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Justified or cover up???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Alpha Dog, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    Another drug case where a man lost his life and still todate no arrest made. Something don't set right to me plus the wife calls 911

    SWAT team's shooting of Marine causes outrage

    • 67b0a7c140653f1aff0e6a706700a777. ADVANCE FOR RELEASE MONDAY, NOV. 28 - In this photo taken June 9, 2011, a portrait …
    • 7208dc3840463e1aff0e6a7067005eea. ADVANCE FOR RELEASE MONDAY, NOV. 28 - In this photo taken June 9, 2011, the home …
    • 008b9da4402d3e1aff0e6a706700cb5e. ADVANCE FOR RELEASE MONDAY, NOV. 28 - In this photo taken June 9, 2011, a bullet …
    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons.

    An ordinary morning was unfolding in the middle-class Tucson neighborhood — until an armored vehicle pulled into the family's driveway and men wearing heavy body armor and helmets climbed out, weapons ready.
    They were a sheriff's department SWAT team who had come to execute a search warrant. But Vanessa Guerena insisted she had no idea, when she heard a "boom" and saw a dark-suited man pass by a window, that it was police outside her home. She shook her husband awake and told him someone was firing a gun outside.
    A U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq war, he was only trying to defend his family, she said, when he grabbed his own gun — an AR-15 assault rifle.
    What happened next was captured on video after a member of the SWAT team activated a helmet-mounted camera.
    The officers — four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 — moved to the door, briefly sounding a siren, then shouting "Police!" in English and Spanish. With a thrust of a battering ram, they broke the door open. Eight seconds passed before they opened fire into the house.
    And 10 seconds later, Guerena lay dying in a hallway 20-feet from the front door. The SWAT team fired 71 rounds, riddling his body 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet.
    "Hurry up, he's bleeding," Vanessa Guerena pleaded with a 911 operator. "I don't know why they shoot him. They open the door and shoot him. Please get me an ambulance."
    When she emerged from the home minutes later, officers hustled her to a police van, even as she cried that her husband was unresponsive and bleeding, and that her young son was still inside. She begged them to get Joel out of the house before he saw his father in a puddle of blood on the floor.
    But soon afterward, the boy appeared in the front doorway in Spider-Man pajamas, crying.
    The Pima County Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was at the home because Guerena was suspected of being involved in a drug-trafficking organization and that the shooting happened because he arrived at the door brandishing a gun. The county prosecutor's office says the shooting was justified.
    But six months after the May 5 police gunfire shattered a peaceful morning and a family's life, investigators have made no arrests in the case that led to the raid. Outraged friends, co-workers and fellow Marines have called the shooting an injustice and demanded further investigation. A family lawyer has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the sheriff's office. And amid the outcry in online forums and social media outlets, the sheriff's 54-second video, which found its way to YouTube, has drawn more than 275,000 views.
    The many questions swirling around the incident all boil down to one, repeated by Vanessa Guerena, as quoted in the 1,000-page police report on the case:
    "Why, why, why was he killed?"
    Outside the family's stucco home, a giant framed photo of Guerena in his Marine uniform sat placed in the front bay window, American flags waved in the yard and signs condemning his death were taped to the garage door.
    The 27-year-old Guerena had completed two tours in Iraq, and a former superior there was among those who couldn't make sense of his death.
    LEO Verdugo said Guerena stood out among other Marines for his maturity and sense of responsibility. Verdugo, who retired as a master sergeant last year after 25 years in the Marines, placed Guerena in charge of an important helicopter refueling mission in the remote west desert of Iraq.
    "He had a lot of integrity and he was a man of his word," Verdugo said.
    Verdugo, who also lives in Tucson, said Guerena came to him for advice in 2006 about whether to retire from the Marines and apply to the Border Patrol.
    When Verdugo ran into Guerena and his wife at a Motor Vehicle Department office about a month before Guerena was killed, Verdugo said that Guerena told him that the Border Patrol had turned him down because of problems with his vision and that he had instead taken a mining job.
    Those who worked with Guerena at ASARCO'S Mission Mine said the man they knew would never be a part of drug smuggling.
    "I don't care what the cops say. I don't believe for one moment Jose was involved in anything illegal," said Sharon Hargrave, a co-worker, adding through tears: "They were judge, jury and executioner, and there was no excuse."
    Guerena worked as a "helper" at two crushers in the mine, shoveling piles of rocks that fall from conveyor belts and wheel-barrowing heavy debris. "No one in their right mind" would choose this work, which paid about $41,000 a year, if they were bringing in drug smuggling money, Hargrave said.
    "He was a hell of a worker," she said. "He's got good judgment and I could trust him."
    She said Guerena talked constantly about his wife and two sons, Joel and Jose Jr., 5, who'd gone to school the morning of the shooting. "I know he was definitely in love with his wife and in love with his kids," she said.
    Kevin Stephens, a chief steward at Mission mine and head of the miners' union there, said bluntly: "Personally, I think he was murdered, and that is the feeling that is out here."
    But the sheriff's office said just because Guerena was a Marine and worked at a mine doesn't mean he couldn't be involved in drug trafficking.
    "We know from our experiences that good people turn their lives around and do bad things, and this guy was bad irrespective of his honorable discharge as a Marine," said sheriff's chief of investigations Rick Kastigar.
    He said Guerena was suspected of involvement in a drug operation that specialized in ripping off other smugglers. One tip held that Guerena was "the muscle" of the organization, or in Kastigar's words, "the individual that was directed to exact revenge."
    An affidavit supporting the search warrant that precipitated the raid describes the department's suspicions about Guerena in a drug investigation that appeared more focused on his brother, and his brother's father-in-law. Guerena's brother does not have a listed number and other family members have ignored written requests from the AP for comment.
