Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Police Shot, Wounded at Wrong address, no Charges for Home Defender in Maryland

Image from lcpdfr.com

On 19 September, 2018, in Maryland, police were executing a search warrant related to the drug trade. There were nine of them. They had the wrong address. Maryland has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. The resident had a shotgun, and heard the police breaking in his house. The raid erupted into a gunfight, and two police officers were injured enough to require hospitalization. From foxnews.com:
The shooting took place Wednesday night as a unit of nine officers served a search warrant at an apartment complex about 20 miles south of the nation's capital. After knocking on the door and getting no response, officers used a device to open it.

The resident, who had fallen asleep and didn’t hear police announce themselves, fired a shotgun as soon as officers opened the door, striking one in the shoulder and the other in a hand, officials said. One officer returned fire, but didn’t hit anyone.

The man immediately surrendered once he realized they were police officers, officials said.

“You got the wrong address. Don’t shoot my daughter,” the father said, according to Stawinski.

The chief apologized for the blunder and said there will not be any criminal charges filed against the resident, Washington news station WTOP-FM reported.
This is the latest in a series of cases where it has been acknowledged that homeowners have a right to defend their home, even against police, if a warrant is served improperly.

In 2007, in a SWAT raid of the wrong address, Vang Khang shot at police officers as they broke into his family's home.  The police eventually settled the case for over $600,000.  No one was hit.

Adrian Perryman was found not guilty of shooting at police in another failed SWAT raid that ocurred in 2010.

Brandon Watson was found not guilty after shooting out a window when police officers lit him up with laser sights in January, 2013.

Hank McGee was not indicted for the fatal shooting of a deputy in a no knock raid in late 2013.

Dallas Horton was not even arrested for shooting the Police Chief in Sentinel, Oklahoma, in 2015.

On August 30 of 2015, Darrel Burt shot a police officer.  On September 2nd, 2016, he was found not guilty, by reason of self defense.  He was wounded in the elbow during the incident. He had been drinking, and is a veteran. 

Fortunately, these cases are rare.  They will become even less frequent as the digital recording revolution reaches saturation, where nearly all public events are recorded all the time.

One of the major purposes of warrants is to insure that the person being served knows that the search is being conducted in accordance with due process, and has been authorized by a judge.  This is to insure it is not a freewheeling exercise of police power or freelance criminals masquerading as police to enhance their chance of success with robbery, assault, rape, and murder.

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

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too many cops have the Gestappo syndrome. No knock warrants are unconstitutional. I'm all for crime fighting and I'm tired of law enforcement ignoring 4th amendment guaranteed rights. A warrant is not properly served until the person being served has the opportunity to read the warrant and if any thing is wrong with the warrant the person served has the right to object. warrants can be corrected the damage done by improper service can not be undone.