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Old March 9, 2009, 07:12 PM   #1
Ben Towe
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No-Knock Warrant/Wrong Address

In the thread about civil rights pertaining to arrest (sorry, don't know how to link), which is about cops showing up at the wrong address after a 911 call, a LEO mentions a no-knock warrant, which brings me to my question: If the police hit the wrong house in such an event (mine, theoretically), and I use deadly force, do I have any recourse against the inevitable charges that will be filed (provided I don't get shot to pieces)? I'm sure many of you feel the same way I do, if someone kicks in my front door in the dead of night, that someone is going to die. Anyway, does anyone know of this being sucessfully being dismissed? This happened a few years ago, in Tennessee actually, I think. Of course they killed the poor old man (he was in his 70s or 80s if I recall) while he was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. He thought he was being robbed. Thoughts?
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Old March 9, 2009, 07:37 PM   #2
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"If the police hit the wrong house in such an event (mine, theoretically), and I use deadly force, do I have any recourse against the inevitable charges that will be filed (provided I don't get shot to pieces)? I'm sure many of you feel the same way I do, if someone kicks in my front door in the dead of night, that someone is going to die. Anyway, does anyone know of this being successfully being dismissed? This happened a few years ago, in Tennessee actually, I think. Of course they killed the poor old man (he was in his 70s or 80s if I recall) while he was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. He thought he was being robbed. Thoughts?"

Depends on the applicable laws of the particular jurisdiction where the event happened, which means I don't know.

Thoughts? It really depends on the particular actions of the police officers and yours. As a rule of thumb, if reasonable heads and actions are absent, there's plenty of room for legal maneuvering.
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Old March 9, 2009, 07:44 PM   #3
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I understand your position. However, I would be surprised if you shot a SWAT officer yelling POLICE, POLICE ,GET DOWN, DROP THE WEAPON, SEARCH WARRANT!!! and didn't get charged with attempt murder of Police Officer. I have been involved with quite a few search warrants and there is NO way you can mistake a SWAT team with a intruder.

Like I say to all the posts of this nature COMPLY COMPLY COMPLY then Litigate if nessecary.

Disclaimer: Police do not have right to illegally search your home, but, it is not the time to assert your rights during the situation..

Same advice I give for CCW shooting SHUT UP LAWYER UP in that order.
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Old March 9, 2009, 07:51 PM   #4
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Police executing a no knock warrant at the wrong address is a **** sandwich for everyone involved. Someone, either officer or home owner, is highly likely to get severely injured or killed for no reason.

Their are so many variables that go into such an operation that predicitng the outcome is very hard. If the police kick in your door and identify themselves then whether or not you have a legal defense to shooting the officer would depend on local law. Once the police identify themselves then I suspect there is no defense to using deadly force. The problem is if some BG's kick in your door with fake police uniforms shouting police what do you do? One guy kicking in your door shouting police would seem to me to be an obvious sing that it wasn't the police. Police don't usually kick in doors by themselves.

From my understanding no knock warrants aren't simple operations nor are they easy to get a judge to sign off on. Don't judges and police supervisors typically review no knock warrant applications more carefully than regular search warrants?
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Old March 9, 2009, 09:33 PM   #5
MeekAndMild
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a SWAT officer yelling POLICE, POLICE ,GET DOWN, DROP THE WEAPON, SEARCH WARRANT!!! ...I have been involved with quite a few search warrants and there is NO way you can mistake a SWAT team with a intruder.
The thing that has always bothered me about this sort of story is that police are not the only people in the world who can put on tactical costumes and shout these same words. How is the innocent homeowner supposed to know if they are REALLY police in a world where thugs say and do the same for their no knock home invasions?
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Old March 9, 2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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Therein lies the rub.

However, you are not that important that MS-13 is going to stage an assault on your home. To what end would the BGs expend all that time and money to assault your home
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Old March 9, 2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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because they found out some how that you have guns/money or whatever
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:01 PM   #8
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I would like to see some evidence of law abiding citizens being subjected to Home Invasion by folks masquerding as cops.

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Old March 9, 2009, 10:06 PM   #9
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No problem, WA, what's your address?
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:14 PM   #10
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I still think it would be pretty unlikely. for a 6 way split for guys you might believe are SWAT it would have to be at least a mid six figure score.


