Jacob Sullum writes about a 3 a.m. drug raid when a flash-bang grenade was thrown into a child's playpen, critically injuring the toddler. The police said they had no idea there were children in the home or they would not have used the grenade.
"If there's children involved in a house, we do not use any kind of distraction devices in those houses," [Sheriff]Terrell told AccessNorthGa.com. "We just don't take the chance on it....According to the confidential informant, there were no children. When they made the buy, they didn't see any children or any evidence of children there, so we proceeded with our standard operation."Standard operation? It is standard to throw flash-bangs where the landing place is not clearly seen?
The lawyer for the family said,
"This is a stay-at-home dad who was out in front of the home, playing with the children on a daily basis. Any surveillance that was done would have revealed there was a father with four children who played in that driveway."Surveillance?
...the SWAT team was relying on the report of a confidential informant who briefly visited the home on Tuesday night, just a few hours before the raid...
Despite an avowed policy of not using flash-bang grenades when children are present, it seems that neither Terrell's office nor the Cornelia Police Department did anything to investigate that possibility aside from asking the informant, who according to Terrell did not even enter the home.So, no surveillance.
Beyond the lack of due diligence on that point, there is the question of whether tossing an exploding, potentially incendiary device into a home that may be full of innocent people in the middle of the night is A-OK as long as you are reasonably sure all those people are 18 or older.Think about this. Laws are often described in terms of protecting the innocent and yet police take no precautions to protect the innocent or even to ascertain if there are innocents present.
Remember those people who blame the law-breaker for the chaos? The sheriff is one of them.
Terrell continues to blame [drug]transactions for the horrible injuries police inflicted on a sleeping baby. "The information we had from our confidential informant was there was no children in the home," he told WXIA, the NBC station in Atlanta. "We always ask; that determines how we enter the house and the things we do.... Did we go by our training, did we go by the intelligence? Given the same set of circumstances, with the same information dealing with a subject who has known gun charges on him, who is selling meth, they would go through the same procedures...Nothing would change....Had no way of knowing the child was in the house. The little baby [who] was in there didn't deserve this. These drug dealers don't care."The little baby didn't deserve this? If the grenade had landed on the bed of the baby's mother instead, the mother would have deserved it?