Latest Drug War Strategy: Cops Deliver the Drugs then Raid the House
SWAT team delivers drugs first, asks questions later
By Jordan Smith,
5:22PM, Fri. Aug. 1, 2008
The endless War on Drugs hit another low on Wednesday when SWAT officers raided the home of a suburban Maryland mayor, pursued and shot to death his family's two dogs, then proceeded to question the man and his mother-in-law for hours as they sat next to the bloody bodies of their pets.
Nice work. And it gets better: It seems local cops were actually responsible for delivering to the mayor's home a package of pot that the SWAT team later swooped in to raid. Seriously.
Here are the details: Apparently a drug dog in Arizona hit on pot inside a package in the post office that was addressed to Trinity Tomsic, the wife of Berwyn Heights, Md., Mayor Cheye Calvo. Police brought the package to Maryland and, dressed up like mail carriers, delivered the package to Calvo and Tomsic's house, where it sat outside on the stoop all day July 30. When Calvo got home he picked the package up, dropped it just inside the front door and headed upstairs. That's when the Prince George's Co. narcos and sheriff's office SWAT team swooped in to raid the home. According to Raw Story, sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Mario Ellis said the officers "apparently felt threatened" and thus shot the dogs, but Calvo tells a different and far more disturbing story: The offcers broke in and shot their seven-year-old Labrador Payton then actually pursued their four-year-old Lab, Chase, who ran away from the cops and was ultimately shot from behind.
To make matters worse, the police then detained Calvo and his mother-in-law, the only two that were home, leaving Calvo in handcuffs, reportedly questioning them about the package for hours as the blood from the dead dogs pooled around them.
As David Borden, executive director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network, points out, the raid was not only excessive, but also completely unnecessary. The cops already knew about the package of pot and actually had the package of pot in their possession, so there was no need to raid the home. They could have questioned the mayor and his wife about it after ringing the freakin' doorbell. Moreover, just because Calvo brought the package inside doesn't mean anything -- it doesn't imply that he knew what was in the package or that it was even meant for him. "Invading a home in this manner endangers people and animals and property, for no good reason, if there is any other way of dealing with the situation," Borden wrote online -- and in this situation there were clearly plenty of other options. Indeed, the Berwyn Heights Police weren't involved or even informed about the raid -- Chief Patrick Murphy says he wouldn't have participated, but that if he'd been contacted first he could've helped avert the tragedy. "You can't tell me the chief of police of a municipality wouldn't have been able to knock on the door of the mayor of that municipality, gain his confidence and enter the residence," he told the Washington Post. "It would not have been a necessity to shoot and kill this man's dogs."