Radley Balko and other sources are reporting yet another wrong door raid, this one on a family in Spring Valley, New York. The family had lived at the address for 12 years, were county foster parents (with an extensive background check), and the father was actually a county employee. Lots of opportunities for the 13 agencies and 200 personnel involved in this raid to take “precautions to prevent this type of incident from happening,” don’t you think? At least the DEA apologized, sort of. Someone should explain the difference between passive and active voice.
Couldn’t someone pull they guy aside at work and ask if someone named Michael lived with him? Couldn’t they try and surveil the place, to see if “Michael” was ever seen entering the townhouse?
Wasn’t there a better way to handle this besides knocking the door down at 0530, frightening a 13-year-old into a vomiting spell and asthma attack, and threatening to shoot the family dogs who were barking at all the strange people and commotion?
No one died this time. The McKays were lucky in that respect. Lots of other people aren’t that fortunate. And when the wrong people die, a lot of times the officers involved are barely penalized.
So, now that the damage is done, what are those 13 agencies and 200+ people doing to fix the damage? Years ago, under Chief Reuben Greenberg, Charleston South Carolina PD would repair all the damage any raid caused. They had a crew standing by to make the repairs as soon as the raid was over. Their reasoning was that their job was not to punish, but to catch the bad guys, and to do that effectively, they had to be on good terms with the citizens. That meant cleaning up after themselves when they made an arrest.
My suggestion is that every officer who signed off on raiding David McKay’s home on 13 January 2011 take an afternoon and repair all the physical damage they caused, and that they do so out of their own pocket. Any lawsuit that stems from this raid against the officers involve should draw any penalties from their own pockets, not the city’s insurers or its citizens. The officers who signed off on this raid are the ones who made the errors, and they should be the ones to fix the results of those errors. If more officers were held personally responsible, maybe fewer errors would be made.