Horror: Stun grenade tossed by Georgia cops during drug raid lands in toddler’s playpen

posted at 3:21 pm on May 30, 2014 by Allahpundit

It blew a hole through the side of the ‘pen and “ripped open” the baby’s face, as his mother put it. He’s in the burn unit right now in a medically induced coma. The police swear they had no idea there was a child in the home, a claim supported by the fact that the baby didn’t actually live there. He and his mother were staying in the home after their own house burned down; the alleged drug dealer (who’s unrelated to the boy) lives there and, if the cops’ informant is to be believed, sells meth out of the living room.

Meth’s not the only thing cops expected to find there.

“We had prior information on it,” Terrell said of the circumstances of the home and its occupants. “The individual had been involved in an altercation with another male involving a possible AK-47 [rifle] several months ago, and he was arrested on some weapons charges. Supposedly that was about drugs.”…

“When we did surveillance on the house, there were two guards standing guard at the door … like they weren’t letting anybody in,” Terrell said. “We did make the buy out of the house. We took that information, along with our other information, and went to see the judge and got a warrant.”…

“According to the confidential informant, there were no children,” Terrell said. “When they made the buy, they didn’t see any children or any evidence of children there, so we proceeded with our standard operation.”

A local magistrate issued a “no-knock warrant” to raid the house, partly because of the info linking the suspect to “assault-type weapons.” When the cops got there and tried to open the door, they felt something blocking it so they tossed in a flash-bang. The obstacle turned out to be … the playpen, with the baby inside. Here’s a photo of the aftermath, if you can stomach it. The suspect wasn’t even there; they picked him up later at another residence.

Negligence or tragic accident? Patterico, a prosecutor by trade, puts it this way:

Don’t treat this like the cops intended this. They didn’t. When the story says deputies are distraught over this, I believe it. Cops don’t go into law enforcement to hurt small children.

But look: if you use stun grenades in the service of a no-knock warrant like this, tragedies like this are going to happen. The question that police (and members of the public who pay the police) have to ask themselves is this: is it worth this kind of risk to arrest people for the crime in question? If the crime is murder, you might have one answer. If the crime is selling drugs, you might have another.

Indeed. What’s the threshold for using a flash-bang sight unseen, knowing that anything and anyone could be behind that door? Selling meth might not meet that threshold, but maybe the possibility of an AK-47 being pointed at you when the door swings open does. What I want to know is, how would they have approached this if they did have reason to believe a child was there? No flash-bangs, obviously, which means a greater risk for the cops, but would you rather have cops take the extra risk or a 19-month-old who’s asleep in his crib? That’s what this case is about. How much extra danger should the police reasonably be expected to expose themselves to in the name of avoiding terrible crossfire accidents like this one?

Exit quotation from the sheriff, guaranteed to inflame supporters and opponents of the war on drugs: “The person I blame in this whole thing is the person selling the drugs… They are no better than a domestic terrorist, because they don’t care about families – they didn’t care about the family, the children living in that household – to be selling dope out of it, to be selling methamphetamine out of it. All they care about is making money.”


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Overwhelming a suspect rapidly, with overwhelming force, with the element of surprise before he knows what’s happening decreases the likelihood of shots being exchanged, with less risk to the suspect/officers/bystanders – or at least, that’s the intent. Is that really a difficult concept to grasp?

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 1:45 PM

What would you say if we all agreed that you can go all Janet Reno if you wish, but you will be charged with manslaughter and dogslaughter if you have the wrong house? Is that a deal? No immunity. You will be charged and prosecuted as if you had no badge. Deal?

bbhack on June 1, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Don’t make us use a hand grenade on your kid, lady. It’ll be on your conscience if we have to blow his face to shreds.

David Blue on June 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM

What would you say if we all agreed that you can go all Janet Reno if you wish, but you will be charged with manslaughter and dogslaughter if you have the wrong house? Is that a deal? No immunity. You will be charged and prosecuted as if you had no badge. Deal?

bbhack on June 1, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Ummm…okay, I guess. “Dogslaughter,” huh? I like that. Would be a good name for a band, thrash metal, maybe.

Or how about this, since you seem to feel like you’re an expert, how about you go ahead and serve the warrant? Wait, what’s that? You’d prefer NOT to get shot in the face? You mean that taking known violent suspects into custody is super-risky? Wow, who would have figured. It’s almost like those corrections special teams who pour 6 guys into a cell to overwhelm a violent inmate threatening to shank anyone that enters are trying to bring a rapid conclusion to the process.

