M15 or tactical armor unit perhaps we would get better.

    The dial has been turned to 11 - terrorists everywhere, under your bed in your town on the internet, threats to law & order!!! (ignoring that people are distrustful because the killed by a cop bodycount is higher than terrorist attack bodycount.) We just want to feel safe, and so few of these stories get the national media coverage they should in deference to the police state. If we lost faith in them, we might stop blindly accepting the lies and rights being torn away.

    Knowing they didn't do any of the investigation the job requires, and then decided to downplay a raid on a little old lady who did nothing illegal. Even the lawsuit will not hold those who made the stupid decisions accountable, they will pass the buck to the taxpayers to take care of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:46pm

    She’s Black

    Why am I not surprised?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 8 Aug 2015 @ 1:16am

      Re: She’s Black

      Why am I not surprised?

      Well, that just shows how circumspect the officers were. Had she been white, treating her like a criminal might have traumatized her.

      As a black girl, getting cuffed is reassuring her that the officers do not intend to use her for target practice, I mean, shoot her in the back while she is "attempting to escape".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:59pm

    they did it solely to terrorize helpless people

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 9 Aug 2015 @ 2:36am

      Re:

      No, that was a side effect. They did it to show off to a news team they had called for PR purposes.

      Terrorizing helpless people is their everyday job. This was rather something special, performing before camera.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve, 7 Aug 2015 @ 9:53pm

    It would seem self evident that we are employing the wrong people.
    Any other employer would sack these dickheads or cull them out at interview.
    The police are turning into a sheltered workshop with guns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Potential Juror, 8 Aug 2015 @ 4:08am

    Too bad you didn't pick me on JURY DUTY.
    I would nullify the states argument.

    Bad law being used as a hammer

    END of discussion.
    My battle will be in the juror room with stupid people only. A Small price to pay. But SOMEONE HAS TO LEAD. it will be me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 6:45am

    "The defendants say they didn’t know that Mrs. Milan’s network was unsecured "

    This demonstrates their ineptitude, lack of proper training for their assigned tasks and an overall "screw it" attitude towards the public.

    And they demand respect ... something they know little about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 8 Aug 2015 @ 7:41am

    Cops are a danger to all communities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bryce, 8 Aug 2015 @ 9:09am

    This is ridiculous. Is this 1910? I hope the department sues that ageist, sexist judge. Elderly woman and pre-teen girls have the right to be taken seriously as vicious criminals just as much as men. The police department should be lauded for proponent stance in treating this house of empowered womyn as credible threats instead of treating then as stereotypical helpless, delicate flowers as the judge would label them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 9 Aug 2015 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      When you are looking at actual age/gender/job-related shooting statistics, the guy cuffing the girl would have been safer by cuffing one of his colleagues instead of the girl. He posed a far greater objective risk to life and health of officers and bystanders than the girl.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2015 @ 9:46am

    United Fascists America

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dumb Founded, 8 Aug 2015 @ 1:43pm

    Someone Should Be Gettin Fired

    And Someone Should Be Gettin SUED.

    GOOD GOD

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 9 Aug 2015 @ 10:56am

    Consequences are for Civilians only.

    This problem will only continue and escalate so long as the Police are sheltered from responsibility and so long as any of their "actions" that are found by the courts to be "unreasonable", and that subsequently lead to law suits by the victims, are covered by public taxpayer funds.

    In simpler terms, as long as the police face zero consequences for their actions, their actions will remain unreasonable, and get worse over time.

    Guaranteed.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:24am

    Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

    Let's look at this story more clearly, shall we?

    A threat was made via an internet connection, which was shown to be a given residence. The threat was significant and suggested a real danger, someone saying they would attack police with intent to kill.

    The police did their job to find where the threats were coming from, and taking those threats seriously, they got a warrant and raided the house.

    In the real world (if you got out into it) you would know that police don't generally politely call up someone and go "is there an insane person with a gun in your home wanting to kill police?". If there was such a person, they would likely be alerted and leave the location and possible head out to execute their plan. Getting a warrant and raiding the place is perhaps the best choice under the circumstances.

    Police also don't generally show up knowing on the door asking a similar question. If the person was in the home, they are very likely armed and dangerous. Therefore, raiding the place under the circumstance is generally the safest way to do thing.

