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Public airs frustrations with Columbia police at Citizens Review Board meeting

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | 11:45 p.m. CDT; updated 12:31 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Columbia citizens turned out for the Citizens Police Review Board at Council Chambers in City Hall on May 12. The major topic for the night included citizens reactions and comments about the recent SWAT raid conducted by the Columbia Police Department.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Citizens Police Review Board saw its first glimpse Wednesday night of the reaction to a story that's gotten national attention — Columbia residents packed themselves into council chambers to get a turn to speak about a Feb. 11 SWAT raid in which police shot and killed a dog.

Many expressed their outrage at the incident, saying the police are not in touch with the community. Some simply thanked the review board for existing, while others called on them to become more active in reaching out to citizens who might be intimidated by police.

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"I represent the thugs, the youth," said local musician and radio host Tyree Byndom. "They wouldn't even think of coming to this building."

Byndom challenged the board on its review process' accessibility. "This process needs to be made as simple as possible so that an illiterate person can understand it," he said.

Many people wanted to complain directly to the review board about incidents involving police, but the board can only handle appeals of complaints that first go through the Police Department. Explanations from board members drew criticism from some in the audience.

"I’m just saying that taking the complaint to the group you’re complaining about seems ineffectual," said Columbia resident Nicholas Recker.

Others had suggestions for how police could handle documentation.

Public defender Jennifer Bukowsky, after speaking about the need for greater accountability, said body cameras for each officer — such as the ones used on officers downtown — would help improve transparency for SWAT teams. She said a lot of furor around February's SWAT raid at the home of Jonathan Whitworth came from having only one point of view that didn't show a lot of action.

American Civil Liberties Union local president Dan Viets said shooting dogs is not a new thing for the department.

"What's unusual is the cinematography," he said.

Viets also brought up a 2004 ordinance that said marijuana should not be a high priority for the "limited resources" of the department.

The Police Department has faced criticism since footage of a drug raid on a Columbia man's home went viral on YouTube. The video captured the sound of Whitworth's pit bull, Nola, being fatally shot by a SWAT team of eight officers.

In first-hand accounts from officers, called incident reports, obtained Wednesday, an officer describes encountering the pit bull waiting for the officers at the front door.

“At this particular time the dog appeared to be a threat to officers as it barked and refused to vacate the structures threshold," the officer wrote. "I gave the dog a moment to retreat however it remained as a threat and an obstacle to the team and its entry and as a result I fired one-round from my Heckler & Koch 9mm submachine gun at the animal.”

The shot instead hit the paw of Whitworth's Welsh corgi.

The board plans to hear and review Columbia Police Department Chief Ken Burton 's presentation on the changes in SWAT policy June 9.

Missourian reporter Chelsea McGartland contributed to this report.


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Comments

carla thomas May 13, 2010 | 12:33 a.m.

THOSE DOGS WERE IN KENNEL CRATES BUT YET YOUR THUGS SHOT THE DOGS ANYWAY,SHAME FOR SHAME FOR SHAME!!!! I,VE CONTACTED THE NATIONAL HUMANE SOCIETY,I HOPE THEY BRING CHARGES AGAINST THE COLUMBIA POLICE AND AGAINST THE SWAT TEAM,I HOPE THOSE DOGS YOU SHOT COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 13, 2010 | 12:36 a.m.

,I urge you to prosecute the police officers featured in the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwv...... Missouri state statute MO ST 578.012 1 (1) & (2) which reads:1. A person is guilty of animal abuse when a person:(1) Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed by or expressly exempted from the provisions of sections 578.005 to 578.023 and 273.030, RSMo;(2) Purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal;The officers in the video are not exempt under any provision of the state statues and as such should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
www.youtube.com
www.youtube.com

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 13, 2010 | 12:57 a.m.

Carla, the claim that the dogs were crated appears to be innacurate and the national Humane Society (and simiilar organizations) are not able to file charges; only a prosecutor is able to do so. Ranting wildly, as you have done, about this issue accomplishes nothing.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock May 13, 2010 | 7:18 a.m.

Carla,

The idea that the dogs were caged or kenneled when SWAT executed the search warrant has yet to be substantiated. If you have some type of hard evidence that the dogs were caged, please let us know. Otherwise, let's keep the debate centered on facts and not falsehoods.

Thank you,

Jake Sherlock
Opinion editor
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
john george May 13, 2010 | 8:00 a.m.

If the dog that was killed was a threat and refused to leave the threshold, that's where its body would be seen...in the entryway. Instead it is heard yelping from it's cage in the kitchen. Stop your lies CPD! YOU WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!

(Report Comment)
Wes Carlson May 13, 2010 | 8:48 a.m.

The dog was not at the threshold of the door, all but one SWAT member is in the home before a shot was fired. One or two had already turned down the hall before the corgi was shot. You can't hear the Pit even bark until the Corgi was shot and started yelping then 14 seconds pass before the Pit was shot 4 times. The story does not match the video.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 9:43 a.m.

Both dogs were momentarily at the threshold. The first shot is fired at the front door. Photos will be released soon. The second dog was not a Welsh Corgi. And no dog was in a crate at any tine. For those who after the photos are released then insist that we took the crates out of the pictures, I don't know how to help you.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 10:02 a.m.

Carla, what about this provision in the state statutes?

Killing or injuring a dog, reasonable apprehension of imminent harm is an absolute defense.     273.033.  1.  In any action for damages or a criminal prosecution against any person for killing or injuring a dog, a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that such person was in reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact by the dog or was acting to prevent such imminent harmful contact against another person by the dog shall constitute an absolute defense to criminal prosecution or civil liability for the killing or injuring of such animal.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 13, 2010 | 10:52 a.m.

It is time to hold these policemen accountable. How dare you bring your SWAT teams in our neighborhoods when they are not needed. I bet the neighbors are thinking what would of happened if the address was wrong. We are a NATIONAL embarrassment. Even Faux News thinks you are a bunch a jack-booted thugs and wants your heads. It is time the cops ratchet down the violence. I think resignations are in order. The police violated a citizen's civil rights, time to face justice.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez May 13, 2010 | 10:53 a.m.

Thank you Mr Dresner for posting on this controversial issue our community is in an uproar about.

A lot of the posting by the keyboard commandos is obviously out of a self driven,self motivated and self emotional drive to once again put the Columbia Police Department into a darker frame of being as some kind of gungho paramilitary non caring force of sorts.

The calling of heads to roll by these keyboard commandos is very pathetic by nature when most of them do not attend regular City Council Meetings,sit on no boards or commissions and only speak up when the crowd is frothing for blood out of a obvious lack of an intelligent or educated knowledge of the real story behind the story. They are the followers and obviously not the leaders. This is called "A Typical Behavior". It is quiet common when any crowd or groups is faced with the unknown.

The rational citizens of this community know that no law enforcement officer would willfully shoot any animal with out any reason when a lot of times they have animals of their own.

Thank you again Mr Dresner for setting the record straight.

(Report Comment)
Katherine Reed May 13, 2010 | 11:07 a.m.

Good morning,

This is Katherine Reed, the public safety editor for the Missourian. I appreciate Deputy Chief Dresner's participation in this discussion. But I am concerned about the assertion that the surviving dog is not a corgi. This information was provided by the Columbia Police Department. The breed of dog is germane to this discussion, so if Deputy Chief Dresner has a correction to make, I know the Missourian would appreciate it.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 13, 2010 | 11:22 a.m.

""""A lot of the posting by the keyboard commandos is obviously out of a self driven,self motivated and self emotional drive to once again put the Columbia Police Department into a darker frame of being as some kind of gungho paramilitary non caring force of sorts.""""

Like Fox News?!!

We need to put the police in check to prevent this from happening again. So if you are a police sycophant, that's your choice, but someone's job needs to be terminated.

(Report Comment)
John Olson May 13, 2010 | 11:48 a.m.

It is obvious that these police deliberately designed their costumes and behavior to terrorize the man, woman, and child in the house. The video they made of the raid is an implicit terroristic threat against every person in this department's jurisdiction. "This is what we can do to you." The child is lucky they didn't turn him into collateral damage.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 13, 2010 | 11:59 a.m.

Tom Dresner, What is the law regarding police dogs? Do the police not use dogs to attack people, if I am being attacked by a police dog what can I legally do about it? Can I hit a police dog that is attacking me, can I kill a police dog that is attacking me? Is it not true that a police dog is considered a officer of the law? I'm not an attorney but this is what I have been lead to believe, personally if your German shepherd can be a law enforcement officer than mine can be a member of my family.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 1:43 p.m.

"Tom Dresner, What is the law regarding police dogs? Do the police not use dogs to attack people, if I am being attacked by a police dog what can I legally do about it?"

We do sometimes use police dogs to attack people. Your scenario omits certain assumptions, but I will try to make them anyway.

If you are being attacked by a police dog, it is most likely that you are under arrest and resisting. Legally you are required to submit to arrest. If you do, the attack would cease.

"Can I hit a police dog that is attacking me, can I kill a police dog that is attacking me?"

No.

"Is it not true that a police dog is considered a officer of the law?"

Yes.

"I'm not an attorney but this is what I have been lead to believe, personally if your German shepherd can be a law enforcement officer than mine can be a member of my family."

And I respect your opinion about that.

I hope I have provided clarification for you.

(Report Comment)
somer wilson May 13, 2010 | 2:44 p.m.

