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the killing of jose guerena

I have held off on posting on the shooting (and apparent murder) of Jose Guerena for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are my abject fury over how the situation was handled, and my hope that some kind of mitigating information would eventually surface.

Well, my fury has not abated, and no information has been found to excuse the SWAT team from shooting at him 71 times and hitting him 22 times, killing him, so here we are. Instead of inundating this post with an incoherent, irrational flood of expletive-laced ranting and raving, however, I will do my best to simply point you towards people who know far more about these events than I do.

From an ex-military security police officer, civilian police officer, and SWAT team member:

(1) There appears to be no organization at all. The officers are not organized into an entry stack, they are not apparently taking pre-determined positions, and they mill about, apparently not knowing what should happen next.

[...]

(10) That the shield man never actually entered the home, but merely stood in the doorway, perfectly silhouetted, in the very center of a textbook fatal funnel speaks very poorly of the team’s training and experience. It’s not clear how he ended up on his back in that doorway. Did he trip and fall? Perhaps he was knocked off his feet by his teammates, eager to get in on the action. It is also possible that the fourth officer who hastily ran up to the door and thrust his handgun between two of his fellow officers may have fired it so closely to the head and face of the shield man that he was momentarily stunned–or injured–and knocked off his feet. Other officers block the view of the camera, so it is not, from the video alone, possible to know what happened.

(11) Perhaps the most egregious and telling indicator of little or no training, planning, experience and ability is the officer who runs to the doorway, thrusts his handgun between two fellow officers, likely shooting very close to their ears and eyes, to fire off some “me too” rounds. It is highly unlikely that this officer could have had any idea of his target, if he saw one at all. To be completely fair, he was probably acting as police officers do, tending toward action rather than inaction, but proper SWAT training teaches only appropriate, effective action. There is absolutely no room for “me too” shooting, on the street or during SWAT operations.

And from the same man:

If these rounds did not fly more or less down a straight hallway and out the back wall of the home, if they had to penetrate intermediate walls in their path, it is a virtual certainty that fully metal jacketed, over-penetrating ammunition was uniformly used. This is particularly so when the hits in the back fence and the wall of the neighbor’s stucco home are considered. Properly frangible ammunition would have been unlikely to penetrate the outer wall of the home, and those few rounds that did would have almost certainly been so fragmented as to have been unable to do more than bounce off the fence or neighboring homes. The holes visible in the video were made by bullets flying straight paths and retaining considerable energy—energy sufficient to seriously injure or kill–even after fully penetrating the Guerena home.

It is unlikely that some of the rounds fired will ever be recovered. Keep in mind that in any police shooting, the police have an obligation to be able to reconstruct precisely who fired each shot, from precisely which position, the flight path of each bullet and its final resting place. They should be able to tell which weapon ejected each piece of expended brass, and where each came to rest in respect to the weapon firing it. Due to the sheer volume of fire alone, this case would be an absolute nightmare for the evidence technicians trying to reconstruct events. In fact, there may be powerful institutional pressure to be inexact.

[...]

I’ve often said, particularly on those occasions when I narrowly escaped injury during my police days, that God protects cops and idiots. That was surely the case here. It is absolutely amazing that Mrs. Guerena and her child and neighbors were not injured or killed. It is equally surprising that the police did not shoot themselves. It would be interesting, by the way, for the local media to confirm that assumption by checking local hospital treatment records for the day of the shooting. While I have no concrete evidence that any officer was injured, I would not be at all surprised.

From one of those certifiably-crazy Navy Corpsmen who deployed with Marines:

I wonder what my local sheriff’s department would think of me. You see, they’re currently using the fact that an OIF Marine veteran had five firearms and body armor – most of the latter in storage in his garage – to paint him as a bad guy. The clincher, though? "Law enforcement uniform items," as it’s been described in the media. What exactly does this consist of? A Border Patrol hat. None of it illegal – nothing found in his house was illegal.

[...]

Either Jose Guerena was not only a major drug trafficker, but also a busy home invading bee – while he also pulled down 12 hour graveyard shifts at the local Asarco mine – or this was a fishing expedition based on circumstantial evidence, poorly planned and executed by SWAT officers who didn’t know what they were shooting at, why they were shooting, or even that his wife and child were in the house – only that they needed to empty their magazines down that hallway. It may be all of the above, for all I know.

