Swat Team Raids Home With Armored Car, Kills Unarmed Occupant, and Costs Millions In Damages But Lead Officer Given Award For His Role In The Raid

220px-Members_of_the_60th_Security_Police_Squadron's_Base_Swat_Team628x471-1Five Connecticut towns will pay $3.5 million in a bizarre raid by heavily armed SWAT team members after a report of drugs in the house of a Norwalk man. The team hit the home with flash grenades while snipers and officers surrounded the property. The owner, Ronald Terebesi, was dragged from the home and another man, Gonzalo Guizan (right), shot and killed. Neither was armed and a small amount of recreational drugs were found. The towns however still fought the case for years until a court issued a key ruling against them. They still deny any negligence or fault and proceeded to give the officer leading the raid an award for his role in the disastrous raid. (Swat members shown here were not involved in this raid)

This is not the first time that police were given accommodations for negligent or mistaken raids.

This case however captures the problem of police departments that seem eager to use armored cars and SWAT teams funded after 9-11. Former Easton Police Chief John “Jack” Solomon insists that the raid was carried out according to a valid warrant. That warrant was based on a call from an exotic dancer who admitted that she had a dispute with Terebesi. Police (who have had complaints about Terebesi entertaining exotic dancers in the past) responded with a virtual invasion. The SWAT team covered in body armor drove into the neighborhood in SUVs and an large armored transport with SWAT team members standing on the running boards ready to assault the house. They also took a video of the assault as snipers deployed and the armored car charged the house.

Monroe Officer Michael Sweeney led the team into the house behind a large shield with Trumbull Officer Brian Weir behind him pointing a M4 assault rifle. The grenades exploded and and doors came off their hinges. Sweeney then screamed “I’m hit” and police let loose a torrent of bullets. Guizan was hit six times and died. Terresi was handcuffed and dragged out of the house. The plaintiffs say that the evidence showed both men were clearly cowering in a corner when the shooting occurred.

Sweeney was not shot and at most was hit by the debris from the flashbang grenades thrown by his own team. Weir later said that when he heard Sweeney say that he was hit, he fired at the men. Sweeney then says that he saw Terebesi and Guizan in the corner but that they charged him and Guizan tried to grab his gun. Sweeney said that he fired to keep control of his weapon. Weir however said that he saw no such struggle and the attorneys for the two men said that the evidence clearly shows that they were cowering in the corner. An autopsy showed that Sweeney was in a superior position consistent with his account on the shooting.

One would think that these towns would be outraged by the overkill shown in the assault and then the negligent actions taken in the house. If so, one would be wrong. The towns spent more money fighting the case despite clear evidence found by the courts to support a trial. Now, Easton First Selectman Thomas Herrmann insists that the settlement does not reflect any negligence by his officers or those of the other towns: “While the defendants, police departments and officers from Darien, Easton, Trumbull, Monroe and Wilton maintain they were not responsible for the unfortunate death of Mr. Guizan, the insurers for the defendants, who will bear the full cost of the settlement, believed that it was best to resolve the matter rather than incur further attorneys’ fees, which were anticipated to be significant. The defendants concurred, further believing it was important to facilitate the Guizan family being relieved of the combined burden of litigation.”

That seems a rather belated concern for the Guizan family since you first launched a virtual military assault on a drug allegation, then killed the unarmed Guizan, and then fought their claim for damages until you had little practical alternative but to settle.

Team members found only two crack pipes and a tin containing a small amount of cocaine, but no guns.

Sweeney was then honored for his role in the raid by the police department.

Source: CT Post

77 thoughts on “Swat Team Raids Home With Armored Car, Kills Unarmed Occupant, and Costs Millions In Damages But Lead Officer Given Award For His Role In The Raid

  1. What AP said about new posters, but add GMason, Junction Shamus, John, etc. to the list.

    Gmason said: What are we going to do about it, Also a point i have harped on for a year now.

    With these guys (and AP) around, I can now retire.
    Don’t get your hopes up.

