cannabisnews.com: SWAT Officer Kills Boy, 11 





SWAT Officer Kills Boy, 11 
Posted by FoM on September 14, 2000 at 10:09:57 PT
By Leilani Nisperos, Record Staff Writer 
Source: Stockton Record
A Modesto SWAT officer shot and killed an 11-year-old boy while attempting to serve an arrest and search warrant at a Modesto home Wednesday. Modesto Police Department officials would not comment on the events preceding the shooting in the 2500 block of McAdoo Avenue. They did say the boy was shot in the back. The officer, David Hawn, 49, a 21-year department veteran, has 18 years' experience on the Special Weapons and Tactics team. He was placed on administrative leave, normal procedure for an officer-involved shooting, Modesto police Lt. Joel Broumas said. 
The search was one of 14 warrants being served Wednesday in Stanislaus County, the culmination of a two-year federal investigation into the sale, manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. The Sacramento and San Francisco offices of the FBI, federal and Stanislaus County offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Lodi Police Department also were involved in the sting, Broumas said. Hawn was one of six officers and a sergeant who entered the residence at 6:16 a.m. Police said an ambulance was called at 6:21 a.m. Police could not comment on the number of people or children in the house at the time, but Broumas said there were two adults in the house, and one was male. "I was getting my children up for school, and we heard all the noise from the police," said Ann Reber, who lives next door. "I hit the floor. And the oldest, I told him to go to the back of the house." Reber said a man whom she knew as Moses, his wife and three children lived at the residence. She said the man was an auto mechanic, and she would see him fixing cars at his house. She did not have the impression that anything illegal was occurring at the home. "They just seemed normal to us," she said. Broumas did not know if the boy was taken to a hospital after the shooting and could not comment on whether any weapons were found in the home. Reber believed the boy died inside the house. "It's a tragedy. The entire department is in shock," Broumas said. "We want to put out the most heartfelt sympathies to the family." Two units within the Modesto Police Department, plus the Modesto City Attorney's Office and the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office, are investigating the incident, Broumas said. Lodi Police Chief Jerry Adams said his department's SWAT team served a warrant Wednesday morning on Harney Lane at the request of the federal agencies involved in the case. He said that search was performed without incident. Broumas could not comment on Hawn's work record. * To reach reporter Leilani Nisperos, phone 546-8272 or e-mail: lnispero recordnet.com Published: Thursday, September 14, 2000 Source: Record, The (CA)Copyright: 2000 The RecordContact: editor recordnet.comAddress: P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201Fax: (209) 547-8186Website: http://www.recordnet.com/CannabisNews Justice Archives:http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/justice.shtml
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Comment #30 posted by Yosemite Sam on December 29, 2000 at 02:53:48 PT
Keystone Cops
They say 'independent' investigations will be brought forth, however, with the Modesto Police investigation already over they have decided to wait until mid-late January for the other "independent" inquries in the shooting to finish before they release their findings. Independent my ass. And the shotgun firing by itself??? Of all the times I've used a shotgun or any gun for that matter, they've never "accidentally" fired, a couple times I'd get a misfire and nothing would happen, that's when you discard the round. I guess the M.P.D. is using cheap ammo and cheaper guns, I just hope they don't try to sell that "defective" shotgun to citizens like they have done in the past with revolvers and semi-autos.
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Comment #29 posted by R.M.T on November 03, 2000 at 22:24:31 PT:
boy killing 
I live in Modesto, we here about accidental killings almost every day. The only difference is that when a cop fires its gun its really an accident, but when anybody fires a gun and kills someone he is tried and if a child is the one who fires the gun his parents go to jail and are tried, and once the child is old enough he is tried. So what are we waiting for this cop should be in jail rotting. I hear that the little boys father had been wathched for TWO YEARS, he was an alleged drug lord to the poli but yet they found nothing on him. Today he is free, the police let him go, now all they have to do is give his son back. Since we know they cant do that. They should at least put his killer (accidental or not) behind bars. I believe that betito's family is entitled to that.