From a police veteran:

Jose Guerena was related to these people and lived in fairly close proximity to then. They were family members. As a result, Jose was targeted in this investigation and killed because of his DNA, not because he did anything illegal.

And from the same:

And at this point I’d like to add one other reason Jose was killed. Remember the statement of Sgt. Krygier who said they were warned about Jose’s house being the deadly one? I think these folks did their due diligence and knew Jose was a former Marine, combat vet, likely to have weapons, and likely to behave in the fashion he did. They went in ‘knowing’ and having been forewarned that Jose was likely to be an issue.

They still went in stupid and uncoordinated, despite what Masaad Ayoob claims. Remember folks, he makes a living testifying for shooters like the ones on this team. The rest of the professionals commenting in the blogosphere don’t make a penny from providing our analysis. Officer flibberty-gibbet had a negligent discharge because they were poorly trained and anticipating a shoot-out. That’s why his finger was on the trigger before he even started moving into the house.

From Random Nuclear Strikes:

5) Jose Guerena was targeted because his relatives had criminal records and were suspects in criminal activity, and he owned firearms and body armor that could have been used in that activity.

Well, I, too, have relatives with criminal records, own far more firearms than he did, and if you count my $35 surplus German flak jackets, I have more body armor than he did as well. How many of you can say the same?

From an ongoing analysis of the killing:

Our troops in Afghanistan are not allowed to shoot bomb-planting terrorists unless the terrorists shoot first, yet here in America the police are authorized to mow down (without warning) a citizen in his own home who hasn’t even taken the safety off his rifle?

And from my own comments on the situation:

The worst part of this is that they have absolutely no excuse for their craptacular performance. They were not under fire. They were not even threatened. And yet they are responsible a hit ratio just a little better than the MLB average… only they were employing deadly weapons at the time.

Just to leave you in the right frame of mind, Jose Guerena is not alone:

And this is not going to end well:

We’re rapidly heading for a world in which the whole wolves/sheep/sheepdogs = bad guys/innocents/good guys paradigm breaks down.

Instead, cops are properly now seen by civilians as threats. They have the capacity to kill you, and sometimes do. Threat does not = sheepdog. Threat = wolf.

While it is taking every ounce of self-control to limit myself to the following comment, let me just say this: I guess our country had a good run, but welcome to the police state. When an apparently law-abiding citizen and veteran can be gunned down in his own home for owning legal property and being unfortunately related to a family of allegedly law-breaking pikers, this "America" experiment of ours is well and truly over.

47 comments to the killing of jose guerena

  • Pyrotek85

    Yeah this story is all kinds of screwed up. Yet again why drugs need decriminalizing, and the unwarranted SWAT raids need to end. How hard is it to pick up a suspect when he’s out for groceries or checking his mailbox? They act as if they’re holed up in a compound like Osama bin Laden and never leave. I mean if you thought the guy was armed and had access to all these weapons, why would you choose to engage him on his own turf where he has ready access to his ‘arsenal’? It’s almost like they want a shootout…

  • [...] Linoge is not optimistic. [...]

  • What a colossal Charley-Foxtrot. All this is because we have a national prohibition on ways that stupid people escape stress and reality.

    My thoughts on the “War on Drugs”: The Drugs won. Can I have my rights back?

  • When an apparently law-abiding citizen and veteran can be gunned down in his own home for owning legal property and being unfortunately related to a family of allegedly law-breaking pikers, this “America” experiment of ours is well and truly over.

    I hate to say it, but I cannot disagree with you on this.

  • [...] “Losing? I’d mostly lost. I’m just wondering when that loss of trust will transition into active reformation or revolution.” – Mad Rocket Scientist, in the comments here based on the excellent post by Linoge. [...]

  • Swamp Thing

    You are so spot on. When the Department of Education, the Small Business Administration and the Railroad Retirment Board are arming themselves and breaking down doors of private citizens, the police state has begun. It is time for honest citizens to up their fire arms collection.

