A self-proclaimed ‘strong advocate for law enforcement’ is being attacked for criticizing the practice of no-knock warrants, where SWAT teams burst into homes with no warning—often in the middle of the night—to apprehend suspects and search the premises.
Georgia Sen. Mike Crane is running in the state’s Republican primary to replace U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. Any politician seeking office in that very “conservative” state must pledge their support to cops and authority figures. But Crane, being a strict constitutionalist, believes that no-knock warrants are illegal and unjust.
Even this small capitulation to freedom is too much for Mike Jolley, one of eight sheriffs who have endorsed Crane’s opponent, Drew Ferguson. As part of their strategy to paint Crane as a weak supporter of law enforcement, they released a short video clip where the state Senator is speaking strongly against no-knock warrants.
While addressing a Republican gathering, Crane stated:
“No-knock warrants are illegal in Georgia. The police are required to announce their presence in Georgia law. Just read the law.
What is illegal is judicial usurpation of our rights. When the judge comes along and says, ‘You can kick down that man’s door. You can throw a flash grenade in that baby’s crib. Or you can do whatever you want—kill the lady who comes to the door with a weapon because she’s afraid someone has entered her house illegally.
You come to my house, kick down my door—if I have an opportunity, I will shoot you dead. And every one of you should do the same.
It is the only area where the law enforcement community and I differ. But they have to understand the law.”
Crane was referring to a 2014 incident in Habersham County where special ops carried out a no-knock raid on the home of Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh and their four children, looking for a non-existent drug dealer. One of the cops threw a flash-bang grenade into a playpen next to 19-month-old Bou Bou, causing severe and permanent injuries to the toddler.
None of the cops were convicted of a crime, of course, owing their good fortune to Blue Privilege. This, despite the fact that the deputy lied on the affidavit used to get the warrant leading to the toddler’s maiming. They even went so far as to blame the parents and baby Bou Bou.
This despicable act, made possible by an immoral war on drugs, sparked debate on the issue of no-knock warrants and led to a proposed bipartisan bill curtailing their use. But prosecutors and law enforcement, insisting that you can’t have both freedom and security, mounted strong opposition and managed to kill the bill.
Crane lamented the fact that rationality and constitutional protections are being abandoned in the debate over no-knock warrants.
“It’s really an issue of what is the role of government? What powers do we grant them?” said Crane. “And is it fully within their power to grant themselves the power to enter your home in the middle of the night? And then the question is, what are the circumstances and how high a bar should that be?”
He added that safety for both citizens and cops is put at risk with no-knock raids, saying, “It really is an issue of safety, not only for whoever is on the other side of that door, but for law enforcement.”
Sheriff Jolley, however, somehow comes to a different conclusion, saying these oppressive uses of state force “are a way of getting into a home when it’s dangerous for law enforcement — and potentially for the people inside the home.”
He characterized Crane’s criticism as “telling the bad guys, even if you know it’s a police officer, and they’re coming in your home, go ahead and shoot them.”
Jolley doesn’t seem concerned about 4th Amendment rights or the fact that no-knock raids are simply more dangerous for everyone. Henry Magee shot and killed an officer leading a no-knock raid into his home, stating that he “believed the man rushing in was an intruder and he needed to defend himself.” It all happened over the suspicion of growing cannabis plants.
Innocent people are regularly terrorized by SWAT teams raiding the wrong house for no-knock warrants, but the practice continues. Even the maiming of a toddler isn’t enough to put the brakes on this escalation of militarized tactics, usually carried out under the misguided war on drugs.
These incremental abuses of power become so commonplace that they are eventually codified into law or approved by the courts. Sheriff Jolley is undoubtedly happy with the Supreme Court’s recent decision that cops can break the law to enforce the law, giving his profession far more leeway in violating citizens’ rights.
Sadly, this is the mentality that will likely prevail as the Georgia political race goes on, and politicians fall over themselves trying to be the best bootlicker.