News of the Missouri SWAT raid and the video has gone viral and the Columbia Police Department is scrambling to put the spin on this:
(Columbia Daily-Tribune) In response to widespread “misinformation” developing on message boards and blogs, as well as a death threat toward Columbia police officers, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and Burton held a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Burton said police have fielded questions from several agitated callers concerning the two dogs shot. Some callers have received incorrect information that the corgi is the dog that was killed for being aggressive toward officers, and others told police they were told the pit bull that was killed because of its aggressive behavior was in a cage.
“It’s simply not true,” Burton said.
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The chief, who is personally conducting the internal investigation, walked reporters through his understanding of the incident. Three officers shot at the pit bull, and the first missed completely, which is when the corgi is believed to have been shot in the paw, he said. The pit bull acted aggressively toward a SWAT member again as they pushed into the home, which resulted in the animal being shot, he said. After being shot, it moved to attack a SWAT member, which is when the dog was killed.
Here it comes: the victim was a dangerous druggie, a narcotics kingpin with a lethally aggressive pit bull. Because two confidential informants (read: snitches with something to gain by rolling on someone, true or false accusations be damned) alleged he had large amounts of marijuana and a police garbage search yielded pipes and baggies with pot residue on them.
(Columbia Daily-Tribune) “It was unfortunate timing,” said Lt. Scott Young, SWAT commander.
Deputy Chief Tom Dresner, former SWAT commander, has said he is confident narcotics were in Whitworth’s residence before police entry.
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Columbia police spokeswoman Jessie Haden said there sometimes was a lag between the time a warrant was issued and when SWAT could execute the warrant. The problem was SWAT members’ primary assignments, such as their role as beat officers or investigators, would take precedence over SWAT and they would have to work overtime to participate in SWAT operations.
So, in the police opinion, the mistake wasn’t in sending automatic-weapon wielding cops into the family home, shooting up the place with a child present and killing the family pet. It’s that they served the warrant too late to catch the victim with what they believed to be large amounts of weapons of mass destruction, er, marijuana.
There is a Columbia City Council meeting on May 17th at 7pm. Blogging’s great, but in-person protesting and activism are better. I’m calling on our Missouri NORML chapters to come out and demand an end to these tactics. Click the link, join the one near you, and get involved in fighting back.