Only In George W. Bush's America

This story is hardly to be believed, until one reminds oneself that it occurred in George W. Bush’s America. It sticks out to me because it occurred in a tiny little town I visit frequently because my lady friend lives there.

(Also, good to know that at CNN, they eschew that pesky AP style.)

(CNN)—Federal officials have opened a civil rights investigation into a police narcotics raid on the home of a Maryland mayor in which police burst in without knocking and shot the mayor’s two dogs to death.

Mayor Cheye Calvo of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and forced to kneel on the floor during the July 29 raid, which police said was part of an investigation into a scheme in which drugs apparently were sent to unsuspecting people.

Prince George’s County police, who were in charge of the raid, issued a statement Friday clearing the couple of involvement and expressing “regret.”

The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland are investigating the incident, FBI spokesman Richard Wolf said Friday.

Calvo had asked for the federal investigation.

“We lost our family dogs,” he said Thursday. “We did it at the hands of sheriff’s deputies who burst through our front door, rifles blazing.”

According to The Associated Press, two men, including a FedEx deliveryman, have been arrested in the case.

Police said the scheme involved shipping drugs to unsuspecting people’s homes and intercepting the packages. About $3.6 million in marijuana had been seized, police told the AP.

In this instance, investigators told the AP, a package containing 32 pounds of marijuana was sent from Los Angeles, California, to Calvo’s house in Berwyn Heights, a town of 3,000 residents 10 miles from Washington.

The package was addressed to his Calvo’s wife, Trinity Tomsic.

In transit, a drug-sniffing dog in Arizona brought attention to the package, investigators told the AP. Police intercepted it when it arrived in Maryland, and it was delivered to the Calvo home by an undercover officer, according to the AP report.

In a statement released Friday, Prince George’s County Police Chief Melvin High said he called Calvo on Thursday to tell him that in screening the case with the state’s attorney’s office, “it was concluded that Ms. Tomsic and the Calvo family were innocent victims of drug traffickers.”

“I called him to express my sorrow and regret for that and for the loss of the family’s beloved dogs,” High said in the statement. A thorough review of the raid is being conducted, which is standard procedure in such cases, the department said.

The Prince George’s County Police Department was in charge of the raid, and the sheriff’s special operations team was assisting.

Calvo said he set the package aside after it arrived at his home and didn’t open it. He said he was changing clothes and preparing to attend a community meeting when “the door flew open. I heard gunfire shoot off. There was a brief pause and more gunfire.”

He said he was brought downstairs at gunpoint while in his boxer shorts, handcuffed and forced to kneel on the floor along with his mother-in-law. Then, he said, “I noticed my two dead dogs lying in pools of their own blood.”

While he was being held, Calvo said, he told the police he is the town’s mayor, but they didn’t believe him. “They told a detective I was crazy,” he said.

Berwyn Heights has a police force, he said, but Prince George’s County police did not notify the municipal authorities of their interest in his home or in the package. “It was that lack of communication that really led to what has really been the most traumatic experience of our lives,” he said.

Calvo added, “they’ve arrested the real criminals involved. We’re pleased to have that and get our name back as well. But really, this doesn’t excuse what they did.”

Good lord.

(Cross-Post: Radio B.O.N.K.)

3 thoughts on “Only In George W. Bush's America”

  1. Actually, it was happening in Bill Clinton’s America…and in George H W Bush’s America…and in Ronald Reagan’s America, in Gerald Ford’s America, and in Jimmy Carter’s America as well as in LBJ’s and John F Kennedy’s America.

    It was even going on in J. Edgar Hoover’s America.

    The abuse of The Constitution, and therefore of American Citizens, by politicians and law enforcement has been going on for quite some time. It has gotten worse under Bush’s watch…and under Pelosi’s watch and under Harry Reid’s watch. Remember. Congress makes the rules (laws) and spends the money, and that august body has been controlled by Democrats for sixty of the last seventy years.

    See also:

    Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America
    By Radley Balko

  2. You can blame Bush all you want, but I am appalled that you ignored several much more relevant facts:

    Prince George’s County Sheriff Michael Jackson is a Democrat.

    The police chief was appointed by the county executive, another Democrat.

    In fact, EVERY county- and state-level official elected in Prince George’s County is a Democrat.

    There are NO REPUBLICANS involved in this atrocity–every official involved is a Democrat or appointed by a Democrat.

    Since you mentioned Bush, why didn’t you report that it is Democrats, not Republicans, who are waging war on the residents of Prince George’s County.

  3. Dear Commentors,

    Thank you for your comments, both of you. I do have a brief reply.

    Did I discuss political party in my post? No. I said “George W. Bush.”

    I laid nothing at the feet of the Republigoat party in general. I named one person, “George W. Bush,” a person who has, indeed, used the bully pulpit of the Untied States of America to forment fear in the nation’s people, to justify outlandish violations of civil liberties, and to create a general law enforcement culture and a more passive populace–not to mention a completely ineffective, foolish “war” on “drugs,” conditions which can encourage actions such as this. And denying that there’s an oh-so-special quality to this administration’s brand of gestapo fetish is to not have been paying attention.

    I do often in this space snipe at Republigoats generally, often with damned good reason. For the purposes of this post, however, the political party of the current president or of the local Barney Fifes who perpetrated this horror is irrelevant. I do believe that the general law enforcement culture generated by the current White House tends to embolden law enforcement officials at every level to employ more muscular methods. I have no tangible evidence of this, it is, admittedly, my own speculation. But even the Balko-quoter admits that “it has gotten worse under Bush’s watch” (though he also somehow blames a Democratic-majority Congress that’s been in power for two years with a paper-thin majority, I’m not sure how that works). Sorry, guys. Shit runs downhill. What can I tell ya.

    Thanks again for commenting.
    Brady Bonk

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