Drugs Winning the War on Drugs
posted by April 9 at 12:10 PMon
This is terrible…
Family members of a man fatally shot during a no-knock raid last week say he was schizophrenic, so reclusive and paranoid that he rarely spoke to other people and couldn’t have dealt drugs as police suggest.
Nathan Aguillard, a Hurricane Katrina refugee, was shot by Denver police Officers Ronald Fox and Thomas Mc Kibben on Friday morning when they broke through his apartment door at 4754 Peoria St. with a warrant to search for drugs.
Police say Aguillard confronted the SWAT officers with a gun and was shot to death. They say they found guns and drugs in the apartment. The two SWAT team officers each have 21 years of experience.
The warrant signed in support of the no-knock search was not available at the courthouse Tuesday, nor was a listing of items found in Aguillard’s apartment.
Denver attorney Craig Skinner said the Aguillard family has hired him to review the Police Department’s actions in the shooting. “We’re going to try and find out if the police did anything inappropriate,” Skinner said Tuesday. “I do see several red flags. It does seem curious (police) haven’t been more open about this shooting and the warrant.”
Whenever I post these Winning the War on Drugs pieces, there are mixed reactions of rage at the officers, rage at the drugs, and rage at me. The theme in most of the posts Ė that someone was shot and killed in a drug raid Ė is enraging. But I keep posting them to pose a question.
The question isnít whether or not cops should shoot people who pull a gun on them. They must. The question also isnít whether armed raids are ever appropriate. Sometimes they are. And itís not whether drugs or guns should be outlawed. Thatís a bigger ball of wax. It is this: Is raiding a private residence with guns drawn an acceptable way to enforce suspected nonviolent drug-law violations?
During no-knock drug raids, innocent bystanders are shot and killed, like this one-year-old baby and his mom; cops are killed, like this officer raiding a house for marijuana that turned out to be maple trees; and other times, as in this story, a suspect who could have been apprehended without gunfire is left dead.
Some might say that this armed raid was justified because Aguillard allegedly pulled a gun. But he pulled his gun because armed strangers were breaking down his door. Law-abiding people would do that, too. Each year police arrest hundreds of thousands of people—suspected of nonviolent and violent crimes—without resorting to armed raids. On the street, in cars, at the suspect’s place of employment, etc.
But emphasizing COPS-style raids for nonviolent drug offenses is theatrics, with deadly consequences. And police are in denial about the risk involved—like when officers in Florida last week brought their kids to see the show.
Two SWAT officers are being counseled after bringing their young children along with them on a drug raid.
The Orange County SWAT team searched a house on Napoleon Street Friday, arresting three people and recovering guns and drugs.
The two officers who brought their children on the raid will not be disciplined.
We need to wake up and smell the blood. Drug treatment reduces drug abuse. Even arrests followed by mandatory treatment is fairly effective. But no-knock drug raids are anything but winning the war on drugs.