Law Enforcement: Drug Cops Kill Two in Two Days in Drug Raids in Florida and Tennessee

At least two US citizens were killed in their own homes by American police enforcing the war on drugs in a 48-hour period late last week. One was a 52-year-old white grandmother; the other was a 43-year-old black man. Both allegedly confronted home-invading officers with weapons; both were shot to death. No police officers were injured. Brenda Van Zwieten The combination of widespread gun ownership in the US with aggressive drug war policing is a recipe for tragedy, one that is repeated on a regular basis. Gun owners commonly cite protecting themselves from home-invading robbers as a reason for arming themselves, while police cite widespread gun ownership as a reason they need to use SWAT-style tactics, breaking down doors and using overwhelming force against potential shooters. That homeowners would pick up a weapon upon hearing their doors broken down is not surprising, nor is it surprising that police are quick to shoot to kill "suspects" who may pose a threat to them. The first killing came Thursday morning in North Memphis, when a Bartlett, Tennessee, police narcotics squad serving a search warrant for drug possession -- not sales, manufacture, or possession with intent to sell -- shot and killed Malcolm Shaw, 43, after breaking into his home. Police said they knocked on Shaw's door several times and identified themselves as police before entering the home. Police said Shaw emerged from a room and pointed a gun at plainclothes officer Patrick Cicci. Cicci fired once, killing Shaw. Cicci is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. While the Bartlett Police investigation is ongoing, that didn't stop the Shelby County District Attorney's Office from announcing Monday that Cicci will not be prosecuted. Cicci's killing of the homeowner was "apparent justifiable use of deadly force in self defense," a spokesman said. Bartlett police said that while the Bartlett narcs conducting the raid were not in uniform, their gear clearly identified them as law enforcement. They wore "high-visibility vests" marked "POLICE" in several spots, police said. The killing of the well-known neighborhood handyman led to the formation of a crowd hostile to police outside his home. Bartlett police on the scene had to call Memphis police to do crowd control. Memphis police complained that the Bartlett narcs had not followed law enforcement protocols requiring them to notify the local agency when they were operating in its jurisdiction. They said they were notified only as the raid commenced, and that moments later, they got a request for an ambulance at the address, and moments after that, they got a request that they send a couple of police cruisers for crowd control. Timothy Miers, who said he was Shaw's brother accused police of being trigger-happy. "How you gonna go in serving a warrant and shoot somebody?" Miers asked. "They already had their finger on the trigger." The sense of disbelief over the killing was shared by members of the crowd gathered outside Shaw's home. Many complained about the officers' actions. "My heart fell to the ground," one neighbor said. "We can't believe it," said another. "Malcolm out of all people." Family members expressed confusion about the shooting, saying Shaw was not a person they would have expected to threaten officers. "They say he had a gun," said Miers. "My brother doesn't have no gun." Friends of Shaw said the same thing. "I ain't never seen him with no gun," said Arvette Thomas, a friend of Shaw. Shaw never bothered anyone, neighbors said. "I think it's wrong to just kill him like they did," said a neighbor, "because he wouldn't hurt a fly." Less than 48 hours later, members of a Broward County Sheriff's Office SWAT team and its Selective Enforcement Team in Pompano Beach, Florida, shot and killed Brenda Van Zweiten, 52, during a drug raid on her home. Police had developed evidence that drugs were being sold from the residence, and obtained a search warrant. After allegedly identifying themselves as police, they broke through a sliding glass door to a bedroom and arrested Van Zweiten's boyfriend, Gary Nunnemacher, 47, on charges of possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana. Van Zweiten was in a different bedroom, and was shot and killed by deputies when she emerged holding a handgun. According to police, she refused to put down her weapon, so they shot her. Police reported finding one gram of heroin, four grams of crack cocaine, marijuana, marijuana plants, 40 generic Xanax tablets, $550 cash, two shotguns, and a rifle. Family members said Van Zweiten had a prescription for Xanax, but was not a drug dealer. But police had earlier in the day arrested three people leaving the home who they say had bought drugs there -- although police did not say from whom. After Van Zweiten's killing, police were unrepentant. "When you approach a police officer with a loaded weapon and don't put the weapon down, there's going to be consequences," sheriff's spokesman Mike Jachles said. "It's unfortunate, but I'd rather be talking about a dead suspect than a dead cop." Van Zweiten's brother, Bill George, said his sister had recently received threats and was afraid of break-ins. "It was an unlawful shooting," he said. "She's 98 pounds. She was just trying to protect herself. I would come out of my room with a gun too." As news of Van Zweiten's death spread, friends, neighbors, and family members expressed dismay and disbelief. They called the incident a "set up" and said the blonde grandmother was affectionately called "Mom" by many who knew her for using her home as a neighborhood hangout to keep kids off the streets. Dozens of people gathered in her yard near a flower-bedecked cross put up as a memorial. "Look at these people," said George. "She helped so many of these young people." "She was like a second mom to me," said Michael Miller, 18. "She would take in anybody." "There was no reason for this," said son Rob Singleton, 32. Van Zwieten had no criminal history involving drugs or violence, state records show. George said that Van Zweiten had reason to fear intruders because she had been threatened recently by a man accused of stealing watches and rings that were part of a shrine to two of her four sons, who had died within the past three years, one in a traffic accident, one of a drug overdose. She had just installed an alarm system last week, George said. "She was scared." Singleton showed reporters inside the house, including the small bedroom where she was shot. A large puddle of blood remained on the floor, and the walls and ceiling were splattered with blood -- from his mother's head, he said. "She was probably running into the closet and trying to hide," he said. As is all too typical in such raid, police also totally trashed the house. As the Sun-Sentinel reported: "Much of the interior of the three-bedroom house looked as if it had been hit by a tornado... Drawers were pulled from dressers, clothes were scattered, a bed was overturned, food and crockery had been knocked from kitchen cabinets." The shrine to her dead sons was also destroyed, Singleton said. Two Broward County Sheriff's Office detectives are on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. They have not been named.
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A man's home is his castle

