homes

Longmont, CO — In the land of the free, police can and will raid the homes of innocent people without a warrant — in gross violation of their Constitutional rights — for the simple reason of training their dogs. While this claim sounds outlandish, it is entirely true, just ask the residents of Longmont, Colorado.

According to Longmont Housing Authority, police and officials contrived an idea to use the homes of low-income residents to train police drug dogs. Cops and their K9 counterparts entered the homes and searched families living within The Suites low-income housing unit — warrantlessly.

Tenants of The Suites were simply given a letter at some point before the raid notifying them that the landlord and police would be conducting an inspection.

As local NBC affiliate, News 9 put it, some powerful people in Longmont appear to have forgotten that the Constitution still exists.

Although the letter mentions the police and their dog, it doesn’t state anywhere on it that residents can refuse to allow police and the dog in. It also fails to mention that when the officer does illegally enter your home, anything they find while inside, is fair game to arrest you over.

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The letter stated:

“This is a notice to visit your unit on Wednesday, May 10th, between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. It is helpful if you are present so we can visit with you personally, but it is not mandatory. Please note that we will occasionally have K-9 units with LPD accompany us for purposes of training and compliance. Apartments will be chosen at random. If you see the K-9, please don’t engage the dog, and please keep your dog on leash well away from the officer….”

Krystal Winship Erazo, director of operations of the Housing Authority told 9 News that they’ve never had a resident refuse the search as this ‘training’ happens on a regular basis. The Longmont police only reported a single incident of someone refusing the search and this is likely due to the fact that the residents are not informed of their rights prior to the search. They are simply guinea pigs for the cops.

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“Two months ago, there were some rumors and some concerns about drug activity on the property and one way we found to address it was to invite a partnership with the Longmont Police Department – to invite the canines over on their training day,” Erazo said in an interview with 9NEWS. “Usually it helps the residents feel really secure in that we’re following up, we’re holding residents accountable, it’s an opportunity for the dogs to train.”

Let that sink in. The head of a public housing agency in Colorado just admitted to using the homes of poor people to train police and their dogs — to hold residents accountable.

Sadly, the only people who need to be held accountable in this situation are the police and the housing authority for their horrid constitutional violations.

Using actual human families in their actual homes — while simultaneously laying waste to their rights — to train dogs, speaks to the callous and dehumanizing nature of the Longmont police department.

As 9 News reports, they checked with several housing authorities in the metro area on Tuesday. The spokespeople for those organizations – including Denver and Aurora — said they don’t do this, have never heard of anyone doing this, and one housing authority official laughed out loud at the thought.

While the landlord maintains a right to inspect or otherwise enter the homes, police have no explicit right to conduct these searches. The fact that they do conduct these searches and admit to it so nonchalantly is chilling. Standing by their choice to allow police to violate the rights of their tenants, the housing authority thinks people shouldn’t have a problem with the warrantless searches unless they have something to hide.

“If there is concern, it kind of sparks some curiosity for me,” Erazo said. “You know, what are they concerned about if (the officers’) only job is to ensure there aren’t drugs in the unit?”

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According to 9 News, Longmont Police originally told them they were comfortable with this arrangement, having participated in that previous round of searches, but late Tuesday, following questions, they said they’re finished.

As 9 News reports, this entire practice was exposed — and subsequently stopped — only because one of the residents knew their rights and cried foul.

This informed citizen knew that she didn’t have to submit to the warrantless searches, no matter what the housing authority said.

“This is a rights issue, not whether or not you have something to hide,” Ray Appling told 9 News. “There’s a police officer at your door. That’s very intimidating. You feel like, ‘Oh God, I have to comply. I have to let these people in and if I don’t, they’re going to think something and they’re going to look for a reason to get rid of me and I think that’s completely unfair and not right.”

The Free Thought Project would like to commend News 9 for being unafraid to question this tactic and call it what it is, unconstitutional.

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Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
  • Damiana

    They picked a FINE target to fuck with. Watch and see, this will be thrown out of court on the grounds that housing projects are government property. Also, they almost certainly make you sign an “agreement” to allow this kind of nonsense before they let you move in.

    • Barbara Brown

      Even signed contractual agreements cannot violate your constitutional rights….however having the money to pay the mountain of attorneys it would take to fight such a war would require one not to be poor….catch 22.

