Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Man Impersonating DEA During Home Invasion, Shot, Killed

At about 1 a.m. on July 18th, 2018, in Alquippa, Pennsylvania Brionna Hicks stepped outside on the porch of her home to smoke a cigarette. Her mother was upstairs with three children. Her brother, Anthony Farley, lived in the other half of the duplex.

Two men, wearing shirts with DEA printed on them, ran up to the porch, yelling DEA! and DEA survellance! They tried to handcuff Brionna. She fought them and started screaming. From, 18 July:
Her mother came downstairs and was confronted by a tall man wearing something white on his head, according to the complaint. The man pointed a gun at the mother and told her to lay face down on the stairs.

The two men then tried to drag Ms. Hicks out of the house, she said, at which point her brother, who lives in the adjoining half of the duplex, came to the front door.

The unidentified man shot her brother, Anthony Farley, in the neck.

Mr. Farley returned fire, striking the man, according to the complaint.
Brionna's brother, Anthony, ended up in the hospital. He will recover. His assailant ended up dead, on the porch.

The gunfight took place between the two doors pictured on the white duplex. It appears to be about 20 feet.

This illustrates a growing problem of criminals impersonating law enforcement officers to gain an advantage over their victims.

It was less of a problem when most police were uniformed and used official vehicles. Now many raids are unannounced, or use almost no warning in the service of a warrant.

One of the primary purposes of a warrant is to inform the person in charge of the premises to be searched that the officers doing the searching are doing so under due process of law. A search warrant protects both the owner of the premises and the police. Proper service of a search warrant also prevents searches of other premises or places not on the warrant.

An owner of premises does not have to allow police onto the premises unless they have a warrant.

The war on drugs has vastly expanded the use of "no knock" warrants, which have been issued promiscuously in recent years. The mere ownership of legal firearms has been used as a premise to issue a no-knock warrant.

It has become much harder for citizens to know if the people breaking down the door are police or criminals. If the police do not announce themselves, and wait for a reasonable time to have the person in charge of the premises look at a warrant and determine that it is valid, and what may be searched for, how is a person to know if the invasion of their home is occurring under the rule of law?

I was involved in a situation in Australia where premises were searched. The officers with the warrant were not present. A resident asked for the paperwork. It could not be produced. The resident refused them entry. The officers waited until the paperwork was present. They were allowed entry, and conducted their search.  That is the way most warrants should work in the United States.

U.S. courts have ruled that some warrants need not to be present for the person to be served and the search conducted. How is the person to know if the officials have a valid warrant or not, if they cannot see the document?

In many cases, they do not know.

Police officers have been killed when they have attempted to serve warrants without sufficient notice. Homeowners who have shot police officers have been found not guilty by juries.

Criminals that disguise themselves as police or other law enforcement are another reason use of no-knock warrants should be severely limited, and sufficient time given to occupants to respond to an announcement by police.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Unknown said...

When the tactics of the Police and the Criminals become so similar that it's hard to tell between the two, it's time to change some things.

Anonymous said...

I was served with a warrant, I took the time to read it. No where did it say they had then right to come into my home and take what they wanted. A person that live in my home left without notice a week later came back with police to pick up their belongings. really no need for police all they had to do was come and ask for the things I had no use for them. I told the police to tell me what they wanted and I would bring it out to them. three of the officers read the warrant for several minutes and could find no authority to come ;t see how you can stop me. they said well we cant let you go back in , you might come back with a gun. I said I don't see where you have the authority to stop me. If I was going to shoot you, you would all be laying dead in the drive way now tell me what you want. they gave me a hand written list. I brought out every thing on the list that belonged to the person. and they said what about the rest of the things, I said I have receipts for the furniture the person is asking for None if it belongs to that person. they asked that person if the things actually belonged to them. the person said no but I need those things. They wrote on the warrant it had been satisfied and told that person to get and never come back.