Mr.Dresner...again for the last time, leave the surviving dog alone! What is your problem? As if you haven't done enough, you come on here to another website and try and slander the dog! Have you even met the dog? It's a 24lb dog with 2" legs! You guys can't even determine if someone is married with a child, I highly doubt you can determine the breed of a dog you've never met! Please only speak of things you know of, not your biased opinion. It is so very sad watching you waste all of your time on these message boards defending the SWAT's actions instead of going out and doing something productive. Glad you're getting paid to blog all day. What a waste!

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 13, 2010 | 3:45 p.m.

There you have it folks in the eyes of the law your life is less valuable than the life of their dog, and only slightly more valuable than the life of your dog which they will open fire upon without a second of consideration. Or the consideration of the safety of your child, wife or anyone else in the residence. The most important thing is some officer doesn't suffer a dog bite.

Tom, thanks for the clarification that all citizens are required to submit to the authority an animal that is owned by the police.

(Report Comment)
tom kelly May 13, 2010 | 3:48 p.m.

The video camera has changed this country soooo much, I'm beginning to say a silent prayer to the God of Kodak.

What is so funny, is the police have been lying to us for so long with complete impunity, that even when the camera shows the truth, they continue to lie thinking their WORD is indisputable. And, why not, their lies have always covered their ass, so why let something like the truth get in the way.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 13, 2010 | 3:56 p.m.

Tom, so if I'm not under arrest but the police dog is attacking me then I can defend myself? We are talking about a dog here it's not unthinkable that a trained attack dog may bite people without cause. I bet the answer is I can never legally defend myself from a police dog regardless of the circumstance.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 4:13 p.m.

@Eric Cox: "Tom, so if I'm not under arrest but the police dog is attacking me then I can defend myself? We are talking about a dog here it's not unthinkable that a trained attack dog may bite people without cause. I bet the answer is I can never legally defend myself from a police dog regardless of the circumstance."

In this circumstance, I think yes you could, especially if there's no handler to control him. And I would think you'd have one whopper of a civil action.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 4:34 p.m.

@ Somer Wilson: "Mr.Dresner...again for the last time, leave the surviving dog alone! What is your problem? As if you haven't done enough, you come on here to another website and try and slander the dog! Have you even met the dog? It's a 24lb dog with 2" legs! You guys can't even determine if someone is married with a child, I highly doubt you can determine the breed of a dog you've never met! Please only speak of things you know of, not your biased opinion. It is so very sad watching you waste all of your time on these message boards defending the SWAT's actions instead of going out and doing something productive. Glad you're getting paid to blog all day. What a waste!"

Somer, it seems that you have a relationship with this family and perhaps with this dog. Your passion is understood and appreciated.

I have spent all this time trying to correct the huge amount of misinformation out there about this case. I know many of you feel like we're responsible for the lion's share of that, but I have access to the material, and we can get an early start on putting out the facts. That's been my purpose. Rest assured, if I was putting out lies and misinformation on what I posted yesterday, I'd be hung at the courthouse square.

Depending on your frame of reference, you will see many different things in this case. That also applies to me, and I have to be careful of that as well.

I am not a dog expert by any means. And I mean no ill will towards anyone.

I simply looked at a photo of what Mr. Hilbrenner first referred to as a Corgi in the first Trib article about this, and thought, that sure doesn't look like a Corgi to me. Others here agreed. So we consulted books. And we looked at Corgi photos.

At some point a news outlet may publish the photo of this dog. I hope they don't of the other one for obvious reasons. But in the interest of trying to establish credibility and transparency, I can admit that the deceased dog was wearing a pink sweater at the time it was killed. I believe that fact will make everyone who's angry at us angry all over again. But it's the truth.

I mean no ill will toward you. Thank you for sharing your feelings with me.

(Report Comment)
Eric Stockton May 13, 2010 | 4:40 p.m.

@Eric Cox
@Tom Dresner

FYI

"578.022. Dog biting in course of official law enforcement duties

Any dog that is owned, or the service of which is employed, by a law enforcement agency and that bites another animal or human in the course of their official duties is exempt from the provisions of sections 273.033 and 273.036, RSMo, and section 578.024."

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 13, 2010 | 4:49 p.m.

Tom Dresner:

Carla, what about this provision in the state statutes?

Killing or injuring a dog, reasonable apprehension of imminent harm is an absolute defense. 273.033. 1. In any action for damages or a criminal prosecution against any person for killing or injuring a dog, a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that such person was in reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact by the dog or was acting to prevent such imminent harmful contact against another person by the dog shall constitute an absolute defense to criminal prosecution or civil liability for the killing or injuring of such animal.
-----------------------------------------------------------

The problem that I think you have is this one statement in that statute, "a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that such person was in reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact by the dog".

I don't think your department can demonstrate that SWAT has a preponderance of evidence that demonstrates that any of those SWAT members had a reasonable apprehension of imminent harm.

I think that you can demonstrate from your SWAT Team's on statements that they were predisposed to believing that just because the dog they encountered was a pit bull, and for not much of any other reason, they felt that the dog might attack. But that is NOT a reasonable assumption. The breed of a dog can't reasonably demonstrate whether or not that dog will attack.

Based on the video, the sounds in the video, the pause that we can hear between the first shot, and then the other six shots, based on where we see the SWAT Team members in the house belonging to John Whitworth, based on how far in the house the SWAT Team got after gaining entry into the house, I don't think that you can show a preponderance of evidence that anyone that was inside that house had a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact by the dog.

My thoughts are, the dogs were living and breathing, SWAT was "keyed up" (adrenaline rush, happens a lot in these special types of situations, makes sense), and their judgment was impaired because they did not understand how to handle that adrenaline rush and properly control the situation.

Yeah, I know that sounds critical. But the bottom line is that this was completely unnecessary. I have went into literally thousands of houses to apprehend fugitives for Bail Bondsmen, and not once have I ever had to kill a dog. And yes, I have performed "dynamic entries", in the military and as a Fugitive Recovery Agent. The electrical arc at the end of a Taser or s Stun Baton is usually enough to keep a dog at bay and get them corralled or run them out the back door of the house. I have actually had to do this with a 3 man team, how many SWAT Officers were present that night?

When I was doing this though, we believed in having real time intelligence before going into the house..........

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Travis Grant May 13, 2010 | 4:59 p.m.

"I can admit that the deceased dog was wearing a pink sweater at the time it was killed."
...

That is truly horrifying. I agree with you, Mr. Dresner. The pink sweater only further supports the sentiment that the dog was not aggressive, that it was friendly and possibly trying to play with the officers. It's true the team has only seconds to make these decisions, but I think you'll agree that it's these decisions that shape lives for years to come (and policy, in this case).

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 13, 2010 | 5:22 p.m.

Article quote: "Viets also brought up a 2004 ordinance that said marijuana should not be a high priority for the "limited resources" of the department".

1- Is anyone familiar with the exact language of the 2004 ordinace passed by Columbia voters?

2- Is Chief Burton familiar with the 2004 ordinance passed by Columbuia voters?

3- Is the ordinance (and will of the voters) being followed or ignored by CPD staff and do we have hard data to show which is really the case?

4- Is CPD in violation of the 2004 ordinance and what are the ramifications in events where 'the law' fails to follow the law?

Anyone know?

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 13, 2010 | 5:41 p.m.

The sad part about this is that this has completely destroyed any trust I had in the CPD, it really has nothing to do with the dog. I just find it absurd that a police dog has more rights than I do, one of the people who work to pay taxes that provided that dog. It has mostly has to do with the obvious fact that most of the officers working for the CPD believe that these actions were justified, and I find that ethically questionable. A feeling I was just sharing with Councilman Dudley in person, I encourage everyone to contact their councilman on this issue.

(Report Comment)
Clyde Barrow May 13, 2010 | 7:04 p.m.

Chief Burton and Tom Dresner should resign. This over-the-top action was an abuse of power. This department cannot grasp the obvious, so God help the people of Columbia.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock May 13, 2010 | 8:53 p.m.

Here is something that Tom hasn't really addressed but I will. When you are conducting a raid the last thing you want is for your front guys to get bogged down with anything. Lets say that dog attacked the lead guy. How many cops would it take to pull the dog off? At least two. Now that leaves three cops not paying attention to the criminal who may or may not have a gun. The first three guys if they are caught up with fighting the dog and they are in a hallway then they are nothing but inline targets and easy pickings. You see is isn't just the attack of the dog that can hurt the cops it is the fact that a killer could seek to exploit this confusion. Very few people have ever put their lives on the line for anything so you don't know how it feels. Now in the age of technology and movies everyone is a expert. People never want a cop around until they NEED a cop. Then they complain when they weren't there to protect their property or themselves. It is a thankless job and even less thankful in Columbia were it seems anarchy is wanted and people have some inherent right to say and act however they feel regardless of the law. People shouldn't be angry at cops enforcing the law. They should elect officials to change the law if they don't like it.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez May 13, 2010 | 8:59 p.m.

Thank you Mr Dresner and Rick Gurley for being the voices of reason in this issue. All of the other keyboard commandos and vigilantes obviously do not believe in the long running process of due process granted to all citizens. By their postings here and on that other paper they already have all of CPD SWAT hung,flogged,bull whipped,stripped naked and rotting in the sun before any due process has even begun to take place and evidence presented.

My bet is though if they were on the receiving end of all of this as CPD SWAT is they would be crying bloody murder the entire time so they would get their due process according to the law unlike they want for CPD SWAT.

Yes CPD SWAT screwed up by not acting sooner on the warrant as they should have but how many other SWAT Teams across this nation have done this exact same thing? My bet is a lot. CPD SWAT is no exception by any means.

