St. Louis, MO — On Wednesday, St. Louis Police Swat team members executed what appeared to be a no-knock raid on a home, killing 21-year-old Isaiah Hammett. According to the Riverfront Times, Hammett was suspected of dealing in drugs and weapons, but his family is telling a very different version of events from what the St. Louis Police Department is sharing.
“A bunch of shots was going on. My grandson was trying to protect me, threw me on the floor,” his grandfather told reporters. “Then I hear screaming. He went in the dining room. I see my grandson laying dead on the dining room floor. And police SWAT team out front told me to come out. I come out. I didn’t know what was going on,” he said still in an apparent state of shock and disbelief.
Police say they had a search warrant to enter the home, but the grandfather made no mention of seeing a warrant or hearing police announce their presence. Nonetheless, the SWAT team penetrated the home. They’re now saying Hammett opened fire on them, according to Lt. Colonel Lawrence O’Toole, acting St. Louis Police Chief.
O’Toole told reporters, “I can describe it only as being a firefight that was inside the residence…Numerous rounds were fired.”
Hammett’s family disputes those claims.
Gina Torres, Hammett’s mother said the young man and his grandfather believed someone was breaking into the home, and tried to hide. “The cops came in and they killed my son,” Torres said matter of factly.
“I needed my son and I feel like dying right now,” she cried in the street as she conveyed her heartache. “For no reason. They shot my son to death,” Torres said, tears streaming down her face.
O’Toole said his SWAT officers did a “Fantastic” job executing the search warrant and that Hammett shot at them first with an AK-47 they recovered at the scene. The semi-automatic rifle is sold in gun stores throughout the U.S. and is not illegal to possess by most citizens. O’Toole proudly displayed the rifle, which is commonly used for self-protection against such home invasions.
Noticeably absent from O’Toole’s press conference was any mention of drugs being found at the home. Also not mentioned was any discussion about other weapons found on the premises. Conveniently left out of the press conference was any reference to body cameras being worn by officers, the footage of which rarely lies. In other words, all the police found at the home was one solitary rifle, a weapon which cost one young man his life.
The family, convinced largely by the testimony of Hammett’s grandfather who was with his grandson at the time of his killing, believes the police are lying. Hammett’s grandfather reiterated to reporters his eyewitness testimony of the events which took place Wednesday.
“I just heard a bunch of gunshots, my grandson coming in. He took me out of the bed, put me on the floor, more shots was being involved. The next thing I know, he’s laying on the ground dead,” his 71-year-old grandpa said. The family admits to there being more guns in the home but insist their son did not fire first.
As TFTP has documented on numerous occasions, citizens are often surprised when SWAT teams execute search warrants, some even conducted without firstly knocking and identifying themselves as officers. The “no-knock” search warrant is especially dangerous as many citizens do not know it’s police who are knocking down their doors attempting to make entry.
Often times innocent people are killed in the process, and sometimes it’s the police officers who are killed. In Texas, where the “Castle” law is in effect, several officers have been killed executing such warrants, with at least one homeowner being exonerated for killing the intruders.
Oddly enough, Hammett may have had every right to fire on officers, especially if they did not announce their presence before throwing in the flash-bang grenade. The law states according to GunLaws101;
Missouri’s Castle Doctrine. The use of force to defend one’s self is justified when the person believes there is a certain risk of death, or great physical harm. This also applies when someone is trying to break into an occupied vehicle or home.
Unfortunately, Isaiah Hammett will not get a chance to prove his innocence in a court of law because police became his executioners, and we at TFTP do not think there is anything “fantastic” about that. Hammett’s only prior conviction was for possession of marijuana, a God-given plant, which is legal to use either recreationally or medicinally in 29 U.S. States. He now becomes one of the latest victims in the failed War on Drugs.