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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Submachine Guns Drawn, Seattle Police Break Down Door of Medical Marijuana Patient, Push Him to the Floor, and Raid His Home—for Two Tiny Pot Plants

Posted by on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Posted last night and moved up. More details coming later today.

The Seattle Police Department and the mayor's office have repeatedly insisted that marijuana possession, per city law, is the lowest law enforcement priority. They also adhere, they say, to a state law that makes it legal for authorized patients to use and grow marijuana.

But last night provided evidence that Seattle police are willing to invest tremendous resources in the smallest of pot cases—even cases where the pot is legal—and the mayor’s office will remain silent.

Just before 9:00 p.m., officers at SPD’s East Precinct held a briefing about the complaint of marijuana at a four-unit apartment building in the Leschi neighborhood. One week earlier, officers applied for a search warrant from King County Superior Court, sent an officer with a K9 to sniff at the door, confirmed the scent of marijuana, and were in the process last night of planning a raid. “Once the briefing was completed, officers donned their raid equipment clearly marked ‘Police’ on all sides,” according to a draft incident report filed by police.

A cadre of between six and nine officers ran up the stairs; some carried MP5 submachine guns, others held pistols, and at least one held the battering ram. They pounded on the apartment door and said it was the police.

“I was tying my robe,” says resident Will Laudanski, 50, who had just stepped out of the bathroom. “I said, ‘I am opening the door,’ but before I could get my hand to door, they busted it open and then rushed me. I was trying to comply. Then they pushed me down to the ground and just basically got me positioned in a corner of the kitchen with my face on the floor.”

A veteran Airborne Ranger who served in Desert Shield and was disabled from his service, Laudanski told The Stranger his door now “has cracks running right down the middle. I can’t really bolt it.”

“During the entry to this apartment, the locking mechanism to the front door was possibly damaged,” the official report says.

Officers began to search the apartment. Face down on the floor, Laudanski told police that he was an authorized medical marijuana patient, complying with a 1998 state law that allows people with certain medical conditions to possess and cultivate marijuana with a physician’s authorization. Laudanski directed officers to his physician's authorization in the other room. “Do you want to see it?” he told the officers. The Department of Health decided recently that a patient could grow up to 15 plants.

He “had paperwork in this room declaring his marijuana grow was for medical purposes,” police acknowledge in the report. Then in the bedroom, “officers observed two marijuana plants that were each growing in pots.”

“They were able to see the full extent of my pathetic grow,” Laudanski continues. “There were four little nuggets of bud the size of your pinkie on one and five on the other. They’re about 12 inches high.”

The police department's response after the jump.

Police didn’t take the pot plants.

“Clearly, in this case, there was no law violation that was discovered,” says Seattle Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

Laudanski uses medical marijuana to treat intractable pain resulting from being hit by a car in 2005 while walking down East Pine Street in front of Hot Mama’s Pizza. The car slammed him into a tree, he recounts, suffering damage to his shoulder, knees, and worst of all, his head—which resulted in severe migraines. “They started coming every day. The severe ones can last three days. I can’t eat. I vomit to the point of puking up blood. And several times I’ve been taken to hospital.” Standard pharmaceuticals don’t work, cost $100 a pill, or are “antipsychotics that leave you there drooling,” he says. But at a doctor’s suggestion, he says he started smoking marijuana occasionally. “I was able to drop the migraines down to one or two a month” and sometimes marijuana “can stop a migraine in its tracks with no side effects.”

But Whitcomb says, “Our mission is to enforce the law. We do that by gathering information of any evidence of any criminal violation. And I’d go on to say that had the officers known that, they would have spent their time doing something else. However, unfortunately, we don’t always have that luxury.”

Officers also ransacked the apartment, Laudanski says. "They tore up my place." Boxes from moving in about a month ago and other possessions were strewn across the floor by police. "They basically opened everything up and tossed everything out," he explains. "It’s hard to walk around my place right now."

Why didn’t police simply knock on the door and talk to him, instead of wearing raid gear, bearing pistols and submachine guns, and breaking the door with a battering ram? So-called knock-and-talks aren’t the protocol for drug cases—even small pot cases—Whitcomb explains. He adds there was a neighborhood complaint. But neither the police nor the King County Superior Court that issued the warrant could provide a copy of the affidavit by police used to get the warrant—which would provide the basis of probable cause.

Laudanski says he’s done nothing to draw the attention of law enforcement. And he’s puzzled why police used so much force.

“I came from a perspective that was pro-police,” says Laudanski, citing his work with the military and past service in New York as a paramedic. “But I still think this was very, very wrong what they did. I feel that higher-up people who ordered this, they are wasting our time and our money and they are putting innocent people in danger.”

The mayor's office has declined to comment.

 

Comments (87) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
In semi related news, SPD had guns drawn just now near Pike Market, on a guy who may have shot someone else in the head.
Posted by Peter F on October 26, 2010 at 5:10 PM · Report this
2
Heeeyyy, you don't mess with the Gestapo!

In Corporate Fascist America, if you question a senator (such as John Kerry) you get tased.

In Corporate Fascist America, if you question a senatorial candidate in Alaska, you get arrested.

In Corporate Fascist America, if you belong to Move On and you're a woman, you get shoved to the ground, kicked in the head and some candy-assed punk puts his foot on your head.

