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Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Police State: Rally

Post-rally post here. Pre-rally post here.

The city of Berwyn Heights is holding a rally in support of its Mayor, Cheye Calvo, who was recently subjected to the power of the police state in its rawest and most brutal form when a SWAT team kicked in the door to his house, shot his two black Labs to death, and handcuffed the Mayor (in his underwear) and his aged mother-in-law and interrogated them without benefit of counsel or even clothing (the Mayor's, anyway), for several hours. From the WahPoo:
A rally in support of Calvo and in memory of his dogs has been scheduled for tomorrow evening at a ball field in the town. Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick Murphy said his eight-person department has been besieged by phone calls from as far away as Louisiana from people who mistakenly believe his officers were involved.

Murphy said he is angry that, instead, his officers were not informed ahead of time of that the county planned a major operation inside the town limits, especially in light of a 2006 incident in which then-Prince George's Police Chief Melvin C. High expressed formal "regret" that Berwyn Heights police were not told of threats made to an abortion clinic.

"I believe there is absolutely no credible reason why notification to my police department should not have been made," Murphy said. He said he is confident his officers could have entered Calvo's house without violence.

Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a spokesman for the Prince George's police department, said officers had a "no-knock" warrant, which allowed them to enter the house without alerting Calvo. Such warrants are issued when police fear they might face armed suspects. He said they notified Murphy immediately after entering the house.
La Casa de Los Gatos extends its condolences to the Mayor on the loss of his dogs. Labs are just too sweet for us to resist. Not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but good, sweet doggies.

The Calvo/Tomsic doggies

We sure hope the Mayor sues the asses off the Prince George's County police and the Sherriff's office. Those thugs blatantly violated the Constitution, and, as one of the WahPoo's commenters pointed out, that's just a piece of paper unless its provisions are enforced.

Please consider schlepping over to Berwyn Heights to demonstrate your support for Mayor Cheye Calvo's constitutional rights, if you live out that way.

Just remember, the police are supposed to "protect and serve" the citizenry. Not kick their doors in or shoot them or their children or dogs on mere suspicion. The Constitution's Fourth Amendment requires "probable cause":
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The police clearly had no reason to suspect Mayor Calvo, his wife (an employee of the State of Maryland) or his mother-in-law would be armed and dangerous, which might have justified the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment. A little research — a friendly conversation with the Berwyn Heights police, for example — would have told them that the couple lived a quiet low-key sort of life and were respected professionals of standing in the community, not drug dealers and scofflaws.

Mind you, the Constitution was created to protect everyone, not just quiet, low-key middle-class white professionals. So the cops don't get a pass for the shooting of Tarika Wilson, either.

Calvo says police did not show him a copy of the warrant, and the press has not been able to obtain a copy:
Mayor Calvo has not been arrested, and neither has his wife or mother-in-law. But, police say anyone living in the house is a person of interest in their investigation. Calvo says he was never shown a search warrant during Tuesday night's raid, and FOX 5 was unable to obtain a copy from circuit court.

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At 11:08 AM, Blogger BadTux said...

Wow, so they entered without a warrant too. How... fascist... of them.

Freedom(tm). For some definition of freedom that looks suspiciously like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. Sigh.

- Badtux the Free Penguin
(for some definition of "free" that doesn't look like the dictionary one at all).

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Diane said...

should put fear in all of us. Cheye has always supported ethics and justice in government, in its leaders and in his own personal life as well as his public life. Trinity Tomsic, his wife is exactly the same. I shudder to think of what worse could have happened if Trinity’s mother had taken this package in at the time of its arrival. Perhaps we would be reading about, not just two gentle innocent dogs being shot as they barked or ran from the heavily protected SWAT team carrying assault rifles, but a tiny older woman being shot as she ran away in fear. Any small investigation would have yielded enough information to make most people think twice about this family being considered “person’s of interest.” Recently, in the DC area, this receiving of a package of drugs by innocent people has happened, been documented, and should have been noted by these enforcers of the law. Where is justice? Where is due process? Why are the police of any kind given carte blanche (a knocking not necessary) warrant to enter a home with no known connection to drugs or crime? Don’t tell me how dangerous their job is if this is how they conduct it. They create unnecessary danger by their hapless planning and violent responses. Can you only imagine the feeling of personal violation had this been your home or pets? Would you, could you ever feel the same? No. Their lives are altered forever. As Cheye Calvo said, “these were our children.” Consider this. I believe killing those dogs was the violent act of intimidation and very purposeful. The message was clear as implied violence always is; Mr. Calvo, we can kill your dogs and we can kill you just as easily if you don’t comply. It was a cowardly act!! I see no bravery, courage, responsible forethought or accountability here. The county sheriff said of course, his men must have felt they were in danger to have killed the dogs. How merciful that Trinity was not home to witness this. How absurd that several men in protective gear armed with assault weapons are afraid of a fleeing terrified pet. If they fear a fleeing dog, they are definitely in the wrong business. Cheye has always planned a career in government and politics. I hope and pray he doesn’t shrink from this now. We obviously need more ethical people with courage to stop this madness. On the other hand, one can only imagine the pain, shock and sorrow in his heart that could lead him to turn his back on this violent madness. We who know and love this family, my family, are incredulous. It proves no one is safe from this kind of hapless violence. I will be at that rally in my heart!!!

At 3:17 PM, Blogger susiefunk said...

I hope the Mayor will sue the P.G.County Police and the Sheriff Department and have an individual suit against the deputy or deputies who shot the Labs for cruelty toward animals. The whole incident is a disgrace to P.G. County. I want to know if this same type of drug drop on a resident's porch has happened before(College Park) why was the idenity of the person who lived in the house taken into consideration? Or does this take too much effort on this law enforcement agency? To shoot a dog as it is running away is a real coward and bully!

At 9:39 AM, Blogger HeckuvaJob said...

Sgt Mario Ellis can be reached at (240) 508-7638. I called to ask for the name of the shooter, and was told this guy is the department's spokesman. Several attempts to contact yielded only voicemail.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Thank you, all, for your inspiring comments. I've put them up in today's post-rally post.


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