Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jose Guerena Killed: Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid

Jose Guerena Killed: Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid

As the SWAT team forced its way into his home, Guerena, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, armed himself with his AR-15 rifle and told his wife and son to hide in a closet. As the officers entered, Guerena confronted them from the far end of a long, dark hallway. The police opened fire, releasing more than 70 rounds in about 7 seconds, at least 60 of which struck Guerena. He was pronounced dead a little over an hour later.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department initially claimed (PDF) Guerena fired his weapon at the SWAT team. They now acknowledge that not only did he not fire, the safety on his gun was still activated when he was killed. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.

The raids on the other homes carried out that same morning, all part of the same operation, resulted in no arrests and turned up little if any actual contraband.

The government of Pima County has killed one of its own citizens. This is the most serious, solemn, and severe action a local government can undertake. It demands complete transparency. The Pima County Sheriff's Department and other agencies involved in the raid ought to be doing anything and everything to make themselves accountable. Instead, they've shown arrogance, defiance, and obstinacy -- all wrapped in an appeal to public safety.

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