In Corporate Fascist America, (read the above...)
Posted by sgt_doom on October 26, 2010 at 5:21 PM · Report this
3
Unbelievable. This kind of shit never stops coming.
Posted by Blech on October 26, 2010 at 5:21 PM · Report this
7
Sounds like the SPD overreacted big time, but I'm going to play devil's advocate, just cause I like people yelling at me.

Here's something I'm sure Mr. Laundanski knows from his time in the Army, and I'm sure is taught to police officers as well: If you're not sure if the area is hostile, it's hostile. If the area might be hostile, it's hostile. You always proceed as if there are armed men behind every door.

Why? Simple: Self Preservation. I can't tell you how many doors me and my guys kicked in in Afghanistan. Hundreds. You know how many of them had armed insurgents in them? One, and not for long. Most of the time, the houses were empty, or filled with cowering families, and all we did was break some poor Hadji's door.

Now, obviously there's a difference between a foreign battlefield and a police action, but the principal is the same. The cops had no way of knowing what was behind that door, and if guaranteeing their safety required them to break it in and floor the poor Mr. Laudanski, well, that's that.

Could they have handled it better? Probably. I'm a soldier, not a cop, so I don't know much about due process and the legal requirements of forced entry and whatnot. But I can at least understand why they did it they way they did.
Posted by jj41243 on October 26, 2010 at 5:47 PM · Report this
8
More on the shooting downtown about an hour ago:

http://www.king5.com/news/local/Shooting…
Posted by Peter F on October 26, 2010 at 5:48 PM · Report this
TVDinner 9
Do you have to file a fucking initiative to get the police to follow reasonable tactics, too?
Posted by TVDinner http:// on October 26, 2010 at 5:55 PM · Report this
seandr 10
Thank God no persons (or animals) were seriously injured or killed in this misguided raid. (If the guy had a dog, the police would likely have shot it.)

Legalize it already!
Posted by seandr on October 26, 2010 at 5:59 PM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 11
@6 Mike wrote, "Isn't there some sort of medical marijuana registry that the SPD could have cross-checked to see if the victim was authorized to possess the stuff?"

No, there is no medical marijuana patient registry in Washington State. In order to qualify for the affirmative defense allowed by RCW 69.51A (the Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana Act), patients must present their doctor's recommendation when a police officer questions them about their medicine.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 26, 2010 at 6:07 PM · Report this
12
At least in 2010 instead of even
ten years ago they did not take the plants,I know it was real dumb of the police to do a small scale raid because its a major waste of your tax dollars.
Posted by Toronado on October 26, 2010 at 6:11 PM · Report this
13
Vote no on Prop 1!
Posted by giffy on October 26, 2010 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 14
@7 41243 wrote:
If you're not sure if the area is hostile, it's hostile. If the area might be hostile, it's hostile. You always proceed as if there are armed men behind every door.

[...]

Now, obviously there's a difference between a foreign battlefield and a police action, but the principal is the same. The cops had no way of knowing what was behind that door, and if guaranteeing their safety required them to break it in and floor the poor Mr. Laudanski, well, that's that.

Could they have handled it better? Probably. I'm a soldier, not a cop, so I don't know much about due process and the legal requirements of forced entry and whatnot. But I can at least understand why they did it they way they did.


JJ, would you find our police to be similarly-justified in using a battering ram to enter a home in riot gear upon receiving neighborhood complaint about sine other minor offense? Say, for instance a higher-priority one like a noise ordinance violation? In such a situation, the police would have no way of knowing what is behind the door.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 26, 2010 at 6:14 PM · Report this
15
So a police dog smells marijuana through the door. That suggests possession. Isn't that supposed to be the lowest priority? As I recall, Initiative 75 became law in 2003.
Posted by poltergeist on October 26, 2010 at 6:19 PM · Report this
16
@7 Or they just ignore the smell of marijuana and go on their merry way.
Posted by giffy on October 26, 2010 at 6:21 PM · Report this
18
@14 Like I said, I'm a soldier, not a police officer. I don't know their protocols for handling different situations. But you're right, I doubt they'd bust in the door for a noise complaint or college party.

But if I had to guess, I'd say that there was a report of drugs, and the cops probably have an automatic protocol to handle all drug cases as if they had the potential for violence. If there's half as much bureacracy and paperwork in the cops as there is in the military, there's probably thirty different memos, checklists, statutes, and whatnot to go through before executing a raid, and they all emphasize officer safety.

That's just a guess, though. For the record: I'm not defending the cops, just offering my thoughts on why they did it the way they did.
Posted by jj41243 on October 26, 2010 at 6:27 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 19
So they were responding to a complaint? Was a neighbor enough of a dick to rat out a disabled veteran?
Posted by keshmeshi on October 26, 2010 at 6:27 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 20
@15 sounds about right to me. Remind me again what happens when the police break the law?
Posted by Westlake, son! on October 26, 2010 at 6:30 PM · Report this
OuterCow 21
Lowest priority my fucking ass. So there were no other neighborhood complaints for any higher priority "crimes" that these guys could have been following up on anywhere else in their precinct? If the city attorney has stated they don't have the time to prosecute people solely for pot and won't, then why are they going out of their way to arrest people for pot?

