A very frightening story hit the news this past week…a Mayor’s family in Maryland was treated to the life changing experience of being treated like a criminal; and surprised by an alledged forced entry appearance by a swat team that was performing a drug raid. It was July 29th; the Mayor Cheye Calvos arrived home and saw a package on his front door step addressed to his wife, he took it in the home and set it down, unopened. He then went to change his clothes; but, before he could re-dress…he heard gunfire in his home.
He was then taken downstairs and handcuffed on the floor alongside of his mother-in-law. That is when he saw the bodies of his beloved dogs bleeding on the floor. They had been shot by the swat team. He tried to tell them that he was the Mayor; but, he was not believed. That was something that, seems to me, should have been verified before the raid…who the homeowner was, before they went into the home with guns firing. There was no knocking, no announcement of entry from what i have heard and read.
A drug sniffing dog flagged a package in Arizona; sent from Los Angeles, through the delivery service Fed Ex, that contained 32 lbs of marijuana. It turns out that the package was addressed to the Mayor Calvos’ wife, Trinity Tomsic. She turned out to be uninvolved and was not home at the time of the police raid.
Today, the Mayor and his wife’s names were cleared when the true suspects were arrested and the investigation was able to unearth the scheme of delivering packages to unsuspecting, innocent people. A Fed Ex deliveryman and another person were arrested. Americans have the right to defend themselves when they feel that their home, property or persons are in danger. That could have ended very badly if that scenerio had taken place…a regular citizen is no match for sharpshooter’s on a swat team that enters a home unannounced!
The question is, how safe is a person in their own home? The police/swat team did not knock, they just burst in and shot the dogs because they supposedly felt threatened by the dogs. These were innocent people; what if there were children/or young adults in the home and came out in fear trying to defend themselves? Would the children or young adults have been shot trying to defend themselves?
Shouldn’t there be some kind of check and balance system before this type of raid is put into action? I mean…the package was intercepted and delivered by an undercover officer. Couldn’t they have done a quick background check on the address, or the persons living in the home? What if the Mayor’s mother-in-law had a bad heart and died as a result of the trauma of the raid?
Mayor Calvo requested a federal investigation into the police raid. His name and that of his wife have been cleared and the appropriate suspects arrested however; the question remains…who is at fault in the planning and execution of the drug raid? Were their rights violated by the way that this raid happened? It was conducted by the Prince Georges police department, however, they did not communicate with the other area departments or agencies before executing the drug raid. They still would have had to investigate; but, it could have been done differently.
Obviously, fighting the drug war is very important…DEA agents risk their lives everyday doing their jobs. However, these types of incidents where innocent people get in harm’s way, damages the public perception of the job they have to do. Kudos to those who do this thankless job everyday with professionalism and dedication! What kind of safeguards can be put into place to protect the innocent and at the same time, enable the authorities to fight the war on drug dealers and suppliers?