Victims of U.S. Drug Policy

Citizens meet violent death at hands of Government



The stories of these victims of ideology, just a handful out of thousands, were edited by us from reports submitted by Dr. R.J. Tavel, rj@freedomlaw.com, from Vin Suprynowicz, vin@lvrj.com, and from other sources. Visit Dr. Tavel's website at
http://freedomlaw.com/


Donald Scott

Age 62 at the time of his death at his home in Malibu, CA. on October 2, 1992.

Scott and his wife, Frances Plante, were awakened by a pounding at the door. As Plante attempted to open the door, a narcotics task force from the LA County Sheriff's Dept. burst into the home, weapons in hand. Plante was pushed forcefully from the door at gun point. She cried out, "Don't shoot me, don't kill me!" With a gun aimed at her head, she looked to her right and saw Donald charging into the room, waving a revolver above his head. She heard a deputy shout, "Put the gun down! Put the gun down! Put the gun down!" As Scott was doing so, she heard three gun shots ring out, apparently from two sources.

Her husband was killed instantly.

Scott was a millionaire, heir to the Scott Paper fortune. Scott owned 250 acres of breathtakingly beautiful land that was adjacent to federal park lands. Attempts had been made by the feds to buy the property, but Scott was not interested in selling. Claims that there might be pot growing on the land, made by agents who did aerial surveillance, were used to get a search warrant. An official inquiry suggested that agents were hoping this raid would lead to asset forfeiture of the property Scott would not sell. No marijuana was found. Scott did not even smoke it.

Annie Rae Dixon

Age 84 and bedridden when she was killed by police in a 1992 drug raid in East Texas. No drugs were found in the home. A 28 year-old officer said his automatic pistol accidentally discharged when he kicked open Mrs. Dixon's bedroom door.

Earlier that night, an informant was given $30 to go into the Dixon home where he claimed he could buy drugs. He emerged with crack cocaine, but police did not search him either before and after the purchase. The informant reported that a few young women and children lived there, but he didn't know about the sick woman. Police got a search warrant and returned to the house just after 2 am. They sprinted up the ramshackle porch and smashed the front door with a battering ram. As they swept in, the officer kicked in the door to Ms. Dixon's bedroom and fell, slamming his elbow against the door and firing the gun. The officer said he collapsed and "started throwing my guts up crying because I knew I had shot somebody that didn't have no reason to be shot."

Alberto Sepulveda

September 13, 2000 was the last day of life for 11 year old Alberto Sepulveda, a 7th grader at Prescott Senior Elementary School in Modesto, California.

The raid, of course, was part of a drug trafficking investigation. A SWAT team violently assaulted Alberto's home because his father was wanted for drugs. In this war "for the children," the plan was only to make Alberto fatherless, rather than dead, but war is too often deadly to innocent civilians.

Knowing that Moises Sepulveda was a family man, with a wife and 3 children, ages 8, 11 and 14, the decision was naturally made to raid the home at 6:16 a.m. on a school day. SWAT teams called upon for the early morning raid of the children's home were from the Sacramento and San Francisco offices of the FBI, the DEA, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department and the Lodi Police Department.

David Hawn, a 21 year police veteran with 18 1/2 years experience on SWAT teams, unloaded his shotgun into the back of the 11 year old boy, ending his life and dreams instantly. As his mother's heart was breaking, police took away her husband in handcuffs, meaning she would have to face the death of her son, and somehow deal with the anguish of her other children who witnessed the fatal shooting, alone.

"With the violent nature of methamphetamine traffickers, we try to take all the precautions to avoid anyone getting hurt," said Robert Dey, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. He did not see the irony in his comments, overlooking that it was violent policing, not violent private citizens, that ended the life of this boy. When 21 year police veterans shoot children in the back as they are getting up for school, whose violence is it that parents should be concerned about?

Of course, officials quickly labeled the shooting "accidental." Just as the drunk driver feels it is just an accident when his car happens to go up a curb and crush the life from a child, teams of men armed with loaded weapons who break into children's homes feel it is just an accident when a shotgun happens to go off and rip a child's body to shreds.

