May 28, 2011

Marine Vet Killed By Police

I waited a bit to see what happened with a story from Arizona where a Marine vet was shot to death by a police SWAT unit and allowed to bleed out while his wife frantically called 911 to get an ambulance for her husband. As it turned out, the SWAT unit was conducting a search warrant that was based on erroneous information.

And it is looking worse and worse for the SWAT team. The alleged suspect, Jose Guerena, never fired a shot but may have been holding a rifle. Apparently the police were the first to open fire - it is possible that one of the deputies accidentally discharged his weapon and that was what initiated the barrage of gunfire. Jose was allegedly shot 60 times.

The SWAT team looks like an undisciplined bunch of rookies. Listen to the gunfire in the video. I don't care how much adrenalin is coursing through your bloodstream; if you cannot practice fire discipline under extreme circumstances in a residential setting, you don't belong on SWAT. This isn't Afghanistan, it's Tucson. And don't give me that crap about tactical loads, you should have known that there was a woman and child in the house. I have been retired now for a dozen years; on the range I never received instruction on emptying my weapon as fast as I can into a residence.

The discussion forums are full of pro- and con-LEO (mostly con) remarks and some interesting observations. Such as: the decedent should have known it was the police from the noise of the siren and the officers screaming "search warrant." And he did not open the door, the police used a ram to take it down. Or, the decedent may have been putting the gun away when the cops saw him with the rifle and opened fire preemptively.

The confusion surrounding these events is not unusual. People witnessing the same incident can have conflicting stories in some details. But it is an outrage nonetheless. And the Sheriff of Pima County is an ass. I wonder if his attitude trickled down.


everythingis said...

This is goddamn backwards. We are living in a police state. This officer will not even get probation for this homicide. If it was clear this man was holding a rifle, the police will get away with it. I had a run in with an officer of the law tonight. Thankfully I was not breaking any law and was freed. We live in a frightening time in America.

Gorges Smythe said...

This is how "the powers that be" want things, and Americans keep electing tin-horn dictator types to office at every level. I don't think things will get any better, and probably will get a whole lot worse.

Anonymous said...

If they had him under surveillance, why did'nt they arrest him when he came home from work? or arrest him at work? What are the odds of the police executing a warrant at the wrong house or for the wrong reason? Seems pretty high these days. And it seems like people are always getting hurt when they execute warrants in this fashion. Sometimes the bad guys get hurt or killed, sometimes it innocent civilians and sometimes its the police. The victim in this case had no criminal record, no drugs, cash or other contraband in his home. When an innocent person in their own home hears people coming through the door, they don't suspect its the police. The bad guys know its the police, but innocent civilians do not. So, innocent people often protect themselves from intruders that are coming into their home because they don't suspect that the police would come into their home in such fashion. I do not understand why police must use this method. Is it less costly than putting suspects under surveillance and arresting them outside their homes? IS it that important to arrest someone AT their home to help with their prosecution by getting them and the evidence all in one place? Is that so important that its worth risking people getting hurt or killed? These methods may be easier and more economical or efficient, but all it takes is one police officer or innocent civilian to get injured or killed and the taxpayer cost has now skyrocketed. We need to put an end to these no-knock warrants, far too many lives are being lost because of them.

sig94 said...

Everythingis - too many people, or rather sheeple, are willing to give up freedom in return for security. They are afraid and desire chains rather than infettered access. They will surely get the chains.

sig94 said...

Gorges - the generations that will assume control of this land are very very different from those of earlier generations. They are motivated almost solely by their emotions. If they want something it automatically becomes a right that SOMEONE ELSE HAS TO PROVIDE FOR THEM. So of course our so-called leaders pander to their interests and lead us down the path to tyranny. I believe it is called "benign dictatorship." except when it isn't benign.

Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

sig94 said...

Anon - I understand the need for "no knock" warrants, I have participated on them, I have friends who were injured by drug traffickers during the execution of these warrants. I also inderstand the unbelievable danger that officers now face in narcotics investigations, especially when dealing with Central and South American narco-gangs. You may or may not be aware of this. It is much, much worse then when I worked the road and it was pretty bad then.

Nonetheless, it does not excuse what happened in this circumstance. Bad intelligence does not excuse poor performance. I am wondering if they were using an informant who made a mistake - i.e., same name but different person - or just didn't like the victim.

I would also like to see what probable cause was developed for the search warrant - was it a direct (narcotics investigator buys the drugs) or indirect (confidential informant is given money and buys the drugs)buy?

Just how did this address enter the picture? That is the question in my mind right now. There is no question that the SWAT team screwed the pooch and killed an innocent man.

Did they murder him? No, the cops did not go to the address with the intent to kill Jose.

Since they were operating under the authority of a search warrant signed by a judge, these officers most likely cannot be prosecuted under Arizona state criminal laws.

I am not sufficiently informed about Arizona's laws regarding the Use of Deadly Physical Force to really say yes or no on this. This is why I think the family should go to the feds for a possible criminal case. Federal laws, especially section 1870 of the Civil Rights Act (I believe) may offer a better remedy.

