Maybe you've seen the video of the SWAT team in Columbia, Missouri doing their business. The video shows a Columbia Police Department SWAT team breaking down the door of a residence, ordering a suspected marijuana user ...to get down on the floor, barking orders at his wife and seven-year-old son, plus killing a family dog while wounding another.
The target of the raid was some guy who two "confidential informants" alleged had
large amounts of marijuana and a police garbage search yielded pipes
and baggies with pot residue on them.
We're talking drug kingpin here.
However, the cops say, dang nabbit, the raid didn't turn up the massive pile of pot.
But don't fret, my friends. The father within the home was arrested for possessing "drug paraphernalia" also known as a pipe.
All in a day's work.
Emotions run high over raid
Residents decry tactics at protest.
By Brennan David
Columbia police officers smiled and waved to protesters yesterday as the protesters gathered in front of the downtown post office, holding signs alleging police brutality in the Feb. 11 SWAT raid at a southwest Columbia home.
Nearly a dozen protesters lined the sidewalk in front of the post office — which is catty-corner from the Columbia Police Department — from 8 to 10 a.m. to communicate their displeasure with the Columbia police SWAT action that has garnered worldwide attention.
Protesters said they want Columbia police to be accountable for their actions.
"I just want this to stop," said Gregg Williams. "It's wrong for cops to do that stuff."
Two of the protesters even brought their dogs, a gesture meant to highlight the police shooting of two dogs at the home of Jonathan Whitworth. One dog was killed; the other, a mixed-breed corgi, was injured. Police believed Whitworth was a marijuana distributor and had a large amount of the drug, but only a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia was discovered.
A copy of the police video posted to YouTube has been viewed more than 1.2 million times, drawing attention from all corners of the country and criticism of drug laws and police practices.
Police Chief Ken Burton has changed SWAT policies and procedures in response to the outcry.
Williams said he was the victim of a SWAT raid at his family home during his teenage years. He said police told him his dogs were lucky they were caged up during the raid or they could have been shot if they interfered.
Williams said he supports the Facebook group "Columbians Against Police Abuse," which yesterday had 265 members.
Keep Columbia Free member Liz De Foe-Thomas said she is concerned with the growing divide between Columbia residents and the police department.
Tomorrow's Columbia City Council meeting is the next public venue where residents plan to voice their concerns about the raid and the department. Last week, nearly 200 residents attended the meeting of the Columbia Police Review Board to speak out.
Columbia residents Spencer Pearson and Holly Henry are listed on the council meeting agenda to speak about the raid during the public comment portion at the beginning of the meeting.
A Facebook group titled "CoMO City Council Meeting" is inviting residents to "let city council know how you feel about the excessive use of force in this recent SWAT action in Columbia." As of yesterday, 350 people had confirmed they would be in attendance.
Reach Brennan David at 573-815-1718 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.