Whenever I read about police brutality, or incompetent use of deadly force, it really makes me sick. It makes me doubly sick to read about young veterans of the current wars being cut down by trigger happy and incompetent police. See the link here. A US Marine in Arizona was gunned down by a SWAT team some time ago, and the shooting has been cleared, as has the phony baloney warrant used to do a dynamic entry into the home of a person suspected of being suspicious. From the information that Yahoo! so graciously provides, it looks like the police had little more than circumstantial evidence to suspect Jose Ortiz.
I've been a cop. In a small town, where our intelligence service was whatever we could pick up through the grapevine and substantiate through first-hand witnesses. Then came due process, where I would write a search warrant and get a judge to review it and see if I had done my due diligence. Most of the time, I had. Then, with warrant in hand, I would rally my superiors and we would make a plan. Our plan was ALWAYS a knock warrant, but with sufficient back-up to save us if someone decided to get crazy. Maybe I'm a hopeless libertarian. Maybe I'm an idealist. But my bosses and I, and the county and state police who backed up my warrants would always go in with the Road House mantra in mind: Be nice until it's time to stop being nice.
I served warrants on real drug dealers. Meth houses. Guys who pulled guns on a whim. Most of them would give up when they saw me and my boss on their doorstep. In my opinion, SWAT teams should not serve warrants. SWAT should only be used for emergencies. And I don't have too many nice things to say about SWAT cops. Many of the ones I have met have been dumb jocks who didn't have the balls to join the military. A few have served, and a few are great fellas, but by and large, they just want to play Army and would relish the idea to "kill a bad guy".
I have no doubt that Jose Ortiz answered the door with an AR15 upon hearing a loud boom and seeing men in masks clad in black swarming toward his house. I would probably arrive at my door with my Para LTC in hand if I heard a flashbang or shotgun blast and saw people in black outfits heading toward my door. Why it was necessary at all to use SWAT to serve this warrant is beyond me. If you have such strong evidence, then why not arrest Jose on his way to work and then serve the search warrant? If he really was a drug dealer, why were no drugs found on his property? If he really was a bad guy, where is the evidence? The only thing the story proves is that Jose Ortiz was killed in his home in front of his family on suspicion of being suspicious.
And to top it all off, the team dumped 71 rounds into the man's house with his wife and child inside. What a shame. For the 2nd Amendment crowd, for the police community, and veterans everywhere. I hope Pima County makes this right. Someone needs to lose a badge, and maybe a few years of freedom.