Robert Adams

On October 4, 2000, 61 year old John Adams of Lebanon, Tennessee was gunned down by police raiding the wrong house looking for drugs. He was watching tv when armed men burst through the door. His wife Loraine Adams, who said that the armed invaders did not identify themselves as police until after the shooting, was handcuffed and thrown onto her knees in a different room while her husband bled to death. Police Chief Billy Weeks said that the shooting was not the fault of the two officers who shot Grandpa Adams, Officers Kyle Shedran and Greg Day. The raid was blamed on false information from a police informant.

Mario Paz

A 69 year old grandfather died a brutal death at the hands of police looking for marijuana on August 9, 1999. No drugs were found.

It was an hour before midnight when an El Monte police SWAT team, serving a search warrant as part of a broad-ranging narcotics investigation, undertook what it called the "high-risk entry" of a Compton home--shooting the locks off the front and back doors. Their warrant, which named no one in the Paz home, says police expected to find marijuana and cash belonging to a suspected member of a drug ring who had allegedly used the house as a mail drop. They found no drugs, but in the course of the search they shot a retired grandfather twice in the back--killing him. The widow was hustled out of the house in nothing but panties, a towel and plastic handcuffs. She and six others were later taken away and intensively interrogated, but no one was charged. Ten thousand dollars in cash was seized as evidence, along with a .22- caliber rifle and three pistols, according to investigators for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The family said that the money was patriarch Mario Paz's life savings and that he kept firearms for protection in the high-crime neighborhood.

Maria Luisa Paz, 51, said her husband, a Mexican immigrant, had been driven to Tijuana for doctor's appointments that morning. She showed a reporter his purchases of medicine prescribed for his heart condition, prostate ailment, and back problems from a 1985 on-the-job injury. She said he also emptied his Tijuana bank account of more than $10,000 in savings, fearing that the money could be lost to the much-publicized computer complications that some people are afraid will occur Jan. 1. She showed a reporter the bank receipt for the withdrawal.

A sheriff's investigator said the El Monte officer shot Paz because he thought he was reaching for a weapon--something Paz's widow adamantly denies. Lt. Baker said Mario Paz "appeared to be reaching for something, and believing him to be arming himself, the officer fired two rounds . . . striking Mr. Paz in the back." His widow described the scene differently: "They yelled and yelled. I said, 'My husband is sick! He's an old man!' I grabbed [the officer's] leg," she recalled. "[The officer] just pointed the gun at my husband and shot." She said the officer, wearing a mask, "just looked at me." Then another officer came in and ordered her in Spanish to "get up and put something on," she said.

The drug suspect named in the warrant is Marcos Beltran Lizarraga. The Paz family said that he lived next door in the early 1980s, that Mario sold him a car six years or so ago and that he occasionally used the Pazes' mailing address. The family said that they sometimes would mark the mail "return to sender" but that on other occasions their father gave it to Beltran's nephew. Mario Paz was pronounced dead at 11:29 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, according to the county coroner's office. At the time he died, he was planning to sell his house and move to Colorado, according to Mario Paz Jr., 31, a computer operations supervisor for the Denver office of a California HMO.

Story edited from longer original by Anne-Marie O'Connor, Los Angeles Times.

Son of Bobby & Kathy Bowman

The eight year-old son of Bobby and Kathy Bowman was killed in his bed as a narcotics detective fired four shots, thinking that Mr. Bowman was about to leap out a window. His father was a suspected drug dealer. Kathy Smith Bowman said she and her husband thought they were being robbed. Bobby Bowman picked up a shotgun he kept by the bed and opened fire. They lived in East Lake Meadows housing project in DeKalb County.

Scott W. Bryant

Age 29 at time of death when he was shot by police in Beaver Dam, WI, on April 28, 1995. Bryant was unarmed and did not resist in any way when police with a no-knock warrant charged through the door of his home. His 7-year-old son watched his father die, while an ambulance took 35 minutes to arrive. Police later reported finding less than 3 grams of marijuana (enough for 2 or 3 cigarettes). Police claim it may have been an accidental shooting.