Please keep on the mayor's office until they cave and say something, Dominic.
Posted by OuterCow on October 26, 2010 at 6:32 PM · Report this
22
I agree with @18 that there is, sadly, a reason for the protocol. The point is really that they should have walked away from this. As defined in the law it's a waste of resources. The police take a big chance in a case like this: another innocent person could have been killed.
Posted by poltergeist on October 26, 2010 at 6:34 PM · Report this
monkey 23
So when this happens does the city compensate for damages or is it just a, "oops, I guess you're not a criminal" and his busted door is his problem?
Posted by monkey on October 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 25
@18 jj41243 wrote:
@14 Like I said, I'm a soldier, not a police officer. I don't know their protocols for handling different situations. But you're right, I doubt they'd bust in the door for a noise complaint or college party.

But if I had to guess, I'd say that there was a report of drugs, and the cops probably have an automatic protocol to handle all drug cases as if they had the potential for violence.


Are you suggesting that any time our police arrive at someone's door to investigate the report of a crime for which there is potential for violence, even a minor one that happens to be their lowest enforcement priority, they are likely to bust in the door with a battering ram? If so, do you think this is an appropriate policy?

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 26, 2010 at 6:44 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 26
Fire Fucking Diaz and all police leaders responsible for this. I advise this crime victim to lawyer up and sue the shit out of the SPD.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on October 26, 2010 at 6:45 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 28
Also: possessing by law is less of a crime than jaywalking. If Diaz cannot control his force to obey even laws he may disagree with, he is unfit to be in any form of civil leadership position. McGinn needs to take control of the force--between this and the Williams shooting, things are getting out of control.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on October 26, 2010 at 6:54 PM · Report this
29
@25 Once again, not a cop. And @27 is right, any situation has a potential for violence.

But if you want me to guess again, I'd say there's probably some statute that makes drug raids automatically qualify for SWAT style tactics - submachine guns, rams, etc - because drug dealers are often equated - however nebulously - with gang members.

I'm too lazy to look it up, but I'd guess something else: Sometime in the past (I want to say the 80's, everything was bad in the 80's), a cop was investigating a claim of drug use, knocked on the door, and took a couple slugs to the chest. There was an uproar in the press, and now every drug investigation is treated as potentially violent. Or something like that, because that's how things tend to work.

And as for my opinion: I think it's a difficult problem with no clear solution. You claim - judging by your name - that legalizing Marijuana would solve these problems. I don't know if that's true. Maybe it would. Maybe it wouldn't. I think it's too complex of a problem to be solved by any one solution.

And if you want my real personal opinion, you'd have to be pretty damned stupid to smoke Marijuana for any non-medical reason, anyway.
Posted by jj41243 on October 26, 2010 at 7:09 PM · Report this
30
jj41243

you'd have to be pretty damned stupid to make such a blanket statement, which is surprising considering how calm and well reasoned the rest of what you've had to say has been.

oh well.
Posted by olive on October 26, 2010 at 7:26 PM · Report this
31
I apologize if I offended you. I have a personal problem with Marijuana that I'll keep to myself, but suffice to say, I am anti-marijuana use. (Not only that, but the smell makes me sick). I should have been more tactful.

That being said, I do support legalization of Marijuana and any other drug that someone wants to use. I think that what someone puts into their body is their choice, and as long as no one else is being harmed, I think it's their right to do so.

I just don't think that alone would end drug related violence.
Posted by jj41243 on October 26, 2010 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 32
@29: JJ, you wrote, "I'd say that there was a report of drugs, and the cops probably have an automatic protocol to handle all drug cases as if they had the potential for violence." Presumably, you meant to imply that the relevant protocol is to bash in a citizen's door with a battering ram with submachine guns drawn, as our police did yesterday. You also wrote, "any situation has a potential for violence."

Do you think that every situation warrants the dangerous paramilitary action perpetrated yesterday by the Seattle Police at the home of medical marijuana patient Will Laudanski?

You wrote, "I'd say there's probably some statute that makes drug raids automatically qualify for SWAT style tactics - submachine guns, rams, etc - because drug dealers are often equated - however nebulously - with gang members." Have you read anything that leads you to believe our police had reason to suspect that Mr. Laudanski was a "drug dealer"?

You wrote, "I think it's a difficult problem with no clear solution. You claim - judging by your name - that legalizing Marijuana would solve these problems." My name is Phil. I'm one of 160+ dues paying members of the Cannabis Defense Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit member cooperative focused on cannabis activism in Washington State. We support prosecuted medical cannabis patients, defend and expand our state's medical cannabis law, promote cannabis education and awareness, and stand up for cannabis. To get a better idea of what we do, you can find an overview of our projects on our Web site at http://cdc.coop/projects.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 26, 2010 at 7:43 PM · Report this
zombie eyes 33
Are we sure the cops didn't speak with German accents, and were actually after a misplaced rug? Could this just be a case of the Big Laudanski?
Posted by zombie eyes on October 26, 2010 at 7:50 PM · Report this
34
This is another disturbing incident demonstrating poor judgement on the part of the Seattle Police. I really, really hope that Seattle is not a place that would condone this, especially after the voters and city council have given pretty clear guidance about exactly this kind of thing. Mayor McGinn, in which hole is your head buried?
Posted by poltergeist on October 26, 2010 at 8:08 PM · Report this
36
He needs to sue the fuck out of them. And not just to replace his front door.
Posted by idaho on October 26, 2010 at 8:31 PM · Report this
37
@32 Phil - You're awfully combative. I was offering my opinions, and aside from my personal views on Marijuana, I thought I did so with some tact and level headedness.

