New York Times discovers dynamic-entry drug raids

A friend of mine sent me this link with the note: “Hey Pete, You’ve talked about this for *years*. Why is the Times only now catching on?”

It’s a very good series in the New York Times: Door-Busting Drug Raids Leave a Trail of Blood with a second article in the series: 2 Texas Drug-Raid Deaths: Murder or Self-Defense?

Definitely worth reading, and nice to see in the Times, but my friend has a good point, and I also found the absence of the name Radley Balko in the articles rather … odd.

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27 Responses to New York Times discovers dynamic-entry drug raids

  1. Servetus says:

    Kori White was Mr. Magee’s girlfriend at the time of the raid and pregnant with their daughter. “I thought we were being robbed,” she said. “It was my worst fear, that it was like on TV with people kicking in the door and coming in.”

    Ms. White was fortunate compared to women in similar raids. In pre-revolutionary France, people living near French borders engaged in salt smuggling because the monarchy placed a high tax on salt, infamously known as the French gabelle. The gabelle was criminogenic. It made salt smuggling profitable and ultimately necessary for survival for people suffering ripple effects due to crop failures from a 3-year-drought. Crackdowns on salt smugglers by French authorities who kicked down doors in no-knock raids resulted in several women experiencing miscarriages. (See Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History).

    As the saga of no-knock fiascos continues in the US, there exists a finite probability a raid will result in the miscarriage of a fetus, and not merely justice. Once it happens, perhaps the powerful pro-life movement will take notice and join the rest of the country in demanding an end to petty, drug-related no-knock raids—along with petty, drug-related crimes.

  2. kaptinemo says:

    Unrelated, but of interest: Companies are aggressively testing current and now prospective employees…for nicotine.

    Health insurance firms have been testing employees for nicotine while already enrolled in employer-associated health plans for years, with penalties of higher premiums for those who continue to smoke tobacco, engaging in a very obvious case of social engineering.

    But potential new employees had, until recently, been exempted, as many health plans didn’t cover them until the passing of a probationary period in case of termination, layoff, resignation for a better job, etc.

    Not anymore. And it has quite a few smokers riled up.

    Many of them should have been more far-sighted, instead of going along with – and often maliciously supporting – the idea of testing ‘pot-heads’, often out of a mistaken sense of moral superiority vis-a-vis what was being consumed.

    But no, that same sense of faux moral superiority many tobacco consumers engaged in has now turned around to bite them in the fiscal arse, much as a certain late law professor by the name of Whitebread warned long ago: The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law School; A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference.

    From the conclusion:

    Here comes the new one? What’s it going to be? No, it won’t be guns, this one starts easy. This one is the Surgeon General has what? –Determined — not “we want a little more checking it out”, not “we need a few more studies”, not “reasonable people disagree” — “The Surgeon General has determined that the smoking of cigarettes will kill you.”

    Now, all you need, and here is my formula, for a new prohibition every time is what? We need an intractable, difficult, social, economic, or medical problem. But that is not enough. There has to be another thing. It has to divide by class — by social or economic class, between US and THEM….

    And so, here it comes. ‘

    You know the Federal Government has been spending a lot of money since 1968 trying to persuade us not to smoke. And, indeed, the absolute numbers on smoking have declined very little. But, you know who has quit smoking, don’t you? In gigantic numbers? The college-educated, that’s who. The college-educated, that’s who doesn’t smoke. Who are they? Tomorrow’s what? Movers and kickers, that’s who. Tomorrow’s movers and kickers don’t smoke. Who does smoke? Oh, you know who smokes out of all proportion to their numbers in the society — it is the people standing in your criminal courtrooms, that’s who. Who are they? Tomorrow’s moved and kicked, that’s who.

    And, there it is friends, once it divides between the movers and kickers and the moved and kicked it is all over and it will be all over very shortly.