Pedro Oregon Navarro

On July 12, 1998, Pedro Oregon Navarro, a 22 year-old father of two, was shot to death in the bathroom of his home by at least six Houston (TX) police officers. The officers had entered Navarro's home by kicking in his door without a warrant on the word of a drug suspect who told them that there were drugs being sold in the apartment. The suspect was not a registered informant as required by Houston Police Department policy. No drugs were found in the home and, blood tests on Navarro's corpse came back negative.

Officers claimed that they believed that Navarro had fired upon them, but ballistics tests showed that all 30 shots were fired by the officers. Twelve of those shots hit Navarro, nine from above and behind him.

In the days following the shooting, Harris County D.A. Johnny Holmes inflamed passions, telling the press that the officers were within their rights to kill Navarro as they believed he was resisting arrest.

Al Robison, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, told The Week Online, "This case is a very clear illustration of the insanity of our current drug policy. The Drug War mandates that the state will be kicking in the doors of its citizens. It's time to discuss alternative policies, policies which allow society to control drugs, rather than the warfare between police and communities leading to tragedies such as the death of Pedro Oregon Navarro."

Check out the Drug Policy Forum of Texas at http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/.

Andre Burgess (shot, not killed, for holding candy bar)

A federal undercover agent working on a "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force" in Queens, NY, shot a local high school student when he mistook a candy bar in the youth's hand for a gun. 17 year-old Andre Burgess, captain of the Hillcrest High School soccer team, was walking down 138th street in Laurelton, Queens, when the carload of Federal agents rolled by and one officer, identified by the New York Daily News as William Cannon, jumped out.

Cannon apparently identified himself, but, according to Burgess, gave the teen no time to react. "I turned to see what was up, and boom, I'm hit, and I fell to the ground." Burgess also described the callousness with which the incident was handled even after it was discovered that he had been unarmed and apparently wholly uninvolved in any criminal activity.

"I'm laying there, bleeding, waiting to go the hospital, and he's shaking hands with the other cops, or agents, or whatever they were," he said. "He asked one of them, 'Don't I know you from some other case?' And I'm still lying there."

DRCNet Executive Director David Borden commented, "The incident is reminiscent of the Esequiel Hernandez killing in Redford, Texas, by U.S. Marines. In neither case did the aggressors provide appropriate medical assistance to their victims. Fortunately, Burgess was not fatally wounded. But then, this is only the one incident out of many that happened to get some press."

David Aguilar

David Aguilar, 44, retired from the military after 20 years and decided to live on his pension so he could be a "stay-at-home dad" to his five youngest children, aged 3 to 15, according to Beth Cascaddan, his neighbor in the Three Points area, 22 miles west of Tucson, Ariz. "He was extremely devoted to his children," Ms Cascaddan told reporter Melissa Martinez of the daily Tucson Citizen. Aguilar also coached youth football and baseball.

But on the early afternoon of Friday, Jan. 10, David Aguilar sensed something wrong. A man was sitting in a car parked alongside the road bordering Aguilar's property, just sitting and watching.

Only a few days earlier, residents of the neighborhood had been informed by law officers that a convicted sex offender was moving into the area, Cascaddan recalls.

The man's behavior was unusual. "Out here," Cindy Dowell, another neighbor, told reporters for the competing Arizona Daily Star, "people just don't sit" in cars.

Aguilar's children, including his 15-year-old son, later recalled that their father approached the man in the parked car, asking whether he was lost.

Whatever the man said, it led to an argument. Seeing that the stranger was not going to move along, Aguilar went back to the house and returned with a gun. The children told neighbor Bonnie Moreno their father was simply trying to scare the man away.

There is no indication David Aguilar ever fired. When the man in the car saw Aguilar returning, he drew his own gun and, at 2:45 that Friday afternoon, fired multiple times through his own windshield. David Aguilar died that evening in a Tucson hospital, of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

The good news is, local police know who did the shooting.

The bad news is, they won't release his name, and he has not been charged.

