The raid was conducted in 2012, and this article reports a test performed in 2009 which showed that the brand of test kits in question has a 70% false positive rate. It links to a video in which running the test without a sample (ie, just exposing it to air) produced a "positive" result. Notably, this was three years earlier than the raid in question, which means that they were still using the faulty test kits.
There are only two possible reasons for a police department to be using a test like that. The first is ignorance, but of a degree and nature that is quite scandalous. The second is to commit fraud upon the courts, by claiming to have evidence of drug possession where no drugs exist. In light of the FBI hair test scandal (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/fbi-overstated-fo...) I think the latter explanation is fairly likely.
Yes, but the reason they were being investigated at all was because a cop was recording license plate numbers at a garden supply store.
You don't even have to have something to hide to fall prey to the war on citizens. If the police need an arrest, and they're looking at you, you'll be arrested.
You don't know if you have something to hide.
Either because you don't know how an irrational enemy (in case govt) will interpret your actions, so you want to minimize their ability to see your actions, or you don't know what will happen in the future. Because everything is recorded these days, you don't know if in the future you might want to hide something you did today. Say, you like to drink hibiscus tea and wear blue shoes. But it turns out in the future members of some horrible terrorist group will be drinking hibiscus tea and wearing blue shoes. Then you'd be a target all of the sudden.
EDIT: This similar to how police always can search your car if they want to -- they call the K-9 unit. The handler says "find boy" or does some other trained jesture or word, dog signals, now there is a probable cause to search your vehicle. It is very hard to prove that the dog was conditioned to signal on command and hard to refute (cop's word vs yours). So that is why K-9 units are very popular with some police departments. They provide ambiguity and plausable pretext for searches.
> The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution clearly states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated unless a dog barks."
In at least some cases, she did this explicitly to aid the prosecution in securing convictions.
Spoiler: Dookhan got only 3-5 years worth of prison time for this.
And as for the argument that he was falsifying evidence to allow a guilty person to walk, I am sure that the occurrence of the opposite situation is far more prevalent - that false evidence is produced to allow an innocent person to be jailed.
A = leaves in trash are marijuana
B = field test result is positive
First use Bayes' to get P(A|B) = P(B|A)P(A) / [P(A)P(B|A)+P(-A)P(B|-A)]
Assume the false positive rate, P(B|-A) = 0.7. Assume the true positive rate, P(B|A) = 1.
The result is P(A) = 0.7P(A|B)/(1-0.3P(A|B))
Assume to get a warrant the police need P(A|B)>0.5. This puts P(A)=0.41. However, probable cause is more strict. Assume we need P(A|B)>0.90. This puts P(A)=0.86.
So if you go to a garden store and you drink tea, the police are 86% sure there are illegal substances in your home.
Police are under no obligation to know that a tool they use is inaccurate? Would the same rules apply for the acquisition of, say, firearms - i.e. would the police be under no obligation to know that the glocks they're purchasing for their officers have a tendency to fire even when the safety is on?
Edit: per comments below please s/when the safety is on/without pulling the trigger/ when reading this comment
this is a great idea.
> The device has been sold to 20 countries in the Middle East and Far East, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for as much as US$60,000 each. The Iraqi government is said to have spent £52 million on the devices.
> Investigations by the BBC and other organisations found that the device is little more than a "glorified dowsing rod" with no ability to perform its claimed functions. In January 2010, export of the device was banned by the British government and the managing director of ATSC was arrested on suspicion of fraud, and in June 2010, several other companies were raided by British police. ATSC was dissolved on 5 March 2013. On 23 April 2013, the founder of ATSC, Jim McCormick, was convicted of three counts of fraud at the Old Bailey in London, and was subsequently sentenced to ten years' imprisonment.
>According to Husam Muhammad, an Iraqi police officer and user of the ADE 651, using the device properly is more of an art than a science: "If we are tense, the device doesn't work correctly. I start slow, and relax my body, and I try to clear my mind." The cards were supposedly "programmed" or "activated" by being placed in a jar for a week along with a sample of the target substance to absorb the substance's "vapours". Initially, McCormick reportedly used his own blood to "program" the cards for detecting human tissue, but eventually gave up even the pretense of "programming" them when demand for the devices was at its peak.
>The ADE 651 is a descendant of the Quadro Tracker Positive Molecular Locator produced in the 1990s by Wade Quattlebaum, a South Carolina car dealer, commercial diver, and treasure hunter.
> the glocks they're purchasing for their officers have a tendency to fire even when the safety is on?
Glocks don't have a safety that goes "on" and prevents them from firing. If you pull the trigger (which has a little mini trigger in it which must also be pulled - the only actual safety), it will fire.
Even cops who don't carry glocks rarely carry weapons that have a safety that works in the way you suggest; instead, most LEO duty weapons simply have a heavy trigger pull.
I believe the analogy on the whole is still roughly valid, just s/when the safety is on/without pulling the trigger/
the gun is designed to shoot only when you pull the trigger, but to shoot FOR SURE when you pull the trigger, until the magazine is empty.
A normal Glock with its single-action mechanism is pretty close to the best handgun design there is now. A double-action-only (DAO) design suffers from heavy trigger pulls, which cause terrible shot accuracy. Look at the NYPD and how many innocent bystanders they shoot because of their 12-lb trigger pulls. DA/SA are even worse because the first shot is double-action, so it's inconsistent. Both these designs should be banned from law enforcement use because of public safety.
The only thing wrong with Glocks is they only have the trigger safety, and no external safety (like the grip safety on Springfield XD pistols), so they misfire if you're clumsy when reholstering and something gets into the trigger guard, and this has caused a bunch of cops to shoot themