Patterico's Pontifications

12/30/2017

Listen: Interview with SWATter Who Got an Innocent Man Killed in Wichita

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:00 pm

Yesterday, someone interviewed a man claiming to be the SWATter in the Wichita SWATting that killed 28-year-old Andrew Finch. Finch, the father of two young children, was not involved in the argument that precipitated the SWATting, and was shot by police at his front door while unarmed. The appalling interview with the SWATter is here:

I don’t know if the person being interviewed is Tyler Barriss, the suspect who has been arrested in the SWATting. But the interviewer claims to have contacted the interviewee through his Twitter account, on which he claimed responsibility for the SWATting. And the interviewee here sure sounds like the guy from the fake call to police:

The lack of remorse or empathy is infuriating if not surprising.

If you believe his story, he was not involved in the argument that precipitated the SWATting. Two gamers were playing Call of Duty online and got into an argument. One gamer (we’ll call him Gamer #1) gave a fake address to the other gamer (we’ll call him Gamer #2) and challenged Gamer #2 to SWAT him. Gamer #2 then contacted the SWATter and said, basically, some guy gave me an address and thinks he isn’t going to get SWATted. Want to prove him wrong? The SWATter said sure; after all, he SWATs people all the time. Then Gamer #1 contacted the SWATter on TMoonwalks for sale witter and taunted him, further spurring the SWATter to make the SWATting call.

If this story is to be believed, several other people were involved in this incident, from the police officer who fired the fatal shot, to Gamer #1 who provided the fake address, to Gamer #2 who solicited the SWATting.

But never mind all that. If it’s Barriss, I want him to go down for murder.

Police also need to find and punish the other people involved, if any.

If you’re new to this story, you can read my post about this deadly SWATting here, as well as my own account of having been a SWATting victim in the past. I published the audio of the SWATting call and the body cam footage of the shooting here. I posted about the arrest of the suspect here.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

70 Responses to “Listen: Interview with SWATter Who Got an Innocent Man Killed in Wichita”

  1. The whole thing makes me ill. I’m old enough to remember dial-up modems and Mosaic and the start of the WWW. Remember all the great predictions of how the Internet was going to connect humanity for some enlightened future?

    Yeah.

    Good times, good times.

    B.A. DuBois (280b96)

  2. when sleazy Jim Comey leaked confidential information to contrive the appointment of Robert Mueller, that was a form of swatting too

    compare here:

    One gamer (we’ll call him Gamer #1) gave a fake address to the other gamer (we’ll call him Gamer #2) and challenged Gamer #2 to SWAT him. Gamer #2 then contacted the SWATter and said, basically, some guy gave me an address and thinks he isn’t going to get SWATted. Want to prove him wrong?

    and here:

    “I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it,” he said.

    this is a scary country anymore

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. this is a scary country anymore

    Not if you switch off your toys and go play outside, Mr. Feet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  4. it’s no degrees outside

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  5. @4. Freeze frame, Mr. Feet. 80 here.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  6. you know what likes 80 degrees is zika

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. Get a goddamn coat, youre on the north side and at least got building’s blocking some of the wind.

    urbanleftbehind (87ccb0)

  8. i walked down to the corner to steal some of those free spanish newspapers for to pack up some glasswares and my whole face went numb and my fingers were hurting even inside my gloves

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  9. I like that the guilty party put himself in the noose.

    link [YouTube]

    “I’ll say this for you, son. You’re the kind of man it’s a pleasure to hang. If all you can talk is guff, go talk it to the devil.”

    papertiger (c8116c)

  10. robots and drones could go a long way to helping our not terribly competent police officers manage situations like this without the hair-trigger resort to violence

    faster please

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. You have a point there, happyfeet. Robots and drones don’t worry about going home at the end of the day to kiss their wives and children. They can wait and get shot at first.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  12. yes yes it’s a very good point

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  13. What’s wrong with giving a phone call to the house, targeted by an anonymous phone call, before falling on them in the middle of the night in riot gear?