Detectives with the Pima County Sheriff's Office politely asked the fellow to drop by and meet with them Sunday, Jan. 12, but the newspapers reported the next day that the shooter "postponed the meeting because he had not spoken to his lawyer."

Why the incredible deference to this known killer?

It turns out the shooter is an undercover agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Although David Aguilar and his family were not the target of any drug investigation, the unnamed agent was staking out their neighborhood.

"Investigators did not say yesterday whether the agent identified himself" to Aguilar before opening fire, the Tucson newspapers report.

Although a funeral was held Jan. 14, burial will not take place until the family raises $3,213 in funeral costs.

Delbert Bonar

Police in Belpre, Ohio, got a tip that Albert Bonar was growing and selling marijuana. So, on October 15, 1998, they raided the house where Albert lived, and shot to death his father, Delbert Bonar, 57, a janitor.

Police did find a small amount of marijuana, enough for personal consumption. Albert later admitted the marijuana was his. The police did not find any of the growing plants or large quantities of marijuana the informant allegedly told them about. The informant who gave the false information has not been named.

Police told the press that they were just protecting themselves when they riddled the body of Delbert Bonar with bullets. But Carolyn Bonar, daughter-in-law of Delbert, says that all Delbert had in his hands was a water bottle. However, he was reaching for his telephone, an offense apparently punishable by death when there is a suspicion that marijuana may be on the premises.

Delbert Bonar died instantly from 8 bullet wounds from police gunfire. In his 57 years, he had no criminal record, and had never even been arrested.

Esequiel Hernandez

Esequiel Hernandez is dead, another victim not of drugs but of the war on drugs. An innocent 18 year-old high school student from the small Texas border town of Redford, who was just tending his family's goats, has been shot by Marines given the job of stopping the drug flow. Authorities have said the Marines were conducting surveillance because the area is heavily used by drug smugglers crossing the Rio Grande.

Officials said Mr. Hernandez, to their knowledge, was not engaged in any illegal activities when he was shot. His family said he had just returned home from high school and had taken his flock of 30 goats out for grazing.

On a late May afternoon, just a few minutes after Junior ventured out with his flock, a squad of four camouflaged U.S. Marines on a co vert anti-drug mission shot and killed the young shepherd -- the first time in the long, quixotic battle against drugs that a U.S citizen has been slain by his own military on U.S. soil.

The Marines, who were helping the Border Patrol stake out a reputed smuggling corridor near the Hernandez clan's ranchito, do not allege that Junior was trafficking in narcotics. They say only that, for some reason, he shot twice at them and was preparing to shoot a third time when one of them returned fire with a semiautomatic M-16.

"This was in strict compliance with the rules of engagement," Marine Col. Thomas Kelly, deputy commander of the military's anti-drug task force, said after the shooting, describing it as an unfortunate but justifiable act of self-defense.

But to the many people touched by Esequiel Hernandez Jr. - an estimated 800 mourners trudged up a dirt road to Redford's cemetery - his death was more than a tragic footnote on a volatile border.

They say it is inconceivable that the same boy who was still studying for his driver's license exam, knowingly could have fired at another human being. They believe his death was a murder, committed by troops trained for combat, not for the subtleties of a rustic Mexican American village.

An autopsy on a high school sophomore shot to death by a Marine anti-drug squad on the Texas-Mexico border shows the youth bled to death after a bullet pierced his side, fragmented, then tore through his aorta, stomach and other organs.

The report also shows that the bullet that struck 18-year-old Ezequiel Hernandez Jr. entered on the right side of his chest, then traveled toward the left side of his body on two divergent paths. Prosecutors have said the wound indicates the right-handed teen- ager, who fired two shots with a .22-caliber rifle before he was killed, was not aiming at the Marines when he was hit.

The autopsy failed to find any substances in Hernandez's blood, except "a trace of coffee," said Daniel Bodine, justice of the peace in Presidio. "Everything came out clean."

Authorities have not suspected Hernandez of any drug-related activity.

The autopsy did not reveal how long the youth lived after he was shot. Investigators say the Marines did not perform first aid and waited 22 minutes before contacting medical help.