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Comment #28 posted by KARMA - 2 on October 31, 2000 at 21:32:06 PT
Modesto Police: keystone cops
 I know from first-hand experience how incompetent the Modesto Police Department is. Two years ago, while I was out drinking, I was stopped after leaving a party (while walking down the sidewalk). The officers had responded to underage drinkers causing a disturbance. (not me, I was 21). A MPD jerkoff, Officer Garrett Crawford accused me of being on "crank" without any evidence except his hearsay that my eyes were "non-reactive" to his flashlight. (I have never taken or even seen this drug) After asking for a breathalyzer I was threatened by means of assault by this PIG, and right afterward had my pulse taken. Of course it was higher than normal, I was afraid for my life at this point. Long story short, the cops lied on the police report, saying I had a "moderate drug odor". A blood test taken that night later showed I was innocent of ingesting any drugs. I filed a complaint with Internal Affairs but of course no wrong doing was found. Officers Noe Serratos (rookie cop) and G. Crawford are fat, stupid, incompetent, lying fools. There are some decent cops out there, but these two are definitely not among them.
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Comment #27 posted by Dan B on September 15, 2000 at 17:26:37 PT:
Good to See Your Leters
Thanks, everyone, for posting your letters. It is good to see that many of you wrote very strong letters against this killing, especially because I tried so hard to give them the benefit of the doubt (when will I ever learn). Rainbow, I am really sorry. It is good to see that they received a whole passle of letters. Incidentally, I received the same note back from them. It looks like they simply assumed that everyone was writing to sympathize with the cop. Isn't it odd to receive a letter of thanks for berating them? I hope these police live the rest of their lives under a dark cloud of shame.Dan B
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Comment #26 posted by Rainbow on September 15, 2000 at 15:03:13 PT
Same same
I got the same form letter. They are real jerks.Their form letter said that they really do not care. They are police and did what they did because that is their job.The only reason to have a gun is to kill something and for the police that something is people.In the back I am absolutely outraged and am seeing purple and red.Police send all to Mars.This will not get to far because it is enough to cause riots. I sure wish the Latino and whites would ban together and mutiny the police in that town.
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Comment #25 posted by Frank S. World on September 15, 2000 at 14:02:49 PT
My reply and my letter from Modesto PD
From: "Olga Mendoza" Subject: Re: SWAT Officer Kills Boy, 11 Date: Friday, September 15, 2000 1:42 PMWe have received your e-mail and appreciate your concern in this tragic event. The death of 11-year old Alberto Sepulveda has shaken this Department and indeed this community at its core. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of the child and everyone involved in this incident.Again, thank you for expressing your feeling to us during this most difficult time.Sincerely,Modesto Police Department09/14/00 01:47PM >>> Dear Chief Donald J. Burnett,I read of the tragic murder of an 11 year old boy by your officers. Your website says that, "The Modesto Police Department is charged with maintaining law and order, and protecting life and property."You sure didn't do a very good job of protecting the life of the young boy your heavily-armed militarized SWAT team thugs shot trying to win the war on drugs."Heartfelt sympathies" doesn't cut it. You took the life of a child!Starting following your mandate to serve and protect! A good start would be to immediately cease using SWAT teams against non-violent drug offenders.Tragedies like this are all too common with today's irrational drug policies. Until you and other departments start following your mandate to serve and protect, instead of kicking down doors, shooting first, and asking questions later, tragedies like thiswill be repeated. This is just state-sponsored terrorism.I actually have heartfelt sympathies for the family. You just have a child's blood on your hands, and another pointless tragedy a family will have to live with.I hope they hold the murderer and you, and the rest of the dept. morally and monetarily responsible for this atrocity. Maybe then you will learn!Sincerely,
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Comment #24 posted by Concerned Citizen on September 15, 2000 at 13:46:55 PT