Not once did I ever say that what the police did was right or lawful, and I repeatedly told you that I am not a police officer and have no extensive knowledge of civilian law. Now, if you want to talk about military law as it relates to drug use, I'd be much more knowledgeable.

What I did do was offer my opinion on the police department's possible motives, which could very well be wrong. I was simply trying to present a possible counter argument to the one that the author of the article seemed to be presenting.

I believe every issue has two sides, and this one is no different. We heard from the medical marijuana patient. We hear much less from the police. That's their fault, of course, but does not mean they are in the wrong.

And I'll say this one more time, and I'll capitalize it in case you'd like to read it this time: I AM NOT SAYING THE POLICE WERE RIGHT TO DO WHAT THEY DID. I am merely saying that they weren't NECESSARILY in the wrong. We lack the knowledge to make that conclusion at this point. As more facts become available - this only occurred two days ago - I'd be more then willing to adjust my argument.

Your questions are loaded and misleading, and disclose your obvious agenda. While I've tried to maintain my neutrality, dispassion, and objectivity in this matter, you continue to press me as if I was ardently defending the methods and tactics of the SPD, which I have made clear I'm not. I find it to be bad form from someone who is, at least allegedly, part of an organization that has a noble goal.

Posted by jj41243 on October 26, 2010 at 8:33 PM · Report this
schmacky 38
I'll never vote for another tax increase that involves more funding for the authorities...they clearly need to learn how to prioritize...maybe restricting their funding will stimulate their creativity.
Posted by schmacky on October 26, 2010 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 39
JJ, I don't mean to be combative. I'm just trying to understand your opinions. I appreciate your willingness to say that all drug prohibition should end. I tend to agree.

You suggested that our police might have an "automatic protocol to handle all drug cases as if they had the potential for violence". You meant to refer to them busting in with battering rams and submachine guns, right? You also said that there's always a potential for violence. Those two statements suggest that our police would have a policy of always busting in with battering rams and submachine guns. But they very clearly do not, so I'm still left wondering why they would have taken this dangerous action yesterday.

Also, you implied that our police would have been acting as if Mr. Laundanski was a drug dealer. I'm curious if you've read something I haven't, suggesting that there was any indication of sales at his home, or if you expect our police to treat all cannabis users, even legally-authorized ones, as drug dealers.

Finally, I'm curious if you think -- given what Dominic reported here -- the police action yesterday was inappropriate. I do.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 26, 2010 at 8:47 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 40
Well, kudos to the SPD for not wasting the guy. I bet that kind of raid ends in death frequently.

It's preposterous that this raid was executed based on the smell of pot alone. Everyone smokes pot, but almost no one has a major grow operation in AN APARTMENT. Really, how high were the odds in favor of finding some startled dude with a bong playing Xbox versus a dangerous criminal? I'd give it 500 to 1.
Posted by Free Lunch on October 26, 2010 at 8:59 PM · Report this
41
Sad, poor guy. I hope we can legally clear up this sort of problem soon. Waste of time, money, PR and good citizenship.
Posted by wingedkat on October 26, 2010 at 9:24 PM · Report this
42
@39 Thank you for your well reasoned response.

I truly don't know what the police protocol is for anything; I was merely making a guess. I don't know why they did what they did.

But there are so many variables at work that we just don't know at this point. Maybe the police had bad intelligence - it happens all the time in the Army, I can assure you - or bad coordination.

The patrolmen, investigating the complaint, bring a K-9 unit. The dog simply smelled drugs - I don't think they can tell whether it was two plants or fifty. Officers filed the report.

SWAT - who I assume carried out the raid - gets a memo telling them to take this door and that an unknown number of drugs are involved. Going off that info, they enter as if it was a large scale operation with possible dangerous individuals involved, because they don't know if it is or not, and as I talked about earlier, safety of the officers is viewed as paramount.

All of that is a wild guess, but it's a possibility.

What I don't think is accurate is viewing Juan Diaz, sitting behind his desk, tenting his fingers and wondering how he could use up departmental resources to prosecute small scale medical marijuana growers/users tonight. Que evil laugh.

I guess my point is that while there certainly seems to be some monumental screw ups in the way the SPD did this, I don't attribute any malicious intent in it, at least with the information we have at hand.

Posted by jj41243 on October 26, 2010 at 9:27 PM · Report this
HOT PUSSY 43
Six or eight cops with guns & battering rams and shit doing the job one cop could've done with a knock on the door or a phone call. Save the death squad tactics for people with a rap sheet or weapons permits.
Posted by HOT PUSSY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4QKiYar9pI on October 26, 2010 at 9:31 PM · Report this
Rhett Oracle 44
Welcome to the decline of the Weimar Republic...and the beginning of jack-booted thugs stifling private behavior that harms no one. The war on drugs and the war on terror are questionable inventions surely guaranteed to harm more innocents rather than the fewer guilty. What is wrong with us? Stomping on a girl's head because she politically disagrees with you? Growing and smoking pot to assuage the pain from vomit-inducing chemo treatments? Bullying kids to suicide because what they do in their minds and their beds differs from what you do in your mind (as if you had one) and your bed?
Posted by Rhett Oracle on October 26, 2010 at 9:40 PM · Report this
PSTO 46
Hey - don't knock it. There could have been an unexpected run on Nacho Cheese Doritos and Ben and Jerry's AmeriCone Dream at the Capitol Hill QFC! SAVED!
Posted by PSTO http://pstransitoperators.wordpress.com on October 26, 2010 at 10:18 PM · Report this
CharlesYFarley 47
Shades of 1963. Next time, it'll be because he didn't cut his hair or was chewing gum in class. Now we know why they are called "pigs."
Posted by CharlesYFarley http://mcaf.ee/7ab9d on October 26, 2010 at 10:24 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 49
@48 although this raid was a week ago, maybe a similar raid happened today.