Quote:
because they found out some how that you have guns/money or whatever
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:22 PM   #11
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No problem, WA, what's your address?
In futuro doesnt count

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Old March 9, 2009, 10:23 PM   #12
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How about, would they "true cops" be willing to stand down the hallway, with you armed and covered in your room while you called 911 to check with dispatch if they are actually supposed to be at your house. Seems to me that is the only way to resolve a no-knock search at the wrong house. Frankly I know the police have no reason to search my house, especially a no knock raid, and I would be reluctant to drop my weapon for suspicion they are not real cops. It only takes one BG to get the idea then recruit a few other guys, then they're kicking in doors and meeting no resistance to their robbery. It is not hard to fake an SWAT/officer's uniform, so I would want to call and make sure they are supposed to be at my house. If confirmed I will comply, otherwise I'm pretty sure they have the wrong house or they are BGs. Putting my weapon on the floor is bad news if they are BGs.
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:23 PM   #13
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This happened a few years ago, in Tennessee actually, I think. Of course they killed the poor old man (he was in his 70s or 80s if I recall) while he was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. He thought he was being robbed.
You are correct, this incident happened less than a mile from my home, The officers were later fired, and they, and the commanding officer were eventually charged criminally, and sued in civil court. it was revealed that the man fired because the officers did NOT identify themselves before entering.

It was this incident that left a "bad taste" in my mouth for these types of paramilitary operations. Not bashing our LEOs in general but in this case it was warranted.


From CNN.com
Man killed in police raid on wrong house
October 6, 2000
Web posted at: 12:14 p.m. EDT (1614 GMT)

LEBANON, Tennessee -- Police shot and killed a man in his home in Lebanon, Tennessee, after trying to serve a drug search warrant at the wrong house.


John Adams, 62, who, according to his family, thought he was the victim of a home invasion, fired a sawed-off shotgun at officers as they entered his home. He was killed when they returned fire.

Police apologized for the tragic mistake. The house they intended to target was next door
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:24 PM   #14
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middle of the night, or middle of the afternoon and my but is in bed napping. Maybe on the couch napping on my lunch break. I have my CCW gun on the table beside me.

The door gets kicked in I immediately go for it.

I see someone coming through the door with a gun and I am opening up. I am not listening, sitting around thinking, or anything else. My finger starts pulling.

We are talking about possible one to two seconds between when I am asleep on my couch and I am gunning down a police officer without having any idea of what is really going on.

If I was an officer I would refuse to serve no knock warrants. I think they are as constitutional as the Patriot Act or California's gun control.

"Serving warrants to criminals is dangerous, we don't get paid enough for what we do"
"you don't know what its like out there in the real world as a cop"

You weren't drafted, maybe you should have been a fireman.

The first time I got shot at(at least directly down range I was not the target) my mistake was picking out a camping spot next to some crazy lady and her abusive husband. He starts beating her in the middle of the night she decides to gab a revolver and shoot a few rounds off to his side and show him she means business. Oops. our campsite. Had to throw the tent away, lucky we were all laying down. No one had a vest, a gun, training, or radio, and I was probably the only one with healthcare. The park ranger showed up about ten minutes later. We were laughing hysterically at this point as we did not realize how extremely close it had been until we broke down the tent the next day. I still go camping, and as of yet no one pays me to do it(I would be interested in any offers.)

Any LEO who supports these warrants needs to sit down and think about it again. I don't care who you are or what you are doing. You knock down someones door without announcing yourself and you are asking for for a mess of lead.
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:40 PM   #15
JuanCarlos
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How about, would they "true cops" be willing to stand down the hallway, with you armed and covered in your room while you called 911 to check with dispatch if they are actually supposed to be at your house. Seems to me that is the only way to resolve a no-knock search at the wrong house. Frankly I know the police have no reason to search my house, especially a no knock raid, and I would be reluctant to drop my weapon for suspicion they are not real cops. It only takes one BG to get the idea then recruit a few other guys, then they're kicking in doors and meeting no resistance to their robbery. It is not hard to fake an SWAT/officer's uniform, so I would want to call and make sure they are supposed to be at my house. If confirmed I will comply, otherwise I'm pretty sure they have the wrong house or they are BGs. Putting my weapon on the floor is bad news if they are BGs.
Unfortunately this defeats the entire purpose of "no-knock" warrants, which is to use overwhelming force to entirely secure the location so as to prevent the occupants from destroying evidence (flushing dope, wiping hard drives, whatever). If they were willing to let you call 911 to get things sorted out, they'd just have knocked.

As for what the consequences would be for shooting an officer in such a situation...well, depending on your state you might theoretically be covered under self-defense laws, but you're certainly going to have to argue your case in court. It will be a grossly unpleasant experience even if you win an acquittal.



