Wednesday, November 22, 2006

No, this didn't happen in Texas

Narcotics officers tried to serve a warrant on a home in Atlanta, and during their knock and and announce entry (perfectly Constitutional), they were shot at by the resident. All three plainclothes officers were hit by the woman, and they returned fire, fatally shooting the 92-year old.

The report is unclear as to whether the police actually found any narcotics in the woman's house, and while some claim it was a matter of mistaken identity, the police note that she was the only resident of that house for the past 17 years.

Some people are going to hear this report and consider it an argument in favor of gun control. Others are going to look at it and try to find a 4th amendment violation. Even more are going to read it and just laugh at the concept.

The police did not act inappropriately. If they are executing a valid warrant, based on 4th amendment requirements, which based on the report it was, then they did not act improperly in defending themselves from an assailant shooting at them. They should not be expected to do an inquiry as to the circumstances surrounding the shooter - an on the spot balancing test to determine whether or not the assailant is too old to shoot back at.

The woman did not act inappropriately, either, necessarily. She arguably saw this as an intrusion by three strangers, the argument would then say that she acted reasonably in defending her home, her castle, from the intruders. That she did not hear the announce of the warrant or that she could not falls to the wayside here.

I think the police do owe the family of the deceased an apology, but I don't think they owe anything more than that.

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