Atlanta Baby Seriously Injured When SWAT Team Throws Stun Grenade In Crib During No Knock Raid [Updated]

raid31n-1-webM84_stun_grenadeWe have previously discussed our concerns over the seemingly exponential increase in “no knock” raids in the country where police give no warning before raiding a home. (here and here and here and here and here). A tragedy in Atlanta will only increase those concerns for many. Atlanta police say that they purchased drugs at a home and returned with a no-knock warrant late at 3 a.m. to arrest Wanis Thometheva, 30. They burst into the home and threw a stun grenade which landed next to the head of a 19-month-old sleeping in his crib and exploded. The baby is in serious condition and is in a medically induced coma. The pictures of the baby are too disturbing to post. The police found no drugs or weapons or even the man they were seeking to arrest in the raid. Update: Police have declared that the state officials have concluded that no further investigation is warranted into the raid or the use of the grenade.

baby-burned-1The raid left a charred portable crib. The explosion opened up a gash on the baby’s chest, left one lung inoperable, and left the baby breathing on a respirator with a 50-percent chance of survival.

JAIL_INMATE_THOMETHEVA_WANIS__FRONT_05292014_060514_61_PMCornelia police Chief Rick Darby said that a multi jurisdictional force carried out the raid after drugs were purchased. The police cited the belief of guns being present as the basis for the no-knock warrant.

Notably, police arrested the suspect at another home and the family had nothing to do with the crime. There is always a risk of such innocent individuals being in a home — making the use of such grenades an obvious risk to the very young and the elderly.

Darby says that the police did not see any toys or children clothes that would have warned them of an infant being present. He says that his team is very upset over the injury to the child.

For those who are critical over the increase in no-knock warrants, the incident raises that same concern that magistrates are now granting these warrants with little thought and they are becoming the rule rather than the exception. The question is whether such injuries could be avoided if police announced themselves and demand entry. Police now routinely ask and receive warrants that waive the constitutional requirement to “knock and announcement.” Not only is this requirement codified in the U.S. Code, but it is viewed as a factor in determining if a search or seizure is reasonable under the fourth amendment. In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Wilson v. Arkansas that the requirement was indeed part of the constitutional test and in Richards v. Wisconsin the Court later rejected categorical waivers for “knock and announcement” for cases like drug investigations. Police must show on a case-by-case basis that they have reasonable suspicion of exigent circumstances.

Source: WSBTV

82 thoughts on “Atlanta Baby Seriously Injured When SWAT Team Throws Stun Grenade In Crib During No Knock Raid [Updated]”

  1. “Far too many people are content with our “War on (terror, drugs, guns, etc)” and don’t realize what this means. The war on drugs does not take down just sleazy criminals that want to sell crack cocaine to your 7 year old daughter. The war on drugs also kills babies, puts 70 year old men in prison for smoking pot to alleviate pain, 20 year old cancer survivors that smoke pot to give them relief from cancer drugs, and it maims and kills thousands others as “collateral” damage. until people stop and think what this “war” is really doing, we will continue to see stories like this.”

    What would actually do more to keep crack away from your children would be ending prohibition and drying up the black market it has created. Only problem is our government has built a billion dollar industry upon it.

  2. The Atlanta Police had nothing to do with this.. Typical lame media getting the facts wrong.

  3. you have to understand, this is a testing ground. How far can the police go? How sheepish are the citizenry? All of this is leading up to when can they commit martial law

    1. Roger – are you surprised that the chief does not feel an investigation is necessary?

  4. Again,
    I look forward to the day these types of militarized police acts are deemed acts of domestic terrorism before a Federal Judge.
    Drug task force that burned a toddler this week also killed an innocent pastor in 2009

    Of course, Terrell’s task force didn’t even know there was a child in the home. So it’s hard to argue they “cared” much either, at least not enough to let the kid’s safety trump the safety of the officers, or the need to get into the home quickly to prevent any evidence from being destroyed so they can preserve their conviction. It’s also a bit much to call Thonetheva a “terrorist” shortly after his own officers have just burned a baby.

    But this same task force has a history. In February, I posted about a settlement in the death of Jonathan Ayers, an innocent pastor that this same drug task force killed in a drug operation in 2009.

  5. Paul C. Schulte
    Max-1 – revenge
    = = =
    A child for a child style revenge?
    Then was he really angry about dead babies?

    1. Max-1 – according to his confession McVeigh was especially upset about the children killed by the government at Waco.

  6. The swat team needs to be executed. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Zero tolerance.

    I would like to know when Americans are going to rise up against the tyranny and form this democracy I keep hearing about.

    1. Me too.

      On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 2:53 PM, JONATHAN TURLEY wrote:

      > ishobo commented: “The swat team needs to be executed. If you live by > the sword, you die by the sword. Zero tolerance. I would like to know when > Americans are going to rise up against the tyranny and form this democracy > I keep hearing about.” >

  7. Cops who shoot humans or dogs and who use stun guns or hand grenades need to be given a stun gun enema.

  8. To whatever extent, if any, the allegedly purported rule of law is grounded in one or more forms of error of observation and understanding, there can be the rule of error or the rule of accuracy?