    It starts with “You know, they shouldn’t smoke, they are killing themselves.” Then it turns, as it has — you see the ads out here — “They shouldn’t smoke, they are killing us.” And pretty soon, that class division will happen, we will have the legislatures full of tomorrow’s movers and kickers and they are going to say just what they are going to say any time now. “You know, this has just gotta stop, and we got an answer for it.” We are going to have a criminal statute that forbids the manufacture, sale, or possession of tobacco cigarettes, or tobacco products period.

    In the case of health plan penalties and pre-employment testing, a backdoor insertion of tobacco prohibition is already underway. And those who thought their favorite vice was exempt from the treatment they allowed others to suffer will soon learn that misery does, indeed, love company. The ranks of drug law reformers may soon swell with such.

    • LesBarker says:

      America lies star-struck,  
      Helpless in her self-inflicted wound
      While he sings in chains
      And stinks of pee

    • Smoke em if you got em says:

      We can make a safer cigarette simply by adding cannabinoids. Many of the reasons that employers and insurance companies hate cigarettes is because of the associated long-term health effects and costs.

      Reduce the cancer and the cardiovascular risks and you’ve got a better, safer, cigarette. Cannabinoids can achieve that based on current known science.

      This is an evidence-based fantasy, that could easily become reality. All it would take is the political will to initiate a serious harm-reduction strategy.

      A combo tobacco-cannabis cigarette is also a blast from the past. Cannadonna and Cigares De Joy, and other brands of tobacco-cannabis cigarettes were available in the 20’s for asthma.

      Cannabis is a bronchodilator and even if it didn’t have a multitude of other health benefits, just the bronchodilator effect alone is significant.

      Here’s my thoughts on the predatory business model of prohibitionists.

      He’s the other
      ain’t your brother
      Cash cow
      milk that udder

    • DC Reade says:

      whoa. first they came for the potheads…now this.

      I’m approximately a once-every-few-years tobacco user. but I sympathize entirely.

  3. Daniel Williams says:

    The NYT rarely gives credit when credit’s due. Both you and Radley have been on this like stink on shit for (far too many) years.

  4. DdC says:

    I saw Chuck Berry in the 70’s at the time his goofy ding a ling song came out. It seemed to be a hit with rednecks. Who were perplexed at why there were so many long hairs passing doobies. They looked shocked when Chuck came on stage. I’d wager they didn’t know he was black. Good show. Requiescat In Pace Chuck.

    Brian Wilson on Chuck Berry: ‘He Taught Me How to Write Rock’

    Chuck Berry, revolutionary guitarist-songwriter, dead at 90

  5. Servetus says:

    With Trump haunting the Oval Office we can expect more deadly no-knock drug raids. Violence fits his image and character as imperious leader. Didn’t Tsar Trump brag he would be “ruthless” in attacking drug smuggling and the cartels?

    “We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth,” he said in a speech before Congress last week, “ and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”

    How will Trump accomplish his goal? By eliminating medical insurance coverage for addiction and mental health treatment, naturally. And by building a giant wall:

    From the Ming Dynasty to Hadrian, from East Berlin to modern Israel, history tells us that “great walls” don’t work, or that they have consequences that aren’t those desired. As the poet Robert Frost put it:

    Before I build a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.

    A third of our border with Mexico already is “protected” by walls and fencing. And that hasn’t turned out so well, either. […]

    Given that the Mexican army is openly seeking an exit strategy from its fight against the cartels, and with two thirds of Americans also ready to call the Drug War quits, you might think the Trumpites would be hunting new solutions to this very old problem. But you’d be wrong.

    Alternatives like decriminalization, cutting opioid prescriptions, and affordable treatment programs in the U.S.—or anti-poverty initiatives in Mexico, so as to give young people an alternative to the narco lifestyle—just don’t seem to be on the table. […]

    And all of that suits next generation warlords like El Gordo Sierra right down to the sun-scorched ground.

    “Maybe Trump is not so bad after all,” the cartel commander told me after a lengthy debate about El Donaldo’s ironfisted agenda.

    “Truth is,” said Gordo, “he sounds just like one of us.”

