Police raid roundup

April 18, 2014

Here’s a roundup of botched, mistaken, or riduculous police raid stories to have recently made the news:

  • In Peoria, Ill., a team of plainclothes cops recently raided a home to find out who was behind a parody Twitter account set up to mock the town’s mayor. Interestingly, a parody account would be protected speech. To justify the raid, Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said, “I don’t agree it was obvious [it was a satirical account], and in fact it appears that someone went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor.” Given that the account apparently made frequent references to illicit sex and drugs, you have to wonder what Settingsgaard is implying about Peoria’s mayor.
  • Also in Illinois, a lawsuit alleges that the Drug Enforcement Administration is working with local police to raid the homes of people suspected of drug crimes after being spotted shopping at hydroponic gardening stores. I’ve previously written about a similar raid on an innocent couple in Kansas.
  • In Mebane, N.C., police broke into the wrong house while executing a drug warrant this month.
  • Last month, deputies in Huron County, Ohio, conducted a botched raid on the home of John Collins. Through a bizarre series of ever-changing narratives, Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard has since insisted that his deputies did nothing wrong. But at the same time, he persuaded a judge to put a gag order on the warrant, and then to put a gag order on the gag order. He also got a gag order on Collins’s complaint. Not surprisingly, the local newspaper reports that Sheriff Howard has long had a somewhat hostile relationship with transparency.
Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."
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Radley Balko · April 18, 2014