I just saw a new group on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12... dedicating itself to ousting Mr Burton and the keyboard commando/vigilante comments there are no different than those here and that other paper. Only there they are openly using their real names unlike on that other paper and here to to an extent.

Once again pathetic by nature of not knowing the entire story and only knowing what they see by one video and the word of a drug dealer who was raided. What the word of drug dealers takes more precedence now that that of law enforcement? Once again pathetic on their part to be posting uninformed view points.

I look forward to the photos Mr Dresner said are coming in the future that show the real story that is not yet known.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez May 13, 2010 | 9:02 p.m.

Thank you Mr Sharrock great posting.

(Report Comment)
John Hull May 13, 2010 | 9:15 p.m.

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents; -Taken from US law definition

The actions of the Columbia Police Department meat all of these qualifications.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken May 13, 2010 | 9:51 p.m.

Everyone seems to be really hung up on the dogs but I'm more concerned about the situation as a whole. How can the police bust into a family residence in the middle of the night on what seems to be seriously lacking evidence of him being a drug lord?
They fired at a dog yes, but there was also a small child in the home that they very likely didn't even know where he was when they fired that gun multiple times. This whole family has been traumatized and I can't imagine a more terrifying thing happening than having police bust into your home in the middle of the night and start firing.
That's the kind of thing you hear about in third world countries under civil war not a family neighborhood in Columbia, Mo.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 10:09 p.m.

Amber, I know this is tangential to your main point, and it may not make much of a difference to you, but please know, it was --8:30 p.m.--

That simply is nowhere near the middle of the night.

I have to keep repeating this, because people keep saying it. A woman last night at the CRB meeting said she watched the video several times and she knows for a fact that it was not 8:30 at night. Really. Therefore, we are liars.

I was dumbstruck! It gets dark around 5 p.m. in February!

One doesn't have to approve of what we did under any circumstances, but it's really illustrative in my view of how it's so hard to reach common ground. People are also certain that we shot both dogs while they were in cages.

Just read the first post on this thread. All caps, and time for us to go to prison.

How did we get here?

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 13, 2010 | 10:19 p.m.

@ Eric Cox: "The sad part about this is that this has completely destroyed any trust I had in the CPD, it really has nothing to do with the dog. I just find it absurd that a police dog has more rights than I do, one of the people who work to pay taxes that provided that dog. It has mostly has to do with the obvious fact that most of the officers working for the CPD believe that these actions were justified, and I find that ethically questionable..."

I read this several times Eric, and you're kind of all over the place.

You've lost trust in us, but it had nothing to do with the dog. Then you're back on Police K9 law along with the questions you asked earlier. Then onto an assessment of how we feel in general about this incident.

I don't see the linkage between this incident and the questions and comments you had about K9 statutes, but maybe you can clarify if you feel like it.

(Report Comment)
Louise Dotter May 13, 2010 | 10:36 p.m.

As a retired probation officer ( AZ Maricopa County) who has participated in many drug searches I have the following comments:
A SEARCH warrant is NOT the same as an ARREST warrant. In doing a search I always found that daylight hours were best, no drama, no need for a SWAT team, BECAUSE there was no PROBABLE CAUSE, only suspicion of criminal activity. IF I had PROBABLE CAUSE and EVIDENCE of FELONY violations I would call in the heavy guns. What these guys did was swat a fly with howitzer. Completely unnecessary and most likely illegal. The officers should be brought up on charges and the department reprimanded! This is a blatant and flagrant abuse of power by the police!

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken May 13, 2010 | 10:46 p.m.

You seem really hung up on the little details yet completely missing the big picture. It's not a corgi, it wasn't "the middle of the night," etc. It was still well after dark. The little details not being correct may be really annoying but at the end of the day my point still stands.

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 13, 2010 | 10:47 p.m.

I have a better idea. Why don't someone demand for the police to produce the alleged confidential informants. How did they get it so wrong? I know why . They don't exist. Or only one does and the law requires two. I have actual first hand knowledge about this practice of making up the imaginary second witness because duplicitous public defenders (that are paid by the municipalities) never demand verification.
Some of us know the game. This is a huge exercise in avoiding personal liability for their acts. Don't worry the county has a guilty plea so they will have some qualified immunity for the cops. Unless of course someone discovers the perjured warrant....

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 13, 2010 | 10:51 p.m.

Gosh darn if an ex-cop from Maricopa County , AZ says you went too far .... OMG I'm gettting light-headed at the thought...

(Report Comment)
Louise Dotter May 13, 2010 | 11:14 p.m.

NOT a cop, a PROBATION officer. (Though I did have a shiny badge to flash! )
We, the people of United States of America, need to hold ALL of our officials accountable for behaviors that do not conform to our Constitution and/or to the basic belief we all have in the Golden Rule - DO NOTHING TO OTHERS THAT YOU WOULD NOT WANT DONE TO YOU! Would those officers want someone to invade their home on the evidence presented to them? I doubt it!

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 14, 2010 | 12:14 a.m.

I don't understand why Mr. Whitworth took a plea? I don't think you can find 12 Jurors anywhere in the USA that would find him guilty.

I would have taken this right into a Jury Trial. I don't even think there was any jail time attached to this charge, even if he was found guilty...

And there were larger considerations to make, other than just taking a plea.....

Rick.

(Report Comment)
angie mahma May 14, 2010 | 1:11 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Eric Cox May 14, 2010 | 5:12 a.m.

Ok Tom it's like this; I continue to hear statements from the CPD similar to "we were going with the information we had at the time", well it's your job to gather the information so if it's bad then it's because you didn't do your job correctly. Then based on that bad information you terrorized a mother and child, violate their home and destroy their property. Then after no real evidence is found Burton and the CPD continue to assert that this man is guilty of a crime there is not a shred of evidence to prove. But knowing all of this the members of the CPD SWAT team raided this mans home endangered his family and his neighbors. I find those actions to be morally wrong, and I guess I'm just idealistic enough that I want my law enforcement to know right from wrong and have a moral backbone.

That clear enough for you?

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 14, 2010 | 6:33 a.m.

Tom,

Sorry I didn't address you actual question, it's early I should have waited until I had been up longer.

However the overall premise is the same as my last post.
How does the K9 unit apply to this incident; loosely. But like this. You are a police officer, but first you are a citizen of the United States and as such you have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a right that is to extended to all people. Now some of the people decide to work in a field that was designed to protect these basic rights of humanity and we call those people the police, that is you.
Now while we are hold the lives of all men equally, we made a provision to the law to punish those would harm those people (police) more harshly, and while I also believe in equality under the law it's a noble sentiment that I can also find logical justification to support.

But to raise a dog to that status is completely illogical, and is full of the same misguided emotion that you are facing now. A person who makes the choice to be a police officer makes a choice most people understand an animal can't make, a dog is a pack animal and the dog you use to apprehend criminals does so out of loyalty to his handler and not because he made the noble choice to uphold the rights of citizens by enforcing the law. But dogs are animals and ultimately property. However you support a system in which your dog is an officer of the law and afforded more rights than a human (who's right have been established and which are difficult to maintain with a huge German Shepherd severing their femoral artery), so if your dog can have those rights why can my dog not have those rights. A dog see it's handle as part of the pack, so if your dog is special for protecting the pack. Why isn't my dog at least as valuable as me for doing the same thing. I guess what I'm saying is it shouldn't be about the dog, but I'm for equal protection under the law so if your animal can be extended the rights of a police officer then it is only logical that my animal should be extended some human rights as well, of course all of which is completely illogical, but you seem to support it. And maybe I feel that just points to a deeper issue on how you view the citizens that you are hired to protect, as animals.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 14, 2010 | 6:35 a.m.

"You seem really hung up on the little details yet completely missing the big picture. It's not a corgi, it wasn't "the middle of the night," etc. It was still well after dark. The little details not being correct may be really annoying but at the end of the day my point still stands."

Clear on that. Thank you for engaging me on even the little stuff.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dresner May 14, 2010 | 6:40 a.m.

Louise said, "BECAUSE there was no PROBABLE CAUSE, only suspicion of criminal activity?"

Actually Louise, since you're using legal terms, I would have to disagree.

The warrant is considered that probable cause had been established.

It may not have been established to your satisfaction, or to the satisfaction of most here, but it was to the satisfaction of s sitting circuit court judge.

That's whose opinion matters when dealing in these legal areas. So while you may declare the probable cause null and void to your mind, the fact remains that it was a valid search warrant obtained through the proper legal channels.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez May 14, 2010 | 7:35 a.m.

@John Hull Horrible comparison.
@Louise Dotter thank you for the laughter.

I wonder still if any of the keyboard commandos with the exception of My Gurley(who truly knows what he is talking about from a long time of experience) actually read what Mr Dresner posted about how when SWAT enters a house that any distraction could be considered as a "threat" at that moment in time.

From my little knowledge when SWAT enters any home or place they do not ever have 100% knowledge of anything. They take the entry one step at a time I am sure with the "Threat/No Threat" point of view and they are moving fast to eliminate any threats at that time. This is not some game this is a life and death situation. Yes a barking or seemingly vicious dog such a a Pitt Bull or any dog could be considered a threat or even a distraction that yes could get an officer killed in the line of duty. That is a fact I see the keyboard commandos totally over looking in all of this. The safety of the officer(s)lives first and foremost.

By the posts of the keyboard commandos they must be secret closet members of PETA.