    Getting upset about who got handcuffed is to not understand how a raid is executed, generally everyone in the location are "secured" and then the process of figuring out who is who and who is good or bad is sorted out. They can't stop when they get to the first person and have a nice long chat, while others potentially armed and dangerous are in the location.

    So what's left? An open internet connection, and someone with band intention. Not much different from leaving your home unlocked and having someone call 911, when you think about it. The granny here needs to bare at least some of the responsibility for this happening.

    I honestly cannot see another way the police could have moved forward safely and in a timely manner to try to stub out a serious threat. Had they ignored it or just given it over to an investigative unit for follow up laterm and the person had in fact been serious, then this would likely be a story about lazy cops who didn't take action.

    No winning, right?

    Sucks for Granny. Lock your doors and secure your WiFi, the problem ends there. The cops didn't do anything particularly wrong in raiding the place, IMHO.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 4:09am

      So the common occurance of an unsecured internet connection

      ...and someone else's misuse of it is, in your opinion, is grounds to get SWATted?

      Wow does your ideal world suck.

      I'm pretty sure (as I've said before) that any policy that involves busting down doors, flashbang grenades, assault rifles, handcuffing everyone and killing the nearby pets should be reserved for extreme situations, such as confirmed hostage-barricade.

      Grannies who left their router unsecured deserve no less consideration than a modicum of investigatory police work and a door-knock, no matter what threats allegedly come from her IP address.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 4:13am

        To clarify, by door knock...

        I mean that Webb and Friday call in advance, make an appointment to come over, do so in plainclothes. And politely ask questions. Staying for tea is optional.

        I do not mean a thump on the door before blasting it open with a breach charge.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 4:22am

      Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

      Ah, aj being a moron. What a surprise.

      The police did their job to find where the threats were coming from, and taking those threats seriously, they got a warrant and raided the house.

      You see, the court vehemently disagrees with you. But even so, they did not even try to establish the context around the location. Simple phone calls disguised as telemarketing, checking the background of the owners, some field surveillance (they would be able to get warrants to do so in a timely fashion for sure) but above all that, they shouldn't have forced a no-knock warrant without being absolutely sure the residents offered real danger.

      In the real world (if you got out into it) you would know that police don't generally politely call up someone and go "is there an insane person with a gun in your home wanting to kill police?".

      No. They wiretap the phones and generally have some investigative work done. Which invalidates the rest of your sentence. Yeah, it's pure bullshit.

      Getting upset about who got handcuffed is to not understand how a raid is executed, generally everyone in the location are "secured" and then the process of figuring out who is who and who is good or bad is sorted out.

      Yep. They can't wait a bit and do proper recon so burning toddlers is reasonable and cuffing little girls is just proper conduct. You are disgusting as always.

      So what's left? An open internet connection, and someone with band intention. Not much different from leaving your home unlocked and having someone call 911, when you think about it. The granny here needs to bare at least some of the responsibility for this happening.

      You know, many routers come with guest networks and I myself maintain one open wi-fi for those purposes. Good thing judges disagree with you or we'd see open connections disappear swiftly which would benefit nobody. And the fact that you blame the victim says a lot about your despicable self.

      I honestly cannot see another way the police could have moved forward safely and in a timely manner to try to stub out a serious threat. Had they ignored it or just given it over to an investigative unit for follow up laterm and the person had in fact been serious, then this would likely be a story about lazy cops who didn't take action.

      Actually they'd have done the right thing and we could check whether said investigative team was working seriously, was deprived of enough personnel or was plain incompetent. In none of those cases we'd see grandmas and little girls being greeted a full no-knock warrant with flash grenades and everything. And we wouldn't have seen toddlers being almost killed by police overreaction.

      Sucks for Granny. Lock your doors and secure your WiFi, the problem ends there. The cops didn't do anything particularly wrong in raiding the place, IMHO.

      The court disagrees with you, the sane people disagree with you. I can't find a term low enough to describe you so I'll go with rotten trash.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 9:17am

      Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

      Sucks for Granny. Lock your doors and secure your WiFi, the problem ends there. The cops didn't do anything particularly wrong in raiding the place, IMHO.

      If that granny lived in Falujah a few years ago, I'd agree. We're talking about quiet neighborhoods in big city USA.

      You've forgotten that police are to keep the peace, not to be a para-military flying squad of SAS commandos.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

        not to be a para-military flying squad of SAS commandos.