    Let it be policy. Make it so.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  14. Don’t be killjoys, happyfeet and papertiger. What’s the point of practicing, practicing, practicing your marksmanship, at the risk of permanent hearing loss, if you never get a chance to put a bullet in a real, live human target and get away with it?

    nk (dbc370)

  15. Considering this guy’s history with swatting, this whole situation likely could have been avoided if authorities dealt with the abuse of the 911 system earlier.

    Dejectedhead (b10435)

  16. cause of how the police have created a reputation for themselves for ultra-violence and poor decision-making, the gun is always lying there loaded and ready for any swatter to pick up and aim wherever they want

    if people perceived cops as having good judgment this sort of thing wouldn’t happen

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  17. All well and fine, but where is the explanation from the police on why an innocent and unsuspecting homeowner was shot down in cold blood?

    I’m with happyfeet, it’s a pretty scary situation when any random punk can call up a hit squad, bought and paid for with the public’s tax dollars.

    TheBas (8d01aa)

  18. @18. Considering police in general have heightened their awareness, sensitivities and strategies to avoiding being used as a means to an end in the ‘suicide by cop’ ploy, the actions by authorities in this incident remain suspect.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  19. I’m not sure giving a fake address to some crank on the internet is a crime. Aside from him, everyone else is up for severe punishment, including the trigger-happy cop.

    Craig Mc (b08cf9)

  20. Which reminds me – did you happen to tell the FBI that I was somehow involved in “SWATing” you? Because it’s clear from some of our later conversations that despite my assistance to you in trying to determine whether Neal Reahauser had done so, you seem to have decided that I was. And then when I got to my bond hearing, with my ribs and internal organs bruised after an actual SWAT team beat me to the ground and arrested me, Agent Allen Lynn claimed on the stand that I had indeed been involved in “SWATing”. Then the FBI never mentioned it again, either in court or on any of the extensive documents that later composed, because of course the discovery in my case spanned the entirety of my communications for years and I’d obviously done no such thing, nor contemplated it, and indeed had done what I could to try to assist you in determining who’d done this to you. Naturally this is going in my upcoming book for FSG, which will be released next year, so if you have something you’d like to tell me about why an FBI agent might have told a judge that I did something that it turned out that I didn’t, but which a certain prosecutor in California had somehow decided that I did indeed do, I’d be very interested in hearing it before my deadline at the end of January.

    Barrett L Brown (7ea3e2)

  21. Somebody should do society a favor and just crush this guy’s skull like an over-ripe melon.

    Paul (7bf2ff)

  22. Mr. Brown! Hope all is well with you and merry christmas (late)

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  23. Would the LA County DA’s Office be the one to file a charge of murder against the dirtbag who did the swatting?

    DN (4c7af4)

  24. How is the conversation between #1 and #2 not proof of a conspiracy?

    Indict both of the SOBs.

    Herp McDerp (d1842e)

  25. Barriss needs to go to prison for a long time. The other two? Ban them from using the Internet for their lifetime.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  26. More info here about Barrett and the SWAT:

    https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/12/kansas-man-killed-in-swatting-attack/

    Kevin M (752a26)

  27. ^Barriss.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  28. What a jacakalope, of course he was responsible.

    narciso (d1f714)

  29. They need a Kobayashi Maru test for policemen to see which ones have the itchy trigger finger.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  30. They, the “they”, say that LAPD is holding him on a fugitive warrant. Fast work on the part of the Wichita police or the FBI (Wichita called them in), or it could be an outstanding one from his priors. You know how “they” are.

    nk (dbc370)

  31. Listening to the a-hole’s blank affect, moral naivete, and inability to reason, I want to blame the death of religion and the atrocious results of today’s US educators. But knowing nothing about the pr!ck’s background, that’s pure speculation. He admits he’s done it for money, right?

    gp (0c542c)

  32. I suppose one of his defenses would be “I never thought cops would shoot anybody, not anybody at all, in circumstances like this. I thought they’d just wake the guy up and mess with him or something. Hell, he didn’t even have a dog to shoot.”

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  33. And the prosecution would have to attack that by saying anybody with half a brain should have anticipated the actual result.
    Because of history.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  34. Actually, that would be my defense if I were his attorney. There is a right, r-i-g-h-t, to expect the police not to be murderous, trigger-happy psychopaths. And not trigger-happy, psychopathic murderers, either.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. Barrett Brown? Wasnt he a violent felon that was sentenced to prison for threatening law enforcement officials?

