Thursday, July 4, 2019

No-Knock Warrants

I have long thought these should be issued only for very unusual situations.  The traditional reason was fear that drugs might be flushed while waiting for someone to open the door.  If the amount is huge (dealer or distributor level), this would require a heck of a toilet.  For a hostage or terrorist situation it might also make sense.  Otherwise, the risk that you might be mistaken for a home invader and shot at by the resident (which would almost certainly end in the resident's death.)  But for an unpaid gas bill?  7/3/19 KMOV:
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Angela Zorich says she remembers the April day in 2014 like it was yesterday.
“I saw them and they're just pouring in, they're covered head to toe, they got helmets, they're like military style," said Zorich.
Her life forever changed after she says the St. Louis County Police Department’s SWAT team came with a no-knock warrant for an unpaid gas bill.
"Why is this cop able to call in a SWAT team because I didn't have gas service at my house?" said Zorich.
She recalls SWAT members kicking in her front door, before firing at her pit bull.
"They put me and my son on our knees to watch her die. The officer squatted over her while she was dying with the search warrant, and he said, ‘You know why we're here?’ and I said, ‘No I don't know.’ When he said, ‘We’re here because your gas is off.’ I lost it," Zorich said.
The county settled for $750,000.  I think police officers should go to jail for this.

1 comment:

Windy Wilson said...

I had agency law one semester in law school. One day the professor saw me in the halls and asked, "so what do you think of the class so far?"
I told him it was kind of disheartening. Each chapter started with a case, and half way through I would say to myself, "They can't do that!!!" and a page or two later, I'd think, "Sonofagun. They can!"
We had Constitutional Law and all of the cases molding unreasonable search and seizure and other rights, so it was a surprise to see how different agency law was treated.
The professor said, Yes, that was Agency law. He said that there wasn't much reason for the states as separate entities anymore, and because police were an executive branch agency, the whole criminal justice system process could be folded into the Police agency.

I haven't seen anything in the 23 years since to give me a more sanguine view of agency law.