Re: Thanks for Saving 'The Children'
Date:    Fri, 15 Sep 2000 13:46:19 -0700 From:    "Olga Mendoza"  Subject:    Re: Thanks for Saving 'The Children'We have received your e-mail and appreciate your concern in this tragic event. The death of 11-year old Alberto Sepulveda has shaken this Department and indeed this community at its core. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of the child and everyone involved in this incident.Again, thank you for expressing your feeling to us during this most difficult time.Sincerely,Modesto Police Department>>> Concerned Citizen 09/14/00 12:22PM >>>Our heartfelt thanks for removing another tweakerscumbag from the world. You should be proud of savingThe Children like that. If you search your records farback enough, or "search" the house enough, I'm sureyou'll find some pretext to arrest the survivors, too.Don't you keep special "evidence" in your cruisers toplant, in just such an occasion?Of course, you're not making the law (your unions seeto that), you're just enforcing it. After all, ifpeople don't like the law, then they should change it,right? Sure.Yeah, you really "sent a message" to the children thattime. Better to get them all, and let God sort 'emout, eh what? Why, everyone knows those druggies arevermin and cockroaches anyway, so who cares if thereis a little collateral damage? It is for the greatergood; the ends justify the means.Nice work!
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on September 15, 2000 at 13:12:48 PT:
A Little More
Hi Everyone,Here's a small article from The Associated Press. I'm surprised there hasn't been articles with more details. I am keeping my eyes open.Such a sad story. I'm sorry Rainbow, I understand.Peace, FoM!Boy Shot by SWAT Team in Drug Raid at His HomeNew York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/MODESTO, Calif., Sept. 14 (AP)  An 11-year-old boy was killed on Wednesday by a member of a police SWAT team in a drug raid at the boy's home.The boy, Alberto Sepulveda, a seventh grader, was shot in the back when an officer accidentally fired his shotgun, said Chief Roy Wasden of the Modesto Police Department.The officer, David Hawn, a 21-year department veteran and a SWAT team member for more than 18 years, was placed on paid leave pending an investigation.Chief Wasden would not give further details of the shooting, which occurred here in Modesto, about 75 miles east of San Francisco.The boy's father, Moises Sepulveda, was arrested on charges of methamphetamine trafficking. 
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Comment #22 posted by Rainbow on September 15, 2000 at 10:02:47 PT
Yes I did
Yes I sent them a note and Barry a note.They are bloods***ersI will not reprint those notes because I was rather crude.You see I lost a child and I know how it feels. It is not pleasant as you suffer over and over and over again.These bastards have to be punished and hopefully banished from the USA or even better the UniverseCheersRainbow
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Comment #21 posted by Dan B on September 15, 2000 at 09:34:10 PT:
Here we go again...
Frankly, I don't see how a SWAT team cop with 18 years of experience can "accidentally" discharge his weapon, either. I was, once again, speaking to a hostile audience, attempting to at least get them to listen to what I have to say. And I think I did a pretty good job walking the fine line between saying what I wanted to say and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Has anyone else had the balls to send them a letter of protest? I'm sure we'd all like to see your letters, if any others were sent.Incidentally, I included my full name, home address, and e-mail address so they can contact me if they wish. 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on September 15, 2000 at 09:18:59 PT
Thanks Observer!
That's excellent!
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Comment #19 posted by observer on September 15, 2000 at 08:59:31 PT
re: Drug War Deaths
DCP writes:... a page listing all the killings by law enforcement that have occurred because of the War on DrugsHere's one list, may be a good starting point.Drug War Deaths:Federal Government Responsiblehttp://apll.freeyellow.com/drug_war_list.html
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Comment #18 posted by Lehder on September 15, 2000 at 04:35:14 PT
The death of Len Bias
was national news for weeks. This will be a local "mishap".
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Comment #17 posted by Jeaneous on September 14, 2000 at 21:12:33 PT:
Accident?