We are not safe in our own homes. The cops can break into anyones home and shoot people and pets alike. It's no problem, just tell a judge you need a search warrent for some dangerous drug dealers.

sounds like two more good people died

so that the cops could get their macho storm trooper style adrenaline rush. Maybe one day their conscience will bother them over it, if they have one.

In The Name Of Safety

Maybe it's time to start building houses to repel these neocon murderers. I no longer feel any remorse when I hear an officer has been shot. I trust the neighborhood dog more than I trust any LEOs!

When Prohibition drains all the municipal and federal coffers and the prisons need new visitors, then cities will begin combing these cases and, hopefully, put the killers where they belong, behind bars instead of behind the Flag.

If they've got a search warrant, wouldn't it be simpler to take the person when they're on the street and THEN check the residence? Or, is it the "smell of blood" that attracts the LEOs to do what they do, how they do it?

Potheads have lost their

Potheads have lost their way. You have become so reliant on a seedless plant that you have handed the DEA a Eradicate-The-Weed Free card! All it takes for complete overwhealming response to their war against marijuana is a bit of dedication and work from tokers but you have fallen to the stereotypical lack of motivation and debth of thought. A few thousand smokers with a few million seeds had the chance to spread the weed wildly around our planet and Free the Weed! You had the opportunity to show responsible medical use in Colorado and other states but failed to fight the urge to rob eachother for pot and break in to steal it! So many have abused the right to get it medically and lost the 1 chance to get it legalized all around. The president Obama told the DEA to back off and you fell for it! Now that you're off guard they have continued their efforts to hunt users down. Don't you think the medical marijuana registry and common use has put more names and addresses on their list to investigate? What makes you think your information is any more protected and private than an Arab in America (otherwise known as an Automatically-Suspected-Terrorist American)? You handed control to Uncle Sam and Big Brother by allowing your plant to become an overrated & unnatural seedless freak AND allowing the Feds to gather you all into a small room to shoot you in the back. You can't seem to get it through your cloudy sculls that your vote doesn't mean SHIT and has been replaced by the preprogramed paperless voting machine and you have nearly eliminated your ability to grow your own stuff. The end of weed as you know it is not to far off. And while so much attention and prohibition has been focused on medical marijuana, there is little to no discussion about legalization of HEMP. Jack Herrer must be ashamed of such dopes and disappointed that all his efforts have been wasted on a bunch of smoke filled stoned skulls! You have bastardized weed until it had retardedly high levels of THC that only keep you buzzed short time. You have paid out your asses for an overrated, expensive way to burn through cash and time. In case any of you "medical" users have any sense left, think about this: It's CHEAPER and EASIER to buy it ILLEGALLY and you don't have to give your identification to the most corrupt and untrustworthy government to ever dominate the globe. You should've spread the seed while there were still some left. And to those who seem to think the weed fairy magically makes the plant happen and that the only GOOD weed is seedless, THE ONLY NATURAL WEED COMES FROM SEED. ALL PLANTS PRODUCE SEED. EVEN CLONED PLANTS GOT THEIR START FROM A SEED EVEN IF IT WAS GENERATIONS AGO. Mark my word, if you insist on losing the seed, UncleSam WILL eradicate the weed! Free weed is just a seed's throw away but potheads live with their heads in the clouds and it's aparent by your comments that its easier to toke and complain than to take any REAL action. If