      • Damiana

        Are you absolutely sure about that first part, because if you were right, it seems like a LOT more people would be challenging all those “landlord can come in at any time to inspect the place and bring his cop buddies if he feels like it” clauses as illegal.

        • Damiana

          It doesn’t just affect poor people – a LOT of landlords put that language in their paperwork.

        • Bruce_Mitchell

          The fact that the policy described in the article has ceased upon being challenged is a pretty good indication that the police as well as the housing authority knew they were wrong.

          • Damiana

            You may well be right, but I think it had just as much to do with mollifying everyone so that the policy can continue unabated in other places. Also, just because they SAY the policy has been ceased doesn’t actually mean they’re not doing it anymore.

      • G’ma G

        Our rights can indeed be given up through contract/consent. For example, when you contract to carry the state’s driver license you specifically agree to be subject to all the traffic codes. Most of these victimless crimes are unconstitutional on their face or pure extortion (pay the registration fee or be harmed/fined). It’s about consent of the governed. Government must have the sovereign’s consent to limit rights government is proscribed from alienating. While the license is not really a valid contract because of the failure to disclose these details, as long as 99% go along with it those who know and stand up for liberty will continue to be criminalized.
        I have had to go to court a couple times and put my personal belief on record when asked to waive a right. My personal belief is that I don’t have the right to give up rights. Each time I do it dilutes that right for others and that’s…not right.

      • Bruce_Mitchell

        Indeed, it is a fundamental constitutional principle that you cannot waive your rights under the law. Otherwise, employers would do this routinely to avoid paying proper wages, etc. That some require you to do so anyway does not negate your rights, even if you sign.

        For example, on occasion I have agreed to terms and conditions because otherwise I would have been denied what I wanted. Then, upon getting what I wanted, I produced the relevant statutes to show that was was required was against the law and those requirements were immediately rescinded. Sometimes, compensation was paid. This without having to file a lawsuit.

        It is important, however, to distinguish between what is a constitutional or legal right and what is a privilege not guaranteed, which is something many do not clearly understand.

  • Damiana

    Even someone who’s 100% innocent and has “nothing to hide” doesn’t fucking WANT the cops pawing through their house, fondling and/or trashing whatever they please.

  • JB

    Sorry but if I’m paying for your apartment through tax dollars then it is my apartment, not yours, and 4th amendment does not work for you. Save your money, further your education, get a better job so you don’t have to live off the citizens of this country – then you can claim some independence.

    • Barbara Brown

      Well there asshat, I don’t see it stated anywhere that people who rent low income housing are exempted from their rights, 4th amendment or otherwise. And any suggestion that they should be really is heinous at best. Educated me thinks you ain’t…..

      http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/when-the-fourth-amendment-applies.html

      http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/search-and-seizure-and-the-fourth-amendment.html

      • Damiana

        Excellent use of profanity there, Ms. Brown. Just enough to make the point, yet little enough to still sound VERY classy!

        • Barbara Brown

          Thank you, I try. It is difficult to be a lady with some of these people, but I attempt to find balance 😉

          • Damiana

            People like this JB character do NOT make it easy.

          • avelworldcreator

            If it is who I think it is he’s made his Disqus profile private recently. Go figure.

      • Damiana

        While you’re 100% correct in that poor people don’t automatically forfeit their Constitutional rights just because this assclown over here thinks “taxpayers” are a different species than those who need help, I’ll bet you anything that the paperwork they made these people sign to live there included permission to pull shitty stunts like this one.

        Though it sucks that they manipulated and took advantage of people’s desperation by saying “sign this or be homeless,” it would take a DAMN good lawyer to argue that it was done under enough duress to void the contract. Therefore, if there’s any mention of random searches in the paperwork they signed, the law will stand against them.

        • avelworldcreator

          Fortunately no one has to sign any clause in any contract that requires them to give up any Constitutional rights in order to secure any benefit or privilege. Clauses like that can actually be crossed out by the signer, marked “No”, and initialed by the signer. If the offering party can’t accept the terms without that clause they can be hauled into Federal court and have to explain to a judge why they think it necessary to deprive any person of their rights under the Constitution. It’s why I dislike those “shrink wrap” agreements that come with some software and web site agreements where they ask you to waive your right to use the public courts to resolve disputes and accept an “arbitrator” of the offering party’s choice (PayPal has done that). Those things deny the signer the right of line-item refusal.

