Utah Police Execute No-Knock Warrant on Home and Shoot and Kill Man Holding Golf Club

This video was released by the Salt Lake Tribune of a drug bust gone bad where officers shot and killed Todd Blair, 45, when he appeared holding a golf club. The police had secured a no knock warrant for his roommate — suspected of selling drugs.

On the video, you can hear the police shout “Police! Search warrant!” However, courts are now issuing no-knock warrants with greater frequency. The result has been a number of incidents where homeowners have either been shot or have shot police by mistake. In Wilson v. Arkansas (1995) the Supreme Court held that “knock-and-announce” was one of the factors that it would use to determine if an entry is constitutional, but allowed the practice generally. Later, it gutted the deterrent for violations by ruling in Hudson v. Michigan (2006) that a violation of the knock-and-announce rule does not require the suppression of evidence. According to Professor Peter Kraska, a criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University, no-knock warrant increased from 3,000 in 1981 to more than 50,000 in 2005.

In this case, officers were found to have acted appropriately in shooting Blair because they saw a glint of an object in his hands.

Jonathan Turley

49 thoughts on “Utah Police Execute No-Knock Warrant on Home and Shoot and Kill Man Holding Golf Club

  1. We know who the real criminals are and it isn’t the guy with the golf club.

    Oh, sorry, it WASN’T the guy with the golf club.


  2. Golf club………………gun………one knocks a ball 400 yards the other kills in less space & time. So just how does one really justify this sort of police action, overkill, what?? Maybe the payout on this will be larger than that poor guy who was shot by the swat team.

  3. Well the occasional death of a person that some left wing, liberal, chattering class types see wrongly as “innocent” is a small price to pay for teh robust prosecution of teh war on drugs.

    The dead guy was not innocent, he possessed some dope and he threatened police officers with golf club that could have injured them were they in range. Quite rightly did the police officer shoot him dead, attacking or threatening to attack police is absolutely unforgivable.

    I have no doubt that in the extremely unlikely event that the officer who shot the man is prosecuted any decent jury will acquit him, just as the jury in Albany NY rightly acquitted the four officers who shot Amadou Diallo 19 times when the police perceived that a dangerous Black man threatened them with a wallet. This officer was quite justified in assuming that the golf club might have been a special long rang club capable of striking at a distance of 20 metres, or even a disguised laser plaster brought back by time machine from the year 2150.

  4. I have alot of problems with these No Knock raids when the police like to execute them late at night. They like to wake people up before they can think with a clear head and if someone wakes up trying to defend their home and property they can likely end up dead.
    If this article is about the video I saw a week or so ago the cops bust in and yell who they are, you see a guy appear at the edge of a hallway holding a golf club a few seconds pass and then the guy with the gold club is shot I think 3 times.
    I think it was about 23 seconds from when they burst in announcing themselves to when the man was shot.
    If the cops did this to me I would probably be dead too. I’m losing my hearing and may not have understood what was being said at first and could easily see myself in this guys shoes.
    If they burst in when I am sleeping I think the cops yelling would wake me up but I wouldn’t have understood it and jumped out of bed to see what was going on and would likely be shot.
    I think these No Knocks seriously take away from our rights of being secure in our homes and persons because it can make people hesitate to defend their own home when there are so many instances of cops doing this and even making mistakes and picking the wrong house.

  5. given the number of armed citizens in this country how soon will it be before cops get shot in one of these brain dean maneuvers? And will the courts be as understanding of the shooter (assuming he is left alive) as they are of the cops?

    Minneapolis, MN just settled with a home owner whos house was shot up when he opened fire on a no knock raid. The amazing thing was nobody got hit despite 20-30 rounds being fired by the 2 sides. Well, that and the fact that the executed the raid based on the word of a paid informer and no evidence.

  6. There are so many screw-ups so often by so many officers it might be about time to go “British” where the officers don’t normally carry guns. They do have access to guns, but the extra steps it takes them to become armed may allow the situations to cool down enough for them to get their wits together. Their profession is going down the toilet on a daily basis it appears.

  7. I guess no one heard fore……or is that four….I suppose those with real weapons can play through….I am wondering if they can use a mulligans on this shot?

