Monday, July 16, 2012

The Growing Police State: No Announcement Arrest Edition

"The bottom line is, you point a gun at a deputy sheriff or police office [sic], you're going to get shot."

That was the response of Lake County (FL) Sheriff's Office Lt. John Harrell to the fatal shooting by two deputies of an innocent man.

The deputies, who believed they were serving a warrant on a man wanted for murder, knocked at 3 AM but did not announce themselves as law enforcement.  The man, Andrew Scott, answered the door with a gun in his hand- and was shot dead by the deputies.

Harrell also described it as "a bizarre set of circumstances."

Not it's not, you idiot, and this is not the first time that no-knock or no-announcement arrest attempts have ended up getting someone killed.  So knock it off.  If you're so scared of someone, surround their home with a SWAT team and call for them on a bull-horn.  You can even hide behind that cool armored van a lot of SWAT teams use, if you want.

What you don't get to do is knock at someone's door at 3 AM, and then blame them for their own death when they answer the door armed.  You were looking for a suspected murderer.  It's just possible that he didn't live in the nicest part of town.  So it shouldn't really have surprised you when the door was answered by someone holding a gun.

These policies are getting innocent people killed, and they must stop.  Within his own home, a man is King.  If the government is going to usurp that authority, they must do so with due process- which includes telling him that they're doing it, why they have the authority, and the cause of them exerting that authority.

That sounds like a mouth full, but a simple, "It's the Police, open the door!" would have fulfilled two of the three requirements, and allowed for a peaceful opportunity to fulfill the last.  It would also have saved an innocent man's life.

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