    EPWJ (4dc563)

  36. Mr. Brown’s a reliable and congenial libertarian voice what got on the wrong side of a very corrupt and sleazy FBI

    he’s not one of the bad guys that’s for sure

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  37. Hf,

    Umm, no,…

    EPWJ (4dc563)

  38. Dear Mr. Brown, as far as I know exactly zero persons thought you were yourself the swatter.

    You had been so worked up against Patrick Frey, however, by the disguised Rauhauser, and had enough sort of mystery internetty reputation, that it would have been natural to see if you had encouraged anyone else to take up that task.

    I’m very glad if you had no input at all into any of that.

    SarahW (3164f0)

  39. encouraged or facilitated, I guess I should add. I never understood Rauhauser’s rage against Weiner getting busted for exactly what he was and remained over the intervening years. His disbelief that Weiner could have been so indiscreet as to require trickery to expose him in any literal or figurative way has certainly been proved overgenerous to Weiner. But maybe that’s no what it was about at all.

    SarahW (3164f0)

  40. Colonel Haiku (455bcf) — 12/30/2017 @ 3:09 pm

    OMG. I guess the problem with being a “patrician” is, sooner or later, one is expected to act like one.

    felipe (023cc9)

  41. nk. w

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  42. Crap. What is it with this thing?
    nk. wrt 36. And so the prosecutor would be, will he or nill he, forced to explain that everybody knows, a reasonable person should know, that the cops are a bunch of trigger-happy maniacs and don’t try to fool us that you thought something other than death would result.
    Sucks to be that prosecutor.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  43. Too bad they all can’t be confined to GTMO, for all time.

    askeptic (8d10f9)

  44. Here’s a phrase we all or most of us remember:
    “within the scope of harm intended.”

    SarahW (3164f0)

  45. that’s true sorta, about the scope of harm

    but what gives me pause is when this little feller did his swatting, nobody had ever died from a swatting

    not once in all of american history

    and inasmuch as this wasn’t his first at-bat maybe his perception of the risk was genuinely skewed, and not just skewed, but reinforced by both a lack of fatal outcomes as well as by the rationalizations he must have done to justify swatting people to himself

    i feel awful he went down this road and lost perspective so badly, that there was nobody in his life to say hey you’ve kinda gone off the rails here

    cause people haven’t said much about this

    but this is a huge game-changer (aside from how it should finally spur a sense of seriousness from our police departments)

    other swatters and would-be swatters – they’re all reassessing the risks and the rationales for swatting, and i wouldn’t be surprised to see a dramatic curtailment reflected in the swat incident rate going forward

    it’s just dumb luck that it was this swatter and not the uncounted others what had someone get killed

    i blame Mr. Robot

    god i hate that goddamn show

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. I am not sure but I believe there has been at least one prior fatality, and if not that, a serious injury, resulting from police response to a swat, within the last ten years.

    SarahW (3164f0)

  47. Injury for sure; for example, this guy: http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/fbi-says-swatting-is-a-growing-crime-trend-both-locally-and-nationally–115595

    Any time deadly force is part of a law enforcement action, injury or death may occur, it’s completely forseeable that police may not only err on the side of their own lives at the expense of others, and that officers who believe a crime is in progress may be more alert to signs of danger.

    I see part of police culpability as not handling the call appropriately with the potential for a false report in mind in light of some red flags of swatting.

    SarahW (3164f0)

  48. yup you’re right here’s at least one

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  49. oops same as yours

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. Some FBI agent mentioned heart attacks in a another article from 2013. I always wondered at police brushing these incidents off as pranks as if to take it seriously made them look bad, because officers are at risk, too. The same FBI agent mentioned an officer racing to the scene of a false report getting into a bad wreck. There’s another case in one case a police officer or sheriff (wearing a bulletproof vest, thank goodness,) was shot multiple times in the chest by a homeowner and swatting victim who did not understand why people,were breaking into his house.