The keyboard commandos would complain no matter what was used in shooting the dogs no matter if it was a tranquilizer gun(they take to long to make a immediate difference as in not practical) or a Taser(heaven forbid there huh?) or whatever was used. They only see the dogs and not the lives of the officers.

They also fail to mention but I will here that not all drug users/dealers only use/sell one drug. Many use/sell Meth and other drugs too. Fact. The keyboard commandos fail to post about this guy's past drug history if any as well. Oppss,what like that does not matter does it?

All in all the keyboard commandos with the exception of Mr Gurley who is obviously far more intelligent in these issues fail to present a valid point and are only posting from knee jerk reactions out of a lack of any serious education about SWAT Tactics as a whole.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez May 14, 2010 | 7:47 a.m.

Another honest and good question here since nobody has dared to bring this up but I will is if the guy who was raided was African American would the calling of CPD,SWAT and Mr Burton's heads to roll be so extremely called for?

Seems that the last time CPD SWAT raided a home where Pit Bulls were owned by an African American were present and shot that no public out cry like we have now was screamed about such as this one.

Oh yes I dare to go there because it is a huge factor in this issue. Seems to me a bit of hypocrisy on the part of the keyboard commandos not only here but on that other paper too.

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 14, 2010 | 8:21 a.m.

Anyone can get a valid search warrant when the basis of it is unsubstantiated claims from anonymous citizens. They are handed out based on "information and belief" not "first hand personal knowledge". Where are the 2 individuals that obviously lied to the police? Why aren't they being charged with filing making false report? If you read the warrant the 2 anonymous "witnesses" claim there was a "large amount of high grade marijuana". I seriously doubt this guy went from pounds of weed to scraping his pipe in 24 hours.
I would bet good money that either one or both of the anonymous citizens don't exist.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 14, 2010 | 8:38 a.m.

Carlos, I would like to address a few points here... I just got up, so I am still a bit groggy.

First, I do have some experience with dynamic entry into a house. And I do have some experience with apprehending fugitives. But, I would not really compare that to SWAT serving a search warrant. My job was to make entry into the home (not always a dynamic entry, most often times a simple knock and a conversation convincing the person at the door to let me in), find the fugitive and exit with the fugitive as quickly and safely as possible. When SWAT serves a search warrant, the objective is completely different.

Secondly, SWAT is supposed to be training regularly in their line of work. I believe they do. They are pretty current on the latest weaponry and technology for doing their job. They are pretty current on the latest tactics for performing their duties. Utilized properly, they are a highly effective, lifesaving force. I won't even attempt to qualify myself as having the level of training and expertise that they do, it would simply be completely inaccurate.

Thirdly, I believe that the members of this SWAT Team are good people at heart that made some terrible mistakes that they should be held accountable for. I don't believe that there was any malice in what they did the night of the raid, but I do believe that we should expect them to consider the most peaceful approach possible in these raids. I know one of the SWAT Team Members personally, he has been in my home, and he is simply a good man with a heart of gold. He is soft spoken, unassuming, kind hearted, and he does not portray himself as a "tough guy". I hate to see him have to go through this terrible ordeal. I suspect most of the members of the SWAT Team are much like him.

Having said that, I should also say that I thank you for your confidence in me; Carlos.

I believe that the single most critical mistake here was what I would call a "disconnect" between a thorough gathering of accurate and real time intelligence and the SWAT Team Deployment in the raid on Mr. Whitworth's home. I believe that there were numerous ways to gather real time intelligence, that would have allowed the SWAT Team to have greater knowledge of what was on the other side of Mr. Whitworth's door the night of the entry, and that would have led to a better thought out approach to executing this search warrant than what we have seen here. Fortunately, Chief Burton caught this, and made the appropriate changes.

What you said about drug dealers dealing other drugs, or a variety of drugs is very true. However in this case, the evidence did not support this statement.

Thank you for your time and confidence, Carlos.

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 14, 2010 | 9:49 a.m.

Carlos Sanchez,

Right, if it were a black guy I'd be sending the police a dozen roses and a love note, grow up. And thinking people are generally racially motivated is a good indication that you are racially motivated or in your terminology a racist. I personally had heard about this raid and didn't get upset at the time because I too believed that the police were "good people" with a tough job, and that their actions were most likely justified, but the video showed me otherwise.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 14, 2010 | 9:51 a.m.

I have said my piece here and am finished posting on the Missourian about it. I will however continue to pressure my councilman, and the mayor. I encourage all people to contact their councilman and the mayor. If you do not know who your councilman is or what ward you are in you can find that information here. http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Meet...

Councilman Dudley is at Hy-Vee Kitchen on West Broadway from 4-6 P.M. on the Thursday before council meetings for the 4th ward residents. I went down and spoke to him personally yesterday, I also sent him an email but I didn't want him to mistakenly believe that I was just some "Keyboard Commando".

It's my understanding there will be an informal protest in front of the Post Office Saturday May 15th beginning at 8:00 A.M.

And there is a City Council meeting Monday May 17th at 7:00 P.M. Which I didn't receive official permission to speak at due to the number of people already requesting to speak, but I will be attending, sans keyboard.

(Report Comment)
Clyde Barrow May 14, 2010 | 9:55 a.m.

Carlos, you keep denigrating these "keyboard commandos" who have a problem with a SWAT team going berserk on a non-violent pot bust. You keep apologizing for the police with this one size fits all excuse that you never know how dangerous it is on the other side of the door. That is not working for you with anyone with any discernment (which is practically everyone). The police action was WAY out of proportion. It was abusive and everyone knows it and now people want justice and are not buying the excuses. There are indeed some "keyboard commandos" but there are also some "Keyboard Bootlickers" who apologize for everything the police do, no matter how outrageous.

(Report Comment)
Louise Dotter May 14, 2010 | 10:02 a.m.

Rick is correct 'that the single most critical mistake here was what I would call a "disconnect" between a thorough gathering of accurate and real time intelligence and the SWAT Team Deployment in the raid on Mr. Whitworth's home. I believe that there were numerous ways to gather real time intelligence, that would have allowed the SWAT Team to have greater knowledge of what was on the other side of Mr. Whitworth's door the night of the entry, and that would have led to a better thought out approach to executing this search warrant'.

The cops in this case used the search warrant INSTEAD of proper intelligence gathering which involves observation, investigation and plain hard work! I've seen this too often where officers use weak or, yes, even fabricated, "Probable cause" to get at a suspect through a search warrant and then, if they don't find any hard evidence (which frequently happens) arrest the suspect for "obstruction" or any other garbage charge they can get away with. This misuse of search warrant raids to gather information/evidence instead of using non-violent investigative methods is one of the biggest problems in law enforcement today in every state! It is really not that hard to determine if someone is dealing drugs — a little observation, inquiry, time, and hard, often boring WORK. That's what we pay our police officers FOR - not to act like paramilitary thugs!

(Report Comment)
Susan Johnson May 14, 2010 | 10:11 a.m.

You know, Carlos, after seeing your posts constantly “pop up”, I want to say something to you. First, NAME-CALLING like “keyboard commandos” and MAKING INSINUATIONS like “they must be secret closet members of PETA” are really disrespectful. Is it necessary?

I don’t think so, and it ends up just being a poor reflection on you, Carlos. You know? You *should* be on the side of the public, in general, and not so argumentative. We are living in a day and age where politicians are paid off by lobbyists who are paid off by corporations who are controlled by the FEDERAL RESERVE who is controlled by the super elites of the world. Not only that, Americans have to worry about Wall Street and the likes of Goldman Sachs' casino who change themselves into a bank over ONE weekend, so they can get their hands into a never-ending pot of government gold. You know?

Don’t you think it’s time we all get together as Americans? Look at the chaos in D.C., Carlos! Wake up!

It’s not just that the Department killed a dog (which is bad enough), but it’s that anyone observing realizes, that this type of arrest should have been done OUTSIDE THE HOME in the driveway, and AWAY from the house and dogs and kids.

People reading this, watching this, and reading the “reactions” of the department personnel, which I’m sure you are, are not stupid. Think about it. We spend taxpayer’s money to invade a citizen’s home for a pittance of marijuana? Good grief. I mean that really says it all, not to mention the fact taxpayers have spent BILLIONS OF DOLLARS for a “drug war” that never ends!

So, Carlos, just realize there are “intelligent”, correction, “very intelligent” people blogging this, and the least you could do is resist the temptation to name-call. Ok?

And, you need to RE-READ Rick’s response. It was good. And, relax, would you?

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 14, 2010 | 10:14 a.m.

I am going to repost in hopes that somebody has an answer as to what the LAW passed in Columbia regarding cannabis is. I find it very disturbing NOBODY but Columbia attorney Dan Viets even seems concerned whether or not the VOTERS WILL concerning the ordinance passed is being carried out. Don't sweep this issue under the rug, can anyone address this?

Article quote: "Viets also brought up a 2004 ordinance that said marijuana should not be a high priority for the "limited resources" of the department".

1- Is anyone familiar with the exact language of the 2004 ordinace passed by Columbia voters?

2- Is Chief Burton familiar with the 2004 ordinance passed by Columbuia voters?

3- Is the ordinance (and will of the voters) being followed or ignored by CPD staff and do we have hard data to show which is really the case?

4- Is CPD in violation of the 2004 ordinance and what are the ramifications in events where 'the law' fails to follow the law?

Anyone know?
Thanks.

(Report Comment)
Paul Mossine May 14, 2010 | 10:43 a.m.

