My parents own two flower shops in my hometown, and growing up I worked there after school and every summer. One day when I was 17, I had to deliver an arrangement to a nursing home just west of town. I viscerally disliked nursing home deliveries because the institutions generally smelled horribly, and from the moment I walked in, every resident not totally given over to dementia would stare longingly at the flowers, silently (most of the time, anyway) beseeching me to remind them however briefly that someone outside of those walls still cared about them. On top of all that, I got somewhat lost on the way there due to my relative inexperience.
Upon entering, I was relieved to find that this home was far nicer than the others, clean and with individual apartments for each guest. I found the specified room and handed the bouquet to a pleasant elderly woman, who was overjoyed to receive it. When I returned to the shop, my dad informed me that the nursing home had just called. Not only had I delivered the arrangement to the wrong room, I was at the wrong place altogether–the correct nursing home sat just down the road. I returned shamefaced and apologized profusely to both the woman and the staff (not to mention my parents) for the mix-up. I had screwed up, and it was only right that I take the blame.
Many police departments in this country do not seem to follow that standard of common decency, however. Take this case from Pontiac, South Carolina:
A Gibbs Road couple came home from work Thursday to find their home surrounded by Richland County sheriff’s deputies, their front door kicked in and their home ransacked.
Deputies were executing a search warrant at Wanda and Reginald Blanding’s home Thursday, after drug agents said a confidential informant “made a controlled purchase of crack cocaine from an unknown black male at the location,” according to the search warrant…
The informant told investigators the drug buy was made at 402 Gibbs Road. That’s where the sheriff’s drug unit staged its raid, looking into the one drug purchase the informant alleges happened there.
“They told me why they were here and I was like, ‘Okay, no one is supposed to be here. No one sells drugs out of this house,’” said Wanda.
Reginald is the only black male that lives at the home. He says when he arrived after the raid, deputies never searched him for drugs and never asked to look through his two cell phones even though the search warrant states that’s one of the things deputies were after.
Reginald says deputies told him they had his house under surveillance and know the drug buy went down.
The Blandings deny there ever was a drug buy at their home and think deputies got bad information from their informant.
Wanda says deputies emptied nearly every drawer in the home, searched through the attic and their daughter’s bedrooms.
Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Cowan says deputies made a purchase from the home and had every right to search it. “The drugs that we purchase were out of that home, we purchased from a family member of that home,” said Cowan. “We purchased the drugs out of that home.”
The only people who live there are the Blandings and their three high school-aged daughters…
Wanda and Reginald just want an apology and their door to be fixed.
“Evidently they made a mistake and instead of them saying we’re sorry, or they just didn’t show no remorse, it was like, okay, we’re the police and we’re going to do what we want to do and that’s just the way it is.”
The sheriff’s office says an apology is just not happening, and they’ll continue investigating this case until they make an arrest.
If police had hit the right house, I’m inclined to think they would have turned up some evidence to support their claim. Nevertheless, in the face of complete absence of evidence, the police refuse to so much as apologize for ransacking this couple’s home. The police, like government as a whole, are fundamentally unaccountable to the public. They can coerce tax dollars from us, so it really doesn’t matter to them if they destroy our property, constitutional rights, or even our lives. Until government agencies face real consequences for this kind of sloppy work, you can expect it to continue. Just don’t expect them to lose a minute’s sleep over it.
Link via–who else?–Radley Balko.