The town had no knowledge the Marines were patrolling in camouflaged uniforms - ghillie suits which make them virtually invisible to the unknowing eye. The Marines had been out there for days within close range of homes and people were unaware of their presence.

Esequiel Hernandez, 18 year old goatherder, was killed by the war on drugs.

 

Marines wear ghillie suits that make them undetectable to civilians.

Five months after the shooting the town is still traumatized by the event and the knowledge that Marines may be in their midst without their knowledge. Children are afraid to go out and play, parents often will not let them for fear of another Esequiel-like incident. One teenager, who normally would have been herding goats with Esequiel on that fateful day, has sold his goats and his grandparents do not let him go out in the afternoons. Grandchildren who used to come to visit in the summer were afraid to do so this year. Adults who used to stroll through the area in the evenings do not do so anymore - they just cannot enjoy it the way they have in the past.

For more information visit http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/hernandez/.

Robert Lee Peters

Age 33 at time of death in St. Petersburg, FL in July, 1994. Deputies did not identify themselves before breaking into the house as the family prepared to watch a movie. Friends and relatives say Robert may have mistaken them for burglars. Deputies did not know there were two children and his ailing stepfather (who had a heart attack after the shoot-out) in the house at the time of the no-knock raid. The police tried to smash through the front door with a battering ram. Peters fired a .357 magnum through the door and was struck three times by the SWAT team.

Two pounds of marijuana were confiscated from his home. Records indicate that a confidential informant bought 7.3 grams of marijuana. An undercover detective purchased 27 grams. His brother George was charged and did not resist arrest. George said his brother wouldn't have resisted either, had he known they were deputies. "All they had to do," he said, "was knock on the door."

Manuel Ramirez

Age 26 at time of death in Albuquerque, NM in an early morning, no-knock drug raid in 1990. According to allegations in the lawsuit, Manuel was asleep on the living room couch in his home when Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team officers and Navy SEALS approached his front door and rear windows to serve a search warrant looking for cocaine.

The APD officers, with the assistance of one or more SEALs approached the house and rigged a cable between the apartment door and a tow truck. Police broke out windows in the apartment's two bedrooms, including one directly above a crib where a 5-month old baby was sleeping. The crash of glass woke up a niece who ran from the bedroom and called to her uncle, because she was afraid the family was being robbed, the complaint says. Manuel reached for an unloaded gun just as the tow truck ripped the door off the apartment. Police and SEALs burst into the apartment and shot Ramirez twice in the chest without announcing who they were, nor giving any order to drop the weapon before firing. Officers allegedly threw his wife and her niece to the floor, handcuffed them and, for the first time, announced they were police. Police found two marijuana cigarettes, a bottle with methamphetamine pills, and a spoon with drug residue in the search.

Pat Eymer (unarmed, shot while holding 5 year old daughter, survived)

On 10-23-98 at approximately 7:30am in Sallisaw, OK. a drug raid took place and a private residence was swarmed by a team of police to "serve" a drug related arrest warrant. Inside this residence was a 13 year old teenage girl, a 5 year old little girl, a 4 month old infant, their Mother, Dad and another couple that had stopped by for a cup of coffee on their way to a fishing trip.

Armed agents poured in screaming and waving guns at people. The mother reached for her 5 year old to keep her from running in terror and as she held her frightened daughter her shoulder was blown off by one of the trained terrorists! NO FIREARMS were in the house and the mother was in the kitchen several feet away from the armed and dangerous men. The 13 year old passed out at the sight of seeing her mother shot down in her own home and the 5 year old went into total hysteria (remind you of Ruby Ridge?).

Casey Eymer, age 5
Being held by mother when
police shot off mom's shoulder

One of the agents was reported to have asked "who fired?" at which time there was a period of silence while they looked at one another. The mother, Pat Eymer, is at this time in the Sparks hospital in Ft Smith, AR. The dad, Steve Eymer is still in jail as well as the couple that thought they were going to go fishing, the children are in the care of the state while the grandmother who came in from out of state to get the children is not allowed to even see them until there is a court hearing on 10-26-98.