  8. I think the shooter did get a Mulligan because the police force claimed the shiny object in his hands could have been a gun. I am a little confused here. Since they had surprise on their side and a massive firepower and manpower advantage, why wouldn’t you turn on the lights so you can see who is threatening you and what the object is? I wonder if the Supreme Court would regain some sense if one of their homes had been the target of a no-knock attack?

  9. When the next-to-the-last living person is killed by the last living person, absent parthenogenesis, the war on drugs will have finally been successfully won.

  10. Mark:

    Excellent comments.

    The reason they bust in like this is they don’t have evidence. If they did have evidence of a crime they wouldn’t have to bust in. These deadly fishing expeditions ought to be outlawed.

    The only reason cops murder people like this is because they are afraid to die. Well, duh, being a cop means you deal with bad guys. Get over it or get out.

    Cops like these guys should find safer work that doesn’t scare them so much.

    Like, maybe, a clerk in the lingerie department at Wal Mart.

  11. “Busting in” often creates the evidence which otherwise would never have existed.

    Therefore, not “busting in” is the crime or concealing the evidence for want of its actually being made by “busting in.”

    Round and round…

  12. Those cops were pussies. Yea, thats right, they were so afraid they couldnt wait two seconds longer for him to drop the ‘weapon’.

    So cowardly. Dim wits.

  13. The war on drugs has created a police state.

    I would rather drugs were regulated, taxed and legal, like Portugal. ,Anyone who has a drug problem should be going to rehab instead of prison.
    Our Prison Industrial complex would fight this tooth and nail, of course. But one day we will be forced to end the failed war on drugs. We can no longer afford the costs.

  14. RE: shano, January 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    The war on drugs has created a police state.


    I have an additional view…

    Round 1:
    The police state created the war on drugs.

    Round 2:
    The war on drugs created the enlarged police state.

    Round 3:
    The enlarged police state created the enlarged war on drugs.

    Round 4:
    The enlarged war on drugs enlarged the police state further.

    Round 5:
    The further enlarged police state enlarged the war on drugs more.

    Round 6:
    The enlarged war on drugs shot and killed the police state.

    In this fictional playlet, the gun was a revolver, a six shooter, and it ran out of bullets, casings, powder charges, and primers.

    Now, how is that for a primer on the madness of the mutually assured destruction of escalating adversarial reciprocal retaliation?

    How many rounds remain in the clip of human stupidity; said clip being the whole of recorded human history and its continuing self-destruction?

    Round and Round we go, firing round and round at each other as at ourselves, Row, row the boat, round and round we go, swamping the boat and drowning ourselves in the hailstorm of rounds?

    The problem is not the people.

    The problem is mental illness.

    The mental illness of the vast majority of people.

    Time corrupted learning is the result of mental illness.

    Coercing little children to believe they made mistakes they were told to not make, made the mistakes anyway, knew and understood better, are at fault, and deserve to be punished is the cause of mental illness.

    If you do not understand mental illness as caused by child abuse, the indoctrination of authoritarian beliefs through the coercion of the terrible twos, methinks that the boogeyman got you.

    And the boogeyman is mental illness such that the mental illness keeps the person with mental illness from recognizing the boogeyman.

    Blame the police officers, and you have brought forth your own mental illness.

    I blame no one.

  15. But the Salt Lake City PD does not really pay the insurance premiums, the taxpayers do.

    That makes the police immune and puts the taxpayers in double jeopardy?

  16. A cheaper way to go may be to openly publicize the officers names, their pictures, their work hours, their private residence information, their family members and relatives information and let the tax payers acquire Justice on their own. I’m betting there would be taxpayers that would achieve Justice with no cost to the city, county or state.

  17. My dictionary is wrong. No wonder I am so confused.

    I know that vigilant and vigilante are homonyms and synonyms.

    The final “e” is supposed to be silent in “vigilante.”

    Freedom requires of the free their being eternally vigilante?

  18. If cities pay out big settlements, it isn’t the cops who suffer. Every time Columbus decides they need more money they start talking about cutting fire and police departments. Of course, the voters give them what they want. Even if some cops are rouge, and get away with murder, people still want plenty of good cops around. It’s not cops in general who are bad. It’s the administrators who won’t get rid of the cops they know are bad.

