Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Showtime Syndrome" in Evansville: Online Trash Talk about Cops Triggers SWAT Raid




[W]e are bound by our oaths and by our loyalty to the State and to society to meet force with force, and cunning with cunning… We have a government worth fighting for, and even worth dying for….

Chicago Police Captain Michael J. Shaack, in his overcooked "expose" Anarchy and Anarchists (1889)


“The community absolutely has to have law and order. If that’s removed, all kinds of chaos and violence will result,” insisted Evansville, Indiana Police Captain Andy Chandler in an interview with Pro Libertate. 

For example: Absent the heroic intervention of the State’s oath-bound servants, an innocent senior citizens and her teenage granddaughter might be terrorized in their home by men armed with assault weapons and flash-bang grenades.

 Actually, the armed marauders who attacked the Evansville home of Ira and Louise Milan on June 21 were oath-bound servants of the State. The assault was conducted by the local SWAT team, in the company of an impossibly sycophantic local television reporter named David Shepherd, who had been brought along to chronicle the daring raid.
 
The purpose of the operation was not to protect the “community” from criminal violence, but to arrest and punish an unidentified individual who had posted what were described as “specific threats” against the police in an online forum.

The assailants employed a “knock and announce” procedure in which the incantation “Police search warrant” was shouted three times before the front door was broken down with a siege engine and two flash-bang grenades were hurled into the home. 

None of this was necessary, but it certainly looked bitchin' on camera.

“The front door was open,” a shaken and most likely disgusted Ira Milan commented later to the Evansville Courier-Press. “It’s not like anyone was in there hiding. To bring a SWAT team seems a little excessive.” 

Acting as the voice of the Evansville PD, television correspondent Shepherd explained that the armored assault team took “extra precautions because of the severity of the threats.” 

It’s impossible to make an objective assessment of the nature and credibility of those threats, since Vanderburgh Superior Court Judge David Kiely sealed both the initial warrant and a second one issued after the SWAT team had wrecked the Milan family’s home. This was done in defiance of the Indiana State open records act, which requires that the results of a search warrant be made public. 

Press accounts claim that “specific threats” were made against police officers and their families by an anonymous poster to the topix.com on-line forum. One of the posts declared: “Cops beware! I’m proud of my country but I hate police of any kind. I have explosives … Made in America. Evansville will feel my pain.” Another claimed that the home addresses of Evansville police officers had been leaked to the public.

“It said `EPD leak: Officers’ addresses given out,’ or something along those lines,” explained department spokesman Sgt. Jason Cullum. Although one post reportedly mentioned the Evansville Police Chief, no other officers were named, and no addresses were listed. Although Cullum asserted that a SWAT raid was necessary because “the threats were specific enough, and the potential for danger was there,” his casual description suggests that the investigation wasn’t particularly rigorous – especially in light of the fact that the assault on the Milan home took place roughly a day after the messages were posted. 

The Milans were questioned, some computers and cell phones were seized, but no arrests were made. Shepherd concluded his report by intoning that the continuing investigation “hits close to home for many of these brave officers.”

Those “brave officers,” of course, had just conducted a military raid against a harmless elderly couple and their teenage granddaughter in reaction to nasty things said about the police by a blogger who had apparently piggybacked on the home’s Wi-Fi signal. 

“This is the first SWAT entry we’ve done that involved in serving a warrant addressing a threat against a public security officer,” Captain Chandler – a well-spoken, candid, and personable 24-year veteran who until recently commanded the SWAT team – told Pro Libertate. 

Asked if the department would react with the same zeal in addressing similar online “threats” against a private citizen, Chandler replied: “Absolutely we would use a SWAT team to deal with this kind of threat against anybody. We have taken action to deal with threats and harassment of this kind.” 

“Our population is about 120,000, and the larger urban area is about a quarter of a million,” Chandler observes. “People would be astounded by the number of reports we get of intimidation and threats arising out of domestic violence situations or other conflicts.” 

According to Chandler, the Evansville SWAT team does an average of five call-outs a month. At the risk of making what could be construed as a disastrous policy recommendation, I’m constrained to ask: If a SWAT call-out is justified for every “credible” threat of aggravated violence, shouldn’t the team be deployed every day in defense of the besieged citizens of Evansville? 

By Chandler’s account, the investigation that led to SWAT operatives beating down the open door of an elderly couple’s home was a model of urgent efficiency prompted by an exigent threat to Evansville’s intrepid defenders.

