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Drug Raid Video Gets Torn Apart by Media

Drug Raid Video Gets Torn Apart by Media

Video Screen Capture

Associated Press

January 20, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah police shot and killed a man within seconds of storming his parents’ home, video of the raid shows. The police had a warrant to search for drugs, but found only a small amount of pot and an empty vial that had apparently contained meth.

Local media report that Todd Blair, 45, was a drug addict rather than a dealer, according to friends and family.

In the video, Blair can be seen holding a golf club above his head as police smash through his door. Within seconds, without demanding Blair drop the iron or lay down, Weber-Morgan Strike Force Sgt. Troy Burnett fires three shots into him. The local prosecutor has deemed the killing justified, but his family is planning a federal lawsuit, arguing that police had plenty of alternatives.

Blair’s death raises the question of why multiple heavily-armed officers were sent to raid a drug addict — and why Weber and Morgan counties in Utah would even need a “Narcotics Strike Force.” Local police forces are able to keep property they seize in drug raids, often without the necessity of a conviction, creating a perverse incentive to reinvest in military equipment and carry out additional raids.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the main focus of the police investigation had been Blair’s roommate, who police said in the application for the warrant would destroy evidence if they weren’t given authority to carry out a “no-knock” raid. But police were aware that his roommate had moved out.

Police tried to detain Blair so that he wouldn’t be in the house when it was raided, but pulled over the wrong person. Despite that mistake, and despite the knowledge that the roommate had moved out, the raid on Blair was still carried out. It was hastily planned, reported the Tribune, diverting from protocol. Burnett, who shot Blair, told investigators that it is “absolutely not our standard” to carry out such a raid with as little planning as was done, according to the Tribune.

It was so hastily carried out, in fact, that police forgot the warrant. According to the Tribune, in the video it obtained an officer can be heard asking: “Did somebody grab a copy of the warrant off my desk?”

Burnett replies: “Oh, don’t tell me that.” He then complains to the other officers: “He doesn’t have a copy of the warrant.”

Minutes later, Blair would be dead. “I didn’t think about saying words. I just thought about not getting hit, or slashed or whatever,” Burnett told investigators, saying that he thought the golf club was “a sword or something.” He also said that it did not appear to him that Blair was moving toward him, an admission that could prove crucial in a federal criminal or civil case.

The killer, Sgt. Burnett, had previously told a law-enforcement magazine that he and fellow officers were trained to shoot quickly and at close range. Burnett had previously put the training to use by shooting and killing an armed suspect in 2008.

“Maybe a month before this [2008 shooting], we did our qualification and this kind of scenario was played out in live fire training where we had to quickly draw and fire at close range,” Burnett said at the time. “It wasn’t quite identical, but it was close. We were simulating taking down information and then all of a sudden had to drop it and fire quickly. I absolutely believe my training played a factor in this situation. I was always confident in my close-range shooting ability, and the ammo I’m absolutely pleased with. It did its job.”

The below video of Blair’s death, posted by The Salt Lake Tribune, is a graphic depiction of the type of raid that has become commonplace in the United States as a result of the militarization of local police forces.


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  • Img_0970_max50

    CDTDAT

    over 3 years ago

    312 Comments

    SeaBass420, it's not a legitimate questions as far as use of force. The subject had a WEAPON and it was raised, therefore a threat to advancing officers (and no they couldn't stop because they would've been siting ducks or in a fatal funnel due to unknwn threats). And the officers announced their presence. Based on just the video alone, it was a justified use of force. You mentioned earlier "How about a stun gun". This was a SWAT operation where the use of a "stun gun" (we call them Tasers in LEO world) would most likely ineffective in an dynamic entry. This isn't TV...they don't always work.

    Now....before you gone on and say the officer should of tried, let me ask you this. If you wearing the SWAT gear that these guys had on, do you honestly think it would have protected you from this weapon? If you answer yes, then this is proof that you're not at all familiar with this type of operation nor the LEO job. You see, I've been on something simular incidents with all my tactical gear on. Yet I still managed to get hurt by a perp with a baseball bat. This ballistic armor is designed to resist....let us all say it forum "Ballistics" (aka: Bullets). Not blunt objects or knives (knives will go thriugh body armor contrary what the media and TV shows depict). You see unlike you, who appears to live day by day by what the media say, we LEO protect our communities proudly...we protect our country with dignity and honor.