  19. It is so comforting to know that the people whose job it is to protect us are held to the lowest standard of responsibility when they deliberately murder a person who is unarmed and non threatening.

    Maybe we should change the saying to “A man’s home is his casket.”

  20. “In this case, officers were found to have acted appropriately in shooting Blair because they saw a glint of an object in his hands.”

    I don’t care how the “court” ruled … it was a homicide and the cops know it … look in the mirror … tell me what you see.

  21. Of course, I wasn’t there, but JESUS H CHRIST! Did these cops stop off for a triple-shot at Starbucks before this raid??? This was a horrible abuse of power; I hope they are all fired.

  22. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: anytime a cop shoots an unarmed person (whether killing or only injuring, whether that person is a criminal or shot by mistake), that cop should lose the right to be a cop anywhere in America for the rest of his or her life. If they can’t take an extra half second to make sure the person is armed before they shoot, then they are clearly more interested in protecting themselves than in protecting the citizenry. They are therefore failing in their first duty as cops.

  23. i had a search warrant served on me in the late 70’s early 80’s. at that time they could only serve warrants during daylite hours. nothing like waking up at five minutes after sunrise to people hitting your front door with a sledgehammer.

  24. It seems to me that the more incidents such as this occur and it seems that the frequency is increasing, the more likely that we will begin to see headlines in the media concerning homeowners being murdered “execution style” killed where they lay on the floor because the intruders rendered the homeowners powerless by shouting “police, search warrant” as they booted down the front door. So the wary homeowner place themselves quickly in a prone position.

    In UK as there are fewer armed incidents that in USA (thank god) and armed police are still the exception rather than the rule and as there are also fewer armed criminals – the general populace are wary enough to realise that the chances of being shot increase dramatically with the presence of armed police and appreciate that if armed police do invade your home they will start shooting with the vaguest of reasons, safe in the knowledge that they will not be prosecuted. so the safest place in such a situation is on the floor with your hands behind your head

    Justice for all indeed!! Exitus acta probat

  25. Those interested in this thread, I recommend daily browsing of Reason journalist Radley Balko’s site The Agitator.

    Violent police home invasions are one of his interests and he collects information on them and generates statistics. Especially of interest are those such as Cory Maye and Ryan Frederick who get in first and shoot the cops, and incidents of caniside by the police.

  26. On a no-knock-warrant, I believe the jury would find it difficult to convict if he had shot and killed every single officer that entered his doorway.

  27. RE: rafflaw, January 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    If the taxpayers keep paying large sums to settle the lawsuits, eventually the pocket book might solve the problem.


    I have previously mentioned the concerns shared with me by the late Clarence Madison, a Chicago Police Officer and amateur radio operator (call sign WB9PME). In talking with him, and remembering what we said to each other, he clearly anticipated the predicament now confronting us as a society, the difficulty of recognizing the unrecognizable before the unrecognizable becomes recognized.

    Searching and finding the perps before they become perps is the problem I understood, and yet understand, is the one which may be the most likely to force police officers into using outrageous forms of force.

    I beseech people, read and re-read Philip Zimbardo’s previously mentioned book, “The Lucifer Effect,” until it makes useful sense in terms of the people not being the problem but the beliefs the people have acquired.

    The more we, as a society of individual persons, seek and find the “person or persons responsible,” the more we magnify the belief which is the real, actual, core, initiating problem.

    That belief is buried in the social consensus notion of “responsibility” as I can make some little sense of it.

    Again, that February, 2011, Scientific American article, “How Language Shapes Thought” may be of profound significance.

    Yet, I have long observed that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is valid only for people whose thoughts happen consciously in word form.

    There is an alternative to thought shaping words and words shaping thought (the strong and weak forms of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis), that alternative being the way I live.

    For me, words do not shape thought nor does thought shape words. I think without words, in the manner in which I thought before being born. Words and pictures are communication tools (symbolic representations of meanings) which may eventually allow me to decently share some of my thoughts with other people.

    I do not think in symbols of thoughts, I think in thoughts.