Mr. Kabler,
Here is a link to the exact wording of the marijuana ordinance passed in 2004-

http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Colu...

Hope this helps!

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez May 14, 2010 | 11:24 a.m.

@Eric Cox so you failed to really answer my question. Where was huge public out cry as this incident is over a dog(s) being shot that are owned by a Black Male? There were none as huge as this is with crowds flooding City Hall and the keyboard commandos storming the blogs. Hypocrites. You keyboard commandos scream out for justice for the White Man but not for the Black Man who went through a similar situation? So pathetic! And you dare to refer to me as racist??!!

@Susan Johnson I do not hold the CPD in high regards in this issue as you claim but the officers over all safety does come first so they can be able to go home to their families at end of shift.

@keyboard commandos in general. Turn the situation around the other way and lets say CPD SWAT ignored the dog(s),officer(s) gets bit or distracted unexpectedly and the officer(s) attention is taken off suspects long enough for suspect or suspects girl friend to grab a gun and shoot an officer(s). Now what would your reaction be? Oh you never thought of it that way you you are saying to yourself now?

Then you should before you go knee jerk posting about things obviously you have not thought out every possible scenario about. It just makes you look bad.

Yes I post but only when the ugliness of ignorance runs rampant and tries to breed even more ignorance out of a mole hill.

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 14, 2010 | 12:00 p.m.

Thanks, Paul for the link to the ordinance, very interesting.

(Report Comment)
Clyde Barrow May 14, 2010 | 12:13 p.m.

Gee, Carlos, I guess if I get pulled over for a traffic violation the police should spray my car with bullets and drag my wife out by her hair. After all, I might have a gun?

What won't you sign on for, Carlos? It isn't your common sense as much as your loyalty that is defective. This is obvious over-the-top police abuse and anyone with any sense knows it the moment they see it; your issue seems to be that you are 100 percent for the abuse (your "anything goes" excuse being "officer safety"). Which is sad.

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 14, 2010 | 5:54 p.m.

One last interesting link concerning this story in regard to the attitude I often see expressed by some/many LEO's. Though this link is to a blog by SL police, when one reads through it one senses an almost HATRED of the public, that I unfortunately have seen echoed by even many LEO's in the Columbia area, in their indicriminate name calling of citizens 'scumbags' etc. (and much worse)

I'm sure the job of being a police officer must be very trying and I'm sure too, frustration with many of the problems encountered daily must really test one's self control, especially if one takes the job to the extreme where an officer feels like it's his/her duty to try and reshape the world according to their own special preference and becomes a zealot. I would just hope officers though, learn to see many of the people they encounter everyday as not really too different than themselves, many with problems and issues often not entirely of their own making and many just trying to somehow make it through another day. I realize having said this though that this cuts both ways.

http://members.boardhost.com/stlouiscopt...

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 14, 2010 | 7:31 p.m.

ARE COPS CONSTITUTIONAL?
http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/c...

Police work is often lionized by jurists and scholars who claim to employ "textualist" and "originalist" methods of constitutional interpretation. Yet professional police were unknown to the United States in 1789, and first appeared in America almost a half-century after the Constitution's ratification. The Framers contemplated law enforcement as the duty of mostly private citizens, along with a few constables and sheriffs who could be called upon when necessary. This article marshals extensive historical and legal evidence to show that modern policing is in many ways inconsistent with the original intent of America's founding documents. The author argues that the growth of modern policing has substantially empowered the state in a way the Framers would regard as abhorrent to their foremost principles.

Learn your true rights at www.suijurisclub.net
Only for men and women that want off the nanny state's teet

(Report Comment)
dean schneller May 14, 2010 | 8:13 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Louise Dotter May 14, 2010 | 8:29 p.m.

Sorry, as much as I reject the SWAT teams actions I cannot condone protesting in front of Tom Dresner's home (OR publishing his address). DO NOTHING TO OTHERS YOU WOULD NOT WANT DONE TO YOU! Would those who seek to protest the police actions want to have people who disagree with them gathering to protest outside THEIR home? The whole issue in this controversy is the sanctity of one's home and safety of one's family. In this case the suspect's home was violated without probable cause - it serves NO purpose to subject Mr. Dresner and his family to the same type of abuse! Two wrongs do not make a right and will only serve to entrench hatred and fear. Better to gather in some public place and seek reconciliation. In fact the city council might want to hire a mediator to facilitate just such a conclusion to this sad state of affairs.

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 14, 2010 | 8:53 p.m.

Get to the root of the problem. Demand release of the names of the informants that made the false accusations. The police should be dragging them over the coals for putting them in that situation in the first place.

(Report Comment)
Jaime Casinova May 14, 2010 | 8:55 p.m.

Hey guys, don't be one of those so-called "keyboard commandos", educate yourselves more on the issues we're talking about here and you just might find that these types of instances are not all that uncommon across the country, including killing dogs. Here are a few links to help get you started on better understanding some of the negative ramifications we suffer from the overuse of tactical teams. And please, try not to "hate" cops in general, there are a lot of good ones out there and they are extremely important to us. They are also outnumbered in most instances and they badly need our support.

http://stash.norml.org/home-destroyed-an...

http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/balko_...

http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/632/...

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5663...

(Report Comment)
Geoff Eastman May 14, 2010 | 9:14 p.m.

I agree, protesting the Chief of police's house is not going to get anything done. Request a town meeting, and protest at the city hall. What has this country come to that people can't enjoy their evening at home worried about police raids crashes your door in and doing what ever they want inside your property. I believe thats what these orginizations want, citizens to see what they are capable of getting away with. Are we to be in fear, paranoid, I say no. Little by little the government has taken our rights and freedom away using security as the main reason. It started over 100 years ago, and has progressed to the here and now. We need to wake up and get highly intelligent individuals to lead this country out of its dilema.

(Report Comment)
Henry Bowman May 14, 2010 | 9:44 p.m.

Questions from the WRSA article:

1) Where have the names of the officers involved in this raid been published? Please provide the link(s).

2) Where is a copy of the applicable search warrant and supporting affidavit available to the public? I am sure you have a copy of each document or can get same, so we would be happy to publish the warrant and affidavit once you load a .pdf of it to scribd.com.

3) Since 1/1/2009, how many times has the Columbia SWAT team been deployed?

4) For each deployment referenced in question #3, what felony arrests and what misdemeanor arrests were made?

5) For each arrest referenced in question #4, what was the final disposition of each arrest?

6) For each SWAT team deployment referenced in question #3 that involved the execution of a search warrant, what specific contraband (i.e., guns, drugs, etc.) was seized?

7) For each SWAT team deployment referenced in question #3 that involved the execution of a search warrant, what specific non-contraband (i.e., data files, paper records, clothing, etc.) was seized?

8) For each SWAT team deployment referenced in question #3 that involved the execution of a search warrant, where can the public obtain copies of each warrant and its supporting affidavit(s)?

9) Since 1/1/08, how much Federal funding, of whatever type and including grants in kind such as vehicles and other equipment, has been received by the Columbia PD?

10) Since 1/1/08, how much of the Federal funding referenced in question 9 has been used in resourcing the Columbia PD SWAT team?

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 14, 2010 | 10:15 p.m.

Louise is "dead on correct".

Leave Mr. Desener's home and family alone!

Don't cause his family any distress. Don't invade his personal life. Let him have his privacy.

Mr. Dresner had very little to do with this whole debacle, he is just trying to "clean up the wounds and help the community heal"; after the fact. He is a good and decent person, and does not deserve this.

I don't think any reasonable person on this forum can condone this, or can even fathom being there Saturday.

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 14, 2010 | 11:07 p.m.

"The whole issue in this controversy is the sanctity of one's home and safety of one's family."

Agreed Louise, You summed up a major part of the concern in a nutshell, It was a major part of the Founders' concerns enshrined in the 4th amend., likely though it goes beyond that, and that is why deploy MAJOR components in situations VOTERS have deemed MINOR! Why is the ordinance Columbia voters approved not being followed?

(Report Comment)
Holly Stringer May 14, 2010 | 11:38 p.m.

This is mostly directed at Carla and Karl, I have read all of your comments about the raid in Columbia. Carla, it's obvious that you are friends the the family that was raided, therefore you are biased and one cannot take your comments seriously. Karl, I have seen your comments on here and Tribune, and obviously you dislike the CPD very much. If you are going to talk trash on the CPD, get your facts straight. I would like to know why it is so important for the names of the officers involved to be released? What are you going to do, send them more death threats? They were only doing their jobs, what they were ORDERED to do! Do you not do your job at work? Or do you just defy you boss? They are not to blame here, the man whose house got raided is!!!! Obvioulsy if he hadn't been doing something wrong in the first place, the CPD wouldn't have been there and we wouldn't be in this situation now! Should they have executed the warrant earlier, yes, they should have, then he would have been caught with what they believed to be there period! So it's just a case of too little too late, waiting too long and the REAL bad guy getting away with what probably would have been at least 5 years time. Stop and think about this...what if it were your son or daughter on SWAT team who participated in this raid, would you be so willing and quick to ask for their names to be released or demand that they be fired or prosecuted for their role in this raid? They were just doing what they were ordered to do, and following policy, it's their job!!! You all condemn them and call them out, but who are you going to call the next time you are violated in some criminal matter? I'm sure it wont be the Ghostbusters!

(Report Comment)
Clyde Barrow May 15, 2010 | 12:11 a.m.

