Thursday, July 04, 2013

Sweet land of liberty

Not every day you see a claim for Third Amendment violations in a police misconduct suit. Well deserved in this case against the City of Henderson, Nevada's finest. You have to read it all to appreciate the full scope of this intentional breach of civil rights but here's some highlights:
The complaint continues: "Defendant Officer David Cawthorn outlined the defendants' plan in his official report: 'It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.'"

At a few minutes before noon, at least five defendant officers "arrayed themselves in front of plaintiff Anthony Mitchell's house and prepared to execute their plan," the complaint states. [...]

"Seconds later, officers, including Officer Rockwell, smashed open plaintiff Anthony Mitchell's front door with a metal ram as plaintiff stood in his living room.

As plaintiff Anthony Mitchell stood in shock, the officers aimed their weapons at Anthony Mitchell and shouted obscenities at him and ordered him to lie down on the floor.
This happened because the Mitchell refused their "request" to use his home a lookout point in response to a domestic violence report about his next door neighbor. These local cops then proceeded to subject Mitchell's elderly parents, who also live nearby to much the same abuse. They also shot his terrified dog, who was cowering in a corner, with pepperballs. Eventually the whole family was arrested on several trumped up charges. And the punch line:
None of the officers were ever subjected to official discipline or even inquiry, the complaint states.
Thanks to the militarization of local law enforcement, this sort of police misconduct is becoming all too common in our country. Good to see people daring to fight back. Wishing the Mitchells every success in their lawsuit. [photo via]

[cross posted at The Impolitic]


Greg said...

Strikes me that the Third Amendment issue is a long shot.

Especially given that the Fourth Amendment issues here are stunningly obvious -- "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...."

Libby Spencer said...

Yes, it's a long shot, but I don't recall seeing another case where it was a more valid clause in the complaint.

Philo Vaihinger said...

3rd no, 4th no.

Sometimes it's not there when you need it.

The US Constitution.

A lot, actually.

Victor said...

"This happened because the Mitchell refused their "request" to use his home a lookout point in response to a domestic violence report about his next door neighbor."

So, they wanted to use this guys house as a "lookout point, to, quietly, I would assume, observe his neighbor, and when he refuses, do a full-on 'SWAT Team 6' on him and his property - except they don't kill the intended target, merely terrify him and his family, and pepper-balled the dog.

And the couple next door weren't supposed to notice this assault?

And whatever happened to THAT couple? Did they resume whatever domestic violence the police wanted to 'quietly' observe?

This is what happens when we hand-down old MIC equipment to local The Keystone Kops - 'cept it ain't funny.

And I suppose any internal police review would find that they actually were doing things according to the manual.

But where was the DA? Did s/he side with the cops, when the Mitchell's brought charges?

Here's the kicker for me:
"Worley told plaintiff that police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a 'tactical advantage' against the occupant of the neighboring house."

"Tactical advantage?"
What, they were about to stage an invasion of Normandy, or an assault on Pork Chop Hill?

It was a possible case of domestic assault next door, not a possible drug warehouse for gangs, or a den for potential terrorists to meet in.

Yeah - not rights were invaded, no laws were broken.
Disgusting, and frightening.

This sounds like it's now in Civil Court, and all we can hope for, is that the Henderson PA gets it's ass handed to them, when they have to fork-over a fortune.

Oh, and look for even more of this type of behavior.
Because when the MIC pays Congress to pay for new toys - some of which the military may not feel it wants, or needs - the old toys get handed down to local police.

And you can't blame the local police boys and girly, from wanting to play with their new toys.

This is "The War on Drugs," meets "Post 9/11," and all bets are off when it comes to rights and laws.

Too many of us demand to be "protected," and will turn a blind eye, as the Constitution is used as toilet paper, not just in DC, but locally, too.

Victor said...

So many typo's!!!
I hadn't finished my cup of coffee yet, as I hit enter.

But, I think you can make out my main points.


Never Ben Better said...

Gee, Victor, excessive typos? It looked like your usual output to me.

*ducking and running*

Victor said...

True, that... :-)

Rand Careaga said...

I don't ordinarily blogwhore (and may not be able to in comments), but I was addressing the militarization/galloping authoritarianism of American life just the other day at "Slouching toward Urschleim".

Libby Spencer said...

You're right Victor. This is rooted in the forfeiture laws as well. They can't use the seized funds to fund the PDs directly but they are allowed to purchase all this heavy hardware with it. And of course they're going to want to use their new toys. Think this is why you see freaking SWAT teams and tanks showing up at a house to serve ordinary warrants. Something that would have done with two cops knocking on the door in years past.

Assume you guys are familiar with Radley Balko's white paper on this. IIRC it's called the Militarization of Mayberry.

Unknown said...

Funny, I just got into an argument with Chez over at Deus Ex Malcontent the other day about our evolving police state. He coffed at me when I suggested the cops went over the line when they shot that guy's dog last week.
I really hope he sees this story. This is just completely outrageous.

giantslor said...

Instapundit's shamelessly hacktacular headline:


ODS reaching critical mass... said...

When you "google" Henderson, Nevada or Clark County, Nevada and "police misconduct" the pages fill up!!! And apparently there are a couple of law firms living off of taking these dudes to court. Another reason not to live in Las Vegas.,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=fec3aa09cf8c46bf&biw=1440&bih=678

wabi8sabi said...

What happened to using 'floral vans' or 'roach coaches' for 'deep' surveillance? Even Starsky & Hutch could pull this off from their Coca-Cola car. Perhaps these tactical options don't blend in well in Henderson, NV; let's face it, seems downright un'merican. This is the case to which we welcome with open arms teh dronz, rfid, background checks for sperm donors, and needle exchanges programs for surgeons and skid row denizens as the panacea for domestic violence surveillance. No, these 'threads' need not comport towards reality, for in 'merica, we make reality, then we toss into the oceans as used plastic appliances.