Arlington SWAT Raid of Gardeners Raises Questions

968897_590749404282150_303346658_n A 3-acre home in Arlington was recently raided by police for suspicion of growing marijuana.  The 10-hour SWAT operation included: waking the residents out of bed, holding them at gunpoint, handcuffing them, searching through the house and land, cutting down blackberry bushes and other vegetation, and hauling off what the city deemed as trash.  What the raid did not yield however, was any marijuana plants, any marijuana, or any other illegal drugs.  The back story is that the residents and the city code enforcement department have been at odds with each other for months now.  Since the bulk of the 10-hour event was spent by having city employees and contractors clean unsightly plants and hauling away junk, it makes one think the real reason for this raid was the ‘code compliance’ issue, not ‘illegal drugs’.

Lots of other thoughts enter the mind, but for starters:  Was there really any reason to believe marijuana plants were being grown, or was that a means used by the city to get the results they wanted?

So in essence, the city of Arlington used the police SWAT team to mow a residents grass and clean up their yard, all under the suspicion of growing an illegal plant.

The only way this amount of force could be justified, was if these were violent people who were involved in illegal activities that had to be stopped for the safety of the public.  If there was no marijuana growing operation, you have to ask how this massive use of force by the police, intrusion into a private home, and violation of personal security can be justified?  At best, the police were very wrong in their ‘suspicion’; at worst, this is a city government using the threat of deadly force and huge amounts of public resources to settle what amounts to a dispute over the appearance of someones yard.  Staying with the least egregious possibility, there is one question I want answered:

Will the detective that suspected marijuana was being grown on the property and initiated this raid be punished in any meaningful way?  

The reason I ask is that I suspect most anyone who has a job would not only be in big trouble, they would also likely be fired and have a hard time getting another job if they screwed up something on this scale.  Private-sector workers have incentive to perform well and a disincentive to fail.  Public-sector workers do not have these same characteristics.  This is an inherent flaw in any government, and it is one of the reasons the founders of the US said our governments derive their limited powers from ‘we the people’.  It seems the city of Arlington is acting outside their rightful power, and as a citizen, we need to ensure our government does not stray outside their intended scope or grow to the point of being out-of-control.

Key members of the city are listed below, along with their contact information.  Citizens should ask questions and explain concerns to their elected officers.  (The next city council meeting is scheduled for August 20)

Links to news stories and other resources regarding the raid:

 

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