    Think about it, a warrant to search not signed by a federal judge, a judicial branch member, but by the Dept. of Education inspector general. The executive branch issuing its own warrants. The Consitution is dead.

  • [...] family of allegedly law-breaking pikers, this 'America' experiment of ours is well and truly over."Linoge It is one of the great lacunae of our times that the left has been almost uniformly and [...]

  • mg

    A bit of a contrarian view here…

    If you are against the “war on drugs”, don’t blame cops for enforcing current laws – blame your legislators for not passing drug legalization laws.

    The cops in the Guerena case had developed information over a 20-month investigation that Guerena was no choir boy. It may come as a shock to some of you that even former Marines who have given their all to the USA in a war can go bad after they leave the military. They had reasonable belief that the warrant service justified a tac team delivery.

    Aside from what some view as questionable tactics, the tac team was under threat of immediate serious bodily harm or death because Guerena pointed a firearm at them.

    They responded appropriately.

    All that other stuff about the war on drugs, etc., etc., is just noise that detracts from the fact that in this case, on that day, in that moment, cops justifiably shot at someone who was an immediate threat – period.

  • Matthew House

    MG- If, as you say, ol Jose was such a bad, bad boy, where the -fuck- is the evidence? where’s the warrent? Why was the warrent sealed right after this debacle? Gee, maybe because someone fucked up?

    And even if Jose was dirtier than satan himself, that doesn’t change the fact, and I stress the word -fact-, that the SWAT team wasn’t fit to shovel horse shit, let alone do an entry. And I’ll pay you 50 dollars if you can provide evidence that Jose actually pointed a rifle at one of the cops.

  • “They responded appropriately.”

    How is shooting at one person 71 times appropriate?

    As for the “immediate threat” keep in mind that the cops created the situation. He wasn’t an immediate threat until they kicked in his door.

  • Also, “don’t blame the cops for enforcing current laws” is suspiciously close to “I was only following orders.”

  • @ mg:

    “The cops in the Guerena case had developed information over a 20-month investigation that Guerena was no choir boy. ”

    Oh really now!? There was not one iota of evidence that Guerena committed a crime. The guy had just left the marines and was working 12hr. shifts at the mine. Dude had no record, and even if he did the police behavior here, and the consistent lying to try and cover up what they did, is unacceptable.

  • LauraB

    “…responded appropriately…”?
    An appropriate response would have been a uniformed stop on his way home from a 12 hr shift when he was tired and likely unarmed or lesser-armed.

    If you don’t use the gear, you lose it. Hence, the grabasstic murder scene.
    Sadly, it would appear the murdered man didn’t understand the concept and sleep in his armor. Heaven help us, I think that time is near for us all.

  • Pyrotek85

    @mg
    Taken by itself, yes pointing a weapon at a cop will get you shot. What we’re upset about is how we got to that point in the first place. I’m not necessarily blaming the individual officers, but the whole ‘dynamic entry’ craze law enforcement has been into lately. Like I said, if he was such a bad mofo why would you engage him when he had access to his supposed arsenal, rather than trying to get him on the street somewhere by surprise?

    @alan
    “keep in mind that the cops created the situation”

    Absolutely agreed, this did not warrant swat action and swarming the house like that is what made it dangerous. It’s not that I think swat teams are useless, but they should be used as little as possible, like a legitimate hostage situation. The cure is worse than the original problem.

  • @ mg:
    You should go and read (or re-read) Confederate Yankee’s analysis of that video (the first item Linoge linked to and quoted). Another passage from that analysis that addresses your statement:

    Where most officers would shoot, and shoot a great many rounds, they [SWAT officers] are expected to be able to take the extra few seconds—or fractions of a second—necessary to more fully and accurately analyze any situation before shooting. And when they shoot, they are expected to do it with far greater restraint and accuracy than most officers. [emphasis mine - Jake]

    This is one of the reasons they are supposed to go in behind the shield man – so they have a nice, bullet-proof barrier between them and the person pointing a weapon at them, allowing them that extra second to see if it’s a criminal who is threatening them, or a surprised homeowner who will put the gun down as soon as he realizes it the cops.

    They’re also not supposed to empty their magazines into him, the wall behind him, the room behind that wall, and the neighbors’ homes. Restraint and accuracy.