    But you know what, I'm not upset by your comments. I served my country proudly in the worlds greatest military before becoming a LEO...just so you'd have the freedom to say the things that you've on this forum. And 13 years later, I'm still serving this great country and my community with honor.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    SeaBass420

    over 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    Why don't people respond to legitimate questions and concerns? I must admit I did put 420 in my name to troll you guys but my comments have been legit. No one has dared to respond to my last post directly.

    Despite whether or not this shooting was legally justified, it still doesn't mean it was the best possible outcome. I hope situations like this are included in your future SWAT training. Taking someone's life should be the last possible thing done after all alternatives have been exhausted. He wasn't even given a chance to put his golf club down.

    I still stand by my last statement that these officers wearing full body armor were not in any life threatening danger due to the guy with a golf club. Even if it had been a sword, if a sword can defeat body armor it sounds like you guys got ripped off and need some better armor. The officers still could have easily shot this guy if he had started making a throwing/swinging motion.

  • G26_max50

    dee0544

    over 3 years ago

    48 Comments

    Y arent people like seabass420 blocked from this site?????????????//

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Seabass420, bye bye! Try myspace, twitter or facebook!

  • Absolutelawenf_max50

    ksphatcop

    over 3 years ago

    1744 Comments

    Not gonna Monday morning........Since more than likely no one in here was at the briefing......none know what was said or what potential threats were there. Video is clear enough to show they announced on entry and shot a suspect with a weapon. Good call by the D.A.

    (seabass420) No one in here is going to take any comment seriously from a "tard" that posts on a police site with a "wanna be" doper name that knows nothing about the threats we face on search warrants, traffic stops etc etc. Grow up......"420".

  • 20552_1343137337912_1215571721_31006460_5991340_n_max50

    TrafficCop28

    over 3 years ago

    1424 Comments

    Another troll trying to plead their case. Bah!

  • Img_0970_max50

    CDTDAT

    over 3 years ago

    312 Comments

    Bump Robocop33. SeaBass420, the comments you're making shows me that either a) you're a civilian who watches too many cops shows and/or listens to the media therefore you think you know OUR job...or b) you have such a large disdain for Police Officers in general. Either way, I hope and pray that instead of making comments that you think you know our job, you instead ask questions and be educated. There is alot of talent and experienced officers here who are happy to answer (most) questions.

    If you are a LEO.....I hope and pray that you stay safe out there.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    SeaBass420

    over 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    21 foot rule or not, seeing that he did not have a gun, they should have yelled "DROP IT" and given the suspect a chance to either drop it or try an attack. The officers still could have easily shot him in time before he could try to throw the club. He was not in range to strike someone directly and immediately.

    Also weren't the officers wearing helmets? I don't see how an iron club is a deadly weapon to someone wearing full body armor. Please elaborate. If the helmets don't have protective face masks I guess they need upgraded.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50

    rhood

    over 3 years ago

    23592 Comments

    SEABASS420 should find another location to put his drivall on, for he knows not what he speaks. This was ruled a justified shoot, end of conversation.

  • 2012-03-24_12-51-47_281_max50

    chris2022

    over 3 years ago

    232 Comments

    When you hear, "POLICE SEARCH WARRANT POLICE POLICE SEARCH WARRANT", it's expected that you drop to the floor with your legs spread and hands interlocked behind your head. The 'no warning' part is what makes this tactic effective... Had there been warning, it may have been a 9mm instead of a 9 iron.

    Good call by the DA.

  • Vpsomourningband_max50

    DonnaLynn

    over 3 years ago

    10604 Comments

    4 different voices rang out POLICE! SEARCH WARRANT. Seabass"420" took a leap! He's gone.

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    over 3 years ago

    23294 Comments

    I will keep my comments to myself however, I do hope to view a follow up.

  • Cdcr_badge_max50

    SERT0629

    over 3 years ago

    474 Comments

    GOOD SHOOT....I DO BELIEVE I HEARD THE MAGIC WORDS "POLICE, SEARCH WARRANT" AND THEN HE TAKES AN AGGRESSIVE STANCE WITH A WEAPON. GTS NUMBNUTS.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Better to be tryed by 12 than carried by 6. A weapon is a weapon be it a club (golf or whatever), or firearm. You take an agressive stance at a properly trained police officer there is only one outcome. That is the officer gets to go home to his family. Guess where the perp goes???? It isn't to Disney Land.

  • M_a6d52838fcaf76871a3f162b66e0b424_max600_max50

    recon2819

    over 3 years ago

    254 Comments

    to put it simply. Dont come at the police with anything that could be used at a weapon..... Dont bring a golf club to a gun fight.

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