If the 6-9 officers involved were out enforcing higher priority crimes such as jaywalking, loitering, or simply maintaining a visible presence (walking the beat) they might have succeeded in preventing a murder today.
Posted by Westlake, son! on October 26, 2010 at 11:33 PM · Report this
50
@49, the SPD aren't omniscient superheroes.

They were on the scene today immediately, and managed to detain and arrest the alleged shooter (right in front of my wife) within minutes of the murder. I thought that was pretty impressive.
Posted by Peter F on October 27, 2010 at 12:51 AM · Report this
watchout5 52
However, if you would have used billions of dollars worth of wealth to crash entire economies and kill millions of people you get to retire wealthy. Funny how police works these days...
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on October 27, 2010 at 5:31 AM · Report this
53
@7
Here's a question for you (and I'm not yelling at you, don't get your hopes up) how many members of those cowering families, after seeing US military kick in their door and terrorize their families, decided to become armed militants out of a well founded sense of self preservation and justice?

Here's another question for you. How many doors in Seattle hide armed insurgents (AK47's, grenades, etc) on average? I hardly think military style tactics, designed for combating armed militants, are really appropriate in 99.9999999% of cases in US law enforcement and it's not justified to use those tactics 100% of the time to protect yourself from the .000000001% of the time that it's needed.
Posted by Root on October 27, 2010 at 6:58 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 54
Dom, please don't let this fall off the home page until McGinn takes some action. This was a pure home invasion.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on October 27, 2010 at 7:42 AM · Report this
Vince 55
The courts should have tossed out drug laws a long time ago.
Posted by Vince on October 27, 2010 at 7:53 AM · Report this
57
Something that seriously sucks is if a medical marijuana patient has his house raided and found to have the proper documentation, there is still a story about the person's private health issues. YES, this raid in and of itself SUCKS and people should know that it happened. But at the same time, all these stories include private details about health, and I think that it sucks that in order to have some kind of public legitimacy, stories like these always have the reason for the pot authorization and a detailed history. It's as if just saying "he had appropriate documentation: an authorization from his doctor to have medical marijuana" isn't enough and the reason for the authorization gets held to public scrutiny. I just wonder what's going to happen when police raid someone who's not a veteran, or not an accident survivor, or someone who doesn't want their health details going public. I just know that if I was raided, and I had crohn's disease or something, I shouldn't have to explain that to the public.
Posted by My Great-Great Grandmother was a Cherokee Princess on October 27, 2010 at 8:46 AM · Report this
Dee 58
@7 - Friggin' soldiers. I suspect you'd feel differently if some foreigner with a gun kicked your mother's door in.
Posted by Dee on October 27, 2010 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 59
@57 actually, an additional question: who disclosed his medical status? If it was anyone but the patient, i.e. the police, is that legal?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on October 27, 2010 at 9:02 AM · Report this
60
Don't cops need a warrant to go inside someone's house? Or at least probable cause? Does a drug sniffing dog and a neighbor complaint count as probable cause? What happens when the dog smells another dog on the premises, or smells dog food, does it react differently? Too many questions.
Posted by eys on October 27, 2010 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 61
Washington Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells will soon introduce legislation to provide protection from arrest for medical marijuana patients. We're hosting a public forum with her tomorrow evening at the Seattle Cannabis Resource Center from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Please e-mail us at info@cd…
with related questions.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 27, 2010 at 9:35 AM · Report this
62
What is the cost of a raid like this? Thousands, ten thousand dollars? As a symbolic gesture/apology to the citizens of this city the Mayor should transfer whatever the amount back to the Parks budget and deduct it from SPD's.

Cannabis is non-violent, the police and Mayor know this so why so much force? If this was a domestic violence complaint (and they didn't here any screams coming from the other side of the door) the police would knock on the door and talk to someone. So non-violent equals a more force, I don't get it.

End Prohibition NOW
Posted by tiki-t on October 27, 2010 at 9:51 AM · Report this
63
What is the cost of a raid like this? Thousands, ten thousand dollars? As a symbolic gesture/apology to the citizens of this city the Mayor should transfer whatever the amount back to the Parks budget and deduct it from SPD's.

Cannabis is non-violent, the police and Mayor know this so why so much force? If this was a domestic violence complaint (and they didn't here any screams coming from the other side of the door) the police would knock on the door and talk to someone. So non-violent equals more force, I don't get it.