    SarahW (3164f0)

  51. on reflection then i guess what’s different here is it’s on youtube, that guy getting shot

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  52. Sounds like Sarah’s memory:

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/01/dean-weingarten/man-shoots-oklahoma-police-chief-no-charges-filed/

    1. Police Chief Ross is the police force in Sentinel. It is a one man force; he ‘s on call 24/7. So when someone called-in a bomb threat to SPD at 4am on the morning of the shooting, Chief Ross was called out of his home for the raid.

    2. The police did not have a warrant.

    3. The bomb threat did not originate from the house; the person who called the police simply said that he was Dallas Horton.

    It was, essentially, a crude “swatting” that the police should have figured outNeither Dallas nor his wife Esther Marie Horton were arrested.

    The real story is that this was a swatting. There are three victims of this swatting incident. Dallas Horton and his wife Esther Marie have had their lives turned upside down, came close to being killed, and have been defamed around the world. Chief Ross was wounded in the arm. He came close to being killed as well.

    Appeared to have some fake news from UPI too.

    BfC (dbd6e8)

  53. From the Link I posted regarding Sarah’s story–Inside, there was a link to this story:

    http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Man-Charged-With-Killing-Burleson-County-Deputy-No-Billed-by-Grand-Jury-243993261.html?device=phone

    Growing Pot, no knock dawn raid, SWAT team, warrant based on informant (correct about pot grow, apparently wrong about dog, ready to use weapons, destroy plants–Although, he did and may not ever been charged with the homicide):

    WASHINGTON COUNTY A Burleson County Grand Jury declined to indict the man who shot and killed a Burleson County Sheriff’s Deputy who was serving a search warrant in December.

    Investigators were executing a search warrant at Henry McGee’s mobile home near Snook when the shooting happened.

    News 3 takes a look at why deputies had targeted McGee’s home.

    28-year-old Henry Magee is no longer charged in the shooting death of Burleson County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Sowders.

    A grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence for him to stand trial on the capital murder charge.

    McGee admitted to shooting Sowders before sunrise on December 19th while the deputy and other investigators were serving a no knock search warrant for drugs at McGee’s mobile home near Snook.

    Magee’s Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin says his client thought someone was breaking into his home and fired to protect his pregnant girlfriend and himself.

    “Well we feel that the grand jury acted fairly and reasonably and had all of the information that it needed to make the decision that it did. That is that this was a justified shooting and, but we need to say that this is a tragedy,” Dick DeGuerin said.

    The SWAT Team found less than five pounds of marijuana plants growing inside and the grand jury indicted him for possession of marijuana while in possession of a deadly weapon.

    “It need not have happened. They could have walked up to his house in the daylight and he would have let him in or they could have stopped him as he left his house to go to the store,” said DeGuerin.

    Our attempts to reach Sheriff Dale Stroud were unsuccessful.

    The District Attorney’s office released a statement saying,

    “The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office would not have been there that day if Mr. Magee had not decided to live a lifestyle of doing and producing illegal drugs in his home. Therefore, we will fully prosecute the drug charges against him.”

    Sowders had recently been promoted and had requested the search warrant after a tip from an informant.

    Burleson County District Attorney Julie Renken wouldn’t say if she’ll present the case again to a different grand jury.

    Magee remains in jail on felony drug charges.

    His bond has been lowered to $50,000.

    Deputy Adam Sowders filed for a search warrant, and requested to enter Magee’s home without knocking or announcing law enforcement’s presence. He gave multiple reasons based on what the informant had told investigators, including the fact that Magee had been overheard saying he wasn’t afraid to use his weapons, he may have an aggressive dog, and that Magee could potentially destroy the drugs.

    Sowders said he thought giving Magee notice would be, quote, “dangerous, futile, or would inhibit the effective investigation.” A Burleson County Judge approved the warrant on December 18, 2013, and in the early morning hours of December 19, a SWAT team made the entry into Magee’s home.

    The court documents say quote, “By Magee’s own admission he heard and observed the entry made by the SWAT team.”

    Deputy Adam Sowders was shot and killed.

    In general SWAT raids used for drug busts (“training” I have read before):
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/mar/20/marijuana-raids-are-more-deadly-than-the-drug-itse/

    The Times’ data shows that drugs are the primary driver of SWAT raids that turn deadly. Among the 85 fatal raids that have occurred since 2010, 61 of them – or 70 percent – were initiated on suspicion of drugs.