    While I agree that the hits on the taxpayer’s pocketbooks will eventually lead to a refusal to pay the price because the taxpayer’s pocketbooks will have been drained empty, why not first look at the cost in terms of people’s actual lives, police officers, lawyers, judges, juries, and everyone else?

    Why focus on the symbolic value of people and their lives? Why are not the lives of the people and the people themselves not the central focus of attention and effort?

    After many years, I find that Walt Kelly got it somewhat wrong. Off the top of my head, circa 1970, Kelly wrote what may be his most famous quote, “We have met the enemy and they are us.”

    Kelly’s error is the one that is the centerpiece of the human enigma as told by Philip Zimbardo, Kelly invoked the fundamental attribution error (attribution to disposition as though disposition is other that totally situational).

    My version, without attribution error of which I have awareness, “We are meeting the enemy, and it is our yet-unavoidably, not-yet-recognized and understood, mistaken sincere beliefs.”

    I observe that, in the United States of America, there are two parallel economies, one described only by engineering economics, the other described mainly by other than engineering economics.

    The economy described by engineering economics I have heard some members of Congress call, “the real economy.” The other economy I have heard, by various people, called, “the fiat economy.”

    Congressman Ron Paul and Senator Rand Paul both, in my view, are really good at grasping this distinction. However, the “Austrian School of Economicsm,” while an aspect of the basis of engineering economics, seems to me to be very limiting in many ways which engineering economics avoids.

    And there comes to my mind a dastardly irony. I recall President Obama recently saying something to the effect that the U.S. economy is three times as big as is the Chinese economy.

    I find it true that the total U.S. economy, combining the real and fiat economies, is much as President Obama said. At the same time, the real Chinese economy appears to me to be digging in the real U.S. economy.

    The problem with a fiat economy is simply that it has no actual product. When the U.S. economy is mainly a commodities market in which the commodities are pyramided commodities of symbolic economic activity. sooner or later this may collapse because it is nothing made of nothing, compounded by nothing until it masquerades as though real by its mere non-existence.

    In an imaginary world actually governed by a Gaia principle, I can imagine no greater equitable world economic solution than the weak nations becoming the strong nations as an achievable pathway to human decency as theory in actual use.

    I am a licensed professional engineer, who thinks in engineering economics terms. That rules out my “believing in” the fiat economy.

    Pouring gasoline on a fire eventually extinguishes the fire.

    After almost everything has been burned to a crisp and beyond.

    After there is no more gasoline left to put on the fire.

  28. Some years ago, I was in a meeting in Sturgeon Bay, when a Sturgeon Bay Police officer walked into the building, saw me, and did what I interpreted as motioning to me to come to where he was.

    Not being willing to be charged with obstruction, I went to the officer, who had a document needing to be signed indicating that the police had seized evidence of breaking and entering and theft of property.

    I pointed out that I had heard of the crime, but knew nothing about it. The officer ordered me to sign, saying that all I was doing was indicating the officer had come into the building to get someone to sign the paper. That is not what the paper said as I read it. I repeated that I was not a witness to the crime and knew nothing of significance about it. The officer threatened to do something (unspecified) if I did not sign it.

    I signed it and was about to write on it that I was not a witness when the officer took the paper from me. There was no space above the signature line for me to write that, so I had intended to write it as an initialed post-script for want of another way.

    A few days later, early in the morning,I was at home, having been up late the evening before working to finish an engineering project, and was in bed, in pajamas.

    We have a doorbell system with redundancy for reliability and the doorbell was not rung before the house began shaking much like there was an earthquake, and there was a dreadfully loud banging, as though someone was bashing in our front door with a battering ram.

    I glanced out the front bedroom window and saw a Sheriff’s car in our driveway. Not wanting to be arrested for indecent exposure, I got a bathrobe from one of our master bedroom closets and went to the front door. During the time I was getting to the door, adequately dressed, the pounding on the door increased in rate and intensity.

    The deputy handed me a summons to testify in court as a witness to a crime I did not witness. A few weeks later, somewhat ahead of the scheduled trial to which I had been summoned as a witness, someone who gave her name as “Mary” called and spoke to my wife, telling my wife that I need not appear.

    I called the D.A. to get written release from the subpoena, only to be told hat no such release was possible.