End Prohibition NOW!
Posted by tiki-t on October 27, 2010 at 9:54 AM · Report this
64
opps...
Posted by tiki-t on October 27, 2010 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Mike 65
Phil, you're not being combative, you're being extraordinarily patient. That jj41243 guy destroyed all of his credibility once he advanced a military explanation for a police situation. People who think soldiers are the same as cops are the kind of people who handed us Abu Ghraib. Since every situation a cop enters is potentially hostile, jj41243's reasoning would have the cops enter every situation with weapons drawn and riot gear on. Ignore him; he doesn't have the grace to admit when he's wrong.

Posted by Mike on October 27, 2010 at 10:22 AM · Report this
66
Ha. I knew I could get people to yell if I waited long enough.

You people bitch more then the men I killed.
Posted by jj41243 on October 27, 2010 at 10:33 AM · Report this
aardvark 67
sick. sick sick sick. there's your freedum
Posted by aardvark on October 27, 2010 at 10:39 AM · Report this
68
Hey remember when The Stranger gave the endorsement to this mayor, splashing his face and VOTE MCGINN around the city?

lolz. don't ever do that again. makes ya look real stupid when your guy gets in to office and starts betraying all the reasons you handed your paper to him (and your brown nose, Dominic!)

http://www.thestranger.com/binary/6a75/c…
Posted by Taller Than You on October 27, 2010 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Gobo 70
Phil, JJ... mostly great conversation.

I'm neither a cop or a military guy. I would vote for legalization. I don't know if that would solve all the problems. Might, but we'd probably just have different problems.

I think it's reasonable to believe that a threat of deadly force exists when dealing with drug cases. I think the police could've done a little investigative homework. They could've found out there was a 50 year old vet living there (alone?). They could've found out that there aren't a lot of possibly questionable people going in/out of his place all the time. Yes, that would've required some resources to do, but probably would've had a much better outcome.

Of course, I'm going on the assumption that the city would've spent the money regardless despite the "lowest priority" nature of the "crime".
Posted by Gobo on October 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 71
They are ramping these up to try to justify their excessive budget and excessive overtime.

They want us to live in Fear.

Fear shuts down the rational mind and leads to paranoia.

Expect more of these after CA passes MJ legalization to try to make us scared of it.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on October 27, 2010 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 72
@66: JJ: I don't see anyone yelling. You're clearly trolling now, so it's probably best that the rest of us ignore you. Thanks for your earlier input. Your dismissive attitude toward our constitutional protections is disturbing.

@65: Mike: Militarization of our "peace officers" is disturbing, for sure. People coming home from their jobs as soldiers or mercenaries in an occupied nation where they were encouraged to bust in doors and treat every civilian as a potential enemy, then becoming police officers acting as "soldiers in the war on drugs" is a frightening proposition. Throw in the PTSD that is now rampant in the American military, and we have real danger to the public.

@63: Determining and publicizing the cost of Monday's SPD raid on Will Laudanski's home is a project CDC members would likely be interested in taking on. If someone can suggest how to calculate that number, we're all ears.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 27, 2010 at 11:07 AM · Report this
73
I'd really like to see a new law that states that the shits that lodge complaints like the one allegedly at the root of this case have to have their names made a public record. Might just encourage just a little those who have a pathological inability to mind their own business to reign in the impulse to not mind their own business.
Posted by Rhizome on October 27, 2010 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Mittens Schrodinger 74
Jeez Phil and Mike...lay off JJ a little. He was just calmly and patiently trying to offer an opinion, not a justification, despite your many baiting attempts to try and get him to say the officers were justified. He didn't. He kept trying to make the point, that you, Phil, kept ignoring, that he didn't know proper procedure for SPD, but his closest ability to relate was through military experience and conducting a raid. He offered a suggestion, not an excuse, justification, or opinion. He didn't suggest that cops "should" enter every situation with riot gear on, or advance a desire for militarizing the cops as Mike suggested, just a possible explanation of the thinking behind why they did what they did in this circumstance. I'm as pro-legalization and anti-police violence as the next super-liberal Seattle-ite, but you guys embarrass me for being unnecessarily combative to a potential political ally in the fight to decriminalize marijuana...way to go. Jerks.
And thanks, JJ, for being so even-tempered and precise in your responses (despite that last one!).
Posted by Mittens Schrodinger on October 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM · Report this
75
In attempting to find out the authorizing officer's name, I called the Narcotics Unit (684-5797) and was put nicely into a catch-22 of "no case number or address, I can't transfer you." Whaddya wanna bet there is no case number, since no crime was committed? Call Mayor McGinn's office and demand to know what he's doing about this. 684-4000.
Posted by mistamatic on October 27, 2010 at 11:38 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 76
@73 that will work great until someone gets shot for tipping off the cops. How about the police just obey the law and not conduct home invasions that by law are a lower priority over every other law in our entire municipal code?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on October 27, 2010 at 11:43 AM · Report this
77
By treating every interaction with the public like an act of war, the police create a war with the public. By assuming the public is going to start a battle, the police start a battle. They come in ready to win and hardly ever suffer any casualties. Family dogs, children, random bystanders, people who believe they are getting robbed... They die. Our society suffers. Law enforcement needs to remember that they serve us, and that it is supposed to be a dangerous job. I respect a polite cop who puts their life on the line. I don't respect an occupation force. The police are acting like an occupation force, they shouldn't be surprised they're losing the respect of the public.
Posted by dwight moody on October 27, 2010 at 11:48 AM · Report this
78
I would neveer knock-and-talk a suspected grow house. How can the police know what he has until they go in? And when they go in, they have to assume the worst. The onlu solution here is complete legalization.
Posted by thursdaydynamo on October 27, 2010 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 79
@78 a solution already exists under the law, but the police did not follow it. Any other open crime in the city of Seattle, even a hypothetical "cold case" from 1960, is a higher priority than any current marijuana enforcement.