    The modern-day SWAT team originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s as a way to deal with gunmen targeting police officers or civilians. But today SWAT teams are mostly used to handle routine warrant work, especially drug warrants. A 2014 ACLU study found that nearly 80 percent of SWAT deployments were to serve search warrants. Just 7 percent of SWAT deployments involved “hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.”

    BfC (5517e8)

  54. Mr. President tweeted sympathy for the deputy killed in Colorado. It would be nice if he also tweeted sympathy for Andrew Finch.

    nk (dbc370)

  55. BfC
    How is somebody in a mobile home supposed to destroy–which is to say completely ruin beyond its utility as evidence–a quantity of drugs sufficient to warrant a warrant?
    Do judges ever look at the history of the warrants they sign? If Officer Friendly’s requests for warrants consistently get hammered in court as being based on incorrect information, does a judge know? Care? Keep signing?

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  56. Richard,

    It is difficult to quickly find information on a “final” adjucation–But some more details on that raid:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2014/02/10/some-justice-in-texas-the-raid-on-henry-magee/

    An informant had told Deputy Adam Sowders that Magee was running a major marijuana grow. They’d find 12-14 plants, all over six fee tall, the informant said. Magee also had, according to the informant, a vicious dog and several guns, one of which had been stolen from the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department.

    By the time the raid was over, Deputy Adam Sowder was dead. Magee shot him as Sowder and his fellow deputies attempted to force their way into Magee’s home. Magee was arrested and charged with capital murder — the knowing and intentional killing of a police officer.

    A subsequent search of Magee’s home by the Texas Rangers didn’t turn up any six foot pot plants. According to Dick DeGuerin, the well-known criminal defense attorney who took Magee’s case shortly after the raid, the police found two plants about six inches tall, less than an ounce of dried marijuana, and several seedlings. According to DeGuerin, Magee had four guns in his home, all of them legal, three of which were locked in a safe at the time of the raid. They also didn’t find the gun the informant claimed Magee had stolen. DeGuerrin says Magee’s allegedly vicious dog barked, but never attacked, even when the officers had Magee cuffed and on the ground.

    Earlier this month, District Attorney Julie Renken presented the case against Magee to a grand jury. “I made a very thorough presentation on Texas law on cap murder and Texas self defense law,” Renken told me in a phone interview. “There were over three hours of testimony. I did not make a recommendation either way. I just wanted to present the law and evidence very fairly.”

    Remarkably, this week the grand jury returned a “no-bill” on the murder charge. That is, they found that Henry Magee had acted in self-defense. He was indicted for possession of marijuana.

    “I don’t know of any other case where someone shot and killed a police officer in the course of a drug raid has been no-billed by a grand jury,” DeGuerrin says. “At least in Texas.” Over the course of about eight years of covering these raids, I don’t know of one outside of Texas either. But the story does call to mind a few others with decidedly different outcomes.

    • In December 2001, police in Prentiss, Mississippi broke into the home of Cory Maye at 12:30 am. Maye, his young daughter, and his girlfriend lived in one half of a duplex. The other side was occupied by Jamie Smith, a known drug dealer. When Maye’s back door flew open, he fired three shots at the first figure to enter his apartment. One bullet struck and killed Officer Ron Jones. Maye had no prior criminal record. The police, in searching the house, found only a roach. Maye was tried and convicted of capital murder, and sentenced to death. His conviction was thrown out in 2010. In 2011, after he’d served 10 years in prison, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, and released him from prison. The tip in Maye’s case came from a racist, admitted drug addict named Randy Gentry, and by Maye’s attorneys’ account, implicated only Jamie Smith.

    • In January 2008, police in Chesapeake, Virginia, took a battering ram to the door front door of Ryan Frederick as he slept. Frederick woke to his dogs barking, and then a crash. He grabbed a handgun upon seeing the newly created hole in his front door, and shot through the door as the police tried to break in. His bullet struck and killed Det. Jarrod Shivers. Frederick also had some pot plants, but the police had no evidence he was selling the drug.