    Why, I sometimes wonder, do I seem to notice that the rule of error is as though overwhelming the rule of accuracy?

    Perhaps what I notice, I notice in error?


    What if what I happen to notice as being error, and as being of error, is actually, factually, objectively, and accurately, truthfully error?

    What are the existential rights of error?

    What are the existential rights of rigorously truthful honesty, if any?

    If the social construction of mental models of reality are in and are of error, what right, if any whatsoever, has any human person who, even if in unwitting ignorance, happens by inadvertent and whimsical chaos, to stupidly be genuinely truthful regarding some aspect of the social construction of reality which society labels as true and rigorously truthful honesty labels as not only eternally false, but also shatteringly, neurologically, abusive?

    A recently published book arrived in my library yesterday. Brian D. Haig, Investigating the Psychological World: Scientific Method in the Behavioral Sciences, A Bradford Book, the MIT Press, 2014. Background for that book, as Haig has mentioned in an Association for Psychological Science journal, may be found in an earlier book, Robert Noia & Howard Sankey, Theories of Scientific Method, McGill-Queen’;s University Press, 2007.

    One of the important aspects of Haig’s book, what he labeled as the abductive theory of method is a research methodology, a form of which was a key aspect of my bioengineering doctoral thesis fieldwork methodology. Abductive methods have been around for a long time, but have often been overruled by the mindset of frequentist statistical computations and the consequences of the learning-prohibition bias of frequentist statistical methods.

    Those who deem my bioengineering research to be somehow wrong may wisely study to the achievement of accurate understanding, those two above-cited books. Of all the books I have yet read, Theories of Scientific Method is the most compactly complete and concise presentation of the spectrum of scientific methodologies, particularly with respect to Bayesian statistics, that I now recall having read.

    Without sufficient understanding of the whole gamut of the realm of scientific methods, my work may mistakenly be regarded as silly rubbish or of even less value than that.

    Without adequate practical ability for accurate understanding of complex problems, simple, and plausibly tragically destructive blunders of understanding, that are fundamentally and foundationally scientifically false and falsified, when put to purportedly-pragmatic use, may continue to plague the work of those who generate and enforce the the rule of law.

    This human social difficulty is, as I have long noted, entirely of situational, and not of dispositional, aspects of social structure form and function.

  9. A better ending to a tragic event.

    CLEVELAND – A grand jury indicted six Cleveland police officers Friday in connection to the Nov. 29, 2012 deadly police chase and shooting.

    Officer Michael Brelo was indicted on two counts of manslaughter in regards to the shooting. This charge carries a mandatory sentence of three to 11 years in prison.

    Brelo was immediately relieved of duty and is on un-paid administrative leave pending the adjudication of the charges.

    Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, led Brelo and 12 other Cleveland police officers on a 23-minute high-speed chase. The chase ended with a shootout in the parking lot of Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.

    Officer Brelo fired 49 of the 137 bullets that were fired into Russell’s car by Cleveland police officers, more than any other officer involved.

    Brelo fired 15 shots at the victims from close range while he was on the hood of Russell’s car.

    Investigators later determined Russell and Williams were unarmed.

    The grand jury charged five supervisors with dereliction of duty. Those officers include: Sgt. Michael Donegan, Lt. Paul Wilson, and Sgts. Randolph Daley, Jason Edens and Patricia Coleman. These officers will be reassigned to restricted duty pending the adjudication of the criminal charges.

    Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement Friday, these five supervisors “failed to do their duty to control and manage the chase, and thereby endangered both the public and the police officers they were supposed to be leading.”

    Russell and Williams’ family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city on the one-year anniversary of the incident, alleging the officers used excessive force.

    Cleveland Public Safety Director Michael McGrath has said the city will conduct its own review of the shooting after the grand jury finishes its investigation.

    The department’s Critical Incident Review Committee finished its review of the chase last April leading to disciplinary action against the majority of the 104 officers who were involved in the incident.

    In October, McGrath announced that 63 of the 104 officers involved in the chase would be suspended for one to 10 days for excessive speeding, insubordination and failure to get permission to join the pursuit.

    The officers have appealed the discipline. City officials said arbitration hearings are scheduled for this spring.

    McGrath has placed much of the blame for the incident on a handful of supervisors. In June 2013, he announced nine supervisors were suspended, two were demoted and one was fired following administrative hearings.

    The one dozen supervisors have also appealed their discipline. Arbitration hearings for the supervisors wrapped up in May.

    The Ohio Attorney General’s office conducted the official investigation into the chase.

    Investigators found dozens of officers failed to follow to city policies, ignored their supervisors’ instructions and joined the chase without permission.

