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DEA issues apology

In yet another wrong-address drug raid. Radley Balko passed it on Thursday

Spring Valley, New York

David McKay said he, his wife, 13-year-old daughter and his brother-in-law were sleeping at 5:30 a.m. when they heard banging on the door of their townhouse at 36 Sharon Drive. When they went to open the door, at least 10 police officers forced their way into the home, he said.

“Their guns were drawn, they were screaming ‘Where’s Michael, Where’s Michael,’ ” McKay recounted hours later in a telephone interview from Nyack Hospital, where he took his terrified daughter for treatment after she had an asthma attack and fainted following the ordeal.

McKay said he was still groggy from sleep but tried to explain that there was no one named Michael in the house.

“They pulled me outside in the freezing cold in my underwear, manhandle my wife, point a gun at my daughter and they won’t even tell me what they are doing in my house,” said McKay. “It was terrifying and humiliating beyond belief.” […]

When the police were preparing to leave, McKay and his bewildered family asked them again what they were doing and why they entered the house.

“They wouldn’t say,” he recalled. “All they would say was ‘You’ll read about it in the paper tomorrow.’ “

Well, the local police still aren’t talking — they’re referring all questions to the DEA. And the DEA has responded with an “apology.” Not directly to McKay and his family, who only learned about it from the media. But the DEA issued a statement.

John P. Gilbride, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, issued a statement Friday clearing Spring Valley resident David McKay and his family of anything to do with the series of drug raids that took place early Thursday in Westchester and Rockland counties.

“We sincerely regret that while attempting to execute an arrest warrant for a member of this drug trafficking organization, the innocent McKay family was inadvertently affected by this enforcement operation,” Gilbride said.

“Though we take many precautions to prevent this type of incident from happening, drug investigations are very complex and involve many fluid factors,” Gilbride said. “DEA will continue to pursue these criminal organizations to protect the public from the scourge of drug trafficking.”

Wow. That’s a pretty pathetic apology for storming into a man’s home with guns drawn, dragging him out in the snow in his underwear while screaming at him, shoving his wife around and sending his daughter to the hospital.

“Inadvertently affected”? Inadvertently affected is when it takes you an extra five minutes to get to work because there was an accident on the bypass and one lane was blocked by the police. Storm troopers terrorizing you in your home is something else entirely.

The article reporting this quoted Radley Balko and talked about the rise of problems with this kind of raid. That’s good.

We’re making a difference. And more and more people are getting fed up with this.

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26 comments to DEA issues apology

  • I’ll be damned if this shit just doesn’t pith me off (quoted from my basic training drill instructor – big, black, loud and intimidating, he wore braces and couldn’t say his ‘S’es…)

    Thankfully no one was shot (and fortunately the family didn’t have a bloodthirsty Corgy as a pet) but terrorizing and traumatizing a 13 year old girl… these aren’t men, they’re thugs.

    They continue to cinch their own noose.

  • Duncan20903

    Darn, for some reason when I saw the title of this entry I had a very brief hallucination where the DEA apologized for fucking up our country and voluntarily resigned.

    I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t argue with someone who asserts that cannabis increases the amount of wishful thinking in a cannabis consumer’s mind.
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    The DC Council has formalized their framework of stupidity for its medical cannabis rules. They have authorized a maximum of 950 plants for the entire city. Now all we have to do is get someone authorized to grow, set up their grow, and bring their plants to maturity at which time, but not before there will be a bit of legal medicine in DC. Currently DC is running neck and neck with NJ in codifying medical cannabis as legal. As of today there still isn’t 1 single patient that has access to legal medicinal cannabis. There’s no one authorized to grow distribute or possess even a stick or a seed. At this rate we’ll have cannabis re-legalized before they get their stupid medical cannabis laws implemented.

    You just gotta love the DC Council, “we want home rule because the people of DC deserve to regulate the way that they live” then turn around and completely rewrite Initiative 59 into what is arguably the worst medical cannabis law in existence. I think I understand the “reasoning”, it’s not the Feds who should be ignoring the will of the people. That’s the bailiwick of the DC Council. Well luckily for DC the idiots in New Jersey will likely take the championship ring for the most idiotic medical cannabis law in the US.

    About the only thing that the DC Council kept in the law that the voters approved by 70-30 is keeping it in the general category of “medical merrywanna”.

  • darkcycle

    “Apology” is right. Big, giant airquotes around it. The pathetic part of this is: knowing full well that the only reason they issued any statement at all about the “unfortunate” incident involving the McKay Family was because somebody WASN’T killed. Had a single round of ammunition been expended in that raid, no statement of regret would have ever been issued. Instead, had the thirteen-year old been blown away, we would be treated to a spokes-lawyer claiming the search warrant was in order and that the shooting was ‘justified’. An inquiry would follow where the shooter would be exhonerated and the family would have buried their daughter without so much as an “Oopsie”.

  • Tim

    Probably less to do with arrogance and more to do with liability.

  • Ron Combs

    It is the nature of cowards to band together and chase the weakest prey.

  • snarlin' snarkler

    Where’s a good ambulance chasing lawyer when you need one.