    Frederick also claimed he didn’t know the men breaking into his home were police. In fact, three days earlier, a criminal had broken into Frederick’s home. As it turns out, that break-in was committed by the same informant, in order to obtain probable cause for the raid. Frederick was tried on a charge of capital murder. The jury convicted him of manslaughter, instead. He was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison. He is still in prison today.

    • On the night of January 4 2011, the Weber-Morgan County Narcotics Strike Force took a battering ram to the Odgen, Utah, home of Matthew David Stewart. They were acting on a tip from an ex-girlfriend that Stewart was growing pot in his basement. He was, though the police again had no evidence that he was distributing, or that the pot was for anything other than personal use. Still, Stewart woke to the sound of armed intruders breaking into his home. Naked and scared, the Army veteran grabbed his 9-millimeter Beretta.. The house erupted in gunfire. After 20 minutes of shooting, Officer Jared Francom was dead. Stewart and four other cops were severely wounded. Stewart too was charged with capital murder. Prosecutors announced their intention to seek the death penalty. Last May, Stewart hung himself in his jail cell.

    Henry Magee’s escape from a murder charge, then, is pretty striking. “I think the facts in Henry’s case were just too troubling for the grand jury to indict,” DeGuerin says. “You have Henry and his pregnant girlfriend waking up to people breaking into their house. A flash bang goes off. I think most people can set aside the drug question, and put themselves in his shoes.”

    Then there is the matter of the informant. “Their probable cause came from a guy who was trying to get himself out of trouble,” DeGuerin says. “That was the extent of it. There was no corroborating investigation.”

    According to the affidavit (which is publicly available), the informant is 33-year-old Joshua Hall. He has a criminal record that includes a conviction for pot possession, two convictions for criminal trespass, and a 2005 conviction for assault on a family member resulting in injury. Last year he was arrested for breaking into a home and stealing a car. He was convicted in April for “unauthorized use of a vehicle.” He was then arrested in December for violating his probation when he the tip about Magee to sheriff’s department. Despite Hall’s record, his word alone, with no corroborating information, was good enough to wage a violent raid on Magee and his girlfriend.

    “This case was a big screw-up, DeGuerrin says. “They should never have waged a no-knock, no-announce raid over a personal use amount of marijuana.”

    Renken disagrees on a couple of those points. “This was not a no-knock raid,” she says. “There was a knock and announcement. But I think the grand jury recognized that because the knock and announcement came at about the same time they breached the door and deployed the flashbang grenade, a reasonable person in the suspect’s position would not have known that these were police officers.”

    Renken also disputes the contention that Magee was only growing pot for his own use. “There was evidence of a recent harvest,” she says. “He was growing hydroponic marijuana. This was a sophisticated operation. It was not for personal use.”

    Still, the police only found enough pot to charge Magee with possession. And if it’s true that he was running a sophisticated grow, it makes all the more remarkable that the grand jury was able to overlook that, and examine the shooting independently.

    Renken says Magee was aided by Texas’s self-defense laws. “Because of the drugs, the Castle Doctrine didn’t apply here,” she says, referring to the law that authorizes the use of deadly force in the home. “This was just traditional self-defense law. And when the Castle Doctrine doesn’t apply, Texas self defense law is still deferential to the homeowner. There’s no question that Magee killed Deputy Sowders. And there’s no question that Sowders was lawfully discharging his duty as a law enforcement officer. The question is whether a reasonable person in Magee’s position should have known that these were police officers. The grand jury determined that a reasonable person could have made the same mistake Magee did.”

    DeGuerin says the aggressive tactics were completely unnecessary. “The justification for using this sort of force was that they needed to get in before he could dispose of the evidence. But they thought he had six-foot marijuana plants. How could he have disposed of them?”

    According to DeGuerin, just a few weeks prior to the raid, another deputy responded to a noise complaint from a neighbor about Magee firing his guns. “This is a rural part of Texas, remember,” DeGuerin says. “But they sent an officer who just walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Henry answered, they talked, and that was that. Why is it that when the complaint is about shooting guns, you can approach him in a civilized manner, but when drugs are involved, you now have to break the guy’s door down?”

    “The whole process was flawed from the start,” DeGuerin says. “And the tragic thing is, a young officer is dead because of it.”