From what we can gather the man who lived there was a landscaper who may have also made money painting address numbers on curbs. The police allegedly found one gram of pot after coming in hot as if it was a hostage situation and blew away a dog wearing a PINK SWEATER. A PINK SWEATER!!

This is going to only get bigger.

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 15, 2010 | 12:43 a.m.

@ henry bowman

Here's a link to the warrant affidavit

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/media/...

(Report Comment)
Louise Dotter May 15, 2010 | 7:01 a.m.

I swore I was not going to post again but Holly's comment "Obvioulsy if he hadn't been doing something wrong in the first place, the CPD wouldn't have been there" has got to countered! Blaming the victim and excusing the police because "they were only following orders." is cillingly similar to arguments used in Germany by a certain group of psycopaths in the 1940s.

As for the Holly's first comment: Suspect/victim was not doing anything so "wrong" according to the referedum Columbia citizens passed in 2004 which resulted in an ordinance that states:
(a) The purpose of this section is to ensure that adults as defined by state criminal statutes , other than those excluded herein, are not arrested and suffer only a fine and/or community service or counseling and no other punishment or penalty, for the possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and/or marijuana paraphernalia. This section shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes.

As for Holly's second comment. "They were only doing their jobs, what they were ORDERED to do!" At the trial of those German psycopaths the following law was applied: Nuremberg Principle IV

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

The members of the SWAT team always have a moral choice TO DO NOTHING TO OTHERS S/HE WOULD NOT WANT DONE TO THEM!

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox May 15, 2010 | 10:11 a.m.

What I'm sending today:

This is in reference to CPD Police Chief Burton and the CPD's use of SWAT on Jonathan Withworth's home on Feb 11 2010.

Police Chief Burton is hired to uphold the laws of the city of Columbia. The citizens of Columbia have passed legislation stating;

Ord. No. 18188

Section 16-255.2 Polices for enforcing marijuana offenses.-

(f) “The limited resources of law enforcement should be directed
primarily toward crimes of violence or property loss. The enforcement of laws
against marijuana shall be the lowest law enforcement priority.

By using an eight man SWAT team to serve a search warrant and subsequently arrest a man for a misdemeanor possession of marijuana Chief Burton and the CPD have shown that they are either incapable of following the law or of have blatant disregard for the laws and people of the city of Columbia. Therefore Burton is guilty of insubordination, and should be severely disciplined, due to his rank and the egregiousness of the offense, it is my personal opinion that discipline should be termination.

I urge you as my elected official to act on this matter.

(Report Comment)
Charles Amberson May 15, 2010 | 11:33 a.m.

Apologies if this question has been answered (and if so, please point me to the answer.)

I'm really confused as to why Mr. Whitworth was arrested.

According to this: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/C...

"When any law enforcement officer suspects any adult as defined by state criminal statutes , other than those excluded herein, of possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and/or possession of marijuana paraphernalia, that person shall not be required to post bond, suffer arrest, be taken into custody for any purpose nor detained for any reason other than the issuance of a summons, suffer incarceration, suffer loss of driver's license, or any other punishment or penalty other than the issuance of a summons."

Why was he arrested? Is it because of prior arrests/convictions, as excepted in section C. ? If so I can't find a specific reference to that in any of the case documents released so far, and I'm wondering how it's established whether or not someone is protected by (b). By what procedure do police decide and establish this about a suspect? Did they go in there knowing, i.e. "okay if we find nothing more than residue or paraphernalia we can arrest him anyway because of conviction x, y, or z?" And if so, doesn't the fact that they arrived at that conclusion need to be documented somewhere? Or is it, in the end, the officers' judgement that determines whether or not to arrest someone (Seems like a clear violation of the statute: there must be something I'm not getting.)

Or is it the "endangerment of a child" charge that makes him arrestable? (And wouldn't that amount to a nullification of the statute for anyone who has kids, regardless of prior arrest record? If so are there other charges like that that could nullify the statute for people with no kids?)

What is different about Mr. Whitworth that exempts him from the (apparently) plain meaning of the law prohibiting his arrest?

(I posted a version of this question on Trib article as well and no one has an answer.)

(Report Comment)
Charles Amberson May 15, 2010 | 11:49 a.m.

apologies: the link got truncated.

Here's the full link: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Colu...

(Report Comment)
Louise Dotter May 15, 2010 | 11:59 a.m.

This is my LAST post: This from a CA PD would seem to provide a good model for all SWAT units to follow:

I am a captain with the our local city Police Department .. in charge of the Support Services Division .. SWAT team.

I have reviewed .. the Fox News video. To say the least, the video is shocking... I would like to provide you with some information about our policies and protocols for the use of SWAT.

In our city, all SWAT deployments, except in an immediate emergency, must be approved by the chief of police. Our SWAT team is not used for “routine” search warrant service – even in drug dealing circumstances. The .. Missouri SWAT team appears to be a “routine” warrant service that would not be approved. SWAT is essentially deployed only in the following circumstances:

Where an armed suspect is barricaded, refuses to surrender and is believed to be capable of killing or inflicting serious injury on a citizen or a police officer.
Where a location of a search/arrest warrant is fortified, barricaded or reinforced in such a manner exceeding the capabilities of regular police officers.

Where a suspect is believed to be armed, dangerous or threatening and there is a likelihood of an armed confrontation if conventional police tactics are employed

(In) California an untested, unreliable informant cannot be used as the sole basis for a search/arrest warrant. The police must independently establish probable cause substantiating that evidence of a crime is at a particular location. The probably cause is then presented to a judge (in writing except in extreme emergencies where an oral/recorded affidavit is presented) who then makes a determination as to whether or not probable cause exists for the issuance of a warrant. Once a warrant has been issued by a judge, it must be served by a peace officer in a timely fashion.

Generally, if SWAT is requested for the service of a search warrant, the situation must be evaluated and meet the above criteria. The SWAT team and detectives then conduct database searches and actual reconnaissance of the location to determine if there are factors which might indicate that a warrant should NOT be served – such as the presence of children, elderly persons, etc. SWAT always looks for alternatives to serving a “dynamic” warrant such as the one depicted in the Fox News video. Two common alternatives are (1) placing a location under surveillance and following away suspects when they leave so that they may be arrested on the street, away from a location. Detectives may then return to the location and serve the search warrant, presumably, on a vacant location. And (2) where use of a SWAT team is warranted, SWAT may surround the location and “call out” any suspects. When the suspects come outside, they are detained.

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 15, 2010 | 2:25 p.m.

I'll answer your query T. Citizen.
Why did they arrest?
It's simple. The police must "up the ante" to avoid private personal liability for the public officials involved.
A failure to arrest anyone is pretty good evidence the warrant was baseless.
Unfortunately for the police the DA accepted a misdemeanor plea....which I suspect is the reason it isn't publicly available because it is proof of a false imprisonment.

Anyone can arrest anyone they won't , that doesn't make it lawful.
In fact an arrest is presumptively unlawful , it is up to the arresting party to justify it when there is a claim of false imprisonment.
How will the police justify this arrest? With the court record of a misdemeanor charge based on a faulty search warrant? Not an arrest warrant... a SEARCH WARRANT
Good luck with that!

(Report Comment)
Sam Hellerman May 15, 2010 | 3:32 p.m.

Interesting, Dana. That explains why the police *want* to charge him with as serious an offense as they can.

But surely, they can't disregard the statute that specifically rules out arrest for the precise circumstances they find their suspect in when they search him. At least, it seems like there would be repercussions if they tried to do that, and I can't believe this would be the very first time. If the police routinely do disregard the law in this situation, wouldn't this have come up before? Has it?

At the very least, shouldn't they have an explanation for why they, to all appearances, failed to follow the law as it stands in this case? Shouldn't they be asked for one?

I guess I'm wondering what the police's defense against a charge of unlawful arrest could possibly be in this case, since the law appears to limit their options to issuing a summons. (Unless this guy is in in the excluded category because of prior convictions, in which case I'm really curious about the procedure for establishing that he is in fact in the class of suspects to whom the decriminalization statute does not apply.)

I'm grasping at that exclusion, even though there doesn't appear to be any claim on the affidavit or in the report that refers to it, because otherwise I really can't get my head around it. It makes no sense.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 15, 2010 | 6:23 p.m.

There has been a lot of discussion about Mr. Whitworth's charges. In regards to the charges against Mr. Whitworth, the Police were not wrong. The Police had every right to arrest and incarcerate Mr. Whitworth. Please let me explain.

The charge that most of you are referring to here is possession of marijuana; 35 grams or less. Which simply calls for a citation, in which a fine can be paid and there is no jail time authorized. This makes this a "non-criminal offense" under §557.021, RSMo and §556.021, RSMo because it does not authorize imprisonment. This is not even classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, it is classified as an infraction.

However; Mr. Whitworth was also charged with "Use or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia" §195.233, RSMo; which is a Class A Misdemeanor and DOES authorize imprisonment that exceeds six months in jail.

The Police were fully within their rights to arrest Mr. Whitworth the night of the raid.

Now, I am not saying the raid was justified. I am not saying that there was probable cause to issue the search warrant. I am not saying that the Detective had enough evidence to apply for the search warrant to begin with. I am not saying that the Prosecutor did a thorough job on applying to the Judge for the search warrant. I am not saying that the Judge did a thorough job on insuring that the search warrant was in order and "passed the PC test". I am not defending the actions of SWAT the night they raided Mr. Whitworth's home.

But what I am saying is that singularly speaking; on the arrest alone and by itself, the Police were within their rights to make the arrest and cause Mr. Whitworth to be incarcerated with a bond setting.