    Well, I knew of a case (told to me within the protection of pastoral privilege) in which the defendant’s attorney told his client that the scheduled court appearance had been canceled, the client believed his attorney, the attorney was mistaken, and the client found in contempt of court for failure to appear. For his mistake, the attorney was immune.

    So, I went to the D.A. office as the subpoena directed, because I can trust the law enforcement establishment in Door County absolutely not one bit or whit.

    About five minutes before the start of the trial as given on the subpoena, someone in the D.A. office noticed me waiting quietly in the far corner of the waiting room and called over to the waiting room window into the D.A. office itself. I spoke of my concern about having been given a written command to be there and not having been given a written revocation of the command, and kept the “conversation” going until a couple minutes after the time the subpoena stat ed I needed to appear as a witness (to what I did not witness).

    Wonderful how the court system teaches me that it is impossible for me to be other than in contempt of court.

    Meanwhile, the pounding on our steel-clad, solid core front door was so intense, and the door so strong, that the pounding destroyed the lock on the door and I had to replace it in order to have a working front door lock mechanism. For that damage, the Sheriff is immune, of course.

    My punishment for not witnessing a crime in a city ten miles from our home was having to replace the front door lock.

    Oh, yes, the other punishment was being put into flashbacks of being in second grade and paddled until all my effort was directed toward not retaliating in any way or manner whatsoever.

    The jargon name for that effort is being agitated-catatonic.

    That is the absolute opposite of being in catatonic stupor, the mind state which I find drives people, when the stupor fails to work, into the most horrible forms of violence humanity has ever known.

    I have immediate, direct, terrifying experience with police mistakenly doing their job. And I find no fault with the police officer, the D.A. or other people who work in making and enforcing law.

    I have immediate, direct, terrifying experience with terror orders of magnitude beyond what I thought any person could ever survive in any way at all, only to learn that acceptance, without limit, of the way of forgiveness, allows actually forgiving even the utterly unforgivable.

    How can I find fault with people who neither know nor understand what they do?

    Would I not first need to find fault with myself to have even a clue as to how to find fault with anyone else?

    As I am unable to find fault with myself or my life, I cannot find fault with anyone or anything else.

    To such extent as language enables me to describe my actual life, I describe accurately my actual life, for real.

  29. Law Enforcement Management would be wise to review their policies, which clearly ‘teed-up’ this tragic event. Those Managers are NOT the poor sod(s) who will live the rest of his life with the private knowledge that he shot and killed someone, completely unnecessarily. It was “Negligent Discharge”, NOT ‘proper use of force’.

    Sad, but the Officers likely did almost EXACTLY what they were trained to do (other than that pesky ‘murdering the resident’ part).

    If someone is intruding, MUST I asssume they always are accurately identify themselves? Criminal intruders would be wise to use evey method to assure their success, including yelling POLICE! (Sorry, foolish of me even to think that – they’d never do that as it’s against the law to falsely identify yourself as LEO).

    If someone breaks down my door at my home, for whatever reason, it’s game on. Of course, If I were expertly trained to assess and identify threats, I would NOT open fire at a Police Officer! Unfortunately for ME, I’m a Landscaper.

    This is MY home, not yours, and it’s MY right to protect and to keep it secure.

    On the other hand: Knock, announce the warrant, and we’ll have a pleasant chat as I allow you in to do your business.

  30. If the pigs want cop killers to get the “death penalty” for knowingly killing a pig, then the pigs should get the death penalty for killing an innocent man.

    If the pigs expect stiff punishment for thsoe who commit crimes against pigs, then the pigs also need to be held to a higher standard. Otherwise, they’re hypocrites, cowards and thugs hiding behind a badge, a street gang with license to kill and abuse with no accountability.

  31. This is the price we pay for a war that has not accomplished a single goal since it began. The war on drugs. Billions upon billions of dollars and countless lives lost or ruined with no returns to show. I can go anywhere in this country and purchase drugs. This war on drugs has not slowed the flow of drugs at all. Sure, once in a while we will see these task forces on T.V. showing off a few tons drugs they siezed. While these guys are patting themselves on the back and receiving their awards, for a job well done, Johnny is right down the street taking a lethal dose. It is time to end the war drugs. A war that has been and continues to fail every step of the way.

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