Criminal justice writer Radley Balko, formerly of Reason Magazine and now writing for the Huffington Post, has undertaken a big project—highlighting “botched” police raids every single day for the next several months. And one of his posts on the “Raid of the Day” happened to touch some lives in our state.
These raids may have happened years ago but demonstrate an ongoing problem in today’s War on Drugs. In other words, so long as the “war” continues, raids like this will continue to happen.
Looking through a trashcan in Dodge County, Sheriff’s deputies found traces of marijuana. They used this bit of “evidence” (if you can call it that) to get a warrant for the home of Paul Shavlik, Cheryl Kadinger, and Jason Tews.
At 2:45 a.m., the cops broke down their door without knocking, tossing the roommates to the floor and tearing apart the house. They found nothing, but not before berating the trio and saying sexually suggestive things while searching through Cheryl’s underwear drawer.
Just a few weeks later, the same Dodge County Sheriff’s Department raided another home after finding traces of marijuana in a garbage can (apparently searching blindly through trashcans is this department’s idea of investigation).
This time the cops broke into the home of 29-year old Scott Bryant—a hardworking single father of 8-year old Colten. When the cops broke down the door (which they insist they knocked on and announced their presence first), Bryan was asleep on the couch. A sheriff’s deputy walked up to him and shot him straight in the chest, killing him.
The deputy said, in his defense, he couldn’t remember pulling the trigger. While the district attorney admitted the shooting was unjustified, they declined to press charges.
Incidentally, no drugs were found.
It’s true that cases like this are rare, as they should be. But if they ever happen, they are happening too much. Police departments are using drugs as justification for violent raids that rarely result in the “big busts” they are hoping for. If departments all over used “marijuana residue” found in garbage cans out back, countless homes would be raided for all of the recreational pot smokers out there, and we would be left with an even greater rift between the people and the police.
If you are arrested for a drug crime, whether it’s possession or even distribution, you need help. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and what can be done to minimize the impact of the charges on your life.