it weren't for bootleggers, alcohol would have stayed in UncleSams locked liquor cabinet. Time for tokers to take even the crappiest of seeds from even the shittiest of weed and spread them to every inch of exposed earth to prove once and for all IT IS THE PEOPLE'S PLANT, NOT UNCLE SAM'S! It is natures gift to humankind and SHOULD grow wild and allowed to produce seed.You must consider making ditch weed a weapon against the ever expensive war against pot. If it costs too much to eradicate every wild pot plant (especially in a tight economy) they will have to weigh the expense against the economic potential for marijuana AND hemp. Agriculture and biofuel industries as well as the taxable nature of the plant could provide an alternative to the rotting economy. But to hand control over to the DEA, FDA, and medical industry is a mistake. Take a good look at what genetic engineering has done to virus control and vaccination; limited genetic variation, human tampering, and the absence of natural evolution processes have produced some dangerous results. And as for America pushing for global control of marijuana; Are those the people you want to give control to?

"You must consider making

"You must consider making ditch weed a weapon"

Ditch weed everywhere, like you advocate, would spread pollen with inferior genetic characteristics on the wind, essentially ruining outdoor cultivated crops. I don't know where you get the idea that marijuana seeds are hard to come by. Ditch weed would be a powerful weapon in the fight AGAINST marijuana production.

"You have bastardized weed until it had retardedly high levels of THC that only keep you buzzed short time."

Your definition of 'bastardized' seems to mean 'selecting for desirable traits over generations'. Also, a little reading on this site will reveal that the average levels of THC are no higher than they were forty years ago.

I think all Narcs should

I think all Narcs should have their homes raided liked this as training so they know what its like.

Sad Truth

its not so good to hear killings but I am hoping that all of these actions are reasonable. Im hoping that killing is only done w/o any choice of saving lives and make them change like on the rehab. :-|

Justified

(1) - In two separate incidents, law enforcement officers have legal, signed search warrants for activities that were illegal
(2) - In two separate cases, law enforcement officers identified themselves and then entered homes (note: with warrants)
(3) - In two separate cases, individuals (who were possibly engaging in illegal activity) presented themselves to law enforcement officers while holding a firearm
(4) - In two separate cases, law enforcement officers felt that their lives were at risk while upholding their duty to protect and serve the public
(5) - In two separate cases, law enforcement officers fired upon and killed two individuals who threatened their safety

It is unfortunate whenever anyone looses their lives. This was completely preventable:

(1) - Do not sell drugs
(2) - Surrender when ordered to by law enforcement officers
(3) - Do not aim a gun at law enforcement officers

Officers to be Replaced with Robots?

A robot could follow the field manual instructions/justification you’ve listed justifying entry into a private residence.

Civilized societies hire humans for police work.  They want people who can think.  They want a conscience, a human barrier, between the public and mindless machinery like robots.  The five-point list you presented sounds like the operating instructions for a violent video game, not justice.

The 3-point prevention scheme doesn’t live up to its authoritarian dogma, either.

Don’t sell drugs.”  Reality check:  people sell drugs.  Get used to it.  Drugs will be sold forever.  In particular, drugs will be sold on the black market as long as prohibitionism bucks the free enterprise system.  Nothing will provide better remedies to current recreational drug problems than legalization and regulation, which BTW is on its way to happening.

