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Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
A blog 'for independent minds'
Eurie Stamps and the warrior cops
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rick Holmes
Aug. 14, 2013 5:05 p.m.



I chatted by phone the other day with Sen. Elizabeth Warren for a column I’m working on, and before I let her go, I suggested she read “The Rise of the Warrior Cop” by Radley Balko. I’m not sure she will – she said she’s spending her vacation reading up on the history of government mortgage loan guarantee programs – but she sounded interested.

It’s a recommendation I’ve been pushing on almost everyone I meet. But since I understand folks have their own summer reading list, Balko wrote a condensed version, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal the other day. In it, he brings up the name that haunted my thoughts from the first page of the book to the last:



In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn’t a suspect in the investigation.


Balko might have thrown in a few more details about he death of Eurie Stamps: That, like so many of the 50,000 SWAT raids made in the U.S. each year, Framingham police were serving a search warrant for a non-violent drug offense based on a tip from an informant; that the raid was executed in the middle of the night, with the front door smashed in and a flash grenade thrown into the house – an assault that was totally unnecessary, since they met Stamps’ wife on the sidewalk in front of the house, who informed them the suspect wasn’t home; that Eurie Stamps, 68, was lying face-down on the floor, following the orders of the police officer who shot him with an M4 rifle.

A wrongful death suit filed by Stamps’ widow and son is proceeding, the MWDN reported this week, with FPD officers being deposed.  I expect a large check will be written, covered by the town’s insurance policy.  I’d like to see something else in the settlement: A requirement that Framingham disband its SWAT team.

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