Another wrong-address raid, as a result of bad informant information, took place in Minneapolis earlier this week.
With her six kids and husband tucked into bed, Yee Moua was watching TV in her living room just after midnight when she heard voices Ö faint at first, then louder. Then came the sound of a window shattering.
Moua bolted upstairs, where her husband, Vang Khang, grabbed his shotgun from a closet, knelt and fired a warning shot through his doorway as he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. He let loose with two more blasts. Twenty-two bullets were fired back at him, by the family’s count.
Then things suddenly became clear.
“It’s the police! Police!” his sons yelled.
Khang, a Hmong immigrant with shaky command of English, set down his gun, raised his hands and was soon on the ground, an officer’s boot on his neck.
The gunmen, it turned out, were members of a police SWAT team that had raided the wrong address because of bad information from an informant Ö a mistake that some critics say happens all too frequently around the country and gets innocent people killed.
The difference in this wrong-address raid? In the wake of the Kathryn Johnston murder, it’s getting national attention. And the articles are at least starting to ask the tough questions.
That was an AP article with wide national distribution quoted above, and, in addition to talking about the Kathryn Johnston story, included information on Radley Balko’s work
A study last year by the libertarian Cato Institute said: “Because of shoddy police work, over-reliance on informants, and other problems, each year hundreds of raids are conducted on the wrong addresses, bringing unnecessary terror and frightening confrontation to people never suspected of a crime.”
Another version of the AP story hit my local paper. generating dozens of online comments, most unfavorable to the police. And it’s been in USA Today, Washington Post — all over.
RubÚn Rosario in the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press interviewed Radley Balko for Botched police raids not so rare — worth checking out.
It’s possible — just possible — that people are starting to wake up a little bit regarding this issue of indiscriminate use of paramilitary-style raids on homes.
The question is, how many Khang families will have to have to experience that terror before significant changes are made? How many more Xavier Bennetts and Alberto Sepulvedas and Ashley Villareals will have to die first?