Military Tactics on Domestic Soil 

Military Tactics on Domestic Soil 
Posted by FoM on September 13, 1999 at 10:14:29 PT
Citizens are getting caught in the cross-fire
Source: San Jose Mercury News 
LATE at night, armed men shot their way into the home, set off a ``flash-bang'' grenade, then ran into a bedroom where a man and his wife had been sleeping. One of the gunmen shot Mario Paz, a 64-year-old grandfather, in the back twice. 
Paz, head of a hard-working, law-abiding Compton family, was killed on Aug. 9 by a police officer from El Monte who says he thought the retiree might be reaching for a gun. The SWAT team was looking for evidence against a former next-door neighbor, a suspected drug dealer who occasionally used the Paz mailing address.Police had no evidence against anyone in the household and found none during the raid. Nobody in the family has a criminal record. Despite that, they launched a military-style raid, shot a man for looking like he might be trying to defend himself against violent intruders and then handcuffed the survivors, including the victim's wife, and took them to a police station for questioning. Police found three guns and a rifle, purchased for self-defense in a crime-ridden neighborhood, the family said. The weapons were not in reach when Paz was shot, his widow told the Los Angeles Times. Maria Luisa Paz said he was trying to give money to the gunmen, assuming they were robbers. Police seized $10,000 in cash, hoping to keep it as drug profits. Mrs. Paz produced a withdrawal slip showing her husband had withdrawn the money -- his life savings -- from his bank account that day. He was afraid of Y2K. No drugs were found in the search. The El Monte police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are investigating the raid. Federal authorities are checking to see if Paz's civil rights were violated. Naturally, the survivors are suing. But, despite excellent reporting by the Los Angeles Times, there's been little outcry about the police invasion of the Paz home. We expect people to die in drug raids, including the occasional unarmed grandfather. It's what happens when a heavily armed SWAT team breaks into a home, primed to shoot not to ``protect and serve.'' When police treat citizens as the enemy, operate in communities they don't know and rely on overwhelming firepower, they are soldiers of an invading army. Mario Paz is just another casualty in the drug war. The drug war has militarized law enforcement. Collateral damage includes the 80 or so Branch Davidians -- nobody knows the exact number -- who died in the flames of Waco in 1993. In its war with David Koresh's religious sect, the FBI used military helicopters, tanks, armored personnel carriers and weapons -- apparently including pyrotechnic military tear-gas grenades. The gas grenades were lobbed into the cultists' compound before the fatal fire broke out. Just two grenades shot off hours too early to be a factor in the fire, says the FBI. But after six years of claiming that no pyrotechnics were used at any time, noway nohow, the FBI has no credibility. Attorney General Janet Reno, who ``took responsibility'' after the assault, says she was clueless, and therefore bears no responsibility. So John Danforth, a former Republican senator, has been named to investigate ``whether there was a cover-up and whether the government killed people,'' as he put it last week. Danforth also will investigate whether there ``was any illegal use of the armed forces,'' Reno said. More than a month before the final assault, Delta Force commandos were sent to observe the siege, advise the FBI and report back to the Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to documents released to the New York Times. If Delta Force commandos participated in the Waco assault, that's a no-no. The military isn't supposed to make war on U.S. soil. Except to fight the drug war. A Marine anti-drug patrol shot and killed a Texas teenager two years ago. Reno's Justice Department found the civil rights of Esequiel Hernandez Jr., 18, had not been violated. Nobody was held accountable for his death. Not the corporal who fired the shot. Not the drug warriors who sent the Marines to do a law enforcement job. Danforth said last week that his mission is to investigate bad acts, not to ask ``dark questions'' about bad judgment. He will not look at how the siege started, with a bloody, botched raid by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents. He will not ask if the government's aggressive tactics created a catastrophe. Republicans in Congress will wade in, but they're so eager to sink Reno they're likely to miss the deeper issue. When police officers play soldier and soldiers play police, Americans die. Joanne Jacobs is a member of the Mercury News editorial board. Her column appears on Mondays. Write to her at 750 Ridder Park Dr., San Jose, CA 95190, or e-mail to JJacobs .Published Monday, September 13, 1999in the San Jose Mercury News Federal Authorities Investigate Fatal Shooting - 8/31/99
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Comment #2 posted by John Q. Citizen on December 13, 2000 at 09:09:13 PT:
City of El Monte "End of The Santa Fe Trail"
This Compton shooting is typical, and an indication of the incompetence of the El Monte Police Department and/or the department’s administration which has been known by local residents to improperly handle matters, if even handle them at all. Their hasty decision-making appears also to be detrimental to the citizens of their own city of El Monte.In a similar drug matter, residents of a suspected drug house, complete w/ marijuana growing in the back yard, started threatening neighborhood families and vandalizing their property due to a drug theft of one of the suspects. The suspects boldly told neighborhood residents they are committing the retaliation crimes due to their drugs being stolen, in other words an all out drug war, until they find their drugs.It took El Monte police approximately 30 days to facilitate marijuana being removed from a back yard where it was growing after neighborhood families started complaining to local police, regarding marijuana growing, verbal & phone threats, and multiple vandalisms of their property in retaliation for the suspects’ drug theft. When El Monte police arrived the individual who standing in his back yard w/ the marijuana was simply asked for identification, and days later asked to come to the station for questioning.No one was ever arrested, no charges have ever been filed, and the El Monte police refused to file any vandalism crime reports on 3 vandalisms, which had witnesses to the person & vehicle used, nor any crime reports were filed on the verbal threats to neighborhood families by the suspects.With a Police department, which swings from doing nothing, to a fatal shooting outside their city limits, which results in no drugs found, the women, children and elderly residents have simply moved away from the El Monte neighborhood, which appears to be riddled with gangs and drugs.Hopefully an FBI investigation of the El Monte police department can bring a reality check to this police department, and the actual city, which they are to police first, before they attempt to police the city of Compton. John Q. Citizen 
City of El Monte "End of The Santa Fe Trail"
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Comment #1 posted by cerebus on September 13, 1999 at 22:13:40 PT
comeon the day policecan simply breakdown ur door on a word from unknown person or on a whim without some investigation or provication. im sure all the police were in full body armor raid gear n etc. is an old man that dangerous? and if anyone broke into my house in the middle of the night and woke me out of a sound sleep, would they shoot me for reaching for my glasses? or whatever are we that much of a police state? any arrest is dangerous and hasntthe government n police created these situations with prohibition? if we were a free society then there would be opportunity n justice in this country, there isnt. weve driven a whole class of casual drug users to the streets to find drugs or put junkies or nonviloent drug users or dealers in jail? many use even supposedly hard drugs recreationally n quit with no problem. addiction is based more on a persons personality not the drug or drugs they take. and if we stopped prosecuting nonviloent offenders n taxed n legalized drugs and took them off the streets n used tax revenus for treatment and education and dropped the street price of drugs then i dare say the police wouldnt need to break down doors quite so often or worry about drug induced crime or worry about kids sellin on the streets. or busting sick people looking for relief. the government and police have created a culture of violence and lies let them liein the bed they made themselves and i hope that family sues the police for all its worth. and lets all stop the nonsense is any drug "good" for u? not from what ive seen but what pharmacies and doctors doll out for medicine is often a hell of a lot more expensive and dangerous than any illicit drug is. just check the side effects in any drug ad sometime. common sense and moderation in all things is the only true path 
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