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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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