July 6, 2013

Rogue Cops?

We just want to look out your windows and fuck up your dog.

What follows appears to be a particularly egregious example of police misconduct that is finally winding its way through our legal system. It took two years for this incident to reach the courts and the local Las Vegas media seems to have completely ignored it.

I have no problem with the application of deadly physical force when needed. But I do have a problem with the "them vs us" attitude of so many cops and the way that the new generation of officers is trained to steamroll over the citizenry. When I joined in 1974, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty was 280; last year in 2012 it was 120. Our tactics at that time were much less intrusive and we were very concerned with maintaining good relations with the people we served. How things have changed.

I thank God that fewer officers are making the ultimate sacrifice, but I deplore the tactics being used against citizens whose only crime appears to be wanting to be left alone.

From the Daily Caller:
A family is suing the city of Henderson, Nevada for violating their Third Amendment rights — the constitutional prohibition against quartering soldiers in a private home during peacetime without the owner’s consent.

The Mitchell family says that’s essentially what happened when Henderson police allegedly arrested them for refusing to let officers use their homes for a “tactical advantage” in a domestic violence investigation into a neighbor, according to an official complaint.

Police officers contacted Anthony Mitchell on July 10, 2011, with a request to use his house as a lookout while investigating his neighbor. When Mitchell told police that he did not wish to be involved, the complaint alleges, police decided they would use the residence anyway.

If the police were executing a search/arrest warrant for the neighbor I could understand. Dangerous people pose significant threats to both police and innocent civilians and and I for one would want to move innocent people out of harm's way - we do this all the time. But to toss out a family to conduct surveillance on a site for possible domestic incident? This just doesn't pass the smell test... it stinks. And the stink gets worse.
According to Courthouse News Service, the police department decided that if Mitchell refused to leave or open the door, officers would force their way in and arrest him.

Mitchell claims this is exactly what happened. First officers “smashed open” Mitchell’s door with a “metal ram” after he did not immediately open it himself. He then “curled on the floor of his living room, with his hands over his face,” as the police shot Mitchell and his dog — which the family claims did not attack the officers — several times with “pepperball” rounds.

Pepperball is a projectile containing chemical irritant pepper spray, which is released upon impact.

Afterward, Mitchell was arrested for “obstructing a police officer.”

The ordeal didn’t end there. Mitchell’s parents, Michael and Linda, were also neighbors to the home where police officers suspected domestic violence, so the police wanted to use their home as well. Michael Mitchell was invited to a local police command center to assist “in negotiating the surrender of the neighboring suspect.”
But upon arriving at the commander center, the elder Mitchell was informed the negotiations wouldn’t be taking place, the complaint says. When he decided to leave, he was also arrested.

The elder Mitchell’s wife was not arrested, but she was roughly escorted from her home while other officers entered the house without permission, the complaint alleges. The family claims that when she was allowed to return, “the cabinets and closet doors throughout the house had been left open and their contents moved about… Even the refrigerator door had been left ajar, and mustard and mayonnaise had been left on their kitchen floor.”

The charges against both the father and the son were dismissed.
The current trend for the militarization of our police forces worries me.  I see many young cops who are more concerned with their images as ninja tough guy enforcers rather than citizen protectors. Believe me, there is a difference.

Police executives must look at their enforcement efforts and decide whether they are acting as a civil servants or an invading army. The City of Henderson, NV, has a lot to answer for.


Subvet said...

Some of the accounts of Anthony Mitchell's reaction seem indicative of "sensory overload"; the sort of thing common to autistics. My own son suffers from it, tell him to make his bed and bring his dirty clothing to the washer and he'll freeze up.

Couple Mitchell's actions with the fact a grown man was living so close to his mother and father, plus his first reaction was to call his parents for help and I'm wondering if the bullies in blue were dealing with a "special needs" type.

I always try to give cops the benefit of the doubt but it's getting a lot tougher these days.

LL said...

For some odd reason, wanting to be left alone has become a crime. I've seen it more and more. It's not all pervasive, but it used to be "live and let live".

Gorges Smythe said...

"Special needs"or not, the cops were behaving like Nazis (literally).

sig94 said...

Subvet - same here. Hopefully the courts will sort it out but I find it strange that the NV local media has basically ignored this. Of course the Mitchel family can say anything they want when filing a law suit - doesn't mean it's true. But these police actions against two families (Mitchel and his father)sounds really bad.

sig94 said...

LL - I sometimes think wearing all that tactical gear gives cops the impression that somehow the rules have been suspended and it's OK to run roughshod over people. Then back into the blues and it's time to be nice, nice again.

sig94 said...

Gorges - it certainly looks like it. Again, we'll let the courts hash it out and see how either side holds up under cross examination.

Mamahen said...

I'm not sure about hid actions, but many young adults live close to their parents. I think the cops were totally in the wrong , as we see happen far to often these days.

Anam Cara said...

I really wish this were reported somewhere else. I went to The Daily Caller and was appalled at some of the other "news" items. It makes me wonder when this is only ( it seems) picked up by a sensationalist "news organization" but not one like Breitbart (don't expect it from AP or mainstream media)