    • Trump says one thing as a promise, then does the complete opposite. He is a bald faced liar and cannot be trusted. By nature he is a cutthroat and a crook willing to do anything. Honesty does not appear to be a part of his repertoire.

  6. No-Knock Warrants and the War on Drugs

    “The National Tactical Officers Association, which might be expected to mount the most ardent defense, has long called for using dynamic entry [no knocks] sparingly. Robert Chabali, the group’s chairman from 2012 to 2015, goes so far as to recommend that it never be used to serve narcotics warrants.”

    “It just makes no sense,” said Mr. Chabali, a SWAT veteran who retired as assistant chief of the Dayton, Ohio, Police Department in 2015. “Why would you run into a gunfight? If we are going to risk our lives, we risk them for a hostage, for a citizen, for a fellow officer. You definitely don’t go in and risk your life for drugs.”

  7. Marijuana raids are more deadly than the drug itself
    by Christopher Ingraham at WP

    … “Marijuana itself is not a deadly substance. “No death from overdose of marijuana has been reported,” according to the DEA. But the deadly raids on suspected marijuana dealers underscore how drug enforcement can become a greater threat to life and safety than drug use itself.”

    “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.” …

    … “All of us felt that if I were in bed and heard anything that made me get up and get a gun, and all of a sudden my door explodes in, I’m shooting,” one of the jurors told the New York Times. “Why in the world would you do a full-out assault on a guy growing pot?” …

    The results grow as police bravado and taste for action grows.

    “Here’s how badly police violence has divided America these past few years”

    If you can shoot a guy for pot, you can shoot anybody for any reason.

    • DC Reade says:

      Back in the 1990s, I called into a Northern California radio talk program to point out that more people had been killed in helicopter crashes as part of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting than have ever been killed by marijuana. Police, at that.

      • DC Reade says:

        Reference- NYT, 09/14/1986:

        “…The CAMP operation is the model for marijuana-eradication efforts launched in many states in the last year. Financed principally by the Federal Government, the $2.9 million program uses seven helicopters to carry volunteers from police departments throughout California to the remote mountain areas, where they cut down and burn marijuana plants. Just as the operation was getting started last month, one helicopter crashed, killing two volunteers and the pilot, but so far there has not been the kind of violence that has occasionally flared in the past. Last year, a police officer shot and killed a grower who the police said had raised a shotgun at a raiding team…”

  8. Ray Samon says:

    Hey Guys,

    Check out this article, hopefully y’all enjoy my writing 🙂 and let me know what you think of the site !! I really appreciate it, i’m doing what i can to create higher quality content with references so hope you guys dig it 🙂

    • Servetus says:

      Nice comprehensive site for marijuana news. Links directing readers to the science of marijuana and its chemistry would make it more informative. Science information irritates and demoralizes drug prohibitionists, none of whom go near science, because you know, science….

      Youtube has a good collection of chemistry and medical videos on cannabis compounds, starting with this one, for example:

    • The Evidence-based Shaman says:

      Ray, my first instinct when vising an unfamiliar cannabis website is to enter the “endocannabinoid system” into the search engine.

      Perhaps I’m too scientifically nerdy, but the ECS is the foundation for all the health benefits of cannabis. It’s “the master control panel for almost every physiological process in the human body.”

      Can’t recommend a cannabis site without this knowledge . I’m a big fan of O’Shaughnessy’s online, and The Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

      Good luck, and thanks for the opportunity to give some input. You also can’t go wrong linking to anything put out by Ethan Russo.

  9. Servetus says:

    So last night, when I saw an old Mexican proverb which brought me comfort, I knew it was the inspiration I wanted to share:

    They thought they would bury us, but didn’t realize we were seeds.

