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Posted: 9/7/2001 9:47:40 PM EDT
[url]www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/metro/0906raid.html[/url] Acting on a bad tip, Cobb SWAT team bursts into home; officer's gun goes off By CRAIG SCHNEIDER Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer The Cobb County police thought they had a killer cornered Sunday and they didn't want to waste time. They didn't want to tip him off. They didn't want to endanger themselves or the public. And they didn't want him to get away. But the 3 a.m. raid -- in which police targeted the wrong man, and an officer fired his gun accidentally -- raises questions of how far police should go before bursting into people's lives. John Bailey was relaxing in his home Sunday when he suddenly found himself handcuffed, with guns pointed at his head and police combing through his apartment. He had just come home from a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, and the evening was winding down at 3 a.m. The 41-year-old computer programmer was having some drinks with a friend when the knock on the door came, bringing with it the "scariest moment of my life." It had been a different evening for the Cobb County police. They had received a tip from a manager of Bailey's apartment complex. The woman said a man who rented an apartment matched a photo of a fugitive shown that evening on TV's "America's Most Wanted." Armed with a warrant, the police SWAT team descended on his red front door. Bailey had just put some fish and chips in the oven when the knock came. There were a handful of police officers, he recalled, looking like a military unit. They had rifles, night-vision goggles, helmets. The police barked orders at him. He was handcuffed and pushed around, he said. They were talking about somebody killing his father with a hammer. "And they were treating me like I was him," said Bailey. Unfortunately, they had the wrong man. Making matters worse, an officer's submachine gun went off inadvertently. The bullet shot through a metal closet door, through the bathroom wall, and put a hole in Bailey's deodorant stick before landing in the bathtub.
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 9:48:48 PM EDT
(continued) "It freaked me out," he said. No one was injured in Sunday's early morning raid on Bailey's apartment near Vinings. Police are reviewing the incident, and it is unknown whether any disciplinary action or procedural changes will result, said police spokesman Dana Pierce. When Cobb County police believe they know a fugitive's whereabouts, they say they must balance the desire to move fast to protect the public from a criminal, against the time needed to verify they've got the right man. If they have the right man, every minute may be critical. If they don't, they'll apologize. Gerry Weber, a legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, was critical of the raid. Police should have been more suspicious of a tip received from the airing of a television show, he said, and they should have taken greater pains to ensure the man in question was the man they wanted. Fugitive-chasing television shows create a furor to catch the criminals they profile, he said. "People want to be famous. They want to be the one who catches the guy on 'America's Most Wanted,' " he said. Bailey, who moved to the complex three months ago, said the police should have taken more time to obtain his name from the apartment manager. They could have checked his references on the lease. They could have checked his car tag. They could have talked to his neighbors or relatives. "They could have just looked at me through a pair of binoculars and seen I wasn't him," Bailey said. However, Pierce said the SWAT team acted quickly but not haphazardly. Stressing the fugitive was deemed armed and dangerous, he said, "You want to get to him as quickly as possible. What if we would have waited? A fugitive could then have injured or killed somebody else."
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 9:49:13 PM EDT
(continued) The phone tip came to police Saturday night, shortly after the program profiled James Detmer, a 44-year-old Kansas man who allegedly killed his father with the claw end of a hammer in Missouri. Days before, Detmer had fled after making bond on a charge that he tried to set a woman on fire with gasoline. By 2 a.m., the police had persuaded a judge to issue a warrant. Police took a photo of the wanted man to the apartment manager, who again said she recognized the fugitive. Both Detmer and Bailey are about 40 years old, and both are about 5-foot-10 and 240 pounds. Bailey was handcuffed, Pierce said, "to protect the officers and himself" until it could be determined he was not the fugitive. FBI spokesman Richard Kolco said such raids are routine, and he believes the Cobb police acted appropriately in choosing to go in. "Everybody was treated correctly with respect," he said. "If it doesn't work out, you just tell them, 'Thank you for your time.' It's worth it." On Wednesday, Bailey said his hands were still shaking. Any knock on his door drives up his blood pressure, he said. He is taking medicine for that, as well as to help him sleep. The bullets fired inside his home were especially unnerving. "If anybody was in that bathroom, they would have been shot," he said. He has hired a lawyer. Attorney Stephen P. Berne of Atlanta is demanding that an outside agency look into the raid. He noted that this is not the first time the Cobb County SWAT team has come under criticism. An independent report on a raid that resulted in the deaths of two SWAT members, was critical of the team's tactics. On Sunday, Berne said, police created a dangerous situation at Bailey's apartment. "He has a right to be safe in his own home."
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 9:57:17 PM EDT
Frankly, I don't see the point of your post. The officers did their duty and got home safely to their families, which is all that matters in the end. Anyone who would think or say otherwise is, clearly, a traitor to this great nation.
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 10:17:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Golgo-13: Frankly, I don't see the point of your post. The officers did their duty and got home safely to their families, which is all that matters in the end. Anyone who would think or say otherwise is, clearly, a traitor to this great nation.
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Yeah, it's all for the good of the country. And sure, there was an AD, but at least it didn't go into the back of a child. A-hole Imbroglio, who do you think you are?
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 11:08:04 PM EDT
Well, damnit! Don't you people understand? There wasn't any collateral damage done to show the civilians that they mean business!
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 11:14:25 PM EDT
Good thing he uses stick instead of aerosol.
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