Andy said...

This is bad, very bad. I believe that this paradigm shift is being driven from the top down by this thug regime. BHO made a very foreboding slip of the tongue in the summer of 2008, that statement where he referred to "Ruling" the American citizens. History has demonstrated time and again that Rulers require brute force to impose their will over the masses.
I shudder as I see the peace officer being replaced by the paramilitary trooper. This is not the "Dreams of OUR FATHERS", and the reason why we have a Second Amendment to our Constitution.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

At that level, mistakes should be ruled out.

Gorges Smythe said...

Linked this post.

sig94 said...

Andy - I do not blame only Obama on this. I also blame the cops. I think the young men who raise their hands and swear to defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of their state (that is the oath I took) are too predisposed to do violence. And I get this from my friends who are still on the force and shake their heads at the young cops who go out on their tours and seem to look for trouble. We took the job to help people, I don't know if that is the mindset anymore.

I blame some of this for the effect of the media on our young people. The media that glamorizes violence, on the video games that where first person shooting is so popular and especially the new militant police culture. But that in turn is fueled by the increase in deadly force directed at the police by criminals who will shoot you at the drop of a hat. Used to be it wasn't like that after things quieted down from the student and black riots of the late 60's and early 70's. I came on just at that time (1974).

We just didn't think and act like this 35+ years ago. I was never on a SWAT team but when the guys did go out (rarely at that) they usually never fired a shot and they usually did not go out on search warrants. For a city of 170,000 at the time, we just never shot many people - ever. In my 24 years I think we shot and killed maybe 2 perps.

Now my department kills one or two a year. And these are all "clean" shootings involving violent armed felonies in progress where the cops were being shot at.

sig94 said...

Odie - I wish I could say the same thing. I think what can happen (in general terms) is one of two things.

1. The team gets complacent and when it looks like something is really going down they are taken by surprise and react accordingly.

2. The team is jumpy because they have been exposed to gunfire on numerous occasions and they are twitchy and react accordingly.

But because we are dealing with human beings, mistakes should never be ruled out.

But shooting him sixty times with automatic weapons in a RESIDENCE where you should know there are other people present is just too much to take.

And then letting him lay there for an hour denying medical treatment. No, no, no, no!
God no!
Shit no!
Fuck no!

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

People had better wake up. Just recently (I believe Indiana) a State SC ruled that police can execute a search of a home WITHOUT a warrant OR probable cause.

Now I know as legal gun owner and in all other respects what I would do if someone broke into my home should I be present and can say that at least one or two police officers would go down with me if they were the ones breaking in.

An aside and related; Those who wish to continue the 'War on Drugs' view that video again as this is what it looks like and the results are obvious.

sig94 said...

Chris - there have been warrantless searches since Moses was a Cub Scout but the courts really seem to be opening the doors big time to what was formally a rigidly controlled exercise in police powers.

It's not the warrant that bothers me so much, it's the probable cause. The purpose of a warrant is to demonstrate that a judge has examined the circumstances whereby there indeed is probable cause to enter the premises. Hell, I've applied for search warrants base on informants, witnesses or on personal knowledge. You MUST have probable cause! The Constitution says so!

I cannot see how the IN finding will hold up to the US Supremes.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Sig,,Even without an extra liberal activist justice on the SCOTUS bench all one has to do is look at the recent decision on the release of 46,000 inmates in CA to see how the IN decision can hold in the current crop of justices.

The plan; Give rights to those who should have lost them and take away rights from those who need them the most. It all has to do with control, votes, fear and intimidation. In a nutshell, tyranny.

Subvet said...

I've read the story on this incident, the problem isn't so much what happened but the prevalence of it. Stories of heavy handed, thuggish tactics by police departments all over the country seem to be on the rise.

I wonder if part of the problem could lie in the contempt many express for LEO's these days. No, this isn't a "blame the victim" comment. Far from it.

But let's face it, since the late sixties the occupation of police officer has become less valued and more prone to back seat drivers who are willing to scream "brutality" at the drop of a hat.

The movie, "A Clockwork Orange" (which was a true piece of dogshit but highly acclaimed by critics of the time) showed a future where thugs were actively recruited for the police. Are we heading that way? When an occupation such as the police force or military is routinely demonized and cast as fit only for brutes and lowbrows, just what the hell can we expect to be attracted to it.

Were the cops wrong on this one? Dumb question IMO. Can we expect more of the same as long as the present cultural trend of cop bashing continues?

You tell me.

They Say/We Say said...

I was going to link this Arizona Story for you, but I said , stories around here--Tx..
There are too many to list so I only linked a couple.
The ones with shot home owners were not searchable, so some digging using terms I will have to concentrate, how the story and headline would be worded.
But, You see that these things are happening.
Alot were happening under Pres. Clinton.
And I think that is when the corner was turned as to heavy handed Authority became the norm in Black Dressed Raids in the middle of the Night.
Thank You Bubba.
And BHO said, The need for a civilian security force that is as well funded and as powerful as the Police/Military just scares most Americans-who are paying attention.

Kid said...