Now, whether Mr Eymer is guilty or not is not an issue with me, what bothers me are the goofy, stupid, dangerous, cruel, idiotic, irresponsible, unamerican, and cowardly tactics used by these agencies to "serve" arrest/search warrants. If these so called "men" are so scared of being hurt, they need to get out of the business and let people with common sense and decency tend to these matters. If this was an isolated incident, a huge law suit and public apology may serve for justice but this is becoming a regular pattern in this country for the past several years now. Talk about CHILD ABUSE!

I don't know how many inches away from the head of this 5 year old little girl that bullet passed in order to blow the shoulder off of this dangerous unarmed mother, but if it was in the same house, it was too close. This was the act of a coward robot which could not control his fear!!!

The Sallisaw police dept. have filed no charges on the Mother or anyone else at this time, they told Steve (the dad) that they could hold them for 72 hours without filing any charges and so far they have. Steve says there were no firearms or drugs in that house. Would the police be capable of planting evidence in order to cover their butts??? No matter how much evidence is produced, I don't know of ANY thing that could justify shooting an unarmed woman with a 5 yr old in her arms.

I pray for our country and the world to be rid of this satanic, ego driven evil.

Submitted by Ken Smyrl
kdsmyrl@lcc.net
Go to top to read other stories of victims of government violence.

Bruce Lavoie

On August 3, 1989, Lavoie lay peacefully sleeping in the room he shared with his young son in the village of Hudson, New Hampshire. At five in the morning he was awakened by a loud noise as his whole home was shaken violently. A battering ram had smashed his front door, and a dark band of armed men rushed into his small apartment. Rising to defend his son, Lavoie was shot to death as his little boy watched helplessly. They found one cannabis cigarette butt.

Veronica and Charity Bowers

On April 20, 2001, a Peruvian Air Force plane, acting in connection with U.S. anti-drug efforts, shot down a private plane, killing 35 year old Veronica Bowers, a Christian missionary from Muskegon, Michigan, and her 7 month old infant daughter Charity. A single bullet passed through the woman's body and into the skull of her youngster. Her husband, son, and the pilot of the plane survived, however, pilot Kevin Donaldson suffered a crushed leg bone and severed arteries. A CIA plane had alerted the Peruvian authorities to Bowers' plane, which appeared "suspicious." Pilot Donaldson had filed a flight plan to land in Iquitos, Peru, but evidently the information was not passed on to the American authorities. Since the CIA did not know about the flight in advance, the assumption was that the plane was carrying drugs, so the people aboard naturally had to be killed.

Christian Missionaries Jim and Victoria Bowers
with their children Cory and Charity
Victims of "shoot first, ask questions later" policies

Barbara and Kenny Jenks

Kenny was a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS through contaminated blood in 1980. He unknowingly infected his wife, Barbara. Both became too sick to work and lived on disability. They used marijuana to help them eat and gain strength following chemotherapy. They were arrested and charged with growing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia. In court their lawyer argued that they used the herb out of medical necessity. The prosecution agreed and even stipulated that it helped them and they would die without it. But, not without a fight and going through the hassle with the DEA to be able to get their medicine.

Rev. Accelyne Williams

Retired Methodist minister Accelyne Williams was chased around his Boston, MA apartment by members of a police team looking for drugs and guns, when he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 75. Acting on a tip by an informant, the police conducted a no-knock raid. No guns or drugs were found, as it was soon discovered they raided the wrong apartment.

John Fellin

John was 34 years old when he was shot five times and killed by a special drug task force in his home on February 28, 1992 in West Hazleton, PA. He died in front of his live-in girlfriend and one of his three children, two-year old Vanessa.

Fellin had been arrested on charges of marijuana distribution in 1984. He had not been in trouble since. Although the police claim that the 5'6", 140 lb. Fellin attacked a 6'6'' 260 lb. police officer and was wrestling with him over the officer's shotgun, the family reported that the police never announced themselves and "entered the residence with a patently invalid search warrant" (based on two $10 marijuana buys from Fellin to an undercover police officer in July, 1991). One pound of marijuana, a triple-beam scale and some baggies were found.