As for instances of residents being injured or killed by such raids, it's a long list. Many were never convicted of crimes (assuming they were merely injured), and many were wrong-address raids. We're not talking about a statistically significant number, but it happens more often than I think most of us should be comfortable with.
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagonman
there is NO way you can mistake a SWAT team with a intruder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildalaska
I would like to see some evidence of law abiding citizens being subjected to Home Invasion by folks masquerding as cops.
Crooks do get in costume sometimes. I have a really, incredibly, perhaps incomparably dumb story about what has been pieced together to be an attempted carjacking involving a fake construction worker. Sleep deprivation and hardhats don't mix. Not a police officer, but using assumptions regarding an occupation to get past the moat. However, the story way off topic and too long to tie in, so suffice to say that faker bad guys are not unprecedented in my mind.

I'd say realistically, if you initiate hostilities with an entry team, you probably will not need a lawyer. Next of kin, maybe. Sucks, but it's just one of those unfortunate lose-lose situations inherent to being a part of society.
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Old March 9, 2009, 11:18 PM   #17
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Here ya go Wild.

Crooks as police. yes, it is a wiki but sources are below. Also many police officers houses have been burglarized and they have had uniforms and badges stolen.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Home-inv..._as_NYC_police
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Old March 9, 2009, 11:39 PM   #18
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Here ya go Wild.
Nope. Read your own source.

Here I'll help.

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The likelihood of an innocent person getting home invaded by fake cops is equal to the odds of finding Rosie ODonnel in bed with Wayne Lapierre
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Old March 10, 2009, 12:35 AM   #19
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+1 WildAlaska

Home Invaders, as an organized Team, enter as COPS when they KNOW you have something they want; ie... multiple automatic weapons( and I don't mean 3 or 4), half of Bogota in your closet, or Barney Frank's share of the Fannie Mae money under your mattress!

You and your gun collection are safe from an Organized Team of Fake Cops.

You need to be more concerned about the guys at the range who profile your weapons collection, follow you home and hit your house while you are at work.
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Old March 10, 2009, 04:47 AM   #20
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I won't even attempt to touch the legal part of this whole conversation as I know I don't have the education or tongue for litigation. I do offer a related topic for consideration though:

When instructing students in practical/defensive/tactical shooting I use a stress technique when they grossly screw up or fumble a fundamental weapons manipulation drill. It's very scientific and it’s called "yelling at the top of my lungs". I get right in their face, switch on, and go full throttle Drill Instructor on them. In 99.99999999999999% of cases the student locks up and freezes. Military guys are the worse and I am convinced its a learned behavior from all the yelling, spitting, and cussing they've endured during their careers. I refer to it as auditory induced shooter's rigormortis. I'm not doing this to be a dick, an ass, or an overzealous/bearing teacher who has an ego on three round burst. (I'm actually a very even conversational toned person) It's an exercise for them that attempts to simulate a fraction of the extreme stress, pressure, and anguish they will be faced with during the time line when things go to hell and they elect to use deadly force or engage an enemy combatant. The men and women I work with are a mix of Civilian Law Enforcement, Federal Agents, and Military. The men I work with and train on a daily basis here in Baghdad are all from the following: Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, Army Delta, Army SF, Federal Air Marshals, and SWAT officers. We have a few Marines from the 03XX MOS fields and a couple Air Force PJ's/Command and Control guys also.

My point in all this is if you really think you have the presence of mind to go from a dead sleep to 100% switched on in the fraction of a second it takes for a mob of people to invade your home in a manner that has been carefully rehearsed over and over and over again your ego is suffering from a serious yeast infection and you’re a prime example of spectators arrogance. I'll bet a 401K plan that you fail every time. Especially when the group of Alpha males and nail eating killers that I just described can't power through a little fat guy yelling in their face when they have a stovepipe or brain fart a magazine exchange.

Cops aren't killed by people asleep in the dead of night when they enter a home/structure to serve a no knock warrant. It's one reason why, and correct me if I'm wrong, I believe they typically choose to serve these kinds of warrants around 3 to 4 in the morning. 99.9% of people are dead asleep during these hours.
I can only think of one possible way to even train someone for this kind of thing and it is both very impractical and potentially very unsafe. It'd involve a bed, a shoot house, and a very powerful sound system set up with all the bells, bangs, flashes, and voices of a typical SWAT team serving a warrant. That'd be your alarm clock.

The exercise would involve being woke up from a dead sleep, you then reach for your weapon, assess, and then begin to engage multiple targets before they have an opportunity to engage you. Now just how realistic does that sound? Now toss in an innocent, maybe your wife got up to pee just as they entered and she's standing in the doorway when they come charging into the bedroom.

