Paramilitary Police Raids


Saturday, ‎September ‎14, ‎2013  
Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing.
Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.
These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.
The following are just a few examples around this area! 2012-2013 not in files as of this date.
Title: Dovie Walker
Type: Raid on an innocent suspect.
State: AR
Description: On December 4, 1999, police in El Dorado, Arkansas conduct a drug raid on the home of Dovie Walker. Officers tear the front door from its hinges with a battering ram, damage another door to her bedroom, break a latch on a third door, overturn and dismantle her furniture, and generally “demolish” her house. They also handcuff her three children on the floor at gunpoint. Officers then realize they have mistaken Walker’s house for the house next door. At the time Walker is also babysitting children ages one, two, and three. After a police department spokesman tells one media outlet police have no intention of paying for the repairs, El Dorado’s mayor promises four days later to begin work on the damage Walker’s house as soon as possible. Sources: “Woman not happy to have youngsters cuffed in mistaken raid,” Associated Press, February 13, 2000. “Mayor vows to repair damages in raid,” Associated Press, February 17, 2000.
Date: Dec 4, 1999
Title: Tracy Ingle
Type: Other examples of paramilitary police excess.
State: AR
Description: At 7:40 P.M., North Little Rock SWAT executed a no-knock raid on the home of Tracy Ingle. Ingle reached for his legally-owned although inoperative pistol to defend himself until he realized the “intruders” were, in fact, police. He dropped the weapon on the ground. Ingle was shot five times by the officers and incarcerated for four days after released from the hospital. No drugs or drug residue were found on the premises, but he was charged with assault and running a drug enterprise-the police found a scale and plastic bags during the subsequent search. As of September 9, 2008, charges are still pending against Ingle. Source: David Koon, “Shot in the Dark” Arkansas Times, April 24, 2008
Date: Jan 7, 2008
Title: Officer David Eales
Type: Death or injury of a police officer.
State: OK
Description: On September 24, 1999, police in Sallisaw, Oklahoma procure a no-knock warrant on the home of Eugene Barrett, suspected of trafficking methamphetamine. As the heavily-armed convoy of vehicles descends upon his home, Barrett believes he’s under attack, and opens fire. Barrett’s attorney claims he shot in self-defense. One bullet strikes and kills Oklahoma Highway Patrol Officer David Eales. A search of Barrett’s property produced a variety of firearms and resulted in the seizure of materials related to the production and use of methamphetamine. Barrett’s first state trial ended with a deadlocked jury, while his 2nd trial resulted in a manslaughter and assault conviction. In December 2005, Barrett was formally sentenced to death for Eales’ death in federal court. Barrett now appeals his convictions, as well as his death sentence.Sources: Donna Hales, “Jury hands cop killer death sentence,” Muskogee Phoenix, November 18, 2005. Michael Smith, “Death for trooper’s killer, jury says,” Tulsa World, November 19, 2005. US v. Barrett, 496 F. 3d 1079 – Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit 2007.
Date: Sep 24, 1999
Title: Deputy Newt Ellenbarger — the Mary Lou Coonfield Raid
Type: Death or injury of a police officer.
State: OK
Description: In August 1996, Tulsa police raid the home of 68-year-old Mary Lou Coonfield on a drug warrant. Coonfield awakes to find a man in black standing in her bedroom, holding a gun. She grabs a .22-caliber pistol and fires, wounding Tulsa County Deputy Sheriff Newt Ellenbarger. The warrant for the raid on Coonfield’s home would later be thrown out, ruled in both 1996 and 1997 to be illegal. In 1999, a jury acquitted Coonfield of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and feloniously pointing a weapon, due to Oklahoma’s “Make My Day” law, which states that “an occupant of a house is justified in using physical force, including deadly force, against another person who has unlawfully entered the house if the occupant reasonably believes that the other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant of the house.” Coonfield, who’s both hard of hearing and has poor eyesight, says she didn’t hear police announce themselves before entering, and thought she was being robbed. Sources: “Woman cleared in shooting of deputy,” Asssociated Press, January 15, 1999. Bill Braun, “Woman cleared in deputy shooting,” Tulsa World, January 15, 1999. Bog Doucette, “Agent testifies about drug raid,” Oklahoman, January 16, 2004.
Date: Aug 30, 1996
Title: The Nation Family
Type: Other examples of paramilitary police excess.
