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Law Enforcement: SWAT Team Flash-Burn Grenade Assault Injures Drug Suspect

In yet another example of over-the-top, drug war-related SWAT-style policing,
the Gary, Indiana, SWAT team fired a flash-burn grenade into the home of a drug suspect, leaving him hospitalized with serious burns
. It was just business as usual, according to the SWAT unit commander.

Detectives from the department's Narcotics-Vice Unit had obtained a search warrant for the home of Darrell Newburn after making a number of drug buys there. Police surrounded the house, and a member of the SWAT team, led by Commander Anthony Stanley, threw a flash-bang grenade into the house. The devices are designed to explode with a loud bang and a burst of bright light, distracting police targets.

Newburn was hit in the back and received a burn about 12 inches in diameter. He is hospitalized under police guard at a local hospital.

"How it happened, I'm not certain," Sgt. John Jelks, drug unit commander said a day later. "It's normal practice for them to throw the distraction device in first."

Police recovered a relatively small haul: $400 in cash, an ounce of marijuana, and a little more than a half ounce of crack cocaine, along with a pistol.

"We knew he was in there and he was armed," Jelks said.

Rather than investigating whether the use of SWAT teams and the firing of flash-bang grenades is appropriate police behavior in low-level drug raids, the local newspaper limited itself to making smart remarks about the injured man's name. "With a little help from the Gary police SWAT team, Darrell Newburn had a most appropriate name Monday," is how Post-Tribune reporter Lori Caldwell opened her story on the incident.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Comments sent to newspaper...

I emailed this today to the newspaper linked above:


In Lori Caldwell's report about a man who was burned by a police flash grenade, she wrote: "With a little help from the Gary police S.W.A.T. team, Darrell Newburn had a most appropriate name Monday." Ha Ha! Very funny! I'm surprised that a trained journalist would choose to make a lame joke when reporting about botched arrest by the police that caused someone to be injured. I'm also surprised that any qualified editor would approve such an addition to a news (not editorial) piece. A good reporter does not make fun of a person in a news story, even if the person is a suspected criminal. Rather, a good reporter would ask questions like "Did the police properly and legally use this device that injured the suspect?" or "Is there a history of injuries caused by these devices?" I would hope that in future news stories, especially ones that involve injuries, you will keep the humor on the funny pages...

Thank you,

Brian Hamilton
Iowa City, IA

Justice served.

If Mr. "New-Burn" had not engaged in the distribution of narcotics, the police would not have been able to obtain a legally authorized document, signed by a judge, to enter Mr. Newburn's residence. If Mr. Newburn had not been in the possession of a firearm, the police may have chosen to enter the house in a less-intrusive manor without flash-bangs. Looks like Mr. Newburn needs to take a portion of the responsibility for his own actions.

You can use this argument,

You can use this argument, ie. IF he wasn't selling narcotics, to justigfy anything.

IF my grandmother had balls, she would be my grandfather.

Lets face it. He was selling narcotics. He does not deserve to be physically assaulted with a flash bomb.

Some times the police are just as bad as the person committing crimes. The police break laws and commit crimes all the time. The police sometimes break their own rules.

Whether it was done on purpose or was an accident we do not know.

Using these bombs should be reserved for war and not on its citizens.

Justice, or Vengeance?

Addiction is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease and is recognized as such by our educated scientific community.

Treatment, rather than a flash bomb, would be better.

RE: You can use THIS argument

The police did have a judge issued warrant to search the house. The fact that you cannot foresee the future and cannot be able to tell how a person is going to react when you serve that warrant is why they use diversionary devices(ie. flash bangs, tear gas, ect...). How do you think most people would react to people with guns banging on the front door of their own house? I do not think its illegal to use these and i applaud the use of them. If they're helping getting DRUGS AND GUNS off the streets and out of the hands of the wrong people then god bless them...and your remark about officers being as corrupt as some civilians....EVERY agency finds out about corrupt officers within their ranks and handles it in their own way...I hope your just a civilian who is misunderstood....

handles it their own way alright!

Please take a look at the web site and see how many of these sick, twisted so called "officers of peace" receive merely a slap on the wrist for crimes they have committed. There are a few that are made an examle of but a good percentage of these dirt bags are allowed to just "quit" as a form of punishment. Most of the crimes listed are sex crimes! speaks volumes as to who the real criminals are...Very sad but very true...
As far as the judge rubber stamping a search warrant, please..