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Sam Hellerman May 15, 2010 | 6:48 p.m.

Thanks for the answer, Rick. I guess that explains it. It sounds like you know what you're talking about.

It seems pretty loopy to decriminalize the drug, but not the "paraphernalia." Could that really have been the intent of the ordinance when it was passed? I'm not too knowledgeable about the ins and outs of cannabis use, but wouldn't that render the putative decriminalization ordinance null and void, de facto, in pretty much all cases? I mean, you need some "paraphernalia" to consume it, I'd have thought. Seems along the lines of making beer legal, as long as it isn't drunk from a bottle, can, glass, or cup.

(Report Comment)
Sam Hellerman May 15, 2010 | 6:58 p.m.

Hey wait a minute, Rick!

Here's what that ordinance says:

"The purpose of this section is to ensure that adults as defined by state criminal statutes , other than those excluded herein, are not arrested and suffer only a fine and/or community service or counseling and no other punishment or penalty, for the possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and/or marijuana paraphernalia. This section shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes."

(Reading from this: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Colu...)

It's true that this says paraphernalia is illegal: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Colu...

But that predates the decriminalization ordinance, which also states:

"( e ) Any city ordinance or regulation that is inconsistent with this section shall be null and void and is hereby repealed effective immediately."

Paraphernalia is included in the decriminalization ordinance, unless I'm really misreading it.

So, it kinda seems like you might be wrong there, so my question still stands.

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 15, 2010 | 8:35 p.m.

@ Ricky Gurley

Obviously whether or not SWAT had a right to arrest, hinges on whether they had a right to be in the house in the first place. Fruit of the poison tree.

(Report Comment)
gina sangricoli May 15, 2010 | 9:01 p.m.

Just curious don't any officers carry pepper spray or tazers? I am a Police Officer in NY and these are non lethal and with deter any dog. We carry them and so does our Swat team. Maybe NY Police Departments value people's house pets and don't use them as target practice.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 15, 2010 | 9:11 p.m.

Pretty good points Sam and Dana. I'll address those real quick.

First, Sam; Statutory Law trumps Local City Ordinances. No way around it, it is just that way. If one law is not congruent with the other, then the higher law prevails. In this case we have Local City Ordinances v. State Statutes; of course we can see which one will "win out". Not even a local Circuit Court Judge can make a ruling that does not follow statutory law. Statutory law trumps even a sitting state Circuit Court Judge's court opinions.

Second, Dana; the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine does not apply here.. A good example of the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine is, if the SWAT Team had a search warrant identifying a kilo of cocaine to be found in the home of Mr. Whitworth, and they looked for it in a leather business card holder sitting in a drawer that they opened, then they would be violating the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. However, in this case, the search warrant seems to be fairly non-specific in regards to amount of weight of the marijuana that they are alleging was in Mr. Whitworth's home.

But Dana, you may have bought up an interesting point; if it were known exactly WHERE the SWAT Team found the marijuana seeds and pipes in the home of Mr. Whitworth.....

There are other issues to consider with regards to the warrant, though.. Validity and veracity may be good "attack vectors" to start with....

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Sam Hellerman May 15, 2010 | 9:26 p.m.

Okay, Rick, so doesn't that make the entire decriminalization ordinance meaningless (not just with regard to "paraphernalia," I mean, but the whole thing)? Is it just an empty gesture? Kind of a symbolic protest sort of thing, that police can ignore at will by invoking the statute?

Or is the MO statute as you describe, i.e., cannabis non-criminal but all devices employed in its use are criminal? If not, why isn't the possession of the small amount just as much a cause for arrest as the paraphernalia?

Just trying to understand how it works.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 16, 2010 | 12:33 a.m.

It is kind of curious, because I looked up possession of under 35 grams, and low and behold, it is a Class A Misdemeanor also......

All I can figure is the the crimes can be charged as an infraction in the city, but if it is in the county, it may fall outside of the jurisdiction of the city, and can then be charged as a misdemeanor under RSMo.

That is my best guess at this time.....

I am a bit baffled, myself.

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Sam Hellerman May 16, 2010 | 9:42 a.m.

"I am a bit baffled, myself."

I'm glad I'm not the only one!

I suppose the situation is: even though the voters in the city have required the police to behave as though these are non-criminal actions, the police aren't actually bound to follow the ordinance, and have recourse to state law if they choose, so they can decide to disregard the city ordinance if they like. (Say, if they really dislike the suspect, or if, as seems to be the case in this situation, merely issuing a summons instead of making an arrest would make the SWAT raid seem even more excessive and would generate even worse publicity for them.)

That seem right?

If so, that is a terrible set of incentives for good, safe, fair, law enforcement, arguably worse than if there were no city ordinance at all, since enforcement depends on the executive's whim. It certainly seems like bad faith on the part of the police with regard to the community they're meant to protect, even if they are technically within their rights to conduct themselves that way.

(In a sane world, the Fourth Amendment would "trump" all other laws in this situation, but current reading of that Amendment has been so eroded that the word "unreasonable" no longer has its common sense meaning. Shame.)

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 16, 2010 | 8:38 p.m.

My only point is SOMEONE is liable for the mistake.
I have to agree though ,probably not specifically SWAT because they were merely executing a warrant valid on it's face. But do they get the presumption of acting in the public interest when they are violating public policy?

That being said , it's obvious the government has a brilliant scheme of passing the buck all over the place so you can't figure out who has to pay for an injury the STATE inflicts.
SWAT claim immunity by blaming the judge for issuing the warrant.
The judge claim immunity by blaming the officer that applied for the warrant.
The officer claim immunity by blaming the cooperating citizen.
The municipality probably has some liability as well.
Either way , everyone acts at their own peril if their acts cause an injury.

(Report Comment)
Tom Czerniawski May 16, 2010 | 8:53 p.m.

Allan Sharrock said,

"People never want a cop around until they NEED a cop. Then they complain when they weren't there to protect their property or themselves. It is a thankless job and even less thankful in Columbia were it seems anarchy is wanted and people have some inherent right to say and act however they feel regardless of the law. People shouldn't be angry at cops enforcing the law. They should elect officials to change the law if they don't like it."

The people did not NEED a cop in this situation, though. The police caught a minor pothead. The collateral damage was one dead dog, one completely traumatized kid, and one outraged community. Did this really serve the community? Protect it?

That inherent right to say and act however people feel, which you so disagree with, has another name for it: the freedom of speech, and expression. The law serves to curtail and limit these freedoms, which may explain why your nation incarcerates approximately two million of its citizens. This isn't because there's a lot of criminals - it's because you've made so very many things illegal.

If you are concerned that police work is thankless, perhaps you should focus on enforcing laws which people will thank you for. You mentioned the protection of property. If you enforced, say, petty property theft - something some police organizations are a bit apathetic toward - with the same vigour you enforce drug laws, you'd have a lot of people grateful to you for returning their stuff. Instead of shooting folks' dogs, go after animal cruelty cases.

The simple fact is, a significant portion of the public now believes that a law prohibiting marijuana possession is unjust. That significant portion will indulge in defiance of the law, and view police with mistrust and hostility as a result of their counter-reaction. This isn't to say people want anarchy. They just want to be protected again, instead of having to view police as an encounter best avoided. The way to the community's heart is not through the front door with a ram and flashbangs.

As a sad aside, there's just been a similar incident in Detroit - it seems a police raid there, resulted in the fatal shooting of a 7-year old girl. Link:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/05/16/mich...

(Report Comment)
Tom Czerniawski May 16, 2010 | 11:45 p.m.

And, mind-bogglingly, yet another incident:

http://wsbradio.com/localnews/2010/05/wo...

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 17, 2010 | 1:51 a.m.

oh so tom dresner you were one of the shooters????? for your information the national humane society can prosecute you and your team!!!! i know this for a fact! i will see to it that the whole team is prosecuted for animal cruelty and animal abuse!!!!!!! your team violated missouri state statute on animal abuse and animal cruelty.noone has thr right to shoot a dog or any animal period end of story!!!!!! shame on you and your swat bullies!!!!!!!! by the way tom,do you have a dog? well i do and she is my friend and companion and is like a child to me and a part of my family.i hope those dogs you shot and killed come back to haunt you!!!!!
i hope you don,t sleep good at night!!!!!

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 17, 2010 | 2:04 a.m.

yes the shooters will be held accountable for their murderous actions!!!!!!! thankyou

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 17, 2010 | 2:10 a.m.

tom dresner,that is not what i saw in the video,those dogs were not in the entry way,both dogs were sick,and were patients at the columbia vetinary teaching hospital.there was no call to shoot the dogs.i heard in the video one of your officers saying leave the dog alone but yet your swat bullies shot the dogs anyway,which were in kennel crates,one in the kitchen from what i could see in the video.again,shame on you and your swat bullies!!!!!!! animal murderers!!!!!

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 17, 2010 | 2:14 a.m.

if chief ken burton hates the internet so much then why does he have a facebook page?

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 17, 2010 | 2:43 a.m.

F.Y.I.
the national humane society has a law enforcement division of the national humane society,when ever an animal abuse call or complaint is made the law enforcement division goes and investigates the call and or complaint,if there is proof that an abuse has been made to an animal an arrest can be made by the law enforcement division of the national humane society.maybe you all should watch animal planet animal cops!

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 17, 2010 | 4:08 a.m.