  10. DdC says:

    The dangers of smoking pot…

    ☛ At Least 20 SWAT Raids Since 2010
    Involving Cannabis Have Led to Deaths

    ☛ Pot Matters: Trump Budget Pushes Legalization
    By Jon Gettman March 20, 2017

    By Drumpf increasing defense and decreasing social services to pay for it, this will push states to seek revenue? Legal pot to over tax while cutting services and paychecks. Seems more like a plan to go back to the underground. Then Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has an excuse to profit on prisons with those sick elderly people he arrests.

    ☛ Quality Of Cannabis Issued By Government
    Affecting Scientists’ Research

    No shit! I mean really? But thats what NIDA uses and then Sessions wants to make policy on the results?

    ☛ Marijuana Industry Takes A Step Forward
    Towards Validity And Long-Term Stability

    The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) recently announced that it will put a committee of industry representatives and experts together to create a set of guidelines in six technical areas: Indoor and outdoor horticulture and agriculture, Quality management systems, Laboratory standards, Processing and handling, Security and transportation, Personal training/ assessment and credentialing.

    There’s Been Over 20,000 Studies On Marijuana;
    What Is It That Scientists ‘Do Not Yet Know?

    Possibly the most-studied substance on the planet

    ☛ San DEAgo County Supervisors Vote to Kill MMJ Dispensaries

    What goals in life these fascist fools have. Terrorizing sick and elderly citizens, for fighting their seizures, back pain and arthritis relief. Trash their homes, shoot the dog and have the house forfeited to the cops. For relieving their seizures, back pain and arthritis relief. I don’t remember a culture this dysfunctional in history. Mass murder, genocide and nuking millions but profits on a policy that tortures millions of sick Americans? Wow Donald, this is what will make America Great again? disgUSting

  11. Servetus says:

    Enkephalin is one of the brain’s natural opioids. Australian researchers have found a way to manipulate enkephalin in a manner that inhibits anxiety, phobias and PTSD:

    22-MAR-2017 — Published in Nature Communications by University of Sydney scholars, the findings suggest medications that boost the effect of natural brain opioids might be a better way to reduce anxiety than ‘receptor-binding’ opioid drugs like morphine, which have major side effects.

    Fear and anxiety help defend us against harm, and are largely controlled via neural circuits of interconnected nerve cells and synaptic activity in the brain’s amygdala that allow neurons to pass electrical or chemical signals to each other.

    Specialised neural circuits control these emotions, but disturbances in the circuits can cause prolonged and disabling emotional responses that are out of proportion to threatening events.

    These disturbances are thought to underlie many anxiety disorders such as phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, which affect up to a million Australians each year.

    Anxiety disorders affect 14 per cent of Australians but are poorly managed by commonly prescribed medications such as benzodiazepines and 5HT-reuptake inhibitors. […]

    Experiments in mice have shown that ‘deleting’ the natural opioid enkephalin, which is heavily expressed in the brain’s amygdala, increases their fear, anxiety and aggressiveness. By contrast, increasing enkephalin or reducing its breakdown reduces these behaviours.

    While this effect of enkephalin suggests that it is anxiety-inhibiting, when it binds to different receptors in the amygdala, it exerts opposing effects, depending on which one it binds to.

    For example, when it binds to the mu-opioid receptor, enkephalin promotes anxiety, but when it binds to the delta-opioid receptor, it inhibits it.[…]

    “We also show that we could boost the actions of these endogenous opioids using a novel pharmacological approach.”

    AAAS Public Release: Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat anxiety: Research solving secrets of the brain and emotions

  12. Servetus says:

    Idaho Governor Butch Otter is among the last men standing against a tidal wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the country. Last month, the Governor wrote Trump a letter requesting Trump crack down on states with legal marijuana laws:

    February 17, 2017 — “Among the most pressing concerns facing Idaho, both from the criminal and public health standpoints, is the utter lack of consistency displayed by the Obama administration in enforcement of federal marijuana laws,” Otter wrote. “In that respect, Idaho is a virtual island of compliance, and we are paying the price.”

    The price Idahoans are paying, according to Otter, is that people are bringing marijuana into the state. The illegal marijuana affects Idaho youths, taxpayers, law enforcement officers, jails and health care systems, said Elisha Figueroa, administrator of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.

