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Before I write about the Ankeny Police raid yesterday I want to say I have the upmost respect for law enforcement officers.  That have a difficult job and I am thankful to instances they put themselves in harm’s way to “protect and serve.”

That said I’m concerned about the raid that the Ankeny Police Department conducted over a case of credit card theft and their reasons to justify it.

First, it was a knock and announce warrant, and based on the video that I saw and the eyewitness accounts given that did not take place.  Second why are you sending a SWAT team to serve a warrant for a white collar crime?  The reason the Ankeny Police Department gave is troubling.

The Des Moines Register reported:

Critics say the search, which is gaining national attention, was an excessive, military-style raid for a credit card theft case. Ankeny police are defending the raid, saying they needed to use that approach to protect officers’ safety.

Ankeny police Capt. Makai Echer said officers knew at least one person in the house had a permit to carry a firearm. She said the department isn’t currently investigating how officers handled the search, nor does the department have a written policy for executing warrants.

“Every warrant that we do is based on information we have about the subjects in the residence we’re entering,” she said.

How many hardened, violent criminals would bother getting a carry permit?  Not to mention those who are convicted felons with violent histories don’t qualify for one.  This is troublesome.

Radley Balko writing at The Washington Post points out that the guy with the gun permit wasn’t the suspect they were looking for.

Ross was not one of the suspects for whom the police were looking. It seems highly, highly unlikely that had the police knocked on the door, announced themselves and waited for someone to answer it, a law-abiding citizen like Justin Ross would be a threat to suddenly decide to kill some cops. But it’s much more likely that Justin Ross might feel the need to defend himself upon hearing unidentified parties break down two doors, followed by the sight of several armed men in his home. Indeed, that’s very nearly what happened.

Very true, Balko points out the implications of this which are frankly chilling.

…think of the implications if this were the policy everywhere. It would mean that if you’re a gun owner, the police could cite that fact in and of itself as justification for them to violently tear down your door, rush your house with guns and point those guns at your family — even if their warrant is for a nonviolent crime, even if it’s for a white collar crime, even if you’ve dutifully registered your gun with the government. In fact, given that Ross’s permit is how the police knew he was armed in the first place, especially if you’ve dutifully registered your guns with the government.

Sorry, we can’t give the Ankeny Police Department a pass on this.  This is disconcerting.  Their policies and procedures must be addressed to ensure citizens’ rights are respected.  They messed up, they should own up to it, and those responsible for the decision should be held accountable.

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