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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Tom WWood:

    Sage words. We’d expect more caution than that from an untrained hunter in a forest.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. “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.

  7. 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.”

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. Mark: that means these ‘police’ and their supervisor are guilty of cold blooded murder.

  14. Then there is my hope that the fifth round has been shot.

    A shot heard round the world?

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