    Read the whole thing. They didn’t “respond appropriately”, they fucked up by the numbers.

    Additionally, a SWAT raid with a dynamic entry was totally unnecessary in the first place. If it truly was a 20 month investigation, they surely knew where he worked and what his schedule was. They could have easily picked him up at work or somewhere else in manner that let them control the situation rather than reacting to his actions in his own home.

    The last thing you do when you’re trying to serve a search warrant on a former Marine who you believe is going to react violently is do it at his home, where he is the most likely to be the most heavily armed and prepared.

    All of what I just said ignores the fact that he had no history of violence, no criminal record, no pending charges, and in no way other than his last name and the colour of his skin fit the profile of a violent drug runner at all – meaning there was no reason whatsoever to anticipate a violent response in the first place. The search warrant could have easily been served by a pair of detectives knocking politely on his door.

  • Matt

    mg: “…Guerena pointed a firearm at them.”

    How can you possibly know that?

    From the stories of a bunch of trigger-happy taxfeeders?

  • @ Pyrotek85: I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. This was a justification raid, in that the local police departments were attempting to rationalize their ownership of their SWAT teams, and they figured that this incident would provide them a nice, easy photo opportunity to show off in front of the media and public showcasing how awesome their boys in black were.

    Except the boys in black could be upstaged by any two-bit airsoft kiddie who watched a few movies and learned about this crazy thing called a “stack”.

    This man had a job, he was an active member of his community, and this situation could have been handled anywhere else, in a controlled, safe manner.

    @ That Guy: Y’know, if we had a blanket prohibition against such things, I could almost understand it, at least on a disconnected, logical level. But we do not. We permit certain drugs, in certain cases, but have arbitrarily decided that some are simply unacceptable for public consumption.

    The “War on Drugs” is a farce and always has been. Time to declare victory and go home.

    @ Kevin Baker: You have no idea how much I hated writing those words…

    @ Swamp Thing: You are exactly right… there is simply no need for the Dept. of Education to maintain an armed, door-kicking force – nothing they are involved in would warrant the need, and even if they did, for some reason, need such a thing, that is why we have the US Marshalls and local law enforcement agencies.

    Our government has overstepped its bounds in almost every way, and this shooting gives us a single, perfect example to point to.

    @ mg: Nothing against contrarian views, but you are going to have to try harder to be believable in addition to dissenting.

    I am curious – have you read the affadavit in support of the search warrant? My understanding is that the warrant itself has not been made public yet, so that is the best we are going to have to do for now.

    It makes no mention of Jose being “dangerous”. In fact, he is generally regarded as something of an extraneous figure in this entire investigation, with his family members being the key players.

    No, Guerena was not perfect, and having spent 2 years as a Naval legal officer, and another 9 months freighting around Marines, I completely understand how “not perfect” your average enlisted person can be. However, he has no criminal convictions,and what arrests he has on his record resulted in no charges being filed – not even filed and dropped, not filed at all. That means there was no case, which means that in the eyes of the government, Jose Guerena was a law-abiding citizen.

    Nothing resulting from this home-invasion has changed that. They found nothing illegal in Jose’s home. They shot down an apparently innocent man.

    Worse, you are defending them.

    Anywise, folks have already addressed your other comments, but allow me to pile on – the SWAT agents had the choice whether or not to go on this raid, and they had a choice whehter or not to shoot down Jose. They made their choices, and they are culpable for their actions.

    Likewise, you have no proof that Jose was a threat to the officers aside from their own comments on the situation, and given how the local PDs are handling this shooting, they are not exactly the most trustworthy sources. He had a rifle – that we know for sure. But given the circumstances (his wife reporting armed men circling their home after two of their extended family members were killed by armed home invaders), would you not arm yourself?

    @ LauraB: Bingo. SWAT teams are expensive, and cities have to explain those expenditures to their residents.

    This is going to be a bitch to explain, if they ever bother to do so.

    @ Jake: That is the part that does not make the slightest bit of sense to me… if Jose was such a threat to himself and others, why would they confront him on his own turf, where he could go for his own supposed equipment? How does that make sense? How does that serve and protect? How is that anywhere near good tactics?