  2. “How do you know when a cop is lying? When they start a sentence with, “Based on my training and experience…” -Dorner via junctionshamus

    See 10, page 5. (…the end of the sentence, in this case)

    http://media.nbclosangeles.com/documents/Christopher+Dorner+criminal+complaint.pdf

    junctionshamus, You posted Dorner’s remark to another thread. When I later read the affidavit (prior link), I wondered, and now we know. Either the cop is lying or hasn’t a clue, perhaps.

    —-

    Don S. and Carlyle Moulton, Thanks for the Balko links.

  3. “This case however captures the problem of police departments that seem eager to use armored cars and SWAT teams funded after 9-11. ”

    Madison predicted this. Our govt is using the excuse of 9-11 to destroy the Bill of Rights. The question is, what are we going to do about it.

  4. “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. ” James Madison, June 29th. 1787, Debates in Federal Convention

  5. The reason governments and police chiefs defend these tactics is because of the results, not despite them. As they see the occasional unarmed citizen gunned down by the SWAT team serves as an example and keeps the citizens suitably afraid of the law. This is ARMY OF OCCUPATION POLICING. The racial underclassed has always enjoyed such policing, but now it is extending to the middle classes.

    “To protect and serve” is the motto of many American police forces but one may ask “to protect and serve whom?”. Only a minority of US citizens have both the protection of and protection from these police gangs, possibly as few as 0.1%.

  6. The other issue with American policing is the overuse of the taser as a means to gain compliance through torture and the resultant deaths. The cumulative death toll is now over 500 in North America. The following two sites cover the issue in depth. They are no longer updated frequently, but the archives are worth browsing.

    Excited-Delerium.

    TNT Truth … Not Tasers.

  7. QUOTE “There is a long history of organized murders of homeowners and “drug forfeiture laws” used to cover up their crimes. ”

    Yeah Donald Scott is a good example. Police paid out $5million to his widow.

    As for ending the War On Drugs, first we have to get our Government out of the drug trade.
    Been long know that the CIA helps countries, who may have this as one of their main exports, get them into our country. Customs officials have testified again & again on this.

    I mean when you have the Feds going after a guy that has a state license to grow it, then there must be a LOT of influence being pushed at the fed level, and that can only mean SOMEONE is getting a LOT of money!!

  8. junctionshamus 1, February 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    “We, as criminal defense lawyers, are forced to deal with some of the lowest people on earth, people who have no sense of right and wrong, people who will lie in court to get what they want, people who do not care who gets hurt in the process. It is our job – our sworn duty – to protect our clients from these people.” – Cythia Rosenberry, Federal Public Defender, Washington, D.C.

    Sounds like he is talking about the criminals that refer to themselves as the police..

    • Inalienable – Right in the ten-ring, my friend.

      And for all his faults, Dorner wasn’t too far off when he said, “How do you know when a cop is lying? When they start a sentence with, “Based on my training and experience…”

  9. randyjet, you’re joking, aren’t you? The Holder DoJ investigate this as a civil rights violation? This is the same DoJ that did nothing about voter intimidation in Philadelphia, and the same DoJ that deliberately trafficked guns to the Mexican drug cartels. And, the same DoJ involved in distributing SWAT goodies to your local police…

  10. “We, as criminal defense lawyers, are forced to deal with some of the lowest people on earth, people who have no sense of right and wrong, people who will lie in court to get what they want, people who do not care who gets hurt in the process. It is our job – our sworn duty – to protect our clients from these people.” – Cythia Rosenberry, Federal Public Defender, Washington, D.C.

  11. These Law Enforcement Offenders (LEOs by some accounts) provide a very good lesson to all of the Adams of Connecticutt. The Adams dont need to go on line to view fast and furious weaponry or watch the latest film from Hollywood showing guns and blood. No, they can watch the local news and hear about the local Leos of the world with the armoured car, automatic weapons and trigger happy Leos shooting unarmed residents of their own homes. Wake up Newtown, it is coming from a town near you. This dog cannot spull Connecticut, only passed through once with half blind guy on some legal Beagle mission. Climb out of the gutter folks. You are close enough to turdy turd and a turd to know better.

Comments are closed.