I've introduced the mental side of this now let’s look at the physical: We got people on this forum bitching about a little gas getting squirted in their eyes when they shoot their AR's and M-4's. What is your performance going to be like when your eyes are groggy and glued shut from the sand man? A person's blood pressure lowers during sleep, (ever wonder why you’re so cold in the morning? Your core temperature is lowest during sleep) what's going to happen when you jump up? You’re liable to pass out. I know for a fact I'd fail it. It'd take a solid six months to a year of this kind of training to be anything close to effective. Who really wants to volunteer to be woken up multiple times a night by explosions and loud voices for the next 180 days? By the end of it you'll be as flaky as a sexually abused house cat.

I've been formally educated, trained, schooled in marksmanship and in various practical/defensive/tactical shooting techniques/doctrines by military, Federal LE, and diplomatic agencies. I've instructed and coached more people formally than I can ever hope to remember. I've been doing it in one fashion or another since 1991. My purpose isn't to dazzle you with my brilliance, just to illustrate that I've been around this stuff for awhile and I've got a pretty good handle on it.

If you really want to mitigate this kind of threat I suggest buying a very heavy steel door for your house and putting big bars on the windows.

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Old March 10, 2009, 07:52 AM   #21
johnwilliamson062
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If you read my post and understood my message to be that I would turn into a navy seal when they broke down the door, my apologies. I fully realize I probably would not hit anything and likely would not get off a shot. Groggy eyes open or closed I am going for my gun and pointing it somewhere. More than enough to get me shot. I might squeeze off a few rounds also. Like many have said, I would rather be lucky than good, although I doubt anyone would look at a situation like that and claim anyone was lucky.

The fact of the matter is that when police get the wrong address or are just wrong in their search(both happen), and they enter a house with an armed civilian in many cases,(I would like to say most but who would have the data to back that up), the civilian has absolutely no idea what is going on when he/she first sees the police. That is the entire point of the warrant. How can you possibly blame them for picking up a gun and returning fire?
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Old March 10, 2009, 08:26 AM   #22
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Don't misunderstand or read into my text. I'm not blaming or judging anyone for any particular action taken. I am only attempting to paint the reality of how small the percentages are of being successful at this sort of thing.
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Old March 10, 2009, 08:26 AM   #23
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No-knock warrants being served at the wrong address and the homeowner ending up dead is common. There should never be another one issued. If the person has drugs they will be leaving the house eventually so it can be searched while it's empty or they can be apprehended as they leave. There is no reason to bust in the door at 3am other than a vulgar display of unnecessary force.

Interactive map showing botched raids by location. Clicking each balloon will give the details of that incident.
http://www.cato.org/raidmap/


http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_repo...cpr30n6-2.html

http://lastfreevoice.wordpress.com/2...ear-old-woman/
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Old March 10, 2009, 08:41 AM   #24
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I have been involved with quite a few search warrants and there is NO way you can mistake a SWAT team with a intruder.
I have not been involved in any. So how would I know one way or the other.

These days they come in wearing masks to disguise themselves, in black clothing that is not readily identifiable as police, and often act and sound like thugs.

And yelling "police" does not make it so. A very, very common tactic of criminals is to claim to be police.

Since these days police go to such extreme lengths to avoid looking and acting like police, just how is one to know just who broke down one's door at zero dark 30.

This is at its very core not a legal problem. It is a political problem. Politicians need to grow a set and ban virtually all no knock raids. And they need to ban the practice of police pretending to be secret agents. Cops should be in readily identifiable uniforms at all times when they are engaging in official business.
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Old March 10, 2009, 09:51 AM   #25
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Three former Atlanta police officers are to be sentenced Monday for their roles in the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman during a botched drug raid in 2006, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The officers -- Jason R. Smith, Gregg Junnier and Arthur B. Tesler -- pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights arising from the death of Kathryn Johnston at her home.

Johnston was killed November 21, 2006, as the defendants and other police officers executed a "no-knock" search warrant that was found to be based on false information that illegal drugs were in the home.

Police initially said that Kathryn Johnston fired at them with an old pistol, and they shot back in self-defense.

Junnier, Smith and Officer Cary Bond, who was not charged in the shooting, sustained gunshot wounds in the incident. Tesler was not wounded.

An Atlanta Police Department spokesman an informant named "Sam" said he had bought illegal drugs at Johnston's home, west of downtown Atlanta.

Their story began to fall apart after the informant said he had never been to the home.

Neighbors and relatives said the raid had to have been a mistake. Johnston lived alone and was so afraid of crime in the Atlanta neighborhood that she wouldn't let neighbors who delivered groceries for her come in, they said.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. before Chief U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes, attorney's office spokesman Patrick Crosby said in a statement. He said the hearing could last two days.


Not necessarily the wrong address but certainly a no knock warrant based on no evidence and whose execution cost an old lady her life.
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