    *sigh* There is absolutely nothing about this situation that comes off as being aboveboard or reasonable.

  • CAshane

    Great opinion piece here at Politico from David Rittgers (former Special Forces Officer) of the Cato Institute: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56419.html
    Police State indeed.

  • Linoge,

    I wish deeply that I could say you are wrong. That the great American experiment isn’t over. Unfortunately, I have never read a historical account of how a large, corrupt empire miraculously turned itself around and became an awesome country again. I’ve been out of the military now for 20 years and I can’t believe how much things have changed and how far we’ve fallen. I guess I honestly don’t believe we’re really going to turn things around at this point. I still pray we will though. When the light of America quits shining on this planet, unbelievable darkness will take over.

  • Wade

    The only good that will come of this senseless act of violence will be that more 2A advocates will begin to recognize that the policemen are not and never will be friends of freedom loving citizens. Police are there to make sure that the powerful are protected and the powerless kept that way. Policemen have never been loyal supporters of the Constitution and should be viewed as what they are, the guard dogs of the wealthy and politically powerful.

    If policemen recognize that the laws they are told to enforce are wrong, why are they still policemen? If they support the Second Amendment, why do they enforce firearms laws? If they support the 4th Amendment, why do they steal property and search people and vehicles without warrants?

  • This was a CF from the word go… And we will probably never know the truth…

  • Seerak

    “Don’t blame the cops for enforcing the laws…”

    This tripe differs from the Nuremberg defense only in degree, not in kind.

  • Jimmy the Saint

    “Unfortunately, I have never read a historical account of how a large, corrupt empire miraculously turned itself around and became an awesome country again.”

    History is full of such examples – they are simply time limited. Rome flagged and rose again several times; the entire history of the Byzantine Empire is pretty much rise/fall/rise/fall; the Mayans; Germany; England from the Middle Ages to WWI; etc., etc., etc.

    The recoveries just never last forever.

  • @Linoge: You said “…He had a rifle – that we know for sure…”

    Sorry – we don’t KNOW any such thing, and (given all the lying these pigs* have done to date) DEFINITELY not “for sure”.

    His widow has said that it wasn’t his rifle, and this bunch of gomers wouldn’t be the first to utilize a “throw-down”…

    This may be the worst example I’ve seen, and that’s REALLY saying something…

    DD

    * Peace-Officers ain’t pigs. If you don’t know the difference, you’re most likely a pig.

  • @ mg:

    I’m somewhat curious as to what you would do in a situation like this. You are aroused from sleep by your wife who states she has viewed persons attempting to break into your home. You have no illegal drugs or contraband in your home so “Oh no, the cops are here!” doesn’t cross your mind. Do you go with option A. I’m being robbed, I’d better grab my gun, or option B. Well maybe the municipal SWAT team has been conducting an investigation on me without my knowledge and they have a warrant for my arrest?

    Jose didn’t point his weapon at cops, he pointed his weapon at intruders, and I think you would have a hard time convincing me that you wouldn’t have reacted in the same way.

  • @ CAshane: Thanks for posting that… and while he may have been nothing more than a fictional character, Commander Adama was right when it came to police forces

    @ Groundhog: As Jimmy says, there may yet be a chance, but (probably due to nothing more complicated than thermodynamics) countries that rebound from the hells they have dropped into never quite return to their former grandeur, and, as he also says, they never stay there for very long either. We are on the downward slope right now, and i see no way of slowing our descent.

    @ Wade: While I understand the need/compulsion to generalize and stereotype at the moment, I simply cannot join that party. I know police officers who do support individual freedoms, and there are a non-zero number of pro-rights webloggers who also coincidentally are badged law enforcement officers. Just as not all Muslims want to kill us, not all police officers want to rule us.

    @ Dedicated_Dad: All of the news reports have indicated that his widow said he grabbed his rifle and headed into the hallway – in fact, by her own words, she was somewhat surprised he had it. If you have conflicting information, feel free to link to it.

  • Using an arfcom rifle as a drop-fun is unlikely, to say the least. Esp with blood on it…

  • Alcade: Yes, exactly that. 110%.

  • Yeah, using a specially-engraved AR-15 lower as a throwaway gun is about as logical as employing my Bullitt as a get-away car.

