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Posted: 1/2/2003 12:01:05 PM EST
No mention of criminal charges (except against a civilian) or firings. $40,000 isn't even a slap on the wrist. [url=www.austin360.com/auto_docs/epaper/editions/tuesday/metro_state_4.html]Drug task force's $40,000 error[/url] Raid by now-dissolved unit turned up ragweed, not pot By Jason Spencer AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Tuesday, December 31, 2002 Travis County taxpayers will pay $40,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused a now-dissolved sheriff's office narcotics task force of violating the civil rights of four Spicewood residents during a bungled drug raid in May 2001. The federal lawsuit, filed last January, alleged that about a dozen members of the sheriff's Capital Area Narcotics Task Force held Sandra Smith and three tenants at gunpoint while they ransacked Smith's rental property on Happy Valley Pathway. The officers later said they suspected Smith was growing marijuana on the land but found only ragweed on her lot. They did not have a search warrant, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project. Travis County commissioners unanimously approved the settlement earlier this month after determining that the county would probably lose if the case went to trial, County Judge Sam Biscoe said. "The Commissioners Court had serious questions about how the events unfolded," Biscoe said. Smith and the other plaintiffs -- David Howard, Chance Leverett and Wayne Darling -- originally sought $35,000 each. Darling died in September. Both sides said they agreed to settle in part because they wanted to avoid a costly trial. The raid was one of three high-profile incidents that raised questions about the task force in 2001. That February, Deputy Keith Ruiz was shot to death while trying to break down the front door of a suspected drug dealer's home in Del Valle. The gunman, Edwin Delamora, said he fired because he believed he was being robbed, but he was convicted of Ruiz's murder. And in December 2001, a deputy shot and killed unarmed Tony Martinez, 19, who was sleeping on a sofa when the task force raided his cousin's home. Smith said the lawsuit accomplished its top goal when Sheriff Margo Frasier disbanded the task force earlier this year. "I was just trying to show everybody that they don't have any right to push people around who are good, hard-working people like we are," said Smith, 57. "They just acted like we were some kind of trailer trash or something."
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 12:04:27 PM EST
yep, I remember this one. She has a shitload of ragweed growing behind her house, and someone spotted it (I think it was from a news helicopter or something...) and called the cops. They went in like JBTs and raided the place Bad-Boys style, shoved an MP5 in her face and ransacked the place. A little overboard, IMHO. She should keep her damn yard up! It was a pretty shitty neighborhood, IIRC.
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 12:12:38 PM EST
The raid was one of three high-profile incidents that raised questions about the task force in 2001. That February, Deputy Keith Ruiz was shot to death while trying to break down the front door of a suspected drug dealer's home in Del Valle. The gunman, Edwin Delamora, said he fired because he believed he was being robbed, but he was convicted of Ruiz's murder. And in December 2001, a deputy shot and killed unarmed Tony Martinez, 19, who was sleeping on a sofa when the task force raided his cousin's home.
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So, a homeowner gets convicted of murder for shooting someone who busts in on his home, but if a cop shoots someone while busting in on a home, he gets (what I assume since there is no mention of charges) nothing charged against him? [pissed]
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 12:34:55 PM EST
And in December 2001, a deputy shot and killed unarmed Tony Martinez, 19, who was sleeping on a sofa when the task force raided his cousin's home.
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Grrrr.z
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