Surrender when ordered by police officers.”  People must know they’re surrendering to police officers and not thieves or thugs.  America is armed and dangerous.  Some people are deaf, asleep, paranoid, distracted, or otherwise occupied during a police entry.  The best way to avoid confrontation problems is to stop breaking into domestic dwellings.  Arrest people in broad daylight while they’re well outside their homes and are not likely to be carrying a weapon.  Know who is being arrested.

Don’t aim a gun at police officers.”  Again, identification is the priority.  Unless the person is committing suicide, there are any number of reasonable circumstances under which a person may choose to defend themselves with a gun.

Arrest methods must adjust to accommodate the real world.  Citizens should not be expected to go out of their way to adjust their lives to counter the unexpected, severe and sometimes idiotic procedures used during an arrest.  Being required by a government to do so while simultaneously confronted with a life or death option is one characteristic of a police state.

Giordano

1. Do not break into my home

2. Do not bring your guns into my home.
3. Do not point your guns at me or my children.
4. Do not concern yourself with what's in my urine and I'll not worry about what's in yours.
5. Do not, for one second, pretend that you can uphold the law by holding yourself above it. In fact, quit pretending that you have any concern for the law at all.

One thing not justified is the war on users of selected drugs

If you allow a drug that causes carnage like alcohol does, what it the point of destroying people's lives (at great expense to society) for preferring other drugs that aren't that much different? Except for cannabis which is pretty different, it is very unusual for cannabis to get someone killed or maimed, unlike the legal stuff

Do not sell drugs? You mean do not sell drugs except for alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals with toxic side effects. The hypocrisy of this war on selected drugs is breathtaking and that's one reason the war is losing public support

It's also not certain it happened the way you said- you're taking the police account as gospel.

I guess we should say that

I guess we should say that the Germans who got caught sheltering Jews in WWII deserved to be killed. They broke the law. It's unfortunate, but it could have been avoided.

1) Don't shelter Jews
2) Surrender when the Gestapo enter your home
3) Don't fight Nazism

Pot the scapegoat

Q: Why is there a war on drugs?
A: Oh because drugs destroy lives.
Q: You mean more than bullets?
Uncle Sam's insanity in full flight.

projectpeace's picture

radical systemic dysfunction

The immensely tragic shooting deaths of Brenda Van Zwieten and Malcolm Shaw are symptomatic of prolonged criminal imbalances afflicting American society at every level. These killings prove that no one is safe from the "loose cannon on the deck" that is the drug war.

How sick does society have to get before we choose to actively heal ourselves of policies known to be counter-productive to their own stated objectives? How many people have to die before we stop pretending we can "control a man's appetite through legislation"?

Paul J. von Hartmann
California Cannabis Ministry
"Freedom to farm "every herb bearing seed" is the first test of religious freedom."
http://www.californiacannabisministry.blogspot.com

projectpeace's picture

Hemp is Our Legacy Week

If you agree the time is ripe to end Cannabis prohibition, then let others know about "Hemp is Our Legacy Week" in Sacramento. Please find the link below if you are interested to know more about our exercise of "essential civilian demand"on May 23rd, 20120.

My sincere sympathies go out to the families of Brenda and Malcolm. I promise to do what I can to heal the illness that sickens us all if it harms anyone.

Paul J. von Hartmann
California Cannabis Ministry
"Freedom to farm "every herb bearing seed" is the first test of religious freedom."
http://californiacannabisministry.blogspot.com/2010/03/evolving-vision-o...

