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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Collateral Damage: Militaristic Policing In The War On Drugs

     Let's face it, no one is safe anymore from raiding drug cops who can be armed and mindless. A man's home is no longer his castle; it's simply a structure that can be forcefully entered by combat cops on the word of some lowlife snitch. Today, not all armed home invasions involve criminals.

     Eugene Mallory, a retired engineer who had worked for Lockheed Martin forty years, resided in an unincorporated community east of Palmdale, California called Littlerock. The 80-year-old shared a home with his 48-year-old wife, Tonya Pate, and her grown son.

     Drug enforcement deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office arrived at the Mallory house at 7:30 on the morning of June 25, 2013. The officers were in possession of a search warrant authorizing them to search the house for methamphetamine and the chemicals used to manufacturer it. The probable cause underlying the search was flimsy at best. Officers, from outside the house, claimed to have smelled the odor of the ingredients used to produce meth. The narcotic officers didn't have an undercover buy or even an informant. Moreover, the suspected meth factory hadn't been subjected to a prolonged drug surveillance. All the cops had to go on was the smell of meth chemicals. (The fact that some rubber-stamp magistrate authorized this raid is frightening.)

     After forcing their way into the dwelling without notice, deputies encountered Mr. Mallory in a bedroom at the rear of the house. It was there they shot him six times as he lay in his own bed. Officers justified the lethal force by claiming that the old man had pointed a semi-automatic handgun at them.

     As it turned out, the Mallory dwelling did not contain meth or any evidence that the drug was being manufactured in the home. Deputies did come across a quantity of marijuana in Mrs. Pate's son's bedroom.

     In speaking to the media about the fatal, wrong house raid, Los Angeles County spokesperson Steve Whitmore said this: "There was a drug operation that was certainly going on in this house." (Are you kidding me? The accidental finding of grass justifies the killing of a 80-year-old man in his own bed?)

     On October 10, 2013, James Bergener, the attorney representing Mrs. Tonya Pate, announced that he had filed, on her behalf, a $50 million wrongful death suit against Los Angeles County. The out of control drug war not only cost Mr. Mallory his life, it will cost the taxpayers of bankrupt Los Angeles County a multi-million dollar court settlement.

     In the minds of our nation's drug warriors, there will always be collateral damage. War is hell.

     In January 2016, Los Angles County settled the Tonya Pate suit by paying the plaintiff $1.6 million. Militaristic drug policing is not cheap.

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