Another “isolated incident” of police accidentally targeting the wrong house for a raid in their continued (and failed) War on (some) Drugs happened in Spring Valley, New York recently. In this raid, the victims got off better than their colleagues have in the past, but the attack showcases how much is wrong with the reality and the perception of the Drug War.
In this incident, David McKay and his family were sleeping. In the usual early morning tactic, police, in a joint federal-local drug sweep for pot, pounded on the door and then did a “forced entry” with automatic weapons drawn. They screamed at the bewildered (and now very frightened) McKay “Where’s Michael? Where’s Michael” while they proceeded to roust the McKay family from bed.
Mrs. McKay and their 13-year-old daughter were pulled from their beds and the wife’s brother, who was staying with them, was also drug into the front yard. The barking dogs were threatened with annihilation by the cops.
The problem here is that no one in the McKay household is named Michael. McKay attempted to explain this, while shivering in his underwear in the front yard (in January, in New York) as neighbors came out to see what all the noise was about.
When McKay asked the policemen what this was all about, as they left, the reply was:
“You’ll read about it in the paper tomorrow.”
Imagine your home being raided by police who kick in your door, drag your family out of bed, humiliate you in front of your neighbors, threaten to kill your dogs (they usually just shoot them and don’t threaten anything), and then refusing to apologize or even acknowledge that they had the wrong house. What would you do?
McKay took his daughter to the hospital because she was having a panic attack over the incident and will likely suffer PTSD for a while. His house has been broken into and ransacked and neither the cops nor insurance will cover the damages because neither is “liable” in a legal home invasion. Now imagine that, like McKay, you have to go to work in the Sanitation Department for the city and face these same cops who brutalized your family almost daily.
Now look at how the police in the UK handle this same sort of thing. They knock on the door, they acknowledge when they screw up, and they even replace the things they might have broken. No, the raids aren’t any nicer or better, but at least they admit when they make a mistake.
Our cops? Sorry, no cigar. Admitting might mean having to pay restitution for their crimes. It could mean being held accountable for taking the word of an anonymous informant or even admitting that their tactics are a little wrong. They might even have to give up their early morning adrenaline rushes and wanton property destruction.
Worst of all.. they might have to admit that their War on (some) Drugs has failed and is nothing more than an excuse for a lot of juiced-up cops to commit acts of violence against ordinary citizens who aren’t hurting anyone.
When will people finally stand up and shout that enough is enough? We are the shop owners, the health-care providers, the taxi drivers, and the other people who deal with these cops every day. Let’s start holding them accountable.
The Nuremberg defense (“just doing my job”) doesn’t work anymore. Refuse to give them service, to do business with them, to deal with them in any way. Tell them that you will not do business with thugs in uniform and until their police department stops conducting midnight drug raids and putting innocents in harm’s way, you will continue to refuse them your friendship, your business, and your respect.
[via Radley Balko]