Initially posted at deltabravocharlie.com on September two, 2019.
Time to inform a story…a accurate story. I’m going to leave out specifics relating to places and names, but this definitely occurred, and I was there.
I was a cop, and I participated in a gun confiscation.
About 20 years ago, I was on a municipal police division SWAT group serving a tiny city close to Cincinnati. One particular afternoon the pager (yes, pager) went off, and we all reported to the city constructing to gear up and be briefed on the scenario.
The scenario was this: A resident of an apartment in a tiny, 4-unit constructing had named the PD to report that she had heard a neighbor in his apartment ranting about wanting to “kill everyone.” The complainant went on to state that she knew that the man who lived in the apartment had various guns, and that she had driven him to a regional retailer not too long ago to buy a house surveillance camera kit.
Primarily based on this single complaint, we loaded the truck and rolled the group out to the address, setting up out of sight of the constructing. The Assistant Chief (who held a law degree) arrived on scene and assumed incident command. The landlord was contacted for floor plans, at which time we also discovered that the resident had no telephone. This meant that the only choices for contacting the man had been to “knock and talk” or to break a window and place in a throw telephone (a transportable, difficult line telephone which can be inserted into a target place).
The concern expressed by the Group Commander and Assistant Chief was that considering the fact that the suspect was presumed to be armed and have surveillance cameras, we would only get one particular chance to strategy with any possibility of surprise. He was on a ground floor with a window facing the street and only entrance to the constructing, which means the group would be very exposed with about 40-50 yards to cover as soon as we moved on the apartment. It would be particularly hazardous if he had been alerted to our presence and chose to fight. So the Assistant Chief created the choice to declare “exigent situations,” and directed us to execute a no-knock dynamic entry with breach.
I was Quantity 1 on the stack, with the duty to ram the door right away to clear the way for the rest of the group to enter and apprehend the suspect. To make a extended story brief(er), we knocked this guy’s door down, tackled and cuffed him, and took his guns…based on a single complaint from a single witness. No criminal history. No psychological evaluation. No judge. No warrant.
I do not recall precisely how items had been resolved post-incident, except for some generalities. I try to remember that the man ended up becoming released, probably right after agreeing to a psychological evaluation. I honestly do not try to remember, except that he got to go house in pretty brief order. I do not even assume he was criminally charged with something. The 14 guns we confiscated from him had been ultimately returned I assume it took about a week or so. Generally, it ended up becoming a huge nothingburger.
What I do try to remember is that we heard no ranting coming from his apartment just before we went in, and he was genuinely shocked when his door came down that evening I try to remember him standing in his apartment with his hands up saying, “What’s going on, fellas?” as our group sergeant tackled him.
But the overriding memory is of how simply our police division leaders…based on the uncorroborated statement of a single witness…made the choice to enter this man’s house without having a warrant, to deprive him of his freedom, and to seize his home. If police conduct of this sort bothers you, then look at what will come about when police departments are offered a virtual green light* with red flag laws.
*And yes, I will concede that the distinction is that most red flag laws do get in touch with for a hearing in front of a judge prior to confiscation. I will also inform you that this will prove to be small extra than a speed bump. Most judges will choose to “err on the side of safety” and confiscate 1st, due approach later. Following all, this is precisely how red flag laws are created to perform.