    I am all for blaming the police department and SWAT team for what they did wrong in this case – and, apparently, they did a lot wrong – but there is no need to make up crap based on speculation, and it only serves to weaken our credibility.

    Stick to what we know, and we will be the better for it.

  • Kevin

    At this point I am not aware of any evidence or credible testimony that he pointed a weapon at the police at all. The police who testified that that he pointed a rifle were the ones who testified that he fired at them at them and that they returned his fire. As the physical evidence is that rifle was never fired that immediately makes all their testimony about those events not credible.

  • Pointed at != was holding.

    Given the one photo I saw (linked from Uncle’s – I don’t recall the exact source) the odds are pretty good he had a rifle and was holding it at the time he died. Safety on and is pretty good evidence it hadn’t been fired, but we have no way of knowing positively whether he appeared to be threatening the officers with it.

    Not that it matters, in this case. IMHO, the raid itself was unjustified; he was resisting unlawful entry.

  • I’m somewhat curious as to what you would do in a situation like this. You are aroused from sleep by your wife who states she has viewed persons attempting to break into your home. You have no illegal drugs or contraband in your home so “Oh no, the cops are here!” doesn’t cross your mind.

    In addition (to make it a more complete parallel), you recently have had relatives that lived in the same area killed in an apparent home invasion. That’s very likely to strongly influence your perception of what’s happening as well.

  • I think we can take it as given that he did NOT point the rifle at the SWAT members. Why? Pima county knows this stinks to high heaven, and they’ll release anything that will make this go away-hence the helmet cam video of the clusterfuck of an entry.

    Which brings me to my second point-those guys had helmet cams. If Guerena pointed a rifle at them, it’d be on film and they’d be only too glad to release the 2-3 second piece of footage. They’ve already used their lawyer to cast aspersions on Guerena, why not release this footage? The answer is self evident-it does not show him aiming a rifle at them. Since they shot him, presumably they were at least looking in his general direction-the cameras should have caught it.

  • That was my assumption as well, that the officers have no evidence to show that he had pointed the gun at them.

  • This is definitely an exercise in “burden of proof” – a man is dead due to these people’s actions. It is their responsibility to provide incontrovertible proof that their actions were appropriate to the situation, and, thus far, they have failed to do so. Verbal reports from the people involved in the shooting are insufficient evidence, especially given how unreliable eye-witness testimony can be in high-stress situations.

    To put it another way, imagine if you or I had gunned down someone holding a firearm. It would be incumbent upon us to provide proof that we were being threatened, and our word that he was pointing said gun at us would be largely insufficient.

  • [...] in defiance of the Fourth Amendment, scare me.  I don’t know if I agree completely with Linoge when he says the American experiment is over, but on the other hand I sure don’t recognize [...]

  • [...] does have a good take on the Guerena killing that he posted the other day, though. His final conclusion? While it is taking every ounce of [...]

  • [...] on the future todayMike-ENDOtactical on DNS BlegSlow weekend « Curses! Foiled Again! on the killing of jose guerenaJose Guerena and Me (And You, Too) » Mike's Campfire on the killing of jose [...]

  • Charles

    @ mg:
    Seriously, what drugs are you on?
    They did NOT justifiably shoot at him. Had they knocked, he would have answered the door. They used a no-knock warrant. He pointed the gun at them, because he thought it was a home invasion. I seriously doubt he would have fired upon a large group of well-armed police officers with his family in the house. He thought he was protecting his home. They were a bunch of “Police Academy” losers that should never have been given a license to carry, let alone a badge.
    It is because of people like you, who do NOT think through things, that this is even a discussion. The officers ought to ALL be tried for murder. Every one of them who fired a gun ought to at least be tried for attempted murder. And really what swat team fires 70+ bullets and hits the target only 30% of the time. I could do better shooting behind my back without a mirror. Dear Lord! These people are worse than Barney Fife, and have semi-automatic weapons and body armor. If these men are not tried for murder, and I feel certain they can be, the district attorney ought to retire in shame and wear a sign that says accomplice to murder the rest of his life. Where is justice for the citizens. No wonder so many good cops are killed. These idiots make homeowners have to protect themselves from the police.

