Hell Forms Bobsled Team After Police Chief Admits Fault In SWAT Raid Targeting Wrong Address

from the tfw-the-gold-standard-should-just-be-the-goddamn-standard dept

Something that happens far too often -- police officers raiding the wrong house in search of criminals -- has resulted in national headlines.

A police search warrant team going after a drug dealer targeted the wrong address and burst into the apartment of an innocent resident who shot and wounded two officers believing they were home invaders, Prince George’s law enforcement officials said.

It has been greeted by something that almost never happens.

Police Chief Hank Stawinski apologized for the error Thursday and said he has halted executing search warrants until the department reviews how it corroborates information to confirm addresses and the location of investigative targets.

There's more. No charges will be filed against the man who shot two officers. The police chief said the man ambushed in his own home was a "law-abiding citizen." Beyond that, he called the warrant itself into question, along with the information used to obtain it.

A confidential informant led investigators to the address at which they were serving the search warrant Wednesday night, Stawinski said. But the chief said he is “not satisfied” with the amount of information investigators used to obtain the search warrant and with the efforts to verify the information from the informant.

Here's all the things that didn't happen:

- No one suggested everyone "wait until all the facts are in."

- No one blamed the media for rushing ahead with a narrative the PD didn't find flattering.

- No one refused to comment until an investigation was completed.

- No one disparaged the victim of the raid by feeding his criminal record to local media.

- No one suggested the resident be more compliant in the future.

- No one defended the officers' actions as reasonable.

- No one filed charges against the resident for shooting and wounding police officers.

This is an astounding reaction to incidents that are far too commonplace in this country. This is also an indictment of policing in America. There is no reason this reaction should be as stunning as it is. This should be standard operating procedure when cops screw up. Instead, we're most often greeted with defense of indefensible actions combined with a multitude of efforts designed to make the SWAT raid victim appear as unsympathetic as possible.

Wrong address raids, killings of unarmed citizens, excessive force deployment… all of these events are normally handled by police departments with maximum defensiveness and minimal acceptance of culpability. A law enforcement agency immediately stepping up to take responsibility for its errors -- especially ones with potentially deadly outcomes -- is a breath of fresh air in the fetid, stagnant swamp of US policing.

But this shouldn't be the ultra-rare exception. It should be the rule. The public law enforcement serves deserves far better than the condescending, self-serving crap it's so often handed in the wake of incidents like these.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 6:03am

    Re: How about basic reporting standards?

    It kinda did give a location, Prince George: a county in Maryland

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.