“We got notified by informants on the street about postings on a website that threatened officers,” he recalls. (Those “street” informants were people who read the internet posts and called the department.) “We get a lot of criticism, some of it profane, which is just an exercise of free speech. But then the comments crossed the line by actually starting to call out the police chief, with the poster claiming that he had access to weapons that would penetrate our tactical vests – all officers on our force are required to wear the vests – and that he and his `boys’ were coming for officers and their families.”

“We obtained a number of subpoenas associated with that address,” Chandler continues. After conducting “surveillance and intelligence collection” on the suspect and the neighborhood, the department “found that there had been over a dozen shootings in the area since the beginning of the summer, some of them gang-related.”

All of this information was used to conduct an assessment using a “Threat Matrix.”

“We have a document – a checklist – that we review. We fill in the blanks, and every answer has a score associated with it. Is the suspect a known offender? Was it a violent offense? Did he resist arrest? Is there drug trafficking in the area? The scores are tallied up and the threat is placed in an appropriate range of responses.”

A “Threat Assessment Score” is then compiled, and the appropriate response is chosen from three options. The higher the “Matrix” score, the more militarized the response.

A total of 1-16 points means that the supposed threat is considered “SWAT optional”; 17-24 points means that the SWAT commander should be consulted; if the score is 25 points or higher, SWAT deployment is “mandatory.”

The standardized “Threat Matrix” form lists a number of individual criteria dictating “mandatory” SWAT deployment; for instance, if the subject is believed to possess an automatic, semi-auto, or bolt/lever action rifle, or explosives. In the fashion of a Scrabble game, the use of home “fortifications” – such as burglar bars – is awarded “double point value.” The same is true if the subject has a military or police background, or a record that includes “resisting arrest” or “assault on a police officer” (which are weighted more heavily than crimes of violence against Mundanes, such as homicide, armed robbery, and assault).

The purpose of the “Threat Matrix” is to assess the danger to officer safety – not the potential threat a subject poses to the public at large. As Chandler puts it, “Every SWAT raid involves an element of risk, and we chose the method that would ensure the safety of the officers serving that warrant.” 

A less self-congratulatory assessment might be that the department chose a SWAT team as a way of “sending a message” – a conclusion amply justified by the involvement of an “embedded” reporter and camera crew.  This wasn’t a case of a police department isolating and neutralizing an identifiable threat; it was another example of the notorious -- and frequently lethal -- “Showtime Syndrome" at work.

The role played by the “Threat Matrix” in justifying a military raid on an elderly couple’s home underscores the distant but unmistakable kinship between domestic paramilitary operations and “counter-terrorism” strikes conducted by the military and CIA overseas. The “Matrix” operates in a fashion similar to the formula used to justify “signature strikes” against suspected “militants” in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. 

As human rights activist Marcy Wheeler points out, “signature strikes” are conducted against “patterns, rather than people”: Someone who is “associated” with a “suspected militant” through a cell phone conversation, or mere geographic proximity, can be considered an appropriate target for a drone-fired missile strike. According to the Obama administration, anyone who meets the undemanding “threat” criteria is considered a “militant” by default until he or she is posthumously exonerated.

In comparable fashion, the home of Ira, Louise, and Stephane Milan, was targeted for a military strike on the basis of a “threat assessment” that had nothing to do with them

Asked to address this perceived similarity, Capt. Chandler observed that “The military has a built-in loss factor. Whenever they carry out a mission, lives will be lost, including those of innocent people. Law enforcement cannot do that; `collateral damage’ isn’t acceptable.”

Of course, “collateral damage” isn’t limited to fatalities – as the terrorized elderly couple and teenage girl victimized by the utterly unnecessary SWAT raid on June 21 can testify. Given the indecent eagerness of police departments to acquire military-grade drone technology, future "Threat Matrix" assessments could well result in drone strikes, rather than SWAT raids.

According to a local TV news account, the Evansville PD maintains that the invasion of the Milan home “was well worth it to keep everyone safe.” But even if we were to describe juvenile online comments as a “threat,” it’s nonsense on stilts to claim that “everyone” in Evansville was endangered by them.

According to Sgt. Jason Cullum, the police embody the “community,” and they can be paralyzed with fear by an anonymous, solitary internet Troll. “We’re not going to let these type [sic] of people take over and have us scared in our own homes,” he told the local Fox affiliate. From this perspective, the SWAT team’s home invasion was not a grotesque act of overkill reasonably described as an act of state terrorism, but a pre-emptive strike against forces that threatened the existence of law and order itself.