    Sheriff's Capt. Chris Nanos, who heads the criminal investigations division and oversaw the Guerena case, said that high-powered rifles and bulletproof vests that were found in Guerena's home after the shooting back up investigators' belief that Guerena was involved in drug trafficking. A shotgun found in the home was reported stolen in Tucson in 2008.
    In the affidavit, sheriff's Detective Alex Tisch laid out the case against Guerena's family. It details two instances of drug seizures, one in April 2009 in which Jose Guerena was found in a home with other people who had just dropped off 1,000 pounds of marijuana at a separate residence, and another in October 2009 in which a man who had met with Guerena's brother was found with drugs and weapons.
    Neither Guerena nor his brother was charged.
    The affidavit also cites two traffic stops of Jose Guerena.
    The first was on Jan. 28, 2009, when an officer pulled Guerena and two other men over north of Tucson. The officer seized a gun from Guerena, a marijuana pipe from Guerena's cousin and marijuana hidden in canisters of lemonade and hot cocoa that were under the feet of Guerena's friend.
    The officer arrested Guerena on charges of weapons misconduct, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. But prosecutors filed no charges against him.
    The other stop came Sept. 15, 2009, when the sheriff's office pulled over a truck leaving the home of Guerena's brother. Jose Guerena was in the passenger seat and another man was driving. Officers searched the truck and found commercial-sized rolls of plastic wrap that they say are commonly used to package marijuana. No arrests were made.
    Tisch wrote in the affidavit that the past arrests of Guerena and members of his family, combined with observations during months of surveillance led detectives to believe that the family was operating a mid-level drug-trafficking organization in the Tucson area.
    The investigation is ongoing, the sheriff's office says.
    After the SWAT video circulated, people who didn't know Guerena traveled from as far as California to march in protest of his shooting, and an Alaska woman began an online petition calling for a federal investigation of the SWAT team. Hundreds of people across the country have written on several Facebook pages dedicated to Guerena with messages that include, "He fought for our country, now we must fight for him."
    The Guereno family's lawyer, Christopher Scileppi, filed a lawsuit on their behalf seeking damages from the sheriff's office, the officers involved in the shooting and other officials. The lawsuit didn't specify how much money the family was seeking, but a notice of claim filed Aug. 9 put the amount at $20 million.
    "During this investigation, extremely little evidence, if any, was found to raise even a suspicion that Jose Guerena was involved in any possible drug trafficking ring," the notice says.
    Scileppi said the fact that Guerena had been fired at 71 times and hit 22 times was "grotesque," and "almost a caricature of an overly excited group of poorly trained law enforcement agents."
    Kastigar sharply disputed that, calling the Pima County SWAT team one of the best of its kind in the nation. "We're not a bunch of country bumpkins in southern Arizona with big bellies and cowboy hats," he said.
    The shooting was justified, he said, because Guerena pointed his AR-15 at the SWAT officers and said, "I've got something for you," before they opened fire.
    The five SWAT team members who shot Guerena believed that he had fired his weapon first, he said. Subsequent investigation revealed that the gun's safety was on and hadn't been fired. Ultimately, that is not an issue, Kastigar said.
    "What reasonable person comes to the front door and points a rifle at people?" he said. "It takes several milliseconds to flip the switch from safety to fire and take out a couple of SWAT officers. I'm firmly of the opinion that he was attempting to shoot at us."
    The officers laid down "suppressive" fire because one had tripped and fallen and the others thought he'd been shot.
    "You point a gun at police, you're going to get shot," Kastigar said.
    The five officers who shot Guerena declined to speak to the AP through Mike Storie, a police union lawyer who represents them and defends their actions.
    "Anytime that they are faced with a serious, imminent and deadly threat, they are entitled and justified to use deadly force," he said. "And when Guerena came around the corner and lifted an AR-15 and pointed it at them, that provided the justification."
    An independent expert, Chuck Drago, a former longtime SWAT officer for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., police who now does consulting on use of force and other law enforcement issues, said that the shooting itself appeared justified.
    "It's a horrible, horrible tragedy, but if they walked in the door and somebody came at them with an assault rifle, that would be a justifiable response," said Drago. "It doesn't matter whether he's innocent or not."
    But after examining elements of the search affidavit, Drago questioned whether the sheriff's office truly had probable cause.
    "When you back up and look at why they're there in the first place and whether the search warrant was proper, my mind starts struggling," Drago said. "There are a lot of things that don't make a lot of sense."
  2. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    Well I hate to tell 'em, but anytime ANYONE kicks open my door they are gonna get an AR pointed and fired at them and I'm going to feel justified in killing whoever it was because I don't have time to decide whether it's really SWAT or another case of home invasion with criminals dressed as SWAT.
    Falcon15, beast and Alpha Dog like this.
  3. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    The thing that gets me is why has no one been arrested, I have been on and done hundreds of search warrants and hi-risk arrest warrants. If something like this happens that is one case that dose not slip through the cracks. You make that arrest and show the public yes we had to use deadly force and we regret it but we got the drugs and the dealers off the street. To make it safe for citizens to walk and children to play. What I understand is the case has dried up and this family lost their husband and dad for no reason.
    Cephus and BTPost like this.
  4. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    Yeah that part is rather telling IMO. The self righteous SOB is going on and on with a whole detailed story yet they don't seem to be making use of the details they know.
  5. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    Once again the "war on drugs", it's inherent militarization of police agencies and the insane concept that violent home invasions and the killing of citizens is an acceptable price to pay for "officer safety" are responsible for a very suspect death.

    Maybe I'm old fashioned, but when I joined the police back in the '70s, I did so to protect the citizens...to put myself between them and the bad guys. Now, the great god of "officer safety" is supreme and the deaths of those we were sworn to protect, in order to protect those who swore to do the protecting from possible harm is the norm.

    As I have said before, something has gotten twisted around here...
    Cephus, BTPost, Falcon15 and 5 others like this.
  6. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    I have worked alot of drug warrant and most of the time I am the first through the door. first because Im a big country boy and second because I don't want any of my guys taking a bullet if I can help it. For the most part it don't bother me to be first because I do my home work. With that being said why the hell would they do a hot entry with a baby in the house. Now Im not going to say why they did but In that setup I would have set up outside the house and waited for him to exit the residence and took him down if I done my home work I would have known he had a job and done a traffic stop that morning on his way home from work away from his house. At the same time I would have had a officer knocking on the front door. That would lower the probability of a shootout. I agree and have been there. Some times it calls for going in kicking the door off the wall and people get hurt or end up dead and that is part of the job of being a Officer or of being a dope dealer comes with the walk. I just feel if alot of these guy's would slow down and think it through you would have a better ending. Less people hurt or killed, less mistakes and more public support. Then when things happen the citizens would know and believe it had to happen with no other choices
    Hispeedal2, Cephus, STANGF150 and 5 others like this.
  7. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    Sometimes cops wanna be heros, sometimes good guys die sometimes bad guys die and sometimes innocent die. Dont really know the militant cowboy hero that some people think they are, but I can assure you a dead hero is really dead.Keep up the good work, and stay alive,.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    For all the noise that most of us make about meeting unwanted visitors with gun in hand, it has always struck me as odd doing so if it is as obvious as it has to be that those are cops. Under those circumstances, it seems like sure suicide by cop even if innocently defending your house and family. I'm with AD, there are better tactics/ways to take down perps most of the time.
  9. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I was thinking the same thing about a traffic stop to keep it from going sideways, like it did. Anyone but a sheeple will respond with a firearm if there residence is being entered in that way. I think they are just trying to justify their jobs, try out their tactics and play with all the new toys, TOTAL BS! Look at most of the SWAT raids anymore that are way out of line for what the crime is. Then look at the past, the main objectives of Ruby Ridge and Waco could have been taken with traffic stops while on the way to town, but NOOOOOOOOOO.
  10. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    From what I USED to understand the escalation of force goes like this:

    1. Verbal commands
    2. Hands on
    3. Pepper spray
    4. Taser
    5. Baton
    6. Firearm

    Anymore a lot of LEO's start with 1 and then jump straight to 3 & 4 without even trying 2 just because you are not following their orders and they don't want to chance getting hurt (no offense to the real LEO's out there). I work event security and if I pulled that kind of crap, I would be fired and probably put in jail for excessive force.

    Can any of you current LEO's chime in here and let me know what they are teaching the new LEO's concerning the use of force while in the academy.
  11. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    criminals dont use a battering ram to take out your front door
    they sneak in the back or a window and slit your throat
  12. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    Pepper spray before hands on. I know but in our area we have had some home invaisions where the suspects just ran up and kicked the front door open and beat the victims then robbedd them. One of the victims said he thought he was on cops until the man started stomping him. All Im saying is if you think a guy is going to force you into a fire fight and there are kids in the residence.a little thought and tactics could give you an advantage.
    Cephus likes this.
  13. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    if i was going to answer the door armed, i wouldnt be standing where id be seen
    id be out of sight and let them come thru the choke point where i can see them
    STANGF150, Mountainman and Alpha Dog like this.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I've often thought that meeting a crashed in door with a gun in hand might result in suicide by cop. I thought they had to ID themselves on the way in.
  15. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Sorry to derail the post, but I have to ask one more question. If the person is hostile and/or your thinking this will end up in a fight then I understand and would do the same thing. What I meant was the situations where the person is just being a prick and not following your orders: traffic stop where they refuse to exit the vehicle with the door open, drunk homeowner that will not get off the couch to go outside and talk to you, etc..
    Alpha Dog likes this.
  16. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    They do unless they get a no knock warrant and then they can just force entry. I most of the ones we go in on every officer as he crosses the doorway screams Sheriff Dept. from front to back every room we enter the same. That way there is no mistake Sheriff's Deputies are in the house,because when I answer my door, or hear someone talking to my wife at the door or someone pulls in my driveway I have instant access to my gun. So with that in mind I think well if this guy is breaking the law he has something to hide and how far will he go to keep it. So I want him put t any disadvantage I can put him in.
  17. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    This was a NO KNOCK WARRANT. This entry was performed with ONE announcement of "POLICE" in English and Spanish. This was a militarized SWAT team. If you watched the video, the only difference between the SWAT team in question and a CQC Marine team in say, Al-Fallujah, Iraq, is the colors of their uniforms.

    The PROPER way to have handled this, rather than a complete violation of a citizen's 4th Amendment - under the guise of a "war on drugs", would have been to:

    1: Uniform officers go in a squad car and pick up the "suspected" individual at WORK.
    2: Take him down to the station house and set him down for questioning.
    3: IF there was probable cause AT THAT TIME get a standard warrant and search his house and property.

    A no knock warrant is issued ONLY IF there is cause to believe that evidence would be destroyed before they could search the areas. If executed properly they would have handled this with zero death and zero loss of any "potential evidence". He worked nights at a copper mine. A good investigation in advance would have been able to ascertain his habits, work schedule, his family's schedule, etc.

    Between you and me, every person responsible for this from the Judge who issued the warrant to the most rookie SWAT Officer on that team needs to LOSE THEIR DAMN JOBS AT THE MINIMUM.

    Oh, and yes, no-knock warrants are Un-Constitutional and illegal, IMO.

    YMMV. My opinions are MINE.
  18. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    They almost always do, but if your sound asleep when they do the announcement the only thing you will hear is your door being crashed in. Then there is the no knock warrants, real brilliant if you want to get someone shot.
  19. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    Oh yes we can go soft hand or spray the department prefer spray before putting hands on they say liability but it's the guy sometimes you have a guy that just wont have it any other way then for the most part you reach and get them they realize if they don't do what you tell them they are going to jail and do what you ask and you dont have to use spray most of the guys are just drunk and full of BS and normally pretty good guys.
  20. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    One of my ROV instructors is an active training officer with HRT for the FBI. I asked him why the use of SWAT has become so prevalent, his answer is the only one that I have heard that makes any sense "When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail".
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