        Stop insulting the SAS, because they are much more protective of civilian lives than the US cops. Part of the reason that bravo two zero got into so much trouble was respect for civilian lives, and that earned them the respect of the Iraqi civilians.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 1:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

          not to be a para-military flying squad of SAS commandos.

          Stop insulting the SAS ...

          You're making stuff up. Cops making believe they're up to the standards of the SAS *and* up against the sorts that SAS regularly deals with, is what's wrong here. This ain't Falujah. They're cops, not special forces countering domestic insurgents.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 1:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

            This ain't Falujah. They're cops, not special forces countering domestic insurgents.

            Maybe it would help if people would remember the cold war history of South America. Right wing dictatorships, Juntas, oligarchys, death squads, Les Desaparecidos(sp?), ...

            That's what I think about as I watch the constitution slide into the shredder.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 12 Aug 2015 @ 5:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

              Add the Oathkeepers to that list, tqk.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                tqk (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 7:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

                Add the Oathkeepers to that list

                I only barely know that outfit exists (I'm Canuck), but (Wikipedia):

                Oath Keepers is an American nonprofit organization[1] which encourages members—some of whom are said to be current and former U.S. military and law enforcement—to disobey any orders they believe violate the Constitution of the United States.


                That doesn't sound bad. I thought they were all just NRA fans or so. The guy who founded them's a Ron Paul fan, fwiw. They sound like Lew Rockwell fans.

                Hardly comparable to Pinochet, et al.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 9:47am

        Re: Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

        Keeping the peace is a very subjective term. North Korea lives a vigilant peace. I'd say they should be SERVING the citizens as the term 'servant' in public servants is meant to be. Once your priority is to serve and help the citizens you will think twice before throwing grenades at will.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      GEMont, 11 Aug 2015 @ 3:12pm

      Re: Amusing story, but you need to get out more.

      "The threat was significant and suggested a real danger, someone saying they would attack police with intent to kill."

      That statement is an outright and obvious lie.

      Good start for your message Whatever.

      You see, when the police finally did their actual job and investigated the situation thoroughly, they discovered that the threat was NOT significant and DID NOT suggest a real danger, because the guy who made those threats has been doing just that for a long time and was well known to the police.

      "But rather than give him the SWAT-team treatment, the police politely requested that he come to police headquarters, which he did, where he was arrested without incident."

      Which proves that once they knew WHO was making the threats, they also knew the danger was non-existent.

      Almost all of the comments on this article suggest the same thing - that cops do their job and do that job the right way, rather than cut corners and plan photo-ops.

      Doing their job the right way, was something they eventually did do, albeit after they huffed and they puffed and they tried to blow granny's house down.

      Doing it right eliminated the entire threat and would have saved Granny a lot of grief and the tax payer a lot of money from Granny's lawsuit.

      I note that you also neglected to mention that the police felt the Danger Level granny posed was so Clear and Present that they needed the added protection of a civilian News Team Back-up, armed with fully automatic Assault Cameras.

      I still think you're just posting all these sad apologist statements in order to point out the absolute hypocrisy of the failed system that is US Justice and US Society.

      And you're still doing a great job. :)

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Aug 2015 @ 3:34pm

        Hazardous grandmothers

        Doing it right eliminated the entire threat and would have saved Granny a lot of grief and the tax payer a lot of money from Granny's lawsuit.

        I suspect doing it right might have also saved the taxpayers the cost of the raid and of hazard pay for the officers involved in the raid.

        If we were going to consider malice (or greed) rather than sheer stupidity, that might be a critical point of why the raid occurred.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    dakre (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 7:31am

    Need SLAPP law

    Our parents (most anyways) should have told us to treat others like you want to be treated. So why not treat those police officers the same way they treated that family? Maybe they will also stop using asset seizure laws if we take their "acquired" luxury cars too.

    Just an amusing thought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      GEMont, 11 Aug 2015 @ 3:24pm

      Re: Need SLAPP law

      "Just an amusing thought."

      But a thought that if verbalized publicly, or published in writing can, under today's 9/11 and drug-war-based US legal system and revised Constitution, get you plucked from your bed in the wee hours of the night by 6 masked men wielding assault rifles, and whisked away to a dungeon in some obscure third world country, where you can be legally tortured for fun, by members of your own country's military, political and medical industries, until you die.

      Welcome to America.

      Please follow the yellow rubber line and have your papers ready and in order. Thank you.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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