One element that played a tacit but unmistakable role in the decision to deploy the SWAT team was the recent enactment of Indiana Senate Bill 1, which recognized the innate right of citizens to use lethal force to repel “unlawful entry into their homes by law enforcement officers or persons pretending to be law enforcement officers.” That measure, which was signed into law just weeks ago, was denounced by police unions as a measure announcing “open season on law enforcement.”

It’s quite likely that the purpose of the June 21 attack on the Milan home was intended as a show of force – a demonstration that the police were willing to deploy overwhelming force to assert their continued dominance. This would certainly comport with the paramilitary mindset  described by Gabe Suarez, who spent 12 years as a police officer in Santa Monica: “When I was on [the] SWAT [team] our view [was] that `We will always win....even if we have to burn down your entire house by bombing it....we will win’.”







Dum Spiro, Pugno!


38 comments:

Anonymous said...

The paramilitary police types are not going to be happy when the citizenry takes control and asserts their dominance over the those who wish to enslave and kill us!!. "A demonstration that the police were willing to deploy overwhelming force to assert their continued dominance." Whoever the moron was that made this statement can go straight to hell!!

Titanium_Frost said...

I'm from Evansville and this has really got my attention. We need to get a handle on the Police State of this city before innocent people get hurt.

Evansville was the source for the Barnes decision which took away our right to defend our homes from illegal police entry and our legislature had to make an enirely new law protecting our rights and giving us the ability to defend ourselves again. That law called SB1 and nicknamed the "Illegal Police Entry Bill" only went in to effect in March and you can see that the same city that gave us the original issue is hard at work trying to test the new law with SWAT entries on innocent citizens.

I have a couple threads about this on the forums I frequent to raise awareness, check them out at Ingunowners.com and indianashooter.com.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "WOW!" Anyone call for the Nazi storm troopers?

Anonymous said...

Why be alarmed?
This is the New normal.

Isn't it?

This is the way things are done.

America is occupied by the Powerful forces of US and WE shall be above all others ... of course "US" and "WE" ain't you and me, contrary to what quite a few others believe, and it seems there are quite a few more of them than there are of ... us?

PJL said...

I think what is crazy here (besides the LEO) is the fact that the warrants have been sealed. From what you have written here, it appears that the only thing on the "Threat Matrix" that would cause this incident to legally rise to the level of a SWAT assault is the alleged statement of weapons and explosives. Yet, if that was actually the case you'd think that the justice system would want to show that right up front. Yet, the warrants are sealed. That just doesn't make sense. Sound more like, "Oh crap...we really screwed up. Hey Judge....do us a favor willya..."

Bob said...

I wonder if these SWAT teams will be used on folks who don't have health insurance or won't pay the so-called "tax" under the individual mandate.

RegT said...

Suarez? Gabe Suarez? The Santa Monica police officer who was arrested, along with his wife, for numerous felony counts of fraud and money laundering, but was allowed to plead them down to misdemeanors, for which he was sentenced to a year in jail? That Gabe Suarez?

What a paragon of virtue!

JeffS said...

We terrorize the rest of the world with our military. It's only a matter of time before it makes it back home.

liberranter said...

RegT:

Okay, so are you saying that what Suarez was quoted as saying --something so painfully self-evident as to be unnecessary to repeat except to someone as stupid as the typical cop-- is untrue simply because Suarez himself is something less than virtuous?

Two plus two still equals four, even if it is an ax-murdering pedophile who says so.

willb said...

If you sic your dog on a neighbor, who is liable?
You? The dog? Both?

Cops are vicious, but their use of force is not
entirely autocratic.

Only a Judge can authorize a warrant.
Yes, the cops must be held accountable, but who
let them out of the yard?

Sealed warrants? That's a new one.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Evansville until last week and now live 2000 miles away:) They are a very corrupt department, and are part of the reason we moved.

Larken Rose said...

Let's review, shall we?

1) Bullies bully people.
2) Someone talks about fighting back against bullies.
3) Bullies get more vicious.

What can we learn from this?

1) Tyrants never learn.
2) Indiana cops are idiots.

All "government" goons know is violence. It's the language they speak, and the only language they understand. Throughout history, the standard M.O. of authoritarian control freaks has been to increase the level of violence until they win. Or until they get exterminated by their intended victims.

Heaven forbid it ever occur to some badged jackboot that maybe if lots of people hate you and talk about forcibly resisting you, you should be LESS of a fascist, instead of MORE of a fascist. But no, they will do what unthinking state mercenaries always do: escalate their thuggery until their intended victims resort to violence, too.

If you want cops to feel safe, tell cops to stop acting like fascist lunatics. Then a lot fewer people will have reason to want to harm them.