    “We are dealing with a systemic failure in the Cleveland Police Department,” said DeWine during a Feb. 5, 2013 news conference.

    The chase started near the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in downtown Cleveland. A Cleveland police officer thought he heard a gunshot coming from Russell’s car. Investigators later determined the vehicle had backfired.

    Although many officers involved in the chase reported seeing Williams holding a gun, no weapons were found in Russell’s car or along the chase route.

    The incident has led to changes in the department. Police Chief Calvin Williams announced a new chase policy March 6.

    The policy review started before the chase. However, Williams said, “This new policy was put in place to make sure that events like (the chase) . . . don’t happen again in the city.”

    The policy prohibits officers from joining a chase without permission and designates a controlling supervisor and scene supervisor to direct vehicle pursuits.

    Congresswoman Marcia Fudge released the following statement Friday regarding the decision of the grand jury.

    “Our community was deeply shocked and saddened by the deaths of two unarmed residents that resulted from the barrage of gunfire directed at them by Cleveland Police Officers on the night of November 29, 2012. The presentation of evidence by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor to a grand jury relating to criminal charges is one step in a lengthy legal process. In reviewing the evidence, the grand jury has done its job and rendered two felony counts of manslaughter against one Cleveland Police officer and misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty against five police supervisors. No one is above the law. I look forward to the process in the courts continuing and upholding the principal that anyone who breaks the law will be held accountable,” said Congresswoman Fudge.

    “Further, the U.S. Department of Justice review requested by my office of the Cleveland Division of Police use of deadly force and pursuit policies is ongoing. Our community has been patient. Some changes have already been implemented but clearly, more must also be done administratively to ensure that another tragic incident such as this will never occur again.”

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  10. That’s a bit too fare “fake”

    No need to make this issue convoluted by giving the bad faith parties a “We can prove we didn’t do that” escape clause.

    Macho badge boys who want to utilize brute force over extensively; is becoming a primer for a harsher police state.

    A recent carton on my FB was that of a policeman arriving, with a hoodie guy having shot another (laying on the ground, gun in belt with hands on) and the remarks;

    I believe he was targeting me – biased, as a neighborhood watcher – and might shoot me under Stand Your Ground laws;

    so I shot him!

    Can you picture people now pulling their guns;
    when they see police running up to the door?

  11. David:

    I have very little to go on as to what the circumstances were in this case but generally the no-knock warrant is to be used when there is a serious risk of violence being used against the police if they carry out the search warrant in the usual manner. The reason is that the element of surprise to take custody of the scene and the persons inside without any injury. That is the basic reason, again, I don’t have the particulars in this case. There are really limited circumstances where this is warranted compared with the numbers of ordinary search warrants.

    One of the reasons night times are used is because, most of the time, the individuals inside are asleep and if they are to react violently, it will require them more time to orient themselves and pose a threat. The flash-bangs add to this time due to their disorientating nature. A smaller use of flash bangs, probably not the intent in this case, can be used to draw fire from an armed and jittery suspect who might be spooked into shooting at the flash-bang and a disarming tactic then can be used.

    An argument that is often made as to how fast a search warrant entry is made is the opportunity for those inside to destroy evidence. That has been the subject of very contentious debate over the years.

    Again, I don’t have the particulars of this case but in my opinion flash-bangs, if they are to be used, shouldn’t generally ever be lobbed or tossed upward to fall down inside of a closed space, especially one not well lit. The better way is to toss them side handed from a low angle so they more or less skip off the ground. Blindly tossing in is just asking for something bad to happen. There is something to be said about putting one just outside the window of where a suspect is and detonating it. It’s not nearly as disorientating but it is surely distracting and significantly less risky.

    This is what I can say about the incident. It seems, as reported in the news article, the warrant was served under the allegations of a single drug buy and that was several days earlier. LEOs and society in general I suppose has to ask if a single drug buy merits such a use of force on the community or drug dealers given the inherent risks in these types of operations. If a situation involved a single buy of a bomb or something like that I can see such a single incident justifying the type of entry made. Moreover, in this incident, the officers have to articulate to the magistrate that the targeted indivudual inside the dwelling is inside and presents a clear and present risk to the officers. In my view this falls apart when the officers couldn’t probable cause that he was inside for certain due to the lapse in surveillance. If there was no clear and present danger, than an ordinary search warrant execution would have only been what the magistrate should have approved.

  12. If a Magistrate issued a no knock warrant in this case then it would be fitting if some relative of the victim would drop by the Magistrate’s home with a stun grenade of his own and do some turn about is fair play. And all is fair in love and war.

    I like all of the comments above.

  13. This is typical behavior for Police today. Everyday another person harassed; abused; killed; or otherwise molested by who? Cops.

    It’s time to admit that we are sitting ducks for the spawn of our own fears.

    Why are we so willing to give up our rights?

    Why are we such cowards that we require Storm-Troopers to PROTECT??? us?

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