          • Damiana

            What if they don’t know any better and sign it as is?

          • avelworldcreator

            Sadly, like in the story above, no one tells them this is their right. In a public housing facility there should not be any such clauses though. That’s an automatic violation of U.S. law. As for the “poor people” not having money all you need to find is a good attorney who will take on a class-action lawsuit over this. Those are automatically federal. In the case of private apartments the landlord has no legal obligation to inform people they don’t have to waive their rights. They are counting on people being generally ignorant of the law and their rights under the Constitution. I consider it part of my public oath to “uphold and defend” the Constitution to educate U.S. citizens of their rights and so I do what I can to combat this problem but I’m only one person.

      • JB

        They sign a lease allowing searches and waiving 4th Amendment rights – and are probably warned searches are coming. If you don’t like the rules then move on, nobody is forcing them to live in subsidized housing but it they are forced into it by circumstance be thankful and work to get out of it – but don’t whine that you’re not getting everything you want.

    • Damiana

      That’s really not how the law works. If you want to be a total assclown and “trump” these people, you’d do MUCH better to point out that the lease they signed probably included a paragraph that voluntarily surrendered their 4th Amendment rights. They didn’t just automatically forfeit those rights because you resent poor people spending “your” money. As if you’re fooling anyone – people who pay income and property taxes don’t have the spare time necessary to troll liberal websites with conservative flamebait.

      Now kindly fuck off before you screw up the good mood I’m in!

      • JB

        Actually, I’m very liberal – but I don’t appreciate whining from non-paying tenants who, I’m sure you’re right, agreed to such searches and probably are warned before they occur – this is the kind of crap that does get the right pissed off and cutting funds for all sorts of social programs.

        • Damiana

          So, that rather efficiently proves that “the right” is a bunch of spiteful assholes, willing to throw perfectly innocent people in the gutter to get at “those deadbeats.” FUCK Republicans – I hope they all spend the day with a nice, itchy ass rash.

    • Lorne Allen

      Do you think the property manager should have the right to bring in his drinking buddies, his cousin in town on vacation, his side piece and whoever else he wants or just agents of the state? I think the resident should decide who enters the residence, except in a legitimate property emergency of course, such as broken water pipes, structural collapse, etc.

      • JB

        Public housing has different lease agreements than those afforded paying tenants – the lease they sign off on and agree to allows searches because it is not their property. I don’t know but am guessing notice is given prior to the searches, primarily for safety reasons.

    • avelworldcreator

      Actually those people are ALSO paying for those apartments. “Your” tax dollars are paying for building maintenance and staffing NOT their rent. And those renters are paying taxes too. When someone rents a property there is a quitclaim; essentially giving the renters an ownership interest in the property. I’d try to make the legal stuff more simplified but I’m afraid I don’t speak Dumbass at all. Not interested in lessons on how to shut down my brain.

      • JB

        You speak dumbass very well, it’s critical thinking you’re lacking. The amount they pay in rent is crazy low and likely comes from some other public funding such as welfare, SS, whatever. They sign a contract allowing searches of our property so there is no 4th amendment issue, just people whining that they want all the perks of paying tenants without all the hassle of paying.

    • G’ma G

      We are looking for a place to have a community block party. What’s your street address?

  • Harry Houston

    The idea that “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about” assumes that the government is full of good people that would not abuse their power, ever. Even if this were true now, we cannot be sure it’ll be true in the future. The US Republic was founded on the idea that humans are corruptible and we need to have checks and balances against corruption built into our government. Because corrupt people will oppress those who have done nothing wrong.

    • Steve Rusk

      You said it, this country is a “Republic”, a republic is a tool of empire designed to suppress or limit democracy which means it’s purpose is to support corruption.

      • avelworldcreator

        You are absolutely clueless about word meanings aren’t you? Redefining words outside their accepted meaning to support your conspiracy theories just reveals you as an idiot.

        • Steve Rusk

          You’re a bit vague in your critique, can you be more specific? What is a republic?

    • G’ma G

      I’ve got plenty to hide from strangers…private papers, my disgusting kitchen sink, soiled underwear, my friends and families confidential info…certain toys…

  • Harry Houston

    For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.
    The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
    TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
    http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/crm/242fin.php

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    As your very own Frank Zappa stated, a bloke i admired so much:

    ‘The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.’