SWAT teams have their place. So do law enforcement officers. However, when there is something of the magnitude of what took place in Evansville, IN would someone think it proper for the SWAT team to take along a media crew? Well they did just that as they executed a search warrant for computer equipment at 616 East Power Ave. The police claim that a person using the IP address from that residence made threats against officers and their families in multiple online posts at the topix.com website.
So what did they find? They discovered an innocent grandmother and 18-year-old girl, Stephanie Milan, alone at home.
According to the Courier Press,
Dressed in full protective gear, police broke the storm door of the home at 616 East Powell Ave. — the Milans’ front door was already open on the hot summer day. They also broke a front window. They tossed a flashbang stun grenade into the living room that made a deafening blast. A short distance away, a local television crew’s cameras were rolling. The police had invited the station to videotape the forced entry of the residence.
Stephanie Milan said she managed to remain calm because she knew her family hadn’t done anything wrong. Still, she was stunned and confused.
After speaking to Milan and her grandmother, Louise, police determined those inside the house had nothing to do with their investigation.
“The front door was open. It’s not like anyone was in there hiding,” said Ira Milan, Stephanie's grandfather and owner of the property. “To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive.”
Police Chief Billy Bolin said, “We have no way of being able to tell that,” and the concerning Internet posts “definitely come back to that address.”
“I think it was a show of force that they are not going to tolerate this,” said Ira Milan, “But what about the residents and what they have to tolerate?”
Apparently someone had gained access to the family's wi-fi router via and unsecured connection and was able to make the posts via their IP address.
Still with a front door open, you would think there would have been a more cool headed approach to the execution of the warrant. In fact, if you are familiar with flash bang grenades, which were used in this assault, then you know they burn very hot. They can take flesh down to the bone in seconds.
Sgt. Jason Cullum, a police department spokesman, “This is a little more difficult that a traditional crime scene, because we’re dealing with the Internet. They definitely weren’t expecting (a SWAT team at the door). The reason we did that is the threats were specific enough, and the potential for danger was there."
“This is a big deal to us,” Cullum said. “This may be just somebody who was online just talking stupid. What I would suggest to anybody who visits websites like that is that their comments can be taken literally.”
While I sympathize with police, especially in instances where their own families are threatened, this seems a bit extreme, in fact very extreme. let me ask how would these officers have responded if Mr. Milan had been at home and grabbed his shotgun and began blasting away at officers? Let's say he killed a few in the process and then was killed himself? What would their story be then? Would they be denying any blame and trying to justify pinning it all on Milan? Would they claim he was guilty of murdering cops? What would they tell families of the officers who died?
This whole shock and awfully way of serving warrants is getting far too common in America. The threat was made for July 4. There was ample time to take a day or two and stake out the home to see if they had the right place and the right people. Instead, they put innocent people's lives in danger to save their own necks. Seriously, they need to rethink their approach.
One thing we can learn from this is that if you have wi-fi at your house you need to secure it to keep someone from using it to post threats or any other criminal activity online.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook, Google Plus, & Twitter. You can also get Freedom Outpost delivered to your Amazon Kindle device here.