I'm still trying to figure out how an officer that's been in a highly skilled division (SWAT) for 18yrs accidently "discharges" his weapon. To have the SWAT team bust in your house to "serve" a search warrant?......And this is what our government calls Freedom.
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Comment #16 posted by Chip Anderson on September 14, 2000 at 21:10:51 PT:
Who Will Get the Blame?
There is every reason to expect the blame for the killing will fall not on the killer but the people suspected of having contraband. The police would not have been there if there were no contraband, or so the reasoning will go.Let us see what charges will be filed and upon whom.Chip
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Comment #15 posted by freedom fighter on September 14, 2000 at 18:05:06 PT
they spent 2 stupid years studying those folks.
they knew that the kids are there.Shot in the back.. oh boy..they knew the movements of the player and I am sure that the kid was not even on the warrant.Someone get a lawyer for the family and sue them.Will someone scream for me? I am so tired of this.How many more children will have to die so we can save the "childrun"? One dead child is enough.:( 
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Comment #14 posted by Bink on September 14, 2000 at 17:54:34 PT:
 A Modesto SWAT officer shot and killed an 11-year
I live here. Do not expect anything of truth from here.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on September 14, 2000 at 17:24:04 PT
Here's an idea
If you haven't tried CannabisNews' search tool you might find some of the answers if you do. I'll try to think of a few people. I'm sure that MapInc. has more then I do because we aren't as old or as detailed as they are so checking their search tool would be good too. http://www.cannabisnews.com/search/http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/
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Comment #12 posted by DCP on September 14, 2000 at 16:21:38 PT:
Killings in the name of the WoD
It would be valuable and enlightning to have a link here at Cannabisnews.com to a page listing all the killings by law enforcement that have occurred because of the War on Drugs, beginning with the Modesto boy, and including, certainly, Peter McWilliams, Patrick Dorismond and the many others. If FoM would create such a web page, perhaps all you readers of Cannabisnews would provide names, dates, and details of these senseless killings. -DCP 
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Comment #11 posted by Frank S. World on September 14, 2000 at 16:16:38 PT
Prohibition created meth
Prohibition not only created the climate where heavily armed militarized SWAT teams kick in people's doors leading to situations where innocents are terrorized and killed, Prohibition also made a substance (meth) that can be cooked up from household chemicals in someone's kitchen extremely valuable.Rational drug policies could end this.
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Comment #10 posted by Dr. Ganj on September 14, 2000 at 15:51:45 PT
"Meth Kills" No, COPS KILL!!
Regardless of what drug it is the police seek, it does not justify murder. This is just one more example of how trying to prohibit drugs is a total failure. I can't think for a moment that if drugs were regulated, that more innocent people would die than they are right now. We've got to start changing the way we handle drugs. Two weeks ago a marijuana grower was killed in California, and now this boy in Modesto. It's just awful. Can't we all see this War on Drugs has not worked, is not working, and will never work! Dr. Ganj 
http://www.lifeafterlife.com/
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on September 14, 2000 at 14:46:38 PT
Meth
This child was a victim of the drug war. How do they decide where to but his death statistics I wonder? I agree that Meth is not a good drug. It is a drug that can make a person act really bizarre. If we push people who are strung out on Meth we will continue to see unbelievable behavior when put in a situation of fear. Meth makes a person not think about how dangerous what he might be doing could be. When Meth went away back in the 70s I thought that that was good and then Cocaine took it's place but I don't think Cocaine is as bad as Meth. I've never seen an old Meth head ever.
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Comment #8 posted by Dan B on September 14, 2000 at 14:06:40 PT:
Correction
I omitted the part that reads: "An eleven-year-old shot in the back--gee, I feel safer already." I felt that the letter was strong enough without resorting to sarcasm, especially given the horrific circumstances.
