Communion Of Dreams

The other shoe drops.
September 21, 2010, 9:49 am
Filed under: Civil Rights, Constitution, Failure, Government, Predictions, Press, Society

Back in May I wrote about the drug raid debacle that happened here in Columbia which got world-wide attention when the video of the raid went viral.

After initially handling the whole mess poorly, our (new since the raid) Police Chief has taken significant and substantial steps to address the root problems that led to the raid, and subsequent police actions have shown that those steps are working as intended. No longer is the city’s SWAT team called out to serve routine search warrants, and there have been several large scale drug busts that demonstrate the other changes are being observed. This is a very good and very welcome change, and the new policy seems to be working as intended.

And yet I am happy that another aspect of this whole matter has just been put into motion: the filing of a lawsuit by the family targeted in the initial raid. From the newspaper account:

A civil suit was filed around noon today in Jefferson City’s U.S. Western District Court against the city of Columbia and 13 other defendants concerning a February drug-related SWAT raid in southwest Columbia.

* * *

The suit seeks restitution for damages to personal property and medical and veterinary expenses, Harper said. Bullet holes, a dead dog and another wounded dog resulted in thousands of dollars in damages, he said. The suit is filed against the police officers who were on scene for the incident and their contribution toward the violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, he said.

“This is all about demanding professionalism from our law enforcement agencies,” Harper said.

Exactly right.

The policy changes instituted are good. But policy can be changed back entirely too easily. It is critically important that our police department, and our city, understand that there is a very real cost associated with that previous behaviour. That way they won’t have any incentive to return to it in the future.

Now, I am not happy, as a taxpayer, that any settlement or judgment arising from this suit will likely come out of the city’s coffers (some of it may be offset by insurance, but I bet the city will be held liable for most if not all of the cost). It means less money for the city to do other, more constructive things. But such is the cost of supporting the civil rights of all of us.

Jim Downey


1 Comment so far
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But such is the cost of supporting the civil rights of all of us.

“The cost of freedom is rarely free.”

People often think of it only in terms of the military, but there are many other cases – such as this one – where the statement applies.

Comment by ML

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