The tactics are what they are because they work. Stick to what you know, dude – whatever that is, because this subject isn’t it.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Stick to what you know, dude – whatever that is, because this subject isn’t it.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Yeah, because not just anyone can storm a house full of toddlers, miss the drug dealer leaving, miss the arrival of the family, and toss grenades into playpens. It takes special courage and advanced tactical training to manage all of that.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Wik, if you aren’t using straw men, you are sure as shit arguing from authority. That doesn’t make you automatically right and me automatically wrong. Bou dies, someone should go to prison for manslaughter. Period. “You haven’t been there” isn’t an argument against that.

gryphon202 on June 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

The tactics are what they are because they work. Stick to what you know, dude – whatever that is, because this subject isn’t it.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 3:43 PM

And argumentum ad assertum. If the tactics work, how come we’re losing the war on drugs, Butch?

gryphon202 on June 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Wik, if you aren’t using straw men, you are sure as shit arguing from authority. That doesn’t make you automatically right and me automatically wrong. Bou dies, someone should go to prison for manslaughter. Period. “You haven’t been there” isn’t an argument against that.

gryphon202 on June 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Oddly enough, I couldn’t agree more.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:19 PM

The tactics are what they are because they work. Stick to what you know, dude – whatever that is, because this subject isn’t it.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 3:43 PM

And argumentum ad assertum. If the tactics work, how come we’re losing the war on drugs, Butch?

gryphon202 on June 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

On the macro level, I can’t answer that – and obviously, neither can any other of our “best and brightest” policy makers.

On the micro level, I could list countless examples from experience that such tactics have facilitated rapid and ultimately safe control of known violent suspects. It is, as they say, what it is.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Yeah, because not just anyone can storm a house full of toddlers, miss the drug dealer leaving, miss the arrival of the family, and toss grenades into playpens. It takes special courage and advanced tactical training to manage all of that.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Thankfully we have paladins of virtue like yourself to protect the public. Feel free to continue commenting on something you have no experience with and know nothing about, it’s really fascinating.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Thankfully we have paladins of virtue like yourself to protect the public.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Quite bluntly the public would be far better off if you and all the other SWAT teams didn’t exist. A few such teams could be of use, but most should simply vanish and law enforcement would be improved.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Quite bluntly the public would be far better off if you and all the other SWAT teams didn’t exist. A few such teams could be of use, but most should simply vanish and law enforcement would be improved.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Based on your extensive criminology analysis as published in….[snore].

Again, you have no idea what you’re attempting to discuss. But don’t worry, there are I’m sure some good cops who are keeping your community, you included, safe. Even if you don’t recognize or appreciate it.

You’re welcome, by the way.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Quite bluntly the public would be far better off if you and all the other SWAT teams didn’t exist. A few such teams could be of use, but most should simply vanish and law enforcement would be improved.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Enlighten us regarding under what circumstances “a few” teams “could” be of use. Surely you’re envisioning some raging, violent, drug-ridden slum that couldn’t POSSIBLY occur in your community. Because truly “bad” crime, we all know, only happens in the “bad” places.

You’re kind of funny, actually.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Skillz…you haz em!

Minecraft User Banned; Calls in SWAT Team on Administrator

That threat turned out to be pretty literal: according to police, the troll texted them that at the Neumann residence, Neumann’s father had shot his 14 year-old teenage daughter in the head after she told him she was pregnant — never mind that there never was a daughter to begin with. This, of course, didn’t stop SWAT and local guys from charging in, knocking Jacob’s dad to the ground face-first and arresting him. This of course came after they dragged Jacob and his brother out of the house and hid them behind a squad of cars and cops.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Wasn’t there, don’t know what happened, neither do you. Not my op, not my problem. Next?

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I think it’s safe to assume, though, that this incident doesn’t meet your criteria incidents requiring “a few” SWAT teams that “could” be of use. Surely you’ll be forthcoming with those criteria shortly, since you are the expert and all.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Not my op, not my problem. Next?

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Idiot SWAT Team Tried to Catch Guy Who Was Already in Prison

The team showed up at 5:30 a.m. with flash-bang grenades, burst into the home and pointed their weapons at the Bravos and their 8-year-old grandson, who ran screaming into the bathroom, the ruling states. The officers left after Hope Bravo showed them a recent letter from her son, mailed from prison.

Profiles in courage and due diligence!

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Profiles in courage and due diligence!

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Hmmm…don’t remember doing that one, either. Keep going, though, I’m sure you have more.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Next?

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

SWAT Team Raids Family Home After Finding Tea Leaves In The Garbage

Now it gets even creepier. The cops followed Harte back to his house and started going through his garbage. Because, you know, people don’t smoke or sell marijuana; they throw it away. The cops found a substance that turned out to be his wife’s favorite tea, but somehow “field tested” it and determined it was illegal drugs.

A lab later tested the substance and proved that it was, in fact, tea. It didn’t matter though; the cops had all they needed to get a warrant. Guy coming out of a hardware store? Check. Tea bags in the garbage can? Check. Assemble the assault team.

“It’s also astonishing how little police work they had to do to raid our house,” said Harte upon learning the reason behind the warrant.

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Profiles in courage and due diligence!

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Hmmm…don’t remember doing that one, either. Can’t speak to what was or wasn’t done correctly. Oh wait, you weren’t there either! It’s almost like neither of us is any position to evaluate the event! Crazy!

