Two dead dogs, a terrorized family — and the case of the Mayor’s bad bust gets worse and worse

So the cops intercept a package full of marijuana addressed to Mayor Cheye Calvo’s wife, deliver it, and when nobody opens it, they go in, kill the dogs and terrorize the family. Just routine police business.
In bizarro-land.
Of course, this is horrible policing. Even if you discount the fact that they entered illegally. And then, this

Prince George’s County police announced yesterday that they have arrested a deliveryman and another man who they say are involved in a scheme to smuggle marijuana by shipping packages addressed to unsuspecting recipients, including a delivery last week to the wife of the mayor of Berwyn Heights.

Of course.
Even if busting people for marijuana was defensible (which it isn’t) and even if was defensible to use violent home invasion techniques for marijuana busts (which it isn’t), there’s no excuse for going in with such horrendously poor information.
An address on a box? I can write any address on a box that I want. It’s really easy. I use a pen. And the person at that address won’t even know that I wrote it! It’s basic literacy, which apparently eludes the police of Prince George County.
So are the police ashamed? Have they turned in their badges? Have they wept for the loss of two loving dogs?

Neither [Police Chief Melvin C. High] nor Sheriff Michael A. Jackson apologized for the raid, which they said was conducted responsibly, given what deputies and officers knew at the time.

Translation: “we were so f-in’ stupid, we didn’t know what we were doing, which makes it OK.”
So what did the deputies and officers know at the time?

  • The address on the box.

What didn’t they know at the time?

  • Who lived there — they didn’t know it was the Mayor, or that there were dogs, etc., etc. — things that are apparently only impenetrable secrets to illiterate county police, who apparently also don’t know how to do… police work.
  • Whether the addressee had any knowledge of the contents — something else that would have required actual police work.
  • Whether there was any possibility that someone might have purposely misaddressed the package.

Now about the last one — maybe this was a brand new trick — something that nobody had ever done before — so diabolically clever that nobody could have anticipated it.
Except that… the idea of a purposeful wrong address was, in fact, the very first thought I had when I first heard the story. And let’s see, could it have actually happened exactly this way before? (like in March of this year)

Shortly after that, Halperin was sitting on his couch next to the unopened package when a special police enforcement team rushed in with guns raised. […]
“He was handcuffed at gunpoint, strip-searched, taken to jail and placed under a $25,000 secured bond for a crime he did not commit,” Thomas said.
The incident was the third of its kind in the past 11 months in which a Duke student was accused of trafficking drugs contained in a package intercepted from DHL, an express shipper with offices around the world. […]
“The power to arrest someone is a tremendous power,” Thomas said Wednesday. “But with that power goes a tremendous responsibility to conduct a full and complete investigation. You investigate first, and you arrest after the investigation.”

Investigate first, then arrest.
Oh, and yes, this can happen anywhere…
In my own town, a judge last week reversed his ruling and freed a woman who had received, but not opened a package of marijuana. Prosecutors claimed that she should have been able to smell the marijuana in the hour it was in her home (despite the fact that none of the officers testified smelling it). The judge realized that there was no reason to assume this. (I wonder if he heard about the Mayor Cheye Calvo case).
There’s no excuse for these officers in Prince George’s County, MD to continue to have jobs. The Police Chief and Sheriff should be gone. They are an embarrassment to law enforcement everywhere, and a danger to their communities.

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