You have handed the DEA a

You have handed the DEA a Eradicate-The-Weed Free card. Every man, woman, and child had the power in seeds to win the war against the war on pot.You failed to resist the stereotypical lack of motivation and debth of thought. A few thousand smokers with a few million seeds had the chance to spread the weed wildly around our planet and Free the Weed! You had the opportunity to show responsible medical use in Colorado and other states but failed to fight the urge to rob and fuck eachother over for pot! So many have abused the right to get it medically and lost the 1 chance to get it legalized for LEGITIMATE medical users. The president Obama told the DEA to back off and you fell for it! People still being raided and killed by the DEA's soldiers? Now that you're off guard they have continued their efforts to hunt users down. Don't you think the over usage of pot AND the medical user and provider registries have put more names and addresses on their list to investigate? What makes you think your information is any more protected and private than an Arab American's (otherwise known as an Automatically-Suspected-Terrorist American)? Now you are going to sit and watch while the Feds to gather you all into a small room to shoot you in the back. You handed control to Uncle Sam and Big Brother by allowing your plant to become an overrated & unnatural seedless FREAK! What you buy and sell as natural medical marijuana is so far removed from nature you can't even grow it yourselves. They are siezing control like never before over who grows it, sells it, and buys it. You can't seem to get it through your cloudy sculls that your vote doesn't mean SHIT and has been replaced by the preprogramed paperless voting machine. The end of weed as you know it is not to far off. You have bastardized weed until it had retardedly high levels of THC that only keep you buzzed short time. 15 minutes later and your smoking another bowl and a day later your buying another ounce! You have paid out your asses for an overrated, expensive way to burn through cash and time. In case any of you "medical" users have any sense left, think about this: Isn't it's CHEAPER and EASIER to buy it ILLEGALLY and you don't have to give your identification to the MOST corrupt and untrustworthy government to ever dominate the globe?!?!? You should've spread the seed while there were still some left. And to those who seem to think the weed fairy magically makes the plant happen and that the only GOOD weed is seedless, THE ONLY NATURAL WEED COMES FROM SEED (read your fucking bible if you can still remember how to R-E-A-D). ALL NATURAL PLANTS PRODUCE SEED. EVEN CLONED PLANTS GOT THEIR START FROM A SEED EVEN IF IT WAS GENERATIONS AGO. The stigma against seeds in your weed is unnecessary. Mark my word, if you insist on losing the seed, UncleSam WILL eradicate the weed and BigBrother can't wait to beat, taze, and shoot the message into your thick heads and lazy asses! Free weed is just a seed's throw away but you potheads live with your heads in the clouds and asses on the couch. It's aparent by your comments that its easier to toke and complain than to take any REAL action. Bootleggers freed alcohol from UncleSams locked liquor cabinet. Time for tokers to take even the crappiest of seeds from even the shittiest of weed and spread them to every inch of exposed earth! Birds have evolved into little seed carriers so, if your too chicken shit to toss them in your local rivers and lakes, feed them to the birds in your own back yard. Weed is natures gift to humankind but you fuckheads take it for granted. IT SHOULD grow wild and be allowed to produce seed. Take a good look at what genetic engineering has done to virus control and vaccination: limited genetic variation and the absence of natural evolution processes have produced some fucked up results like drug resistant strains of viruses and bacteria and such wonderful NEW diseases like bird, swine, and west nile flue,and AIDS. Do you REALLY believe the U.S.A. didn't have anything to do with the creation and spread of such beautiful solutions to population control? The vaccinations for these can be just as harmful because of their contents such as lead and mercury. Your immune system can't even handle taking care of your own bodies and now you rely on weed to heal your minds?.. and you want to allow the FEDs to regulate and control every aspect of marijuana growth and use?!?!?! Your smoke is TOO potent. You need to clear your fucking brain and think seriously NOW! America is forcing global control of marijuana right under your smoking nose.

This is not about gun ownership

It's about police killing people simply because they can. It's not about breaking the law or enforcing the law; no other laws are enforced with the kind of violence that drug laws are. This is about the police KILLING people simply becuase they can. Drug cops DO NOT identify themselves before they break in; in fact, they do everything they can to avoid being identified as cops.

This is not about gun ownership; Americans have always owned guns and had the legal right to use them to protect themselves from unknown intruders. And most people gunned down by cops aren't even armed -- this is about the police killing people simply because they can.

This could be you, drugs or not, criminal or not!

All it takes is one false report from a druged up snich to get a warrent and they will bust in your door at 3am and shoot you and your family for defeneding themselves and then say, I would rather have a dead suspect than a dead cop?? These guys are using military tactics on citizens shooting first asking after, this has to stop and stop today.

The war on Drugs has failed us all, demand they end this death machine today!

re "you have handed DEA" post

The "you must consider making" post was a serious minded response to your earlier post "potheads have lost their way". Did you even read it before repeating your lengthy rant? If you won't reply to constructive criticism, and don't do dialogue, I don't care what you have to say.

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