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This is why I oppose no knock warrants in all but the most extreme of circumstances

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  • This is why I oppose no knock warrants in all but the most extreme of circumstances

    If a terrorist is about to set off a bomb, or someone has made a direct threat, they have their place. But, I feel that their use in drug enforcement is more often than not needless overkill that creates more danger than it prevents.

    I certainly don't blame the officers who executed the entry, but I do blame the process that put them in a position to do what they were asked to do.


    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=275516


    Child burned by distraction device during raid

    CLARKESVILLE - Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell now is talking about the high-risk warrant service that resulted in burns to a 2-year-old child early Wednesday.

    The child was burned when narcotics agents, assisted by members of the Habersham Special Response Team, used a distraction device as they entered a home at 182 Lakeview Heights Circle outside Cornelia.

    "We had prior information on it," Terrell said of the circumstances of the home and its occupants. "The individual had been involved in an altercation with another male involving a possible AK-47 [rifle] several months ago, and he was arrested on some weapons charges. Supposedly that was about drugs."

    Terrell said agents followed standard procedure prior to obtaining a search warrant and planning the raid.

    "When we did surveillance on the house, there were two guards standing guard at the door ... like they weren't letting anybody in," Terrell said. "We did make the buy out of the house. We took that information, along with our other information, and went to see the judge and got a warrant."

    Terrell said the drug buy was made late Tuesday, but it was early Wednesday before the warrant could be obtained and served.

    "Our team captain asked the normal questions - is there children?" Terrell said. "If there's children involved in a house, we do not use any kind of distraction devices in those houses. We just don't take the chance on it."

    But there were no indications of children in the home.

    "According to the confidential informant, there were no children," Terrell said. "When they made the buy, they didn't see any children or any evidence of children there, so we proceeded with our standard operation."

    Because of recent history with the individual involved in the alleged drug sales and knowledge of weapons in the residence, the special agent seeking the search warrant requested a "no-knock" warrant, Terrell said.

    Mountain Judicial Circuit Narcotics Criminal Investigation and Suppression Team agents obtained a search warrant for the residence, with the no knock entry provision approved by Habersham County Chief Magistrate Judge Jim Butterworth.

    "Due to the previous information regarding assault-type weapons at the residence, the information regarding adult male subjects standing 'guard' in front of the residence, the fact that there was no safe way to approach the residence without being detected, the possibility of the destruction of evidence, and Wanis Thonetheva's criminal history which reflected charges of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and several charges of carrying a concealed weapon, agents contacted the Habersham County Sheriff's Office [Special Response Team] unit to assist with the execution of the search warrant and the securing of the residence," a report provided by Terrell states.

    The three-bedroom, two-bath house is a single story with enclosed garage.

    "We check the door; if it's unlocked we enter," Terrell said. "The door was locked, so they breached the door. There was an obstruction at the door. They tossed a 'flash bang'. Our team leader has been through the school on the use of the flash bangs - the distraction devices - is the only way we can even purchase them. We have to have a license, he has to go through the training."

    Terrell said the training teaches officers to only throw the device three to five feet inside the door, to protect the occupants.

    "He taught our team members how to do it," Terrell said. "They breached the door and one member tossed the device in, then we entered the room."

    During the entry is when the child was burned.

    "What had happened was there was a playpen - a Pack N Play - that was pushed up against the door, and when they breached the door it wouldn't open up because of the Pack N Play," Terrell said. "It was just wide enough to toss the flash bang in, then they had to physically push it [Pack N Play] on out of the way to get in. That's when the team medics saw the child, stopped at the child, took the child out and began first aid."

    A waiting ambulance, which was standing by a short distance away, was called to transport the child.

    "The door that we entered was the door that we bought dope out of - that's why entered at that door," Terrell said. "Our team went by the book. Given the same scenario, we'll do the same thing again. I stand behind what our team did."

    The Habersham Special Response Team is a combination of sheriff's deputies and Cornelia police officers.