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Oh wait, you weren’t there either! It’s almost like neither of us is any position to evaluate the event! Crazy!

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Cause only Barney Fife knows what it is to be Barney Fife and what Barney Fife has to face every day!

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Profiles in courage and due diligence!

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Thankfully, though, we have crackerjack bloodhounds like yourself on the case, keeping the public safe. Because you, surely, would never make a mistake. Because if you did, I’m certain it would never involve some sort of high-risk endeavor that could go terribly wrong, right?

Whew – at least I know I’m safe in your capable hands.

What’s that? You want someone else to handle it? Oh…

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Cause only Barney Fife knows what it is to be Barney Fife and what Barney Fife has to face every day!

sharrukin on June 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Feel free to take the Barney Fife route – go confront your local violent offender with you one round in your pocket for “emergencies.” See how that works out for you personally, and if it does anything to make your community safer.

Truly, your idiocy is…wow.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Noting a big disconnect between the POVs of commenters. Let’s all get on the same page. If cops have hard evidence that a violent offender, for whom they have a warrant, is in a particular place at a particular time, they should be able to go after that offender with sufficient “shock and awe” to minimize the threat to themselves and others. If they don’t have hard evidence that a perp is in a particular place at a particular time, they don’t have any right, legal authorization, duty, or other reason to do any gotdam thing at all, except further investigate, wait, and watch for their perp. The story, above, is not like the former, but shows how awful the results can be, if LEOs don’t recognize and follow the latter.

Doesn’t matter what the crime is, doesn’t matter whether the other people involved are nice or not. The perp’s crime is not an excuse for the police to commit another, violent crime. This and other SWAT and mistaken “no knock warrant” horror stories plainly demonstrate not just the high human cost of such ops generally, but clearly show the solution to the problem–LEOs, if you don’t want to wind up feeling like baby or elderly person, or general innocent person killers, make sure of your target before you shoot, throw a grenade, or break down a door. If you can’t be sure, you probably need to investigate further. I also give this admonition to the LEOs I really respect and appreciate, because if they pull something like this at my house, some of them are likely to end up wounded or dead.

LEOs absolutely should be subject to criminal and civil liability, personally and especially up the chain of command to the top of the department involved, every time they injure persons and/or property at the wrong place or with outdated/inaccurate information. Just because someone wears a badge or even has a warrant shouldn’t be a free pass to act like a criminal.

Ay Uaxe on June 1, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Truly, your idiocy is…wow.

Wikalista on June 1, 2014 at 5:40 PM


Hmmmmmmmm
… took you all of what? … 10 comments to go from apologizing for revealing your true nature to … revealing your true nature.

The beauty of the internet – once you reveal your true nature, it will LIVE forever

Feel free to exercise whatever in-between option YOU would like to fall back on when you’re first through the door to confront that suspect.

Otherwise, STFU.

Wikalista on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 PM


Thank you
… no one could have better underscored the distorted mentality in our current SWAT culture than you just did with those statements.

YOU get to decide civilians have no right to an opinion that disagrees with how YOU perform a public service job that has an INCREASING incidence of errors leading to the injury and death of officers and civilians from the excessive use of force.

Here’s hoping you some day make the same assertion in a public forum where you can be held accountable for it.

PolAgnostic on May 31, 2014 at 11:45 PM

.
As a rule, people on here are generally given the benefit of the doubt regarding any personal claims regarding education, profession or expertise – because if they aren’t what they claim to be … time will tell.

Personally, I very much doubt you are LEO much less SWAT. The bulk of the LEO I have known are professionals who exhibit unflagging professionalism in representing their service whether to a “Do you know who I am?” reckless driving idiot or dealing with more dangerous people.

The reason for their professionalism is simple. It is an inherent part of how they survive in an extremely difficult profession. It insulates them from heat of the moment; providing a reasoned, analytical frame of mind can make the difference between life and death.

We have a number of current and ex-LEO who comment on Hot Air.

They do not exhibit the “ticking time bomb” anger which takes but a few comments in print to come to the surface in your replies.

If, God forbid, you are LEO; seek help from a department counselor or an external professional. Your presumption of innate superiority and unstable temperment make you an active danger to yourself and other officers. Many mental health professionals provide discounted, or in some cases free, counseling to LEO’s in appreciation for their service.

PolAgnostic on June 1, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Another example of why the police should NOT be doing SWAT no-knock raids.
http://bearingarms.com/atlanta-woman-puts-bullets-home-invader-posing-police/

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 11:18 AM

If a suspect is considered sufficiently dangerous to allow a no-knock warrant, how about a new technique, the no-announce arrest. Watch the suspect, and when he goes to the grocery store, park in the lot next to his car. When he’s getting in, taser him in the back, cuff him, and when he comes to, read him his rights. If the suspicion that he will resist arrest authorizes the use of less-lethal weapons sight unseen, how is that any different than a surprise tasering?

dcman98 on June 2, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Comment pages: 1 6 7 8