  • darkcycle

    No Tim, it’s not liability or arrogance. It’s the fact that by admitting one single innocent death, the entire justification for serving no-knock warrants for non-violent crime disappears. When the justification for this type of entry in these cases is “safety”, and the result of these entries is danger to innocents, their entire pretext dissolves. Here we know they’re really concerned with preserving evidence, not lives. But to justify this behavior to the general public, they need to preserve the pretense that nobody is put at risk, and that they are infallible.

  • darkcycle

    I’d like to point out a positive in all of this. These sorts of “mistakes” are made all the time, and have been since the advent of the “no knock warrant”. The positive is that now the media seems to be taking notice of these botched raids and reporting on them. The more attention these get, the …well….more attention they get. Playing the government game in this country means keeping a careful eye on the public outcry meter. The trick is to keep the outrage at a low simmer, ’cause if it gets too high, it boils over into the ballot box.

  • darkcycle

    Another thing to add to my list of things to be thankful for: I’m glad that two year olds aren’t six feet tall and two hundred pounds.

  • tintguy

    I think you’re wrong on that on darkcycle (“I’m glad that two year olds aren’t six feet tall and two hundred pounds”) They’re all over the place and a lot of them were badges. lol

  • darkcycle

    Good point, Tint Guy. I meant it literally. I’m a stay at home Daddy (like I couldn’t learn, I have two adult children) to an adopted Son. Oh. And BTW, we’re adopting a second now….
    That’s how I plan to be immortal. I’ll just be so deep in debt, and with so many dependants that I can never die.

  • Bruce

    Didn’t even get to see my handicapped girlfriend for Christmas. Theres a palpable evil in Steven Harpers Canada.

  • Cliff

    I’m surprised that they actually knocked and allowed enough time for Mr. McKay to actually answer the door before busting in….and another dog or person didn’t get shot, so we got that going for us.

  • warren

    Pure GESTAPO.

  • darkcycle

    Ha ha ha ha, The Boeing “Virtual Boondoggle….er….Fence” project canceled:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/us/politics/15fence.html?_r=2&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

  • Servetus

    I can think of several movies I’ve seen where the Nazis drag some half-naked Jew out into the cold-and-snow to interrogate the hapless individual in the expectation that the information the Nazis get will somehow be more accurate. It’s not quite waterboarding, but the same perversity is at work

    When I clicked over to the Radley Balko site, I expected the raid to be all about some nefarious hard drug. But no. It was just little ole cannabis the DEA was after. Miracle drug to millions.

    The kicker was the flippant ‘shit happens’ write-up in the paper. Right. They’re the DEA. They’re here to help us…lol.

    If “drug investigations are very complex and involve many fluid factors,” then perhaps it would’ve been a great idea to refuse such a complex task to an agency that can’t even get the suspect’s address correct.

  • Sick........!

    …and if one of them accidently shot someone in the raid? Would it still be ‘inadvertently affected’ or just part of the job?

    These thugs do nothing to protect our rights. If this would have been my house, someone would have gotten shot….by me.Would I then be charged with murder as I defended my self and home from intruders?

    America, free…to do as your government tells you to do.

  • Duncan20903

    I think I’m going to spring for a couple of no-knock warrant proof doors entry doors for my house. I wonder if that would get me a discount on my home’s hazard insurance policy? I mean if it keeps the police out it would almost certainly keep the burglars out too.

    I actually knew a girl in the early 1990s that had the cops raid her house and the evidence got tossed out because the police shouted “gas company, we have a leak” and she responded “NO” at the top of her lungs and attempted to close the door on them. They then forced their way in. In Virginia no less.

  • Dante

    “DEA will continue to pursue these criminal organizations to protect the public from the scourge of drug trafficking.”

    Serious question: Who will protect the public from the scourge of the DEA?

  • Duncan20903

    Just say no to gas leaks!

    Damn, don’t you just hate forgetting to add the punch line?

  • tintguy

    Darkcycle, you are either a good and brave soul or are losing your mind. haha. Good for you either way. Me, I’m still waiting on one of mine to make us grandparents but I don’t think I can afford to raise any more.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gloria . Gloria said: RT @Maggie4Obama: DEA issues apology http://bit.ly/hIBL6q via Weed Mattters http://weed.mattters.com […]

  • Duncan20903

    tintguy those things aren’t mutually exclusive. But it is impossible to lose something that’s been gone for years so I guess that proves it’s the former.

  • j

    “Wow. That’s a pretty pathetic apology for storming into a man’s home with guns drawn, dragging him out in the snow in his underwear while screaming at him, shoving his wife around and sending his daughter to the hospital.”

    It’s good to read that “his” womenfolk were largely undamaged. Please watch your language, so as to not exclude anyone from the movement.

    • Sigh.

      David McKay said he, his wife, 13-year-old daughter…

      I’m sorry I didn’t shift the focus from the way the article had been written and from the way that David McKay told his story. Perhaps I should have commented that it was sexist on the part of the DEA that they didn’t drag Mrs. McKay out in the snow in her underwear.

  • Christine

    Tyranny, More war on people.