His family called his untimely death "cold-blooded murder."

Ralph Garrison

Ralph Garrison, 69, a video store owner, lived in downtown Albuquerque, N.M. In a lifetime of owning small businesses, he put away enough to buy a second house next door, which he rented out. Before sunrise on Monday, Dec. 16, 1996, Ralph Garrison awakened to hear the sounds of someone breaking into his rental property next door. His tenants apparently were not at home.

Garrison went outside to ask who these people were and what they were doing. The men -- dressed in black with no visible identifying marks, wearing black "balaclava" hoods which may have been pulled down to conceal their faces, shined lights in his eyes, brandished rifles and yelled at him to get back in his house.

Ralph Garrison called 911. The daily Albuquerque Journal printed a transcript of the call on Dec. 18. Reporter Jeff Jones of the Journal writes that when the actual 911 tape was played at press conference later that day, Garrison's voice was "filled with fear and panic."

Police report that Albuquerque Police Officer H. Neal Terry and county deputies James Monteith and Erik Little -- displaying no badges, dressed in unmarked dark SWAT gear and possibly wearing their black hoods pulled down over their faces -- saw Garrison come to his back door with a gun in one hand, a cellular phone in the other. All three officers opened fire with their AR-15 assault rifles, discharging at least 12 rounds.

Police Chief Joe Polisar said it isn't department policy to notify 911 dispatchers before serving a warrant -- in this case one under which police hoped to find "counterfeit items including checks, driver's licenses and birth certificates."

Garrison was not suspected in connection with the "fake ID" ring. No one was arrested that day. Local papers were not told whether any false documents were found.

Officers did find it necessary to shoot and kill Garrison's Chow dog, when the animal tried to protect his master after he was down.

Garrison's wife, Modesta, was inside the home at the time police killed him.

Albuquerque police officer Howard Neal Terry, one of the three "lawmen" involved, has been a defendant in three federal excessive-force lawsuits in the past six years, the local daily reports. The city of Albuquerque has paid more than $375,000 to settle the three lawsuits.

Polisar and County Sheriff Joe Bowdich said they believe the officers shot Garrison in accordance with departmental policies.

The officers "couldn't look into his heart and mind," Polisar said. "They simply had to make a split-second decision."

Why do I doubt that if Mr. Garrison had shot and killed the deputies, Sheriff Polisar would be holding a similar press conference to explain why Mr. Garrison was not being charged with any crime, since "He could not look into the hearts and minds of the unidentified, black-clad men brandishing AR-15s at him on his own property. He simply had to make a split-second decision"?

Shirley Dorsey

On April 1, 1991, Shirley committed suicide. She could not face the prospect of possibly being homeless due to the forfeiture proceedings on their property or testifying against her 70 year old boyfriend, Byron Stamate, who was arrested for growing marijuana for her medicine used to control her crippling back pain.

Ronald C. Loop, Jr.

Age 25 at time of death on March 11, 1988 in Brick Township, NJ. Suspected of marijuana dealing, Loop had just picked up a Federal Express package that contained 10 pounds of marijuana. He was unarmed and was shot as he fled from police outside his home.

Leon Kelly

Age 15 at time of death in Janesville, WI. Joe Zwaska, an undercover police officer, had been drinking before he fatally shot the teen. Tests showed Leon had traces of marijuana in his blood.

Unknown Victims

Dedicated to those unknown humans caught in the cross-fire of turf wars due to the profit motive of illegal drugs. To those killed or injured in police raids, and in raids based on bad tips or wrong addresses. To those who suffered painful deaths while being denied access to Medical Marijuana. To those who defy the laws to obtain their medicine of choice. To those who have contracted the AIDS / HIV virus due to the Drug Warrior mentality which discourages and criminalizes needle exchange programs. To those who died from contaminated drugs as a result of the black market. Finally, to all those who have fought for justice and are no longer with us to see when that day will come...



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