I spent many years in a district attorneys office as the deputy district attorney. I was involved in hundreds of cases by myself and with others that resulted in indictments and arrest warrants. One of my main functions was overseeing electronic surveillance operations into organized crime and illegal drug activities which usually ended up in raids and indictments. My philosophy, that of my fellow assistant district attorneys, the state police officers assigned to our office, and the local police officers we worked with was that our job was to investigate crimes and then prosecute them. We were to do it in a professional manner considering the rights of all the citizens of Massachusetts including those we arrested.
We did not believe our job was to punish the person who committed the crime other than making a recommendation to a judge as to what we believed the judge should impose as an appropriate punishment in either plea negotiations or after the trial. The punishment was to be left up to the judges. We did not harass or beat people. When we executed search warrants we analyzed the threat to the police officers who would execute the search and used as much force as we thought necessary for their protection. In the hundreds of raids conducted by detectives assisted by uniform police the normal side arm carried everyday by the men or women was the weapon used. Fortunately in my more than twenty years doing this no law enforcement officer was injured and the raid was carried off successfully and cleanly. By cleanly I meant we left the premises pretty much the way we found it.
I suppose in part we acted that way because the law enforcement officers we worked with also had experience working the streets and interacting with the public. They were not cowboys and respected their fellow citizens even those who committed crime. They had no need for any more excitement in their lives having had plenty.
I don’t know if you recall the case of the Quincy cab driver who happened to come from a Muslim country and was friends with the Tsarnaev brothers. He lived in a small apartment in a multi-apartment residence in that city. I wrote about it previously. He had nothing to do with their dastardly act but cooperated with the FBI. He was questioned several times by the FBI over his relationship with them and incidental other matters relating to it. He wasn’t a terrorist or radical but a plain old work-a-day guy who had a known routine.
At some point a federal grand jury indicted him for some minor crimes. He could have been arrested going to his taxi job or at his job in the morning by two FBI agents without much ado. Instead, about five in the morning a force of armed, SWAT dressed FBI agents carrying military type weapons in black vans arrived at his apartment, broke down the door, and arrested him. Why, I asked. What’s the point? I saw it as a totally unnecessary action.
Now we see it again. This time there is a CNN video of it. Before dawn 29 FBI agents arrived with 17 vehicles, with their lights flashing Agents in body armor using large weapons and night-vision equipment descended on the house as if it was the hideout of three gangsters holed up in Florida, Francis “Two-gun” Crowley, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Elmer “Trigger” Burke. They ran crisscross approaching the house as if expecting incoming fire. They pounded on the door and yelled FBI seeking whoever was in the house to surrender.
They rousted an old guy named Roger Stone who was a threat to no one. They could as easily waited a couple of hours and arrested him at a local coffee shop or on his way to a golf course. Does anyone ask why these tactics more resembling those you would expect from Storm Troopers than America’s premier law enforcement agency are being used? Are we so dumbed down that these things passed unnoticed?
The worst part of it was that those prosecutors in Mueller’s office who sought the arrest warrant lied to the court. They said Roger Stone if not arrested would flee or would destroy or hide evidence. Everyone knows that is BS. Didn’t the judge?
Every other case that I recall brought by the Mueller probe did not result in such an action. Does this express Mueller’s frustration that there is no there there. Is the resort to strong-arm police methods an indication Mueller is in a panic?
Whatever the reason there is no excuse for treating people like this. It’s time prosecutors should remember they represent all of us, even the accused, and treat the person like they would like to be treated.