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Thread: Botched SWAT Raid - wrong house
12-18-07, 06:24 PM #1
Botched SWAT Raid - wrong house
Thank heavens that even though two officers were hit with gunfire they escaped injury due to SWAT vests... Story below.
By GREGG AAMOT and STEVE KARNOWSKI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With her six kids and husband tucked into bed, Yee Moua was watching TV in her living room just after midnight when she heard voices _ faint at first, then louder. Then came the sound of a window shattering.
Moua bolted upstairs, where her husband, Vang Khang, grabbed his shotgun from a closet, knelt and fired a warning shot through his doorway as he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. He let loose with two more blasts. Twenty-two bullets were fired back at him, by the family's count.
Then things suddenly became clear.
"It's the police! Police!" his sons yelled.
Khang, a Hmong immigrant with shaky command of English, set down his gun, raised his hands and was soon on the ground, an officer's boot on his neck.
The gunmen, it turned out, were members of a police SWAT team that had raided the wrong address because of bad information from an informant _ a mistake that some critics say happens all too frequently around the country and gets innocent people killed.
"I have six kids, and only one mistake almost took my kids' life," said Moua, 29. "We will never forget this."
No one was hurt in the raid Sunday, conducted by a task force that fights drugs and gangs, though two police officers were hit by the shotgun blasts and narrowly escaped injury because they were wearing bulletproof vests.
Police apologized to the family and placed the seven officers on leave while it investigates what went wrong.
Such mistakes are a fact of police work, some experts said.
"Does going to the wrong address happen from time to time? Yes," said John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association in Doylestown, Pa. "Do you corroborate as best you can the information the informant gives you? Absolutely. But still from time to time mistakes are made."
One of the biggest botched raids in recent years happened in Atlanta in 2006, when police killed a 92-year-old woman in a hail of nearly 40 bullets after she fired a shot at what she thought were intruders. Police had gone to her house on a drug raid, but no drugs were found.
Prosecutors said that in obtaining a search warrant, Atlanta police falsely told a judge that an informant had confirmed drug dealing there. The scandal led to a shake-up in the department, two officers pleaded guilty to manslaughter and civil rights charges, and the city faces at least two lawsuits.
Reliable figures on the frequency of erroneous raids are hard to come by. Federal agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, said they do not keep track.
A study last year by the libertarian Cato Institute said: "Because of shoddy police work, over-reliance on informants, and other problems, each year hundreds of raids are conducted on the wrong addresses, bringing unnecessary terror and frightening confrontation to people never suspected of a crime."
Gnagey disputed the reliablity of the research behind those figures, and said it is impossible to know whether they are too high or too low. He said no dependable estimates exist.
"Going to the wrong home is an extreme rarity," said Mark Robbins, a law enforcement professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. "It's just unfortunate that when it does, it often ends up in violent and even tragic incidents."
In the Minneapolis case, the nature of the tip and precisely what police were looking for were not disclosed; they have not released the search warrant. And it was not clear how far off the mark the informant was in supplying the address.
No charges were brought against Khang, a laid-off machine operator who lives in crime-ridden north Minneapolis. Khang used the shotgun for hunting, said his brother, Dao Khang. In Minnesota, no license is required to own a shotgun.
Khang, who speaks some English but used an interpreter during an interview, said he does not remember hearing any calls of "Police!" until his sons shouted. He said he would never knowingly shoot at officers.
"That's why I reacted the way I did, to protect my family and two sons," said Khang, 34, whose children are ages 3 to 15.
Lt. Amelia Huffman, a police spokeswoman, said the information in the search warrant came from a source who had been reliable in the past.
Huffman said officers who routinely work on drug and gang cases are trained to try to corroborate their information. As for why the process didn't work this time, "that's one of the things the internal investigation will go through in exhaustive detail," she said.
The Hmong are hill people from Laos who aided the CIA during the Vietnam War by fighting the Viet Cong. Hmong refugees began arriving in Minnesota in the late 1970s, and there are perhaps 60,000 Hmong in Minnesota today.
The Khang family is living with relatives until the house gets cleaned up. The raid left six windows broken and walls and ceilings pocked with pellet and bullet holes.
"The whole family is badly shaken and still trying to understand what happened," Moua said............................................
12-18-07, 06:28 PM #2
"Stupid should hurt."
12-19-07, 09:21 PM #3
12-21-07, 08:14 PM #4
Wow, I am glad nobody was hurt. I hope the family recovers and forgives the police and the police take corrective action on the informant!!! Maybe a stern talking to or a boot in the neck would work..........Insert witty comment and disclaimer here.
12-21-07, 08:19 PM #5
"I'm new! I'm new! I don't know what to do!"It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
12-22-07, 08:52 AM #6
I don't and never have liked using informants.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
12-22-07, 09:44 AM #7
PROPER PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE.
From a former DTF Sgt: Check your info. Always verify informant info, always. Don't be in a hurry.Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous
Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.
The light of hope burns brighter than the fires of doom.
12-22-07, 10:01 AM #8
12-22-07, 10:33 AM #9
Some informants or covert human intelligence sources can come up with big results but they have to be handled very carefully and before warrants and raid are exicuted it would be good to have some sort of other reliable information from Police systems or surveillance.
A simple check of the address on police and local authority systems can give a massive amount of information on some addresses.
12-22-07, 06:49 PM #10
It's only thing if exigent circumstance exist - like info on the whereabouts of someone that's just been kidnapped. Even then you're still going to want to set up on the place.
It's another if the raid is for dope, guns, or stolen property, etc. There is time to dig deep into the residence and targets.
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