Friday, March 13, 2009

Lack of Sunshine Hurts Police in Drug Raid Shooting

The secrecy with which local law enforcement operates in Michigan is darker than in most states. There are many stories of agencies refusing simple in-person inspection requests as well as cases of intimidation, a lack of knowledge of open records laws and outright refusal to comply.
In the shooting of a Grand Valley State University student
this week, the agency would be well-served by release of the search warrant. This would tell of any search for possible weapons and, in some cases, whether the suspect was determined to be of any danger. We are all for law enforcement’s right to defend itself and to pursue the law in the best way possible. At FreeMichigan, we’re always willing to give these officers a fair shake. And they are fighting a tough war against some unseemly characters.
We are not sure these unseemly characters reside at this apartment complex at GVSU. But maybe there was some deep, dark drug offender lurking in there that needed to be taken out. Don’t we have the right to know, now that the shooting is over? Now the investigation begins, granted, but police agencies in Michigan have long shrouded themselves in darkness, causing bad situations to become worse.
For these agencies, keeping the public away is considered the best policy. It creates a distrust for a group of people who should instead be respected.
The officer who shot the suspect is part of the West Michigan Enforcement Team. The team, a consortium of various law enforcement agencies, was the subject of this piece in December.
Below is a look at the enforcement team’s budget for 2007. We should not have to wonder what exactly these officers were looking for and why they determined a violent threat in that apartment. Most likely, this will be settled out of court with a fat payment to the family of the shooting victim and the public will never know what happened. Unless someone decides to really push it.
West Michigan Enforcement Team

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