A recent raid by the county Sheriffs’ office of an Idaho couple’s home is indicative of the danger posed to law abiding Americans by law enforcement. A neighbor heard the couple, Bear and Marcella, arguing, so she called the police to report possible domestic violence. Anyone who has ever watched the show “Cops” knows how this call should have gone down, a few officers arrive, ask the couple to come out of the house, and figure out what is happening. In this case that would have been the extent of the investigation–by all accounts no domestic violence had occurred and there were no signs of physical injury to either of the couple–until police arrived. Bruises on Marcella’s arm and side appeared shortly after she was yanked out of her house by a police officer after opening the door slightly. Had those bruises been caused by Bear instead of the police, he would have faced felony charges.
The police were also reportedly not too concerned with her husband Bear, who peacefully came outside before he was told to get on his knees facing away from the officer. He was then dropped on his tail bone by two officers who were attempting to get him to his feet while he was still cuffed. Bear–a former police officer–has chronic back and other injuries the most serious having been received when he was stabbed by a shoplifter in 1982. The entire time this was happening Bear and Marcella continually asked the reason for the raid. The officers said “We’re going to tell you, now it’s time to shut up”.
Under the pretense of clearing the house, (Bear had already correctly told them no one else was inside) the Deputies then illegally searched the property, violating the couples’ Fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Keep in mind that this was an unfounded domestic disturbance call, so why did the officers feel the need to search the house? Probably because if enough drugs are found, they have the authority to seize the home and turn police work into profit. While “clearing” the house, the police found a grow room–for tomatoes.
What [the police] had – or, at least, thought they had — was an opportunity to seize Bear and Marcella’s home and farm through “civil asset forfeiture.” That tantalizing prospect evaporated when it became clear that the couple was cultivating organic tomatoes, rather than marijuana.
“The Gem County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t at all interested in helping us when we were victims of a crime,” Marcella summarizes. “But they were ready and eager to attack our home when they were given an excuse.” (Original Article).
What she was referring to was the fact that Marcella and Bear had been robbed by someone who had stayed at their house for an extended period of time. In that earlier case, she had been in contact with the same officer who dragged her out of her home. Upon reporting the theft, he informed her that it was outside the Sheriff’s jurisdiction and there was nothing they could do. However, when a neighbor made the call over the alleged domestic disturbance, she was directed to another Sheriff’s office who transferred the report to the responding department. Obviously, the officers could have helped Marcella in a similar way when her home was burglarized.
What makes this case scary is the language used by officers before they responded. The couple apparently had no extensive criminal record, and during the call and transfer:
…both dispatchers clearly understood one critical fact: There was no indication that weapons were involved in the alleged domestic dispute, or even to be found in the household. This meant that the proper response to the report, according to established policy, was a low-key “welfare check.”
Why, then, did the Gem County Sheriff’s Office choose to mount a SWAT-style raid against Bear and Marcella? The short answer is that the couple was the victim of “political profiling”: They were identified as a threat to “officer safety” on account of their perceived political opinions.
“Are you familiar with these guys?” asked a deputy identified in the 911 recordings as “Officer 57.”
“Negative,” answered another deputy designated “Officer 56.”
“I am, and it’s affirmative, there is [sic] weapons,” continued Officer 57. “He is – or at least was – anti-law enforcement. We’ve had issues with him. He’s a Constitutionalist.”
And that is where the truth comes out. People are being targeted with excessive police force simply because of their political beliefs or opposition to government violation of the Bill of Rights. The officer uses the term “Constitutionalist” as a negative, meaning he would be less likely to comply with law enforcement. As we see from what unfolded Bear and Marcella responded quite peacefully for an unconstitutional invasion of their home and violation of their rights. But what if Bear had rightfully defended his property against warrant-less home invaders? He’d be dead, as others have ended up in the past.
There is a reason we have the Bill of Rights, and if we are not outraged at episodes like these, it will be too late by the time we realize what we have lost. Following the Bill of Rights protects officers, and it protects American civilians who are innocent until proven guilty. The original article links to another case of a state-sanctioned home invasion which did not end so well. It ended with a four year old discovering his dead former marine father, riddled with SWAT team bullets lying in a pool of his own blood, while his mother was dragged from their home and detained by the same people who had just murdered her husband.
Don’t allow this type of abuse by law enforcement to continue. We as free Americans must demand that Constitutional rights are upheld, and hold those who violate them responsible.