    “We do not allow states to violate environmental laws just because they voted to do so, primarily because it impacts those around them,” she said. “Why then are states being allowed to violate drug laws that have enormous negative consequences for neighboring states?”[…]

    Consistency on the marijuana question was displayed by the Obama administration’s consistent observance of the Cole memo. In answer to Elisha Figeuroa’s question, the adverse consequences of marijuana in the state are those of its own making. Illegal marijuana affects youths because they get arrested for it, while everyone generally loses their right to privacy. Taxpayers would otherwise benefit from the added tax money legal marijuana would bring in. Law enforcement officials could concentrate more on crimes of violence and property crimes, instead of complying with federal mandates violating human rights by using drug consumption to marginalize and repress ethnic and cultural minorities. Idaho jails would empty of drug arrestees, those who typically are forced to pay inordinate amounts of money to bail out. Keeping drug convicts locked up in state prisons costs Idaho $40-million per year. The health care system in Idaho would save money and optimize its medical services to residents if it allowed medical marijuana.

    Even the die-hard, red State of Utah is considering a medical marijuana plan, according to Figueroa:

    …The administration’s inability to require the legal states to keep marijuana from leaving their states and the health problems from contaminated marijuana are among the frustrations for Figueroa…. Utah had been considering bills to legalize medical marijuana, she said, but that’s on hold while waiting to see what the Trump administration will do. [Trump said he supports medical marijuana “100%”]

    If Sessions were to begin cracking down on pot, or throw out the Cole memo and go after marijuana distributors in states such as Oregon or Washington, it might force Congress to move more quickly toward some kind of resolution. That might end the threat of federal enforcement for pot users in legal states. – ibid.

    • NorCalNative says:


      Would Jesus toss a flash-bang grenade? If SWAT dressed up as the religious knights known as the Templars would anyone notice or care?

      • Servetus says:

        A flash-bang grenade would likely impress citizens of the first century, whereas walking on water, turning water into wine…meh. A lot of magicians and sorcerers at the time had more impressive tricks than those. If at the time I was Jesus, and I had a few flash-bang grenades on hand to impress the rabble, I would toss them.

        The Templers were a faction of the Church famous for a face-off with the Papal Inquisition, as they were more popular than the Catholic Church, due to having manned and maintained the crusader castles throughout the Middle East, making them a political and theocratic threat. Also known as the Knights of Malta, later, after their reincarnation, the Knights of Columbus; Templers were largely eliminated using the anti-justice typifying the methodology of inquisitorial law.

        The Island of Malta itself has maintained an active antagonism toward recreational or mind expanding drugs, a remnant of the Church’s ongoing battle with any kind of intellectual competition issuing from the secular world view.

        The Templers dressed in some swank medieval armor. SWAT dressed as Knights Templers would definitely attract attention, but not necessarily bad attention. It could spark a fashion trend.

    • DC Reade says:

      Butch, Sessions, et. al. can posture all they want, but the handwriting is on the wall for them: it’s over.

      The Feds don’t have the resources to police the vast majority of pot violations. Even if they decide to concentrate on larger commercial growers and sellers, it will be practically impossible to impanel juries to willing to vote for convictions in states that have already legalized.

      This may explain Jeff Sessions’ embrace of civil forfeiture. But as with the recent fiasco over repealing the health care act, the Trump administration faces opposition from both sides of the aisle on that particular tactic, and I doubt they can handle the heat if they begin to use it as a tool to re-impose Federal pot prohibition on errant States.

      I’m also inclined to doubt that Neil Gorsuch has much enthusiasm for asset forfeiture in the absence of a criminal conviction. I think the Constitutional propriety is awfully shaky there, if the question would happen to come up on the Supreme Court docket.

      Link to an instructive case on how serious crime results not from pot, but from criminalizing pot sales- this particular drama happened to take place in Idaho, only a few years back

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