  • Charles

    @ Charles:

    After reviewing the affadavit in support of the search warrant at the link supplied by Linoge, I completely agree with the Affiant officer that Mr. Guerena was almost certainly involved in the drug trade. My argument above regarding justice for the deceased still stands, in that, as others have stated, there was no justification for a no-knock warrant to be served, while he was at the residence. If they did not believe him to be violent, they should have knocked; if they believed him to be violent, they should have served it in his absence. After all, they had been surveilling him for 20 months; so, certainly one more day would have been justified. That warrant and the hapless way in which it was served was the cause of the death of Mr. Guerena. Without it, the incident would have been simply the same fruitless search for contraband that resulted with the warrant, yet without the death of a citizen at the hands of those selected to serve and protect.

  • @ Charles: Regarding Jose’s complicity in the alleged drug trade his extended family was supposedly engaged in, you might want to take a look at the links I provided in my most-recent post on the topic, as well as Confederate Yankee’s consideration of the situation – Detective Tisch talks a good game, but he is woefully short on providing any sort of specfics…

    In any case, involved or not, you are absolutely correct – this situation was uncalled-for in almost every direction, a man is dead due to the gross negligence of countless individuals, and now all of the involved police agents will be shielded from any further investigation, or even criminal charges, by an all-too-helpful DA.

    This case truly does encapsulate the problem with so many American police agencies… and why I fear we are sliding on a downward slope.

  • dan smith

    @ Charles:

    No, it wasn’t a “no-knock” warrant. Stick with the Facts.

    However, a feeble knowck; no(audible*) identification and a whole 7-second delay, is insufficient….
    *Cops Said they called: “Police” and hit siren a few seconds, but neighbors and Mrs. Guerena denying hearing thi anything. The siren May have sounded like a car alarm.

  • Dan

    mg wrote:

    A bit of a contrarian view here…

    Aside from what some view as questionable tactics, the tac team was under threat of immediate serious bodily harm or death because Guerena pointed a firearm at them.

    They responded appropriately.

    It is scary that people actually think this way. One can only justify this murderous action if one believes that “law enforcement” has no constraints and people must meekly submit to any action taken by those wearing a badge. There was not one damn thing appropriate about this murder and everyone involved, from Dupnik on down to each shooter, should be in prison for their actions. Putting aside all the unconscionably bad decision making that put a swat team in that house that morning the shooters are still responsible for their actions. The shooters were fully protected with body armor and a ballistic shield. Their victim was in his home, startled out of sleep, and in his boxers. Even if he did point his weapon at the SWAT officers (I don’t believe it – they are already proven liars) they were not under immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death. They were protected with the best body armor money can buy and they were in the home of a citizen who had not been charged with any crime. They damn well should have waited until being fired upon, damn well should have said “police, drop the weapon”, and given him time to comply. They didn’t because the were criminally negligent and acted with wanton disregard for human life. The fact that they were poorly trained and cowardly doesn’t excuse them. It only extends culpability up the chain.

  • @ dan smith: Strictly speaking, they did, indeed, knock – but giving the house’s occupants all of seven seconds to respond to the knock and sirens is positively ludicrous.

    And that word falls miserably short to describe the Charlie Foxtrot that resulted at the door…

    @ Dan: Unfortunately, all but the heaviest, bulkiest, thickest body armor will not protect against rifle-calibers coming out of an actual rifle barrel length – it is entirely possible that the door-kicker was wearing that kind of armor, but fairly unlikely that the entire team was… At least in the military, we did not suit up to that level unless we knew we needed to.

    That said, there was absolutely no excuse for the police to act the way they did at the door – the “stack” was a goddamned disaster, there is absolutely no indication that Guerena posed even the remotest of threats to thee SWAT team (apart from that team’s own word which is worth precisely nothing in this case), and their training was deficient in almost every regard (holding a gun over your teammates’ heads and blazing away?!?).

    PCSD should be ashamed of their behavior and on charges to boot, but, sadly, neither seems to be the case.

  • [...] be news to the people writing at Reason, to Radley Balko, and to the many gunbloggers out there who keep posting about the crazy shit cops get away [...]