What does this mean, in practice? First, extraordinarily dangerous and kinetic no-knock raids should be used only in the most extreme circumstances. Writers such as Radley Balko have written extensively about the prevalence of the practice (even in routine drug busts), the dangers inherent in dynamic entry, and the sad and terrible circumstances where the police find themselves in a gunfight with terrified homeowners.
Second, prosecutors should closely scrutinize every single instance of mistaken-identity raids. Good-faith mistakes are always possible, but given the stakes involved when police raid homes or pound on doors late at night with their guns drawn, they should exercise a high degree of care and caution in choosing the right house. It’s hard to imagine a worse or more tragic injustice than being gunned down in your own home by mistaken agents of the state.
Third, if and when police do kill or injure innocent homeowners, they should be stripped of qualified immunity — even when the homeowner is armed. There are circumstances where it would improper to file criminal charges against an officer who makes a good-faith mistake and finds himself making an immediate life-or-death situation, but when the mistake is his, then he should face strict liability for all the harm he causes.