    Renken says the incident will likely bring changes to the way warrants are served in Burleson County. “The sheriff and I have a great relationship and we’ve been in communication through all of this,” she says. “This hasn’t been easy on them. But I think that to some degree, this will result in a change of policy. But the sheriff and I will discuss it, and decide how to proceed going forward.”

    As for the pot charge, Magee was in possession of more than four ounces, but less than five pounds of pot, which under Texas law is punishable by up two years in prison. But because he used a gun while committing the pot offense, he’s facing a more serious charge, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. Renken says she plans to “fully prosecute” Magee on the drug charge.

    We’re now in an age in which two states have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and more are likely to follow suit. So it seems particularly absurd that in other states, police are still breaking down doors and committing violent raids to apprehend people who are growing, using, or selling the same drug. If this incident puts an end to that practice in Burleson County, that’s certainly progress. But it would nice if it didn’t require more dead cops—not to mention dead citizens—for police departments across the rest of the country to make the same changes.

    In the end, it does not sound much different than general SWATting.

    In the same article, another wrong address raid:

    • In December 2001, police in Prentiss, Mississippi broke into the home of Cory Maye at 12:30 am. Maye, his young daughter, and his girlfriend lived in one half of a duplex. The other side was occupied by Jamie Smith, a known drug dealer. When Maye’s back door flew open, he fired three shots at the first figure to enter his apartment. One bullet struck and killed Officer Ron Jones. Maye had no prior criminal record. The police, in searching the house, found only a roach. Maye was tried and convicted of capital murder, and sentenced to death. His conviction was thrown out in 2010. In 2011, after he’d served 10 years in prison, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, and released him from prison. The tip in Maye’s case came from a racist, admitted drug addict named Randy Gentry, and by Maye’s attorneys’ account, implicated only Jamie Smith.

    Regarding Magee, it was almost police assisted SWATting… The informant was trying to get out of a parole violation. No illegal guns. Just a barking dog.

    According to DeGuerin, just a few weeks prior to the raid, another deputy responded to a noise complaint from a neighbor about Magee firing his guns. “This is a rural part of Texas, remember,” DeGuerin says. “But they sent an officer who just walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Henry answered, they talked, and that was that. Why is it that when the complaint is about shooting guns, you can approach him in a civilized manner, but when drugs are involved, you now have to break the guy’s door down?”

    SWATting is only symptom of a much larger problem. Police can shoot you if you make a move to your waist–No problem. You cannot shoot armed men with guns setting off grenades breaking into your home.

    Reduce the use of SWAT to 7% of armed standoffs, hostages. That will reduce the exposure to “dangerous situations” by a factor of 14:1.

    BfC (5517e8)

  57. But when police shoot another officer, no charges–Just retirement:
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/BART-to-pay-3-1-million-to-family-of-officer-10623596.php

    Smith and Maes were among a group of BART officers who went to the ground-floor apartment on Dougherty Road to conduct a probation search in hopes of recovering stolen property. The apartment belonged to 20-year-old John Henry Lee, a robbery suspect who was already in custody, having been arrested five days earlier.

    The officers hadn’t studied the circular floor plan of the apartment, and when they encountered each other in a back room, Maes shot Smith after mistaking him for an armed suspect. Maes has since retired, according to BART officials.

    The friendly-fire death raised questions about why BART police had sent a group of detectives and officers into the apartment rather than a SWAT team. The federal suit also alleged Smith was denied specialized training on searching buildings, despite requesting it from his supervisor.

    Even the cop that was killed was vary concerned about how BART police conducted their operations:
    http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Slain-BART-cop-told-wife-to-sue-if-anything-6299956.php

    BART police Sgt. Tom Smith, frustrated that his department had rejected his requests for more training or the use of its SWAT team during high-risk searches of homes, told his wife that if anything happened to him, she should “sue the s—” out of the agency, her attorneys said Monday.

    Specifically, Smith told his wife — fellow BART Officer Kellie Smith — that she should file a lawsuit naming Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow, whom he said had routinely denied his requests for more training and for tactical teams. Last year, the sergeant was shot and killed — accidentally, authorities said, by a fellow officer who suddenly encountered him as they searched a small Dublin apartment.