“SMC 12A.20.060 Enforcement Priority – Marijuana”

"The Seattle Police Department and City Attorney's Office shall make the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses, where the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the City's lowest law enforcement priority."


The law is not negotiable. The police didn't follow the law by conducting the home invasion (which is what this should be exclusively referred to).
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on October 27, 2010 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Cannabis Defense Coalition 80
@74: Mittens wrote, "lay off JJ a little. He was just calmly and patiently trying to offer an opinion, not a justification"

JJ wrote:

I'm sure is taught to police officers as well: If you're not sure if the area is hostile, it's hostile. If the area might be hostile, it's hostile. You always proceed as if there are armed men behind every door.


I can't tell you how many doors me and my guys kicked in in Afghanistan. Hundreds. You know how many of them had armed insurgents in them? One, and not for long. Now, obviously there's a difference between a foreign battlefield and a police action, but the principal is the same. The cops had no way of knowing what was behind that door, and if guaranteeing their safety required them to break it in and floor the poor Mr. Laudanski, well, that's that.


I can at least understand why they did it they way they did.


But if I had to guess, I'd say that there was a report of drugs, and the cops probably have an automatic protocol to handle all drug cases as if they had the potential for violence.


any situation has a potential for violence.


Perhaps I misunderstood JJ's comparison. I believe that guessing why our police did to what they did to Mr. Laudanski based on what our military does to civilians in Afghanistan suggests that one believes they should act similarly. Doing so without an expression of disapproval of those similarities suggests approval of them.

If our police regularly bust into people's homes the way JJ says he and his coworkers did hundreds of times in Afghanistan, we have a problem. The principle is not the same.

If people think the way our military breaks into the homes "filled with cowering families" should have any bearing on how our police investigate allegations of growing forbidden plants (which are allowed in certain circumstances here and 13 other states), we have a problem.

-- 
Phil, CDC member
More...
Posted by Cannabis Defense Coalition http://www.cdc.coop/projects on October 27, 2010 at 12:11 PM · Report this
81
@77 Thank you for pointing out that police work is inherently dangerous. Yet we hear all the time that under no circumstances is an officer to subject himself to even the most mild of risk. A Seattle cop shot John T. Williams dead rather than risk getting too close to an elderly, probably drunk homeless man who happened to be holding a knife. There's a derrogatory word for that kind of cowardice, and it probably would not play well on Slog.
Posted by Cork on October 27, 2010 at 12:21 PM · Report this
82
didn't we vote to make pot the LOWEST FUCKING LAW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY? I mean, we passed a LAW directing the police force to that end.

Traffic tickets should be a higher priority than this.

I don't even smoke pot at ALL and I think this is retarded.
Posted by sonder on October 27, 2010 at 12:28 PM · Report this
83
#81 STFU - that drunk was nothing but a useless stain on the city streets and we are well rid of him. Quit fucking making him out to be some kind of bum messiah.

Also, didn't we pass a freaking LAW a few years ago making marijuana the LOWEST PRIORITY for law enforcement in the city? The city attorney and the chief of police don't seem to be listening to us.
Posted by sonder on October 27, 2010 at 12:30 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 84
Phil, I think JJ's whole point was just to point out that there are many ways of looking at the incident, and while most of us Sloggers are sane(ish), like-minded folks, we DO tend to get a bit reactionary when it comes to Police-Anything, when so often these incidents are so ambiguously detailed that it's impossible to tell what really happened.
I agree with you, my knee-jerk reaction is a little bit of "fuck tha police" to be sure, but JJ brings up some salient talking points, especially about how perhaps officer training and protocols are at the roots of such problems.
Posted by More, I Say! on October 27, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 85
@83, I wanted to be eloquent about it, but I can't think of anything better to say than FUCK YOU! No one is making John T out to be any kind of messiah, but that doesn't change the fact that he was a human being who's life was cut short for no reason. I'm certain no one else here appreciates your appraisal of the value of a human life, regardless of whether it's a homeless or drunk life. You are a fucking prick. You are a useless stain on my morning slogging, and I hate you.
Posted by More, I Say! on October 27, 2010 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Mittens Schrodinger 86
Sorry Phil, but I disagree. Admitting that you understand why someone did something the way they did without expressing disapproval is not the same as approval. It is a statement of UNDERSTANDING and is void of value judgment.

And I also disagree with your differentiation of military action in a house raid vs. police action in a house raid. The principle actually IS the same. The raiding party, in each case, has the same set of assumptions and therefore safety protocols in place: assume hostility and violence until proven otherwise, hence entering with force and subduing any possible threats.

Whether or not that is justified in a police raid is a completely different thing (as JJ points out, a military action and a police action are different things), and whether or not a police raid is justified or appropriate in drug cases, again, is absolutely debatable.

JJ points out that the police probably have a protocol in place for handling suspected drug-house cases. Again, no value judgment about whether that is right or wrong, just acknowledging that the police force most likely has a policy in place for how to handle that situation. The police operate under the protocol of minimizing risk to officers, which elevates risk to civilians. Perhaps that protocol should be changed to minimize risk to civilians, but that increases risk to officers (specific to the whole police raid scenario, anyway). Who should bear the brunt of the risk in those encounters is something worth having a lively debate about also.

