Death Squad Damage Control in Tucson
William Norman Grigg
Recently by William Norman Grigg: The
Authentic Cruelty of a Synthetic Man
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.
Amendment to the United States Constitution (emphasis added)
of the United States is the supreme law of the land…. No person
shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded,
without authority of law.
and 8 of the "Declaration of Rights" from the Arizona
State Constitution’s "Declaration of Rights"
to defend the manifestly indefensible often sabotage themselves
by disclosing critical details that undermine their argument. Mike
Storie, the police
union lawyer representing the
SWAT operators who murdered Jose Guerena in his home on May 5,
did this during his May
19 press conference in an attempt to assign all of the blame
for Jose’s death on the victim and his terrorized wife.
reported by the Arizona Star, Storie insisted that if
the Guerena family had permitted the armed intruders into their
home, those inside "probably … wouldn’t have been arrested."
This is because the "warrant was not directed at any particular
person, and Guerena’s home was not mentioned, but it was targeting
whoever might be inside the residence...."
That is to
say that this was not a legitimate search warrant, under
the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment (and expressly
incorporated in Arizona law through the state constitution). The
instrument used as supposed justification for the armed assault
was akin to the "writs of assistance" used by British soldiers during
the years leading up to the American colonial rebellion.
Andrew Napolitano summarizes, writs of assistance were "self-written
search warrants" that "enabled [British] soldiers and government
agents to enter any private building or dwelling and search
for whatever they had authorized themselves to search for."
In this way, occupation forces could invade any home or business
they chose, confiscate any item they suspected might be contraband,
and haul away in irons anybody who attracted their malevolent attention.
The only material
difference I can identify between that tyrannical practice and SWAT
raids of the kind that resulted in the murder of Jose Guerena is
the fact that British Redcoats were considerably more restrained
in their behavior.
Writs of assistance
among the grievances that led the colonial Patriots to rebel
against the British government, and they were the direct inspiration
for the Fourth Amendment, a provision that as of May 16 is de
jure dead letter in the American Imperium.
On that date,
two rulings were announced – one by the Indiana
State Supreme Court, the other by the U.S.
Supreme Court – that formally vitiated constitutional impediments
to warrantless intrusions by police.
simply formalized the
state of affairs that has long existed in the United States;
after all, owing the fraudulent, murderous enterprise called the
"war on drugs," the Fourth Amendment has had no tangible relationship
to public policy for decades. Nonetheless, that Amendment
remains on the books as part of the "supreme law" – which means
that the raid on the Guerena home was, in a literal, legally binding
sense, a home invasion robbery.
is a living illustration of the fact that there is no "mob lawyer"
more drenched in disrepute than a barrister who prostitutes himself
in the service of a police union.
Storie is lead
criminal attorney for the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs
(AZCOPS). Through no fault of his own, Storie somewhat resembles
Nathan Thurm, a fictional corporate attorney played by Canadian
comic genius Martin Short.
his performance at the May 19 news conference, Storie did
a pretty creditable impression of Thurm, capturing the same
of oleaginous dishonesty and prickly passive aggression
that Short brought to his character, who was paid extravagantly
well to protect the powerful and corrupt.
While he has
been employed by AZCOPS, no member of that union "has ever been
convicted of crimes relating to on-duty conduct," boast the organization.
This isn't strictly correct: Storie
represented former DARE officer Ramon Fernando Borbon, who was
convicted of kidnapping
and sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman and a 16-year-old
girl while he was on-duty.
In the Borbon
employed a two-pronged defense strategy: He tried to depict
the adult victim as a consenting party, and the child as a gold-digging
opportunist. In other words: They were asking for it, and now they're
just interested in money. He's using a variation on that approach
in defending the SWAT team members who murdered Jose Guerena: It
was all the fault of the victim, and his family is now simply "trying
to make money" through a lawsuit.
The SWAT operators
"had no choice but to shoot" after engineering a completely illegal
raid, Thurm – er, Storie insisted. After all, Guerena was armed
with an AR-15, and several officers "did report that they saw a
muzzle flash from the shooter" – which means that their lives were
they didn't see a muzzle flash, since – as the Sheriff's
Office has admitted – Guerena never removed the safety from his
rifle. Ah, but he could have, you see, and since the omniscient
heroes on the SWAT team "know that [the] walls [of the Guerena home]
are stucco ... if this man starts shooting his rounds, every neighbor
in the vicinity is in danger, including possible innocent residents
that are in the residence itself."
So we're told
that waiting even a few seconds before opening fire was too risky;
the only safe choice was for the SWAT team to unleash a 71-round
barrage, since, as everyone knows, high-velocity rounds fired by
sanctified personages in police uniforms possess a magical property
that prevents them from endangering innocent people.
property, incidentally, is "qualified immunity" – and it protects
the only "innocent" people that police unions care about: Police
officers who injure or kill Mundanes.
of violating the Guerena home, the invaders had perforated Jose’s
body with at least 60 gunshots. While Jose bled to death, his killers
refused to allow paramedics to treat him. During that period
the SWAT team actually inserted a remote-controlled robot – another
pricey toy provided by the
Pentagon's LESO program – to clear the house. While Jose was
dying on the floor, the SWAT team found "everything they [thought]
they’re going to find in there," Storie insisted.
were they looking for, and what did they find? After scraping
away the layers of dissimulation applied by Storie, we arrive at
this answer: They were looking for nothing in particular, and that's
exactly what they found.
no narcotics, no stash of suspected narcotics proceeds, no documentary
or physical evidence of a crime of any kind. Neither Jose nor Vanessa
has a criminal record.
who appears congenitally incapable of decent shame, has left the
air clotted with insinuation: He reports
that handguns, rifles, body armor, and "part of a police uniform"
were found in the Guerena household, along with a picture of Jesus
Malverde, described as a "patron saint" of narcotics traffickers.