DOGS HAVE RIGHTS! ANIMALS HAVE RIGHTS! ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS JUST LIKE WE DO.THOSE DOGS DID NOT DESERVE TO GET SHOT.WHAT YOU DID WAS WRONG PERIOD! I DO NOT HATE LAW ENFORCEMENT,I HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT IN MY FAMILY,BUT THEY WOULD NEVER EVER SHOOT OR KILL AN INNOCENT ANIMAL.AM I AN ANIMAL ACTIVIST AND LOVE ANIMALS YES! I HAVE A NATURAL MATERNAL LOVE FOR ANIMALS.ANIMALS GIVE LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY! DOGS ARE NOW BEING USED IN THE MEDICAL WORLD AS SENSITIVES TO SNIFF OUT SUCH THINGS AS CANCER,STROKES,SEIZURES,DOGS CAN TELL IF SOMEONE IS SICK,OR IS ABOUT TO HAVE A SEIZURE,ALL BREEDS OF DOGS ARE BEING USED AS SENSITIVES.DOGS CAN EVEN SENSE AN EARTHQUAKE OR EVEN BAD WEATHER.MY DOG CAN TELL WHEN I,M NOT FEELING GOOD,SHE CAN TELL IF I,M SAD ABOUT SOMETHING,IF SHE SENSES THAT I,M NOT FEELING WELL SHE WILL COME AND LAY DOWN BESIDE ME.I HAVE INNER EAR IMBALANCE IF SHE SEE,S ME GET DIZZY SHE WILL HAVE ME SIT DOWN,SHE,LL STAY BESIDE ME UNTIL THE DIZZINESS SUBSIDES.DOGS CAN BE VERY LOVING ANIMALS IF PEOPLE WILL JUST GIVE THEM A CHANCE.I WONDER IF ANYONE ON THE SWAT TEAM HAS A DOG AND A COMPANION,HOW CAN YOU LOOK THEM IN THE EYE AFTER SHOOTING A DEFENSELESS DOG.I DON,T UNDERSTAND.THOSE DOGS DIDN,T DESERVE TO GET SHOT,I REST MY CASE!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 17, 2010 | 10:35 a.m.

Carla, it is absolutely a false statement that the national Humane Society can arrest someone. They are not a law enforcement agency in the remotest sense, no matter what you might have seen on Animal Planet.

(Report Comment)
norman brown May 17, 2010 | 11:31 a.m.

ome on people,the police and the justice system does not care for you or your animals! the only thing they care about is a conviction, if they can make you guilty they can give you giant fines to pay charge you for being in jail and so on.it's all about money and screwing the people.and as for the swat team,the man is lucky they didn't plant a little more pot around so they could charge him more.next time you read about an officer being shot in the so called line of duty,think what he may have done to make a person so angry .we have gotten used to being lied to and threatened by the very people who are supposed to be there to protect us that we no longer think of them as ones to respect and honor.thanks for your time.(remember this could have been you or one of your children)

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 17, 2010 | 1:17 p.m.

@Holly Stringer You said 'Karl' posts at the Trib site and hates the CPD, I assume you weren't referring to me since neither is true, but I didn't see another Karl (not Carl) here (might have missed it?), so just in case I want to make it clear---NO, I don't 'hate' ANY cops, and I don't post at the TRIB site,just in case someone made that false assertion. I have famiily in Law enforcement (good people) and I have friends who are former cops, also good people, I have no bad feelings toward LEO's, who as I have said obviously have a tough job.

But what I DO find repugnant and dangerous is this whole WAR on cannibas (really the American people), it is little different IMO than the FAILED policy of Alcohol prohibiton that luckily the good citizens saw fit to end, before it did so much damage, I think society would benefit MUCH more by ending the witchunt on a plant that by most all data available shows it to be much LESS harmfull over all than alcohol. We simply need to set REASONABLE priorities and get things in line with what is actually harm reduction rather than harm escaltion IMO.

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 17, 2010 | 3:50 p.m.

@Ricky Gurley said"First, Sam; Statutory Law trumps Local City Ordinances. No way around it, it is just that way."

That may be true Rick, but there is a way citizens can make sure THEIR will is followed and that is to make sure they keep people OUT of any local leadership positions, that do not follow the will of local voters. Local people DO have that power to make things happen.

But too, I have to wonder why in the first place Columbia would have people in leadership roles that want to conduct their OWN private wars (depsite what the Feds or state says)and would attempt to ignore those they serve closest to home and instead follow the dictates of those in ivory towers hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

And lastly I have not read ONE single comment here that can provide any hard data as to why cannibas should be treated any differently than alcohol. Nobody goes there because they KNOW simply the data cannot support this fraudulant witch hunt of a war and they wouldn't have a leg to stand on in an open and honest debate.

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler May 17, 2010 | 4:00 p.m.

Last but not least anyone on a jury has the right to judge the law itself as well as the application of the law, according to several Supreme Court justices. If you believe this war is FRAUDULENT, does more harm than good, is a huge RACKET, and should come to an end, then vote your conscience whenever asked to convict someone on a 'pot' charge.

(Report Comment)
Tom Czerniawski May 17, 2010 | 6:03 p.m.

Uh-oh, guys... possible new information, and it might not look good for the Columbia PD. It seems that there is video evidence that completely contradicts the story as laid out in this article by the PD. The lethal shot may have been fired from the front porch, and was aimed - not accidental and not during a struggle.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con...

(Report Comment)
Tom Czerniawski May 17, 2010 | 6:11 p.m.

Er, apologies - that's Detroit PD referenced in the comment above, not Columbia. It's sad that I'm actually getting my SWAT team incidents mixed up, by sheer virtue of there being so many...

(Report Comment)
dana shetterly May 18, 2010 | 11:32 a.m.

police have no duty to protect any individual.
There is absolutely no legal recourse if a police officer declines to protect you in the event someone "needs a cop".

That pretty much throws out "the need a cop" argument.
Cops are employed to protect the state's interest i.e. revenue.

why else would the court have a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet?
http://www.dnb.com/us/

The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (NYSE: DNB), headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, USA, is a provider of credit information on businesses and corporations. Often referred to as "D&B", the company is perhaps best known for its D-U-N-S (Data Universal Numbering System) identifiers assigned to over 150 million global companies.

(Report Comment)
Dan Cook May 18, 2010 | 5:57 p.m.

@Tom Dresner

Tom, The reality is your department has done a great deal of damage to law enforcement trust in your city, county, state, even nationwide. Instead of repeatedly defending this SWAT team's actions I would suggest you come up with some sensible procedures so you don't have a future mess on your hands.

And it's not just your SWAT team, now the heat is off of your team because another SWAT team shot and killed a 7yr old girl in Detroit. As far as I'm concerned you have her blood on your hands as well. Your mindset killed that 7yr old girl. Get a new mindset.

Think about that, would you be defending your team if that had happened? And I think you must agree, it could have happened. What would have happened if one of the multiple shots fired had ricocheted and killed their a child in this raid? I bet you would be trying to find a way to defend their actions just like you are now, just like what they are doing in Detroit.

And your department has the gall to charge the suspect with endangerment of a child. I think you should come back to reality.

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 21, 2010 | 2:41 p.m.

what your swat team did was wrong!!!!!! shame on you tom dresner!!!! i hope you do not sleep good at night!!!! and yes the national humane society can have their law enforcement arrest people for animal abuse and animal cruelty.your team violated missouri state statute!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 21, 2010 | 2:59 p.m.

thankyou john george,they need to stop their lying,and face up to what they did was wrong!!!!! yes they will be held accountable for their murderous actions.i have a dog and love her as if she were my child.

question to tom dresner? do you have a dog? if so is your dog a companion and friend? how can you look your dog in the eye after shooting an innocent dog how can you live with yourself?i don,t think you know how to love animals,or care for animals.maybe you never had a dog growing up and was never taught how to love and care for a pet such as a dog or cat.those dogs you killed were not in the entrance way when your swat bullies came through the entrance way,i suggest you watch the video again mr.dresner!!!!! i hope the dogs you shot and killed come back to haunt you!!!!!! that little boy stood there and watched as you so unmercifully shot his companion dogs who were in kennel crates,shame on you mr.dresner.i wonder are you going to pay for the burial of his dogs and pay to replace his dogs? and pay for counseling for that little boy? your team scarred him for life,does that matter to you mr.dresner? you terroized his mother also.what your team did was uncalled for and unnecessary.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan Jordan May 22, 2010 | 8:22 p.m.

Mr. Schultz, you've gone too far this time. You have dared question the authority of television. Television itself! Do you not know that the Word of the Almighty TV is law? Bow to its inexorable power! Repent your wicked ways before it is too late!

(Report Comment)
carla thomas May 22, 2010 | 8:59 p.m.

i see that you cannot answer my question mr.dresner!!! just goes to show what kind of people you and you and your team really are! a bunch of gun toting gun weilding animal killers and thugs! anyone who shoots and kills an innocent animal is not human and does not know how to show compassion or empathay for animals.no it,s not looking good for the columbia police department.shame on the columbia police and shame on the swat team for what they did.

(Report Comment)
carla thomas June 5, 2010 | 4:26 a.m.

god will deal with those who shot the dogs and harrassed the family,god will deal with the swat team bullies in his own way,i have a strong belief in god.my bible says an eye for an eye.those swat bullies will have to sit on gods judgement throne and be judged for what they did.god knows what they did was wrong.i say lets let god be their judge.it also says in my bible thou shalt not kill!!!! tom dresner maybe you should read the bible!!!!!

(Report Comment)

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