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Comment #7 posted by Dan B on September 14, 2000 at 14:04:54 PT:
E-mail I Sent to the MPD
Dear Modesto Police Department,I am writing to express my anger over the recent shooting death of an 11-year-old by one of your officers. I understand he was shot in the back during a drug raid. An eleven-year-old shot in the back--gee, I feel safer already.Whether the shooting was deliberate or an accident, it should never have happened. This killing is the direct result of what seems to be standard police policy across the country: shoot first, ask questions later. I sincerely hope that this shooting was not intentional (I doubt that the officer deliberately killed an eleven-year-old), but even if it was accidental, it is yet another dark expression of this country's failed drug policies--policies police cannot carry out effectively without resorting to violence and corruption.Many police in this country need to learn that a warrant is not grounds to provoke violence. They need to learn the concept that the suspect is innocent until proven guilty. They need to learn to use the mind before using their weapons. A search warrant does not give police the right to bring in a SWAT team--especially into a residential neighborhood, and especially when they know that children will be on the premises. And if they do bring in a SWAT team, they had better know the likelihood of children being on the premises and have a plan that is inacted during a time when children are least likely to be present.This senseless killing of an innocent child is the ultimate sick irony that results from the war on drugs, ostensibly an effort to "protect the children." If police would concentrate on stopping violence, rather than stopping what people do to themselves in the privacy of their own homes, violence would decline and Americans would sleep much easier. I am tired of reading about police causing violence, whether on purpose or by accident--and I am beginning to believe that most of it is deliberate and calculated. Knowing what little evidence is reqired for a search warrant for drugs, I believe that every American should fear for his or her life--fear the police more than the criminals.I know you are probably receiving numerous e-mails from people like me expressing their anger, and I know that you probably resent being told how to do your jobs--especialy by someone from another part of the country. Please understand that when a child is killed in the name of supporting a destructive policy like the war on drugs, the result is anger that spreads far beyond your city. Every American should be saddened by this tragedy. I am sure that Officer Hawn is deeply distressed and saddened by this tragedy, as well. I would hate to be in his shoes right now. But please also understand that the anger is not so much directed at the officer who pulled the trigger, but at the insane laws that give police the right to attack people in their own homes--laws that brand non-violent Americans as criminals and give police the right to trample the U.S. Constitution. All in the name of protecting children.Perhaps this horrible incident will become a catalyst to enact new, sensible drug policies that we can all live with. This tragedy is evidence that we cannot continue to live with the policies as they currently stand.Thank you for your time.Sincerely,(Dan B)
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Comment #6 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on September 14, 2000 at 14:01:38 PT:
Outrage should lead to votes and voices
I am not here to say that I think methamphetamine manufacture and sale is a good thing. However, it is highly doubtful that anything that lead to this attempt at an arrest was worth the precious life of a child. I hope that citizens everywhere will deplore this outrage and demand that the War on Drugs be curtailed. This kind of news proves that it is a lost cause, and morally bankrupt.
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Comment #5 posted by Frank S. World on September 14, 2000 at 11:35:35 PT
How to contact the Modesto PD
From the Modesto PD home page:"The Modesto Police Department is charged with maintaining law and order, and protecting life and property."Website: http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/mpd/Modesto Police Department 601 11th Street Modesto, CA 95354 Phone: (209)572-9500 Fax: (209)572-9669 E-mail: Ms. O. Mendoza: mendozao modestopd.com
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Comment #4 posted by Lehder on September 14, 2000 at 11:22:06 PT
"heartfelt sympathies"
are not enough.STOP. NOW.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on September 14, 2000 at 11:18:41 PT
I'm Mad!
They sure seem to care about the children. An 11 year old lost his life. He will never see his parents again! This has me furious!
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Comment #2 posted by Frank S. World on September 14, 2000 at 11:10:29 PT
More blood on their hands 
From the White House on down to the police officialswho send in highly militarized teams of police to take down non-violent drug suspects, this tragedy and others like it are the result of poor leadership and political game playing.One can only wonder how many more innocents will have to die before this country adopts rational drug policies.
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 14, 2000 at 10:42:34 PT
Ouch!!!
This is sad, the war on drugs isn't worth it.
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