    "We keep asking ourselves, 'how did this happen?'," Terrell said. "No one can answer that - you can't answer that. You try and do everything right. Bad things can happen. That's just the world we live in. Bad things happen to good people.

    "The baby didn't deserve this," Terrell said. "The family didn't deserve this - this family was displaced from another home down here and apparently just moved in with her."

    Terrell said both the district attorney and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have said there was no wrongdoing on the SRT's part.

    "I've talked to the D.A., I've talked to the GBI," Terrell said. "I've given them the whole information and they say there's nothing else we can do. There's nothing to investigate, there's nothing to look at. Given the information given, GBI's SWAT team would have done the exact same thing - they'd have used the exact same scenario to enter the house."

    Terrell said the lack of knowledge that there were children in the home contributed to the situation.

    "It's an accident that we would have avoided if we'd just had any inclination that there had a been a child in that house," Terrell said. "We had no idea."

    Terrell said officers learned later the children were kept hidden and out of sight in the home.

    "Even talking with the mother afterward, they knew that there was some things going on in the house and they tried to keep the children separated from and hid from the occupants of the house because they knew that they were - from what she told the agents, they knew they were selling drugs, so they tried to keep the children separated from that," Terrell said.

    While Terrell said the sheriff's office takes ownership of its decision to enter the home, that was necessitated by the man who was selling drugs there.

    "The person I blame in this whole thing is the person selling the drugs," Terrell said. "Wanis Thonetheva, that's the person I blame in all this. They are no better than a domestic terrorist, because they don't care about families - they didn't care about the family, the children living in that household - to be selling dope out of it, to be selling methamphetamine out of it. All they care about is making money.

    "They don't care about what it does to families," Terrell said. "It's domestic terrorism and I think we should treat them as such. I don't know where we can go with that, but that's my feelings on it. It just makes me so angry! I get so mad that they don't care about what they do, they don't care about the families or the people they're selling to."

    The child, born in October 2012, suffered burns to his right side. The pillow the child was lying on was burned, and the device created a hole in the plastic side of the Pack N Play.

    "I don't think they cover a significant amount of the face or the chest, that's the two areas, but there are some areas that they're doing surgery on," Terrell said. "I believe they're going to be doing some skin grafts."

    Terrell and his officers are taking the incident hard.

    "It's heart-wrenching," Terrell said. "Our prayers and our thoughts go out to the family. Yesterday was a grieving day - it was a grieving day for all of us. We didn't do a press release on it yesterday, because I just don't know that I could have done a press release on it yesterday. I couldn't talk about the scenario without crying - just grieving for that child and grieving for that family."

    Terrell said the officer who threw the device "is basically upside down. He's gone and talked to his pastor, trying to get some counseling and some debriefing just to help him get through what has happened."

    But even with this tragic event, Terrell said his officers will continue to perform their duties.

    "We can't stop," Terrell said. "We're called for a purpose. The members of this team want to be here."

    Likewise, SRT members are committed to their duties.

    "Our team leader, Matt Wurtz, told me this yesterday - we talked several times - in the trembling of his voice, he said he started working with a dog, he started working in dope, and he wanted to start this team because children are getting involved in situations they don't need to be," Terrell said. "We're getting more and more information about children, 14-15 years of age, getting into methamphetamine. Who is going to stand up for them? Who is going to do the right thing? We are! We are! And we are not going to stop what we do."

    Terrell said officers must continue to enforce the law.

    "We hate that this happened," Terrell said. "This tears our soul out, but we cannot stop standing up and being the thin blue line against those who don't care about, who want to do the domestic terrorism and sell dope and make the money. We're still going to stand between them and still do our job - we've got to."
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breakin...ring-po/nf9XM/

    Toddler critically injured by ‘flash bang’ during police search

    A 19-month-old boy critically injured when a police device was tossed into his bed has a 50 percent chance of surviving, his parents said today. But a northeast Georgia sheriff defends the officers’ actions, calling it a tragic accident.