Consitution continues to be abandoned

What a lot of crap Mr. Anonymous. You have no clue as to what a "legally authorized document" is and how the police use lieing snitches and false testamony from the police to get them. They found $400 and an ounce, big deal. This SWAT team business is exactly how people get killed, by being an unfortunate neighbor when the police go to the wrong house. Plenty of precidence, happens all the time in other states. We need to take these friggin SWAT teams and give them something useful to do with all their military training. Since Bush is so hot to send more American's to Iraq, we should send SWAT teams from the police over there. Then when they kill an innocent civilian they will be tried, something that doesn't happen here when innocent people get hurt in these military raids.

Learn a bit, settle down and breathe

These are complicated and potentially dangerous operations. It is the "potential" that is being guessed at by men. Not super heros or "jack booted thugs. Just guys hoping to go home, every day. So the cops look at a number of issues and decide what types of techniques would be needed. From "ding dong, hello" warrants to full on SWAT raids. Consider the following AT A MINIMUM; criminal history, history of violence or threats of violence, knowledge of weapons present, state of mind and statementts to the CI, evidence of a "hardened target", past actions upon police contact, known training in fighting / weapons / or evidence distruction, look outs, the locations physical size and eviromental condtions.

There, now you have some idea whats up. I never write on these boards because of jackass ranting and general bellyaching by dopers and 'fraidycats. These are jobs you would not do. live with it. Second guess after you know the answers to all of the above (and you won't, thats why I don't second guess, let the laywers do that).

BTW in the above example; history, known to be armed, numerous buys... sounds like FB was needed. Why was he burned? One thing is for sure; you and I will never know.

Not in Jupiter, Florida

"So the cops look at a number of issues and decide what types of techniques would be needed"? Do you really think so?
Poor decisions are made by inexperienced, young but already balding, agents regarding proper execution of these search warrants. After fabricating an affidavit to get a search warrant, a local officer summond a team (SWAT) at 3:30am, armed with automatic weapons, flash bang grenades and wearing ski masks. They also parked their vehicles down the street so not even a flashing light or police vehicle could be seen. The kicker is the lead agent was serving the warrant to a former neighbor of his whom he was friendly with! The man had no record or history of violence. The lead agent could have just knocked on the door without the mask but instead, decided to shoot the lock off the door and struck his former friend in the leg as he was looking out of the peep hole thinking he was the latest victim of a home invasion! Robbers claim to be the police every day in this country and this was the best decision on how to execute a search warrant for pot? They also hit the poor guy in the face with the grenade once they blew up his front door with shotgun blasts. How would you like to have this cop as a former neighbor? What a jerk..

getting us ready for the new

getting us ready for the new world order it seems.

third party invest. into raids

What this kind of event really calls for is a 3rd party academic study of how many of these "flash bang" bombs hurt people and start fires and how many of them don't. There were some kids in Madison that were robbing drug dealers. Because they had guns the police raided their house pretty violently. The thing is, it was at three in the morning, and the flash-bang bomb started this kid's bed on fire and him.

He's was an idiot 19 year old kid with a gun running around the city scaring people because he thought it was cool. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, so is it really justified if we're "accidentally burning" violent criminals.

Justifying using a device that is sold and marketed to police, and by police to the public, as a non-violent "distraction device" by saying the criminals being caught with these devices were violent is the kind of circular logic that promulgates the majority of the social unrest our policing systems cause in our society.

If the man was lying down, why did the bomb get thrown in to bed with him? If he was standing, why was the bomb thrown AT him if it was only meant to DISTRACT him. These are the kinds of semantics law inforcement likes to play with while they use unjustified retaliatory military tactics to "police" our streets. Why I just had a narco kick my feet apart while I was posted against his car just the other day screaming "why would you say some shit like that? You think I just fell off the fucking turnip truck here?" After I informed him that I wouldn't consent to a search.

Many are missing the point

A few people on both sides of the argument that is happening here are missing the point entirely. There are many sorts of people who become police officers for many reasons. Some genuinely want to do good and are brave, honest people. Some want to use the power of the position to make up for personal inadequacies. Some are nasty vile pigs. Some are wonderful people. Some even think the war on drugs is a horrible thing.
The point of articles like this is not to generally bash police. The point is that if it were not for the prohibition situaltion we have, the police and the drug users would not be in situations like this at all. The point is not that cops are bad. The point is that bad laws put cops of all sorts in bad situations that they shoudl not need to be in at all.

