Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Suit against SWAT team dismissed

Well, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Howard County Government and three SWAT team officers over a 2008 botched raid and dog shooting.

I am displeased that the suit was dismissed on the grounds that there is a discrepancy between which specific officers that the cops say shot the dog and/or roughed up the home's occupants as opposed to who the victims say shot the dog and/or roughed up the occupants. If the judge would have found that the police did nothing wrong and/or that their actions were warranted, I would be fine with that. But that is not what happened:

U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis dismissed the suit with prejudice — meaning it cannot be refiled — after county attorneys argued that the members of the SWAT team had probable cause to search the home and that the officer accused of excessive force couldn’t have committed the acts because he wasn't there at the time.

This is a case in which justice has not been done.

Stepping back from all the violence that may or may not have occurred during this raid and the emotions raised over the shooting of a family pet, the raid was over marijuana. A small amount of marijuana and a pipe was all that this raid yielded in terms of evidence of wrongdoing against any of the home's occupants. A commenter on the Explore Howard article raised an excellent point in asking what probable cause was presented to the judge who signed the no-knock warrant, because it is unlikely such a warrant would be signed over a dime bag. This seems to point to the possibility of shoddy police work.

I wish I could say I am surprised by the way this all turned out, but I am not. My opinion of the Howard County Government and the Howard County Police Department in particular is already so low, that I almost expect this sort of thing.

There is still one more lawsuit to go. The Elkridge botched raid and dog shooting is next on the docket. I am hoping for justice to be done at least in that case, but we'll see.