Big Dave said...

The police state mind set taking hold in this country will inevitably end badly for everyone. Police chiefs and those in charge may sincerely believe they'll prevail but historically that is not the case. Personally, I wouldn't want to be associated with the praetorian class when it comes down.

Anonymous said...

Every doorway in your home is a choke point. One officer at a time can come through those doors. remember this...doorways are kill zones. When a flashbang comes through your window or door, avert your eyes momentarily. Then it's down to the business of protecting your home. Make each and every entry point into your home a meat grinder. If they are attacking you, it is only fitting you fight back, but you must do so effectively. Most likely after they lose a few in the killzone, they will retreat and eventually they will level your home. Have an excape route. Also, have gas masks for every family member with cn/cs filters.

Willb said...

And don't forget the pre arranged funeral service. You might get
A family group discount.

willb said...

As concerning the "sealed warrant":

In Texas a warrant can be sealed for 30 days and then for 60
day periods following an affirmative motion and a showing of ongoing
police investigation.

I suspect that even in Indiana the seal will eventually expire in
which case the Milan's should immediately hire an attorney to
review it.

This idea of breaking the "matrix" does not create just cause
to raid a sleeping family, and judges should know this.

As in past articles by Mr.Grigg, the source of most of this
type of police abuse lies directly with the judges who
authorize it. The problem then lies with the methods
different states use to select judges, which is a heated
debate.

Unqualified incompetent judges are easily elected and they
wreak havoc on the subjected population. In Texas we elect
these bozos and it is only through public awareness that
we can un-elect them. Literally anyone can be elected as
a judge in Texas. Consider that!

Vigilance is the price of freedom, as they say.
Cudos to Mr.Grigg for all his efforts. He is the man
who deserves the recognition and "thanks for protecting
my freedom" as opposed to the govt. troops our public and
Churches will be thanking this July 4th.

"Mr. Grigg, thanks for protecting my freedom."

MoT said...

I believe the warrant was sealed because they needed time for damage control and to get their multiple story lines in order prior to the lawsuits that will follow. Who is to say that the "poster" was even the individual who was targeted, hmmm? It's so easy to frame someone on this sort of bogus excuse that it's not even funny. I could just pick names out of the phone book and make posts using an alias. So easy it's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Have you had enough of the arrogance by these people yet? I know I have. To declare their total domination of the citizenry is completely unacceptable. The control of the government in a Republic belongs to the people, not those we put in authority! They've got some nerve making these statements and they need to realize that We the People aren't going to put up with it any longer. The majority of law enforcement officers in this country act just like the British troops of the 1770's, arrogant and tyrannical. They need to understand that we will not put up with these kind of acts against us any longer.

Anonymous said...

I scooted over to Gabe Suarez's blog and checked it out. His answer to SWAT screwups is to move away from trouble areas. Unfortunately, because of the moral cowardice of the police who continue to enforce drug laws ("It's just our job! We don't have a choice!"), there are fewer and fewer Mayberry-like spots in the nation. I know of a few meth labs being busted in otherwise "nice" suburban or rural areas. I mean, do you have to ask your neighbors if they cook meth before you move to someplace that looks nice? I did notice that Mr. Suarez is no paragon of the free exchange of ideas -- comments are closed on his blog entries and I guess voicing your opinion leads to a ban. Huh, what? Thinking for yourself = a ban? Here's a hint, Gabe -- if you say something a lot of people disagree with, be prepared to have them vocalize it. Anyway, I don't have a lot of confidence in his "skills" either -- in one of his articles to "Black Belt" magazine, he demonstrated disarming a person with a handgun. The muzzle of the pistol would travel from the defender's torso up to their face -- if the the attacker tried to step back and retain the weapon, it would surely result to a bullet to the chest or face. Use his training materials at your own risk, or stick to real experts like Clint Smith.

As for the overall issue, these "mistaken" SWAT raids are the prime symptom of police militarization. The comedy is when someone calls this "1776 tinfoil hattery." I guess we should scoff at the colonials who decided to oppose the most powerful military in the world. While armed resistance against the corrupt and fascist government is going to lead to a relatively short lifespan, we have the duty to continue to oppose it intellectually, philosophically, and morally. Communism didn't fall because of armed resistance, but because enough people decided that they wanted nothing to do with it. The police, courts, and other enforcement-related personnel who make lots of bonuses and overtime off of the drug war and whatnot are scared to death that we will all get to the point where we realize that a criminal down the street is a PITA, but can't summon gunships and bomb-dropping drones to deal with us if we don't want to buy his product.

willb said...