Take notes above posters

Next time a raid goes wrong and the cops murder your loved one? Call a cop, I am sure they will solve the case right away!! What jackass's you all are to think this action is ok since its cops after all. The focus of your post alone screams of the problem these laws create and do not solve. If crack was legal would people still be murdered over it do you think? Compare the crime from when alcohol was illegal to today, when was the last time someone got killed on the street for alcohol now that its legal AGAIN? You post makes our case for us thank you.

Love the long list of reasons the one posted as to why a grenade was needed. Perhaps he can tell us about all the reasons they never seem to use any investigating at all in most cases and do the same exact thing based on informants tips? Please I am all ears, do tell.

You cop apologists and nanny state lovers should buy a one way ticket to you favorite Socialist Communist country and stay there. What part of FREE do you not understand?

The police always choose the most oppressive manner to enter homes its their new SOP where the hell have you been? This is exactly why we have these problems, even if they are at the right house and have criminals inside the tactics used only guarantees a confrontation will likely happen that will end violently for both sides. How many cops do you think would get up to investigate their door being kicked in at 3am without a their gun in hand and ready to shoot first. Think they would just scratch their nuts, yawn and say whats going on in here? Why do they expect that of anyone else in the same situation? Stupid logic leads to stupid outcomes.

Ranting by dopers and fraidycats? So sir if you drink alcohol in any amount are you then an alcoholic? According to your logic you must be one. And your right on one thing I would not risk my life kicking in peoples doors to try and stop something that can not be stopped, in fact I would have to be ON DRUGS to do that job for that pay! See taking someones freedom away or their life for their own choices is not freedom it is sanctioned moral judgement. Get a clue.

Free or drug free we can't have both in a supposed FREE society so make up your mind already. And while your at it please point to all the successes in this war, a war unlike any other in that it has been waged against our own citizens. Panties on a Iraqi detainees head and everyone is up in arms and outraged. Blown raid that kills a grandmother in Atlanta, mums the word. You tell me why people have had enough of this crap?

Money is legal and people

Money is legal and people get murdered over it all the time..
Your weak attempt at a 'point' has been squashed. Try again.

Free country? What a joke!

The bottom line is we don't live in a free country anymore, and haven't for a long, long time. This is a police state, no ifs ands or buts. What has been going on here even back in the Klinton administration and before is the Nazification of America, and the cops are the front edge of that assault on the Constitution, on the very core of American values and freedoms. The previous writer was exactly correct when he called them "the enemy of the people."
Anytime you see a cop (or a soldier, for that matter) know that they are your enemy, and the enemy of all you hold dear, the enemy of your children, and the enemy of the future. Don't let your kids participate in DARE, teach your children to hate and fear the police and the military.

RE: Free country? What a joke!

Just dont call the cops when you get the shit kicked out of you after a bad drug buy....dont call the cops after your house has been burglarized and ransacked....Why would you hate ALL cops? I dont understand people like you who find that ALL cops are assholes...hell im friends with ALOT of cops and ill be the first to admit to you there are some guys that are real ASSHOLES but the majority of them look to help everyone even the assholes like you who hate them curse them and swear to kill them...why not instead of being so arrogant and pig headed dont you stop thinking the cops are after you and your friends....IF you and your friends were NOT doing ILLEGAL things you wouldnt have to hate them ...PLEASE DONT HAVE ANY offspring for the sake of SOCIETY and because its people like you who raise the pieces of shit that overcrowd our jails and prisons...IF it werent for police officers cities would be lawless....It would be like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina all over again but WORLDWIDE if that sounds so good to you then your crazy...

cry cry

I can't understand why so many liberals cry about police force. This guy was a known drug dealer, and he was armed. Lets say he was selling on the corner where your child gets off her bus from school, and the deal went bad, and he took out his gun and started firing at his buyer, and your child gets shot in the head. The bottom line is if you're performing acts the endanger the way of life for so many americans you should not have so many rights. Im sick of going to sleep to the sound of gun shots. And for you people that dont know Gary Indiana isn't a place where you would expect a person to just surrender from a cop knocking on your door. The guy was probably high on crack when they flash banged the room.

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