I've had enough already with SWAT, when at Virginia Tech, they were hiding behind trees with body amour on, while kids were being murdered in the buildings by some punk.

sig94 said...

Chris - I hear you. Boy, do I hope you're wrong. If indeed probable cause goes the way of the sanctity of the womb, then we are right back to the 1770's when all the Brits had to do was yell "Open in the name of the King!" before they put their boots to the door.

sig94 said...

Subvet - either we don't have much of it up here or because I refuse to waste my time watching local TV news that I am missing it.

But I do hear the attitude from police officials at the meetings I attend. A hardening, a focus on violence and guns. I speak out for data driven practices whereby the actual offenders are targeted rather than global efforts, particularly when it comes to CC permits.

Cops have always had a bunker mantality, at least for the last 40 years that I am aware of. But this stems from the liberal media/politicianphysical attacks on us and actual attacks which are escalating. Just from reading the hundreds of comments on forum and other sites it appears that at least 75% are very, very negative - perhaps undersatndably so. But there are perhaps 20% of them that are off the wall nutzoid. These people will not calm down as events unfold.

sig94 said...

TSWS - I concur. I think the feds took the lead in this appraoch to law enforcement.

I remember the famous picture of an immigration officer shoving the muzzle of a 9mm HK machine gun into the face of that 7 year old Cuban boy in Florida. I mean, come on.

Let's face it, Janet Reno presided over Ruby Ridge and Waco - not one federal employee was ever disciplined. Come to think of it, not one federal employee was ever disciplined over the intelligence horror show that resulted in 9/11.

sig94 said...

Kid - part of that is reluctance on behalf of their superiors - police chiefs and the politicians they must obey. Those cops cannot proceed until they get the green light. I have talked to my buddies who were SWAT snipers. In one instance they had to watch through their scopes while a suspect was raping a women. They could not take him out as the Chief of Police refused to okay the hit.Why? Because our Mayor was out of town and wanted to be there so his puss could be plastered all over the paper. This fiasco dragged on for over a day because of our Mayor.

j summ said...

a sad story to be sure. did the SWAT team leave him to bleed to death, knowing he was hit? or did they clear the residence in a systematic manner after a deadly force encounter?

i also would like to know what the PC was that resulted in a search warrant being issued after judicial review. i have yet to find a story that confirms, as you assert, that the information contained in the warrant was faulty or fraudulent.

even if that turns out to be the case, the execution of the warrant is called good faith, as i'm sure you remember. you KNOW that those specific officers doing the shooting are lawful in their use of deadly force, based on the suspect's (apparent) ability, opportunity and jeopardy to cause great bodily harm or death. unless of course those same officers are the one who sought the warrant, based on they knew to be faulty information.

i find the argument hollow that the victim had no clue the police were there. just look at the video. ask yourself how many residential robberies you worked where the suspects arrived in police vehicles, with the sirens going, in raid gear. i have seen a story that the wife thought it was intruders, and was fearful, due to the death of a couple of close relatives recently, during a home invasion, so she woke up our marine vet, who armed himself and got shot, a lot, apparently.

you are correct in the statement that the police have a foxhole mentality. perhaps that is due to unqualified commentators giving their "expert" opinion on matters that they do not have all the facts on. that is not to imply you SIG. but you and i both know the media loves to fan the flames when something like this occurs. remember, the supreme court says that the force used, will be judged in the light of what a reasonable, objective officer would do. you also know that everyone and their dog will scrutinize the shooting, and that's ok. the community and family should get answers to what really happened.

as far as young cops being more willing to use force these days, maybe they are. or maybe they are just better trained. i would like to point out the the most DEADLY DECADE in AMERICAN policing was the 1970's, according to NLEOM. why is that? maybe because of a lack of officer survival training. from the stories i get, you guys got a little bit of state law, some firearms training and report writing, a set of keys and hit the streets, learning as you go/went. remember you guys, prior to 1986, could shoot ANY fleeing felon, armed or not. that might have made criminals more willing to take old time coppers on, figuring they were going to get shot in the back anyway. the advent and wide spread use of concealable body armor helped reduce officer deaths too, beginning in the early 80's.

maybe it's because we had lots of vets coming back from viet nam, to a shitty economy, with PTSD, a willingness to use violence/kill, coupled with easy access to drugs and rampant drug use in society. i have no idea if PTSD or the drugs apply to Guerena, but a judge sure did feel that the drugs played some part in his life, and a real good way to get shot is have a gun in hand, when uniformed police are pointing guns at you.

last, but not least, i want to point out that i, too, am a vet. because of that i know that not all of or guys who served are true blue and a yard wide, as evident by the likes of; lee harvey oswald, charles whitman, tim mcveigh,terry nichols and dennis rader. i'm not trying to bash GUERENA's memory, just highlighting facts.

it would be nice if we could put this genie back in the bottle, keep the former marine a national, if unsung hero, and the cops pillars of the community, but we are only going to get half of that.

Anonymous said...

As a former Marine Corp Captain, I am amazed by the lack of fire controll discipline in these Police departments. It seems that the cops want a them and us society. Let the citizen beware!