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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on May 1 at 14:52 PM

Brooklyn Park police were looking for a meth lab, but they found a fish tank and the chemicals needed to maintain it.

And a few hours later, when the city sent a contractor to fix the door the police had smashed open Monday afternoon, it was obvious the city was trying to fix a mistake. It happened while Kathy Adams was sleeping. “And the next thing I know, a police officer is trying to get me out bed,” she said.

Adams, a 54-year-old former nurse who said she suffers from a bad back caused by a patient who attacked her a few years ago, was handcuffed. So was her 49-year-old husband.

Police were executing a search warrant signed by Hennepin County Judge Ivy Bernhardson, who believed there was probable cause the Adams’s home was a meth lab.

“From a cursory view, it doesn’t look like our officers did anything wrong,” said Capt. Greg Roehl. Roehl said the drug task force was acting on a tip from a subcontractor for CenterPoint Energy, who had been in the home Friday to install a hot water heater.

“He got hit with a chemical smell that he said made him light headed, feel kind of nauseous,” Roehl said. The smell was vinegar, and maybe pickling lime, which were clearly marked in a bathroom Mr. Adams uses to mix chemicals for his salt water fish tank.

This story has a happy ending—the city came and fixed the door!—so what’s the problem with a cadre of armed officers breaking it down? Adams, as many Americans do, could have had a gun in her bedroom. If she’d pulled it out, not knowing the men walking into her bedroom were cops, she could have unwittingly shot a cop. Or the cops could have shot her. Over a fish tank.

Meth is nasty crap, agreed. But investigating it doesn’t require risking innocent lives.

RSS icon Comments


It should be added that the subcontractor from CenterPoint Energy who tipped the police because of a vinegar smell is a stupid motherfucker. CenterPoint Energy should be sued, along with the cops who acted on the clueless tip.

Posted by Mahtli69 in Tokyo | May 1, 2008 3:17 PM

But.. then how would these police forces justify their budgets and gear expenses? you know, if you don't spend it, you don't get it next year.


Posted by diggum | May 1, 2008 3:25 PM

I definitely smell a civil suit against the CenterPoint guy. But also, why did the police have to break down the door in the first place? Don't people knock any more?

Posted by Greg | May 1, 2008 4:08 PM

When I was a kid they used to tell us stories about the mean old communists in the Soviet Union. They spied on their citizens and had gulags. And, always worst of all, the secret police would come and break down your door and take you away for no reason. Sound familiar?

Posted by Vince | May 1, 2008 4:09 PM

this is far more worrisome than a camera in a park. even if i don't want the camera in the park and it was an abuse of trust to get it there.

Posted by infrequent | May 1, 2008 4:13 PM

why does everyone involved except the rat & the cops hate america?

Posted by max solomon | May 1, 2008 4:16 PM

So you are telling me, if I have someone in to repair something in my house and I've just, hmmm say cleaned my floors with vinegar or for some reason have an odd chemical smell in my house (carpets just cleaned, ammonia on the windows), the repair person can call the police, tell them there was a suspicious smell in my house, and then the police can come break down my door because of that? Somebody saying my house has a suspicious chemical smell is enough probable cause for the police to do this?


Posted by PopTart | May 1, 2008 4:49 PM

You assholes should spend some time actually helping destroy meth labs. Unless Meth makers and dealers are so nice as to not require these tactics, then the cops did the right thing.

The judge is a dumbass for approving a warrant on the info. Focus your rage there, not on some guy making 30,000 a year who puts their life in danger regularly.

Yup, Meth freaks...Charming motherfuckers, aren' they?

Posted by ecce homo | May 1, 2008 5:39 PM

it's not the individual cops who get the censure here, it's the questionable bust- down- the- door protocol that puts THEM in danger, ecce. the rage? why, that's all yours. please get some help.

Posted by ellarosa | May 1, 2008 6:26 PM

Remember, the War on Drugs was created to keep cops employed, not to accomplish anything.

If you want workable solutions, cops are the last ones to ask for advice on this. It pays their bills.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 1, 2008 6:31 PM

Meth is nasty stuff, but so is religion and it's much more lethal. And we don't bust down church doors.

Posted by Luke Baggins | May 2, 2008 1:32 AM

Mostly here I'd blame the idiot judge and of course the policy of breaking down doors for stupid drug busts.

No doubt Meth makers are big time scum bags but you really don't need to kick down the doors. It's not like they're going to flush all of their equipment down the drain while you wait for them to open the door. Put cops on each entrance, knock, when they open the door go in and search the place.

This whole thing sounds pretty unamerican to me.

Posted by Colin | May 2, 2008 9:23 AM

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