In other words, in terms of actual criminal evidence, they found
is a former Marine who served two combat tours in Iraq, so the presence
of body armor – as well as a small gun collection – would hardly
be inexplicable. It's quite likely that his gun collection was smaller
than those of many other Arizona residents who never served in the
what, exactly, constitutes "part" of a police uniform?
Might it be military-issue clothing in Guerena’s possession – the
kind of combat couture affected by jock-riding poseurs of the kind
who gravitate toward SWAT teams? Again, Storie hasn’t supplied the
details, apparently in the hope that public perceptions will be
governed by headlines, rather than details.
else Storie said at the press conference, he extracted the detail
about Jesus Malverde from the same bodily orifice he employs to
dispose of used food. Malverde is not a Narcotrafficante,
nor is he their proprietary saint. He is a
semi-mythical Robin Hood figure venerated by ethnic Mexicans throughout
up this inconsequential detail, Storie was trafficking in something
that smells an awful lot like race-baiting. That comment could be
a dog whistle directed at the segment of Arizona's population that
considers Joe Arpaio a champion of law and order, rather than a
viscous, opportunistic thug: Rather than seeing Jose Guerena as
an honorably discharged Marine and (of infinitely greater importance)
loving young husband and father, at least some Arizonans now have
an excuse to suspect that he's an agent of the Reconquista
three of Arpaio’s deputies were arrested on May 24 as part of a
multi-state investigation of a "drug and human smuggling
ring." The SWAT team involved in that
arrest, which involved suspects known to be armed and violent,
confined itself to a low-key supporting role, unlike the full-scale
military assault on the Guerena home.
story put out by the Pima County Sheriff's Office was that the raid
in which Guerena was murdered was part of a large operation investigating
a marijuana trafficking conspiracy. As outrage coalesced over Guerena’s
official line was revised: Now we are told that Jose and his
family were somehow "connected" to an alleged home invasion
robbery ring, as were three other homes targeted in the same May
5 SWAT rampage.
the fact that Jose himself was murdered in a home invasion conducted
under the color of supposed State authority, there is another connection
to a previous crime of that kind: Two
of their relatives were murdered a year ago in a home
invasion of the non-government-approved variety.
That fact might
well have colored Vanessa’s perceptions of what was happening with
a government-licensed home invasion crew materialized outside her
home, began to vandalize the house, and threatened her life and
that of her baby. It’s also quite possible that the murder of a
relative, coupled with combat experience in Iraq, played a large
role in Jose’s perceptions and actions on that horrible morning.
warrant has been sealed, and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department
refuses to release details. Other than upbraiding local reporters
who have abandoned stenography in favor of legitimate adversarial
journalism, Clarence Dupnik, the Epsilon-grade personage in charge
of Pima County’s Sheriff’s Office,has
petulantly complained that the press has been "irresponsible"
in "questioning the legality" of a military operation
that resulted in the entirely avoidable violent death of a young
father who was defending his wife and child against a feral pack
of armed strangers.
everybody else in the same racket, Sheriff Dupnik considers himself
to be at war with the population his department ostensibly protects
and serves. That's the only rational explanation for the fact that
he is treating the details of this incident as if they were classified
secrets in a combat zone, rather than facts he is obliged to provide
to the public that employs him.
that "it is unacceptable and irresponsible to couch ... questions
with implications of secrecy and cover-up," Dupnik's office maintains
that there is a "very real threat to innocent lives if ... details
[about the killing] are released prematurely." Those "innocent"
lives, we are entitled to suspect, are undercover police operatives
– informants and, what's much the same thing, provocateurs – who
helped precipitate the crime on May 5.
a similar line in his May 19 press conference, insisting that although
Guerena was not individually targeted by a search or arrest warrant,
detectives had concluded that someone at his residence had been
keeping police investigators under "counter-surveillance."
I mean by this is, at some point detectives, as is usually the case,
were driving by this house to get some intelligence," Storie said.
"At one point, when detectives were driving past this house once,
the resident of this house, suspected to be Guereno [sic], jumped
in his car and followed this detective. They then got a report from
MVD" – that's the Motor Vehicles Division, not the Soviet Ministry
for State Security, despite the institutional kinship of those entities
– "that there was a hit on this license plate driven by this detective
by someone. So, Guereno [sic!] or someone very similar to him, who
followed this detective, searched the identity of this driver, who
was the owner of his vehicle. This is known as counter-surveillance
measures done by people who are in this type of business. OK?"
is a credit to his composure, if not his character, that Storie
could ladle out this is a greasy porridge of self-serving supposition
and speculation with a straight face. How could "someone" – just
anyone, really – get instant access to the information at the Motor
Vehicles Division? Who was that "someone," incidentally? Who were
the "detectives" who had been staking out Guerena's home, and stalking
his family? For that matter, was it a detective, or more
than one – seeing that Storie can't seem to get that detail nailed
down? What evidence, apart from inchoate suspicions, justified the
initial surveillance of that home? For that matter, was the subject
of surveillance Jose Guerena, or someone whose surname is "Guereno"?
same press conference Storie admitted that the SWAT team "had no
specific information about what particular kids were in this house,
or if there were any" before laying siege to a home containing a
young mother and her four-year-old son – and a husband trying to
get some sleep after pulling a long graveyard shift at a local mine.
In other words, they knew nothing of any value about the home they
attacked – yet Storie, Dupnik, and the murderers themselves all
insist that the violent death of Jose Guerena was an entirely appropriate
outcome, and that only irresponsible people would suspect otherwise.
Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
Libertate blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program.
© 2011 William Norman Grigg
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