State: LA
Description: 40 police officers form more than ten different agencies conduct a pre-dawn raid on a suspected drug hub in what one local sheriff calls, “a dream come true.” The Farmerville, Louisiana raid leads officers to force entry into several homes and yields ten arrests, but the violent tactics enrage the local community. Around one hundred people march through the small town the next day to protest the operation. “They could have arrested them any time and any day,” protest organizer Sheila Lewis told the Associated Press. “They are not violent, they are just normal people…it was like a war zone. People were scared to death. One woman who lived a couple of houses down still hasn’t been back. She’s too scared.” Sources: “Neighbors protest late-night drug raid by FBI,” Baton Rouge Advocate, December 23, 2002 John Colvin, “Drug raid nets arrests of 10,” Monroe News-Star, December 4, 2002, p. A1. “Neighbors protest late-night drug raid by FBI; Marchers say tactics excessive, frightening,” Baton Rouge Advocate, December 23, 2002, p. B5.
Date: Dec 3, 2002
Title: Glenn and Terry Speck
Type: Raid on an innocent suspect.
State: OK
Description: On March 6th, 2009, officers with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs executed an early morning raid on the home of environmental chemist Glenn Speck and his wife Terry. Home alone, 51-year-old Terry Speck heard pounding on her front door. After she opened the door, heavily armed officers entered the home, looking for Terry’s 20-year-old nephew, Cory Davis. While Ms. Speck tried to explain that Davis could not possibly be at the residence, officers ignored her and searched the home, looking for Davis and any illegal substances. After 20 minutes of ransacking the home, finding neither their target nor any illicit substances, the officers left. The target of their search, Cory Davis, had been in a prison boot camp since the previous November. According to local news coverage, the raid was conducted over the sale of less than an ounce of marijuana. Source: Vallery Brown, Mustang raid target was already jailed, Newsok.com, Mar. 14, 2009.
Date: Mar 6, 2009
Title: Lloyd Miner
Type: Raid on an innocent suspect.
State: MO
Description: Police on a drug raid force their way into the home of 33-year-old Lloyd Miner, hit him with flashlights, smash his toilet, overturn furniture, rip doors off of cabinets, damage appliances, and throw the man in jail for five hours. They later realize they have the wrong home. According to the Associated Press, “Maj. Dennis Shreve, commander of the Police Department’s narcotics and vice division, said the error had occurred because the sergeant in charge of the operation had neglected to do a routine drive-by check with an undercover agent on the case.” Source: “Police Raid Wrong House and Damage It,” Associated Press, June 16, 1991.
Date: Jun 12, 1991
Title: Jonathan Whitworth
Type: Other examples of paramilitary police excess.
State: MO
Description: Police executed a search on the home of Jonathan Whitworth and charged him with misdemeanor counts of marijuana possession and child endangerment. Whitworth’s wife and child were in the home during the time of the raid. Officers shot two of Whitworth’s dogs, one fatally. The family questioned the methods of the police and the danger their tactics posed for the family, particularly the children. Sources: Brennan David, Family questions SWAT drug search that led to dog’s death, Columbia Daily Tribune, Feb. 23, 2010. Video of the raid can be viewed here. Warning: violent images and graphic language.
Date: Feb 11, 2010
Title: Patricia Durr-Pojar and Curtis Pojar
Type: Other examples of paramilitary police excess.
State: MO
Description: Officers from the Combined Ozark Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Team conduct a raid on Durr-Pojar’s home on an anonymous tip that the woman and her son are running a meth lab inside. Police break out windows, tear down doors and screens, throw objects out a second story window, and throw Durr-Pojar and Pojar to the ground and handcuff them. Durr-Pojar suffers a gash beneath her eye and requires a splint and crutches for kneed injuries. Pojar gets contusions under his eye and on his back. Police find no meth and no meth lab. They conduct a second raid on the trailer where Pojar lives in front of his mother’s home and find a small amount of marijuana. Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt later tells a local newspaper that Durr-Pojar’s injuries were her own fault, because she “shouldn’t have run” when the black-clad SWAT team raided her home. Sources: Sarah Overstreet, “Raid on home turns up no meth lab but leaves two injured,” Springfield News-Leader, June 19, 2006. Ryan Slight, “Sheriff: Woman Shouldn’t Have Run,” Springfield News-Leader, June 20, 2006.
Date: Jun 15, 2006
Title: Mary Valentine
Type: Raid on an innocent suspect.
State: MO
Description: The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department raided a two-family home, breaking down the doors, damaging walls and furniture, and using a smoke grenade. The home they entered was that of Ms. Mary Valentine, 86, who was physically unharmed during the raid. Ms. Valentine has been unsuccessful in her demands for an apology and compensation from the police department for the damage done to her home. Source: Bill Beene “Home search questioned as elderly woman says police ransacked wrong house,” St. Louis American, September 4, 2008.
Date: Jun 20, 2008

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