I agree with JJ in that they probably have a protocol in place for handling a suspected large-scale grow house, which most likely involves a police raid. I also believe that police raids are conducted with the possibility of armed defendants inside and is conducted in a manner that minimizes risk to the officers (i.e. guns drawn and quickly physically subduing any occupants). In that sense I understand why they acted the way they acted.

I also think that their protocol for designating whether a house is a grow house or not is obviously flawed. Also, it might be necessary to rethink whether a police raid of a suspected grow house is warranted at all. Lastly, I'm not sure which side of the fence I'm on between police raid protocols placing more emphasis on lowering possible civilian risk (and thus more risk to the officers) or the way they are conducted now...that seems like a subject on which reasonable arguments could be made for either side.
More...
Posted by Mittens Schrodinger on October 27, 2010 at 1:25 PM · Report this
87
JJ, with all due respect and gratitude for your service to our country (seriously), I'm GLAD and RELIEVED you're not a law-enforcement officer (again, seriously). How many of those whom you killed in Afghanistan were afforded due-process under the law to prove their guilt? Did any of them get their day in court? Of course not, you were in a foreign nation, conducting a WAR.

Unlike conducting a WAR in Afghanistan, we have a completely different set of rules here, namely the concept of "innocence until proven guilt". A soldier's instincts and knee-jerk-reactions for survival in a war zone are simply INCOMPATIBLE with the necessary instincts required for the preservation of liberty here at home.

I'd like to see some serious PTSD tests and knee-jerk reaction training administered to post-war vets before allowing them to carry firearms as members of stateside law-enforcement. VIOLENCE SHOULD BE THE LAST RESORT. PERIOD.
Posted by ClintF on October 27, 2010 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 88
One way to get the SPD to stop wasting our scarce tax dollars on things like this is to make any funds seized (by law the cops keep any assets seized in a drug bust, including houses and cars) go to the Criminal Court Defenders we taxpayers provide for people arrested by the cops.

Then they'll just be financing their own opposition - but reducing our tax burden and helping our courts clear cases faster.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on October 27, 2010 at 1:40 PM · Report this
89
@83 You're right. When I called John T. Williams "an elderly, probably drunk homeless man who happened to be holding a knife" I pretty much annointed him as the messiah. My bad.
Posted by Cork on October 27, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
90
@83- I'm not comfortable appointing the police judge, jury and executioner. The fact you are is a little disturbing. Judge Dredd is not a good model for America.
Posted by dwight moody on October 27, 2010 at 5:03 PM · Report this
91
You are lucky to be alive! How in the world can we de militarize our police forces? Every cop, should use thier brains, and ask themselves........."Is this action protecting or serving"? If neither, then move on, don't waste our dime, go fight some crime. I hope to here updates. Have you considered small claims court for damages? Good luck, may peace be with you and yours.
Posted by hoodsportluke on October 27, 2010 at 6:54 PM · Report this
92
Instead of griping here, why not call the Mayor's office and let him know that you think this is bullshit?
Posted by duncan98117 on October 27, 2010 at 8:10 PM · Report this
93
Instead of griping here, why not call the Mayor's office and let him know that you think this is bullshit?
Posted by duncan98117 on October 27, 2010 at 8:12 PM · Report this
94
Here, I'll help make it easy:

http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/contact.htm

Seattle City Hall is located downtown on Fourth Ave., between Cherry St. and James St.

Send a letter: Mayor's Office, Seattle City Hall 7th floor, 600 Fourth Avenue, P.O. Box 94749, Seattle, WA 98124-4749

Call the Mayor's office: (206) 684-4000
Posted by duncan98117 on October 27, 2010 at 8:13 PM · Report this
95
Seattle City Hall is located downtown on Fourth Ave., between Cherry St. and James St.

Send a letter: Mayor's Office, Seattle City Hall 7th floor, 600 Fourth Avenue, P.O. Box 94749, Seattle, WA 98124-4749

Call the Mayor's office: (206) 684-4000
Posted by duncan98117 on October 27, 2010 at 8:15 PM · Report this
96
Apologies for the duplicate posts.
Posted by duncan98117 on October 27, 2010 at 8:20 PM · Report this
101
The mayor should be removed from office along with his equally ethically and morally challenged police chief. If you continue to allow such viloent scum to ru(i)n your cities you will obviously deserve what you get. You are allowing the police departments to turn your cities into war zones.
Posted by Archie1954 on October 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM · Report this
102
The Seattle police force has been militarized. Now Americans have what amounts to an army waiting to kill them if they step out of line and even when they don't as this poor sucker almost found out. He suffers severe pain from an earlier accident so of course the first thing the police do is throw him on the floor and mash his face into the linoleum. That's what they do when you are innocent, I sure would hate to find out what they do when you might actually be guilty of something. Both the mayor and the police chief should resign or be removed from office. The judge that OKed the warrant should be looking for a new job also.
Posted by Archie1954 on October 30, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
104
Great job, gestapo.

What next? Summary executions for thought crimes?

Dickheads.
Posted by fuckfiveoh on November 5, 2011 at 9:03 AM · Report this

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