No Charges in Armed Drug Raid at School

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by nycflasher, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    By Associated Press

    July 2, 2004, 5:51 PM EDT


    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- South Carolina's attorney general said Friday that it was "grossly inappropriate" for police to draw their guns during a drug raid at a suburban high school last year, but no charges will be brought against the officers.

    "There is no evidence of any degree of criminal intent on behalf of the police officers or school personnel. Thus a criminal prosecution would not be appropriate," Attorney General Henry McMaster said.

    The Nov. 5 raid by Goose Creek police at Stratford High School drew national attention after a surveillance video showed students being ordered to the floor and a drug-sniffing dog prowling the hall.

    No drugs were found and no arrests were made in the sweep, though some students were handcuffed for a time.

    The raid led to allegations of excessive force and racism because many of the students at the school during the early morning raid were black. Two lawsuits have been filed over the incident.

    Police have said they felt the tactics were needed to ensure the safety of the officers and students.

    The state's chief prosecutor said school officials had probable cause to conduct a search, but he criticized police officers' decision to draw their weapons as a highly dangerous tactic that could have been deadly.

    "The tactics were good tactics for a crack house, a drug den or a methamphetamine lab, but highly inappropriate tactics for a school house," McMaster said.

    Seventeen Stratford students sued in December, alleging Goose Creek police and school officials terrorized them during the raid. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of 20 other students, alleging their constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure was violated.

    In January, the principal who asked police to come to the school after receiving reports of marijuana sales announced his resignation.

    Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler said he saw no reason for the police department to punish the 14 officers who took part in the raid.

    "Police officers have to make hard decisions and it's so easy to be Monday morning quarterback," he said.

    Badge Humphries, an attorney for some Stratford High students, said none of his clients had sought criminal charges.

    He added that McMaster's ruling wouldn't affect the lawsuit.

    newsday
     
  2. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    Wow, that is so wild. Man, I am glad that common sense appears to be prevailing. The cops did thier job and are not getting in trouble for it. I reread the story a couple of times to see if there was a hidden message. I expect the ACLU, and some parents to overreact. I am just glad no kid tried to do macho stupid shit and get shot.
     
  3. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Yep, the police had to make hard choices at a suburban high school. Were it in a poverty-striken, drug-infested, gang-ridden inner-city school they <i>might</i> have had reason to go in with weapons drawn, but only just might.
     
  4. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    bet it scared the crap out of those kids though, wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing?
     
  5. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    Bully, are you a cop or soldier? I ask because if you are, then you know your post is wrong, slanted, and foul. If you are not, then I will give you the benifit of the doubt and conduct remediation.

    [TRAINING]Cops and Soldiers undergoe tactical training. The building block of tactics is called Techniques. Each technique is a step-by-step process to accomplish a single task. Once you learn a technique, you practice it until you can do it stoned or straight. This is not to say that we don't expect cops and soldiers to think. We do. We expect both to react to changes as well. But, the repetitive nature of this Tactics/Techniques training is to allow the body to do the action while the mind is focused a couple of moves ahead. If you honestly think that changing tactics because this was a "suburban" high school is warranted then your line of thought is discriminatory, possibly racist, and gives no thought to the safety of the public servants who did this. Columbine wasn't an inner city school either. The new reality of schools requires law enforcement to treat all schools absolutly equal.[/TRAINING]


     
  6. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    I'm puzzled as to how you could construe the reckless conduct of the police as doing "their jobs". Granted, cops have a right to protect themselves in the face of a CREDIBLE THREAT. This was not a case of police doing their jobs. This is a case of reckless conduct that endangered the very people that these damn cowboys were supposed to be protecting.

    I fail to understand why this operation was not conducted in a low-key manner that would have been far more effective. Police should have waited until all students were in their classrooms. Then, accompanied by school officials, they could have searched every locker on the premises. After that, if further search was warranted, they could have held students in their classrooms to assure that the students remained in small, manageable groups, and searched the student body one classroom at a time.

    I also do not understand why you seem to be applauding this highly reckless and extremely unprofessional conduct by the police. The police motto is "to protect and serve". More and more we are seeing that philosophy falling by the wayside as police begin to adopt attitudes and tactics more appropriate to a gestapo organization than to community police.

    Every officer who drew a gun should be disciplined severely. The chief of police should be fired as well as the principal. It is obvious to me that this police department is out of control and needs to be reminded that their mission is to "serve" the community, not to terrorize it. Police have special powers to enable them to do their jobs. With those powers comes the responsibility of exercising them in a restrained manner and only when absolutely necessary. Kindly note that no drugs were found nor was there any mention of weapons being discovered.

    I support the police in my community. But when they wantonly abuse their powers and endanger those they are supposed to protect, I would be at the forefront of weeding out those who are unable to conduct themselves in a professional manner. And regarding your comment "I expect the ACLU, and some parents to overreact." you can bet your ass that if some cop handcuffed my daughter and waved a gun in her face, I'd be "overreacting" myself.
     
  7. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    Right on, Merlin. My thoughts exactly, which is why I posted this article. The kids' lives should not have been put at risk like that over a bag of dope.

     
  8. tim_duncan2000
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    tim_duncan2000 Active Member

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    I think that they went too far in this case as well.
     
  9. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    My first inclination is to ask if we all live in the same world. But, I know we do, so I am going to make a real effort to stay civilized as we go back and forth. I got a hunch that in the end we will have to remember that sometimes friends disagree. Please see below.

     
  10. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Yup, we're going to disagree on this one. I appreciate your support of cops. They perform a dangerous and often thankless job. But that does not excuse reckless conduct and it appears to me, based on the information presented, that is what happened here.

    I don't know what intelligence the police had, but it was obviously poor since their efforts netted not so much as an aspirin or a nail file. Regardless of the quality of their information, they were entering a school. That alone should have called for restraint. They failed to exercise either restraint or good judgement and they should be held accountable for their actions.

    I believe that police should be treated with respect. I also believe they should live up to that standard. I do NOT believe in making excuses for them when they screw up. Some mistakes, in the heat of a confrontation are understandable and excusable. Failure to properly assess and plan an operation and as a result endanger numerous young people is not something that should be overlooked or allowed to pass without punitive action. I stand by my statement that the police chief needs to be fired. His failure to exercise good judgement could have had deadly consequences.

    P.S. Happy 4th. :beer:
     

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