    BfC (5517e8)

  58. BfC. Thanks. I guess one question would be if the judge saw the reference that the guy could destroy a dozen six-foot tall marijuana plants if given more than two seconds’ warning. If the judge saw that and still signed, he needs another job. If the cop told him that, the cop needs another job.
    But, this having happened, what would that judge or other judges do with warrant requests from this clown? Rubber stamp them?

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  59. Layout warrant causes against evidence found. Charge and convict folks for warrants with false information?

    BfC (5517e8)

  60. BfC. Not restricted to confidential informants. Cops. Then when a judge signs a warrant which is obviously false, the judge is sanctioned.
    Every warrant request is accompanied by a certification that the cop submitting it has not been sanctioned for submitting fraudulent warrant requests.
    If a fraudulent warrant requests results in damage to cops or citizens, there are further sanctions to the submitter, along with a review of the judge’s judgment.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  61. The judges don’t care. They have absolute immunity. The warrants are examined after the fact, in suppression hearings or in lawsuits against the police. Moreover, if judges who sign warrants try to be more than rubber stamps, prosecutors and police complain and the judges are reassigned to a courtroom where they might have to actually think or at least try to stay awake.

    nk (dbc370)

  62. Richard and NK, that is why I don’t hold much hope for improvement.

    I know–(snark)–We can make them process crimes and the federal prosecutors will be on them like a Mueller on Manafort, or a Fitzgerald on Libby.

    In reality, I really dislike process crimes. In this case, the police (government) can lie like a rug, but somebody does not repeat the answers the same way half a dozen times, feds are all over them.

    I am frankly very surprised anyone would talk to a government agent. Especially the FBI which still does not even record the interviews.

    BfC (5517e8)

  63. nk. That’s now. I was speaking in the theme that we might be able to make changes.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  64. The solution is at the bottom. The quality of the detectives who apply for search warrants and the quality of the armed police who execute them. The quality of police officers across the board, for that matter. Tighten recruitment standards. Tighten training graduation standards. Tighten performance standards. Tighten supervision and discipline.

    nk (dbc370)

  65. nk. Requirements are one thing. Point is, as somebody said, incentivizing bad people to do the right thing. You can’t always presume the straight-arrow stays straight.

    But see “Lone Star Planet”.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  66. The SWATter waived extradition to Kansas. Maybe because he was told the law favors him more there; maybe for the same reason that defendants plead guilty so they’ll be transferred to prisons — county jails are made purposely unpleasant to get prisoners to want to get out any way they can; maybe because he will always be an idiot.

    The victim’s family, though, does not seem propitiated by the scapegoat. They have an attorney and they want the shooter and the police department held accountable. http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/03/us/kansas-police-shooting-swatting/index.html

    nk (dbc370)

  67. 47. happyfeet (28a91b) — 12/31/2017 @ 11:50 am

    and inasmuch as this wasn’t his first at-bat maybe his perception of the risk was genuinely skewed, and not just skewed, but reinforced by both a lack of fatal outcomes as well as by the rationalizations he must have done to justify swatting people to himself

    He thought it was, or treated the probability as, zero.

    It wasn’t zero. It was more like 1 in 1,000, or perhaps even 0.05%. (About 400 incidents in the United States every year, according to the FBI, but probably higher) It should maybe be about 4 times that chance of getting wounded.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/opinion/swatting-fbi.html

    In 2015, a 20-year-old man in Maryland was shot in the face with rubber bullets by police after someone allegedly reported a fake hostage situation at his house.

    The FBI has estimated that about 400 cases of swatting occur nationwide every year, but anecdotal reports suggest the numbers are far higher than that, according to Rep. Katherine Clark, Democrat of Massachusetts, who introduced an anti-swatting bill in Congress in 2015…

    Not all SWATtings are the same – some kinds of false reports won’t bring out armed police.

    While the odds were small they weren’t absolutely zero. And there’d been an example of a police shooting in the news just about then.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/us/police-shooting-video-arizona.html

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  68. If there have been 2,000 SWATtings since the beginning of 2010, and one death, the tentative probability is 1 in 2000, or 0.05%

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)


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