"What's the point of having this superb military you're
always talking about if we can't use it?" -Madeleine K. Albright

"What's the point of having this superb swat team you're
always talking about if we can't use it?" -Any judge who needs a precedent

Anonymous said...

This is all well and good. The question in my mind is, who is going to pay for home repairs and psychotherapy?

signal has been lost said...

Will we get a nice medal or cool showtime program when a drone strike is called out for the wrong person? I know it is an unlikely scenario since everyone in government is ├╝ber-competent and has a triple digit IQ.

Robert Heid said...

Will,

Thought you might enjoy this

http://sycamorethree.blogspot.com/2012/07/andy-griffith-rip.html

Blessings,

Robert

MoT said...

Well, I had a pair of cops push through my front door this evening over falsely alleged "screams from a child" being reported by some unknown accuser. I even had my arm twisted by one of them and told "Don't touch me" even though all I'd done was point a finger and never laid one on their holy personages. It was so surreal as to boggle the mind. My wife, who happens to be Japanese, tried the best she could in her second language to explain that she'd heard noises coming from out back out house but they didn't seem to care or wouldn't listen to her as she repeatedly told her story. Pissed doesn't even begin to explain how I feel right now.

sofa said...

Interesting to apply EPD methodology to EPD itself:

Using the linked 'Threat Matrix' to assess Evansville PD- A forceful raid on PD is fully warranted, to disarm the threat they pose to citizens.

Using the EPD 'Rules of Engagement' for citizen encounters with EPD- any EPD threat against a citizen must be crushed with firepower- for 'citizen safety'.

It's only logical.

Sanders said...

"..computers and cell phones were seized..."

Guess who just became a child pornographer?

The Milans are screwed.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of funny how all this could have been avoided if they had checked public records and watched the house for five minutes before the big raid. I'm just thinking practically here. Then again, I still have trouble believing these people are never crucified by the media for this egregious nonsense.

Anonymous said...

The little town of Evansville had several calls about shootings in the area? Really? What a nice lie to cover up their excuses of failure. The sad truth is that since the person posted bad things about the police chief, the police department were scared little kids and decided to raid the house hoping to find a gun or weapon of some kind so they can put this person in jail for a very long time with multiple charges. They made a huge mistake of not investigating it further by simply knocking on the door and try to persuade the person to stop posting articles and check up on the house for weapons, etc. They decided to play their power game instead. It'll cost them huge in the long run. Also, do people take internet message boards that seriously? I know some local cops here who get on message boards and talk crap all the time. I take it as a grain of salt.

Cheesy said...

Wilb, the tree of liberty must ocCasionally be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.
Ever hear that?

Anonymous said...

These people are bringing the word PIGS, back in style.

Anonymous said...

With the new NDAA that Obama has enacted there doesn't have to be a warrant issued..... just the suspicion of a crime is enuogh if they tie it to domestic terrorism. So many more such raids are in our future. Luckily they were sent to a work camp or detained indefinately or sent to Gitmo for that matter.
They are watching or every move they listen to our cell phones they lookat our email and social media sites and posts They are afraid ok against us because we outnumber them ....even the entire military they have about 2 million active men and women..... we have 80 million gun owners here in America. Believe me there are plenty of people willing to pushback the against the Government.....locals or Feds . But that what they want....Did you know that the Dept. of Homeland Security has purchased over 40 milllion rounds of ammo recently....and just bought 7000 new automatic fire M-4 rilfes??? They are preparing for massive revolt in the cities..... are you prepared?

Rick Love said...

Correct answer, Willb is,.,., I don't have a dog ~ LOL ~ Rickadamus ~

Anonymous said...

Yes, sounds like it to me, too.

Cheesy said...

All you chickenshit cops and other "authority" that hide behind the color of "law" to commit your evil deeds; When the people get tired of your abuses and finally settle your hash, they're not going to be warning you ahead of time.
Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it.

Anonymous said...

Those people,the Cops,live in your neighborhood.They attend your schools,they shop where you shop.If you even see one of them in Church,call them out right there where they set,in front of God,and the people...get video of them squirming,will ya?

Anonymous said...

welcome to crazytown 2.0 nwo style

Elizabeth Lewis said...

Your crazy to post on this site. Your signing your death warrant. Theyve got everything already on everyone yrs ago. Were just boiling frogs.

Anonymous said...

We are frogs getting to almost boiling point in a heated pot. Theyve turned up the flame gradually and its almost too late now. Once the drones are above were fucked. Sharing on this site is a death warrant.