    “The last thing you want is law enforcement to injure someone innocent,” Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There was no malicious act performed. It was a terrible accident that was never supposed to happen.”

    Hours after a confidential informant said he bought methamphetamine from Wanis Thometheva at a Habersham County home late Tuesday, officers returned to the home to arrest him.

    Thometheva, 30, of Cornelia, wasn’t a stranger to them, police say. Terrell said that during a prior arrest on drug charges, investigators discovered Thometheva had weapons, including an AK-47.

    “That’s the threat he uses to those who don’t do what he wants,” Terrell said.
    Thometheva was not at the home at the time of the raid but was later arrested at another house on a felony drug charge of distribution of meth.

    Officers had no indication that any children were inside the Lakeview Heights home when they returned around 3 a.m. Wednesday, Terrell said, and approached the same door where drugs had been purchased.

    That door, which leads into a former garage that has been remodeled into a bedroom, was locked, so officers opened it, the Sheriff said. Then, a distraction device, or flash bang, was tossed inside.

    “It distracts them so you can make entrance,” Terrell said.

    But this time, the device landed in the playpen where a toddler was sleeping. Little Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanhs and his family, including parents and three older sisters, were all asleep in the room while visiting from Wisconsin. Only the little boy was injured.

    “It blew open his face and his chest,” the boy’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, told The AJC outside Grady Memorial Hospital. “Everybody was asleep. It’s not like anyone was trying to fight.”

    A medic began rendering aid to the boy before the child was transported to Grady, Terrell said. Foggy weather made helicopter travel unsafe, he said.

    Bou Bou is now in a medically induced coma, his parents said, and it could be weeks before it’s known if he’ll survive and what treatment he’ll need. The family was only supposed to be in Georgia temporarily after a fire at their Wisconsin home, the Phonesavanhs said.

    “We have nothing to do with this ( drugs),” father Bounkham “Bou” Phonesavanh said.

    Now, the family of six faces weeks of uncertainty, unsure how long the boy will be hospitalized, and where they’ll live in the meantime. A family friend has created an online fund-raising page to help with costs.

    The family is angry, but hopefully the boy makes a full recovery. His sisters, ages 3, 5, and 7, haven’t been able to see him, but have recorded messages for him to hear, such as, “I know you got hurt but we love you, Bou Bou.”

    Added the father: “I hold his hand to comfort him. We’re close, that’s my boy, my only son.”

    Terrell said he contacted the GBI, but was told no further investigation is needed.

    “Our hearts are broken with them because of the child,” Terrell said.




  • #2
    This is why I oppose S*** bags and also those who choose to have kids with S*** bags.

    Comment


    • #3
      Carbon how many years you been in LE?
      How many Warrants you serve?
      Do you know why LE uses no knock?

      I'm glad with all of your years of experiance and training you have such a strong oponion.

      Parents did that to their child not the officers.
      MDRDEP:

      There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

      Comment


      • #4
        Carbon.

        This is probably the dumbest thing you have ever posted.

        I have executed hundreds of "no knock" warrants. I don't use, nor did we ever use distraction devices.

        Bottom line is.. You would rather we just knock on the door and ask for permission to enter?

        It was a mistake. Period. A very, very, very, extremely rare mistake.

        Apples and oranges for your opposition of no knock warrants.

        A scumbag had a child, who should not have had a kid. Anyhow, my heart goes out to the innocent child, but at last, it was an accident, a mistake, a mishap. Not purposely done.
        Captain Square Badge, reporting for duty!.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jcioccke View Post
          Parents did that to their child not the officers.
          Agreed. This sounds like they were using the baby as a obstacle to slow down law enforcement. Human shield tactics.


          I have my own problems with assaults to serve warrants but I think the answer is to have robots to lead the assault. Arm them with tasers and they could prevent the destruction of evidence but it would greatly cut down on the number of people who get shot when they weren't actually a threat.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have no love for scumbag meth dealers. I just can't imagine that this was the most intelligent manner in which to take this man into custody, as evidenced by the recon being so poor that the house was hit with a no knock when he wasn't even there.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
              Agreed. This sounds like they were using the baby as a obstacle to slow down law enforcement. Human shield tactics.


              I have my own problems with assaults to serve warrants but I think the answer is to have robots to lead the assault. Arm them with tasers and they could prevent the destruction of evidence but it would greatly cut down on the number of people who get shot when they weren't actually a threat.
              Robots? Are you serious? Have ever operated or even SEEN a bomb/police robot operated? That is one of the single dumbest things I've ever read.

              As for no-knocks, the LEOs did EVERYTHING possible to mitigate the risks of the raid. They had a high risk individual/s who intentionally placed their child at risk. Screw'em

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe they should start using Koosh balls for distraction devices. No one can resist picking a koosh up and playing with it...

                (/sarcasm)

                Comment


                • #9
                  How is this any different than the cowardly POS who hold up their children as shields when cops draw on them out of necessity? This could have gone a lot worse for the kid and his moronic family had it been disgruntled customers or suppliers forcing through that door.

                  What's truly pathetic is that it took this to get the poor kid out of that home. Who knows how many developmental and other problems he has from that environment, and what all is in his system just from living among it?
                  "Snort-laughter is the best medicine"
                  ----- Mussel Bound


                  Don't forget to laugh today. The more implausible it seems, the more you need to.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shush View Post
                    Maybe they should start using Koosh balls for distraction devices. No one can resist picking a koosh up and playing with it...

                    (/sarcasm)
                    Now you're letting your anger get to you and suggesting police brutality. You ever count the little sharp pokey rubber spires on those koosh balls? It's all fun and games until somebody hit by one drops their crack pipe and burns off their equipment so they can't make more crack babies.
                    "Snort-laughter is the best medicine"
                    ----- Mussel Bound


                    Don't forget to laugh today. The more implausible it seems, the more you need to.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The only problem I have with this operation is that the intel was faulty. Number one is that the officers did not know that children were present, and two that they were not aware that the ****head was not there.

                      Once things went wrong, the team adapted properly. The medic with the team reacted in the proper manner and did his job. They immediately got the child out and into a waiting rescue squad. Though they will spend the rest of their lives questioning themselves the operators did things the way they were supposed to.
                      In God We Trust
                      Everyone else we run local and NCIC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bad that it turned out this way,still better than a team walking up to the door,announcing themselves and ripped apart by gun fire.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Proper intel is key. Better to wait and get good info unless exigent circumstances exist.

                          Not MMQB'ing here, because we don't know the facts in this case.

                          Just a general rule for utilizing tactical entries.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lady Blue View Post
                            The only problem I have with this operation is that the intel was faulty. Number one is that the officers did not know that children were present, and two that they were not aware that the ****head was not there.

                            Once things went wrong, the team adapted properly. The medic with the team reacted in the proper manner and did his job. They immediately got the child out and into a waiting rescue squad. Though they will spend the rest of their lives questioning themselves the operators did things the way they were supposed to.
                            Originally posted by swat_op506 View Post
                            Proper intel is key. Better to wait and get good info unless exigent circumstances exist.

                            Not MMQB'ing here, because we don't know the facts in this case.

                            Just a general rule for utilizing tactical entries.
                            I like to see balanced posts like these.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No knock vs knock and announce have nothing to do with NFDD (flashbangs). I've done lots of search warrants that were no-knocks based on weapons/criminal histories that didn't involve an NFDD. You have guards on a place and intel about an AK-47 in the house? Sounds extreme to me. How about we start making people apply for permits to reproduce? I'm sick of drug dealers with multiple "baby mommas" out there. It's a culture thing, a thug life culture thing that transcends ever race/creed and gender and the only victims here are the kids and the cops caught with an innocent in the way. Child endangerment (lets live with daddy the drug dealer) should be a felony.

                              Comment

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