SWAT team kills 2 dogs in [Mistaken] raid on Md. mayor's home - Page 2

SWAT team kills 2 dogs in [Mistaken] raid on Md. mayor's home

This is a discussion on SWAT team kills 2 dogs in [Mistaken] raid on Md. mayor's home within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This article goes into better detail - the intention was for the drug runner to intercept the package prior to delivery - it was never ...

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Thread: SWAT team kills 2 dogs in [Mistaken] raid on Md. mayor's home

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    This article goes into better detail - the intention was for the drug runner to intercept the package prior to delivery - it was never intended to arrive at the mayors house.

    Maryland Mayor Asking For Federal Civil Rights Probe Into No Knock Warrants | AHN | August 7, 2008

    Maryland Mayor Asking For Federal Civil Rights Probe Into No Knock Warrants

    Linda Young - AHN Editor

    Berwyn Heights, MD (AHN) - With his wife crying at his side on the lawn of their home, the mayor of Berwyn Heights, MD announced he was asking for a civil rights investigation into no knock warrants after his wife became the innocent victim of identity theft and police invaded their home on an illegal no knock warrant and killed the family dogs.

    "We lost our family dogs," Calvo said, adding the police burst into his home "guns blazing."

    Mayor Cheye Calvo and his wife, Trinity Tomsic, held a televised press conference Thursday afternoon.

    Saying that two arrests had been made and other drugs seized, Calvo said, "It is a great relief to us to be removed from the glare of suspicion." However, that didn't change what had happened, when police illegally broke down their door and executed the family pets, Calvo said. "We were harmed by the very people who took an oath to protect us."

    Calvo and his mother-in-law were tied up by members of a county sheriff's SWAT team last week when the team illegally entered the mayor's home by breaking down his door and entering without knocking, despite the fact that they didn't have a no knock warrant.

    The chain of events leading up to the incident began when Tomsic became one of several victims of identity theft in Prince George's County. The SWAT team also shot and killed the family's two Labrador retrievers immediately when they entered the home, despite the fact that the first dog was in another room and they had to chase the other terrified, fleeing dog through the house to shoot him in the back and kill it.

    Calvo said he returned home from a walk with his dogs to find a package on his doorstep addressed to his wife. So he carried it inside, set it down and went upstairs to shower and change his clothes before heading out the door to a meeting.

    While the mayor was upstairs doing that, he said his mother-in-law was cooking supper, saw the SWAT team running into the yard and screamed. The officers heard her scream and responded by breaking the door down, swarming into the home, shooting and killing the families' dogs and then tying his mother-in-law up on the floor. Officers also tied him up on the floor in his boxer shorts for two hours, Calvo said.

    It turned out that the mayor's wife was a victim of identity theft. Someone had addressed a package of marijuana to her, which officials intercepted. Then an undercover officer delivered it to the couple's doorstep while Calvo was walking the dogs.

    During the investigation that occured after the incident, officials concluded that someone else that was involved with the drug package had intended to intercept it before it was delivered to the mayor's house, but the police intercepted the drug package first. The police investigation also found another five people in the county were also similar victims of identity theft.

    At least two people have been arrested so far, and other packages of drugs seized.

    Saying that despite being victims of identity theft they weren't being treated like victims, Calvo called problems in police and sheriff departments "systemic" and said conditions must be changed. He announced that he is asking the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation of Prince Georges County, because it had also happened to others

    He also said that drug enforcement officials had denied the existence of no-knock warrants or that they ever used them.

    Calvo said he was asking the sheriff to retract untrue statements that he earlier made about the family and their pets. He said that the family pets didn't deserve to die and that the sheriff had wrongfully blamed the animals for their own deaths.

    The mayor told reporters later that the sheriff's department didn't know he was the mayor of his town, that they also didn't have his name, which was different from his wife's name, and had not coordinated their operation with the local police department.

    Calvo also said that the county sheriff's department has since said that it was investigating reports that delivery men were being paid to intercept drug packages addressed to innocent third parties, but had not informed the municipal police department of this. It has since found the real culprit.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington


  2. #17
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    Here's the story. A gang has drugs UPS'ed to real addresses, figuring they can pick up the package before the homeowner. The cops get wind of it, and it appears the local swat team was busy, so they settled on the sheriff's swat team. They don't know it's the mayors house. They don't have a no-knock warrant, but when the mayors mother-in-law sees them, she screams and they decide to bust in the door and screw everything up. Handcuff the mayor (in his underwear). Meanwhile the UPS package is sitting unopened on the floor.
    How do you say, "I'm sorry we killed your dogs for nothing."?
    I wonder when the award ceremony will take place? Isn't that SOP?

  3. #18
    Member Array DIRTY HARRY's Avatar
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    hell don't you hate when that happens"

  4. #19
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    Wow. Just wow. What a royally messed up situation. There is no defense for a lot of the things that went down here. I have always said that I understood when LEO kills a family dog for their own protection. I have supported no-knock warrants for certain situations. But I can't support the LEO's that carried out this one.

    I do understand why they went to "no knock" procedures after hearing the mother-in-law scream, but chasing down the dog to kill it? There needs to be criminal charges filed for this. I don't care what kind of protocol, procedures, or rules they were following, that should never have happened.
    Last edited by Scott; August 7th, 2008 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Removed profanity workaround.
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  5. #20
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    I would think they would have PC to get a wiretap and gather more evidence before staging a raid. Yeah, this has been all over the news here in NOVA...not a good situation for the police. They are not doing well in the press.
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  6. #21
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guns and more View Post
    Here's the story. A gang has drugs UPS'ed to real addresses, figuring they can pick up the package before the homeowner. The cops get wind of it, and it appears the local swat team was busy, so they settled on the sheriff's swat team. They don't know it's the mayors house. They don't have a no-knock warrant, but when the mayors mother-in-law sees them, she screams and they decide to bust in the door and screw everything up. Handcuff the mayor (in his underwear). Meanwhile the UPS package is sitting unopened on the floor.
    How do you say, "I'm sorry we killed your dogs for nothing."?
    and then it got weird.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonInNY View Post
    The Associated Press: SWAT team kills 2 dogs in raid on Md. mayor's home

    BERWYN HEIGHTS, Md. ... a 32-pound package of marijuana into his home that had been delivered by officers posing as delivery men...
    "Delivered by officers posing as delivery men". The right defense attorney would have fun with that one.

    You've several people living in a house, is anyone going to be more than mildly curious about a package showing up for someone else? Whenever a package shows up for someone else, we should leave it out on the lawn until that person shows up? We should sit on the lawn and open other people's mail to make sure it isn't drugs or other contraband? (Wouldn't opening someone else's mail be against the law?)

  8. #23
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    Besides all the idiocy and quite frankly total NEGLIGENCE going on in this story I find this part rather interesting too even though it didn't get much cover time:

    The mayor told reporters later that the sheriff's department didn't know he was the mayor of his town, that they also didn't have his name, which was different from his wife's name, and had not coordinated their operation with the local police department.
    So not only did they foul up royally, but they were messing around in someone elses playpen without so much as a wink and a nod? Come on ...how long have these fools been working?
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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  9. #24
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    sounds like its time for some folks (like the police chief and some SWAT guys) to lose their jobs.
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  10. #25
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    WOW! This hits close to home for me. I grew up in Berwyn Heights, and was recently back for a visit. It's been described as "Mayberry inside the beltway", a small suburb of Washington DC that has been largely isolated from rest of the DC suburbs. A great place to grow up. Sounds like a royal screw-up by the PG county cops. It's another sad example of what is wrong with the "war on drugs". It's a shame that some will see this as a reflection on all LEO's.

    Ron

  11. #26
    Member Array jfrommbg's Avatar
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    Although as a dog owner I feel bad for the dogs, I am thankful nobody in that house was killed. This is PG county in Maryland were crime is rampant and home invasions are not unheard of. Personally, as a law abiding citizen if a bunch of people busted through my door unannounced and killed my dogs I would immediately assume they were the bad guys. If this mayor was a gun owner and the police did not clearly identify themselves it could have been a bloodbath on both sides. Thankfully there was no human loss of life in this major snafu.

  12. #27
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    Let me explain a few things here so members can better understand the scenario, but before I do that I have to say this;

    I'm not defending any side here, I'm just giving the cliff's notes version of how these things work directly from a guy who has done this exact sort of thing at least a hundred times. Take it or leave it, it is what it is.
    None of us were there, there is a lot of stuff that goes on in these type of investigations that will never make it to public knowledge... I'll just leave it at that.


    Drug dealers shipping like this is a very common thing. I won't go into get detail how its done for obvious reasons, but a reasonable smart person can figure out the basics of how they work it.

    What happened here is whats called a "controlled delivery" Officers have already intercepted the package, and make the delivery as its intended to give the appearance that everything is normal. They keep track of the package at all times, and see who is the end user. Then that person is arrested, and on up the chain we go.
    So, I have to ask this; How was the narcotics team to know that the mayor wasn't in fact the intended target?

    A warrant would be needed for the package, but not the home it was taken into, provided the police had the package the entire time in their control. So, this has nothing to do with the precious no knock warrant debate that is never really a debatable topic anyway.

    Of course the homeowners are going to say the dogs were shot in cold blood etc., what do you expect? Who knows if they were or not, none of us were there.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillep Harding View Post
    "Delivered by officers posing as delivery men". The right defense attorney would have fun with that one.

    You've several people living in a house, is anyone going to be more than mildly curious about a package showing up for someone else?
    This was a local story for me, and the package wasn't addressed to "someone else" according to the local news. It was addressed to the Mayor's wife.
    Rick

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  14. #29
    Member Array spooter66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Drug dealers shipping like this is a very common thing. I won't go into get detail how its done for obvious reasons, but a reasonable smart person can figure out the basics of how they work it.

    What happened here is whats called a "controlled delivery" Officers have already intercepted the package, and make the delivery as its intended to give the appearance that everything is normal. They keep track of the package at all times, and see who is the end user. Then that person is arrested, and on up the chain we go.
    So, I have to ask this; How was the narcotics team to know that the mayor wasn't in fact the intended target?

    A warrant would be needed for the package, but not the home it was taken into, provided the police had the package the entire time in their control. So, this has nothing to do with the precious no knock warrant debate that is never really a debatable topic anyway.

    Of course the homeowners are going to say the dogs were shot in cold blood etc., what do you expect? Who knows if they were or not, none of us were there.
    I understand that if they had a warrant for the package they had the authority to follow that package wherever it went, including the mayors house.

    However, the practice of sending a package of drugs to a random address and intercepting that package before the homeowner gets it is very old and common (this coming from 2 Pa state troopers in my neighborhood). I am not a LEO but anyone that reads a paper or watches the news knows this and it is getting more and more common. Knowing this, I don't think it would be unreasonable to assume that the homeowners knew nothing of the contents and I don't think it would be too far of a stretch for the LEOs to know this also. Given that this was the mid to upper income suburbs (Mayberry like) and the quantity of weed (32lbs - DAMN!!) it should have caused at least a few of the LEOs to say "WHAT THE HELL". If anything, it should have caused them to research the address a little further. They also did not coordinate or at least inform the other LEO agencies covering that area of their operations. If they had, the other agencies may have said something like "Do you realize that's the mayors house?".

    What it comes down to is the officer in charge of this little operation screwed up, did not do their homework, and was over zealous.

    As for the officers that made the initial entry, I can see them cuffing everybody at the scene until everything is sorted out and don't have a problem with that. I can also see an officer shooting a dog if it is acting in a threatening manner when they make entry. These dogs were not. There were witnesses in this case - the family who was wrongfully raided.

    Plain and simple, the Leo's screwed up and will most likely end up paying with big lawsuits. I am not LEO bashing, most of the time they do a great job and I have a lot of respect for them. After talking with 2 PSP friends who have been following this case, even they say they screwed up. It will be interesting to follow this one and see the outcome.

  15. #30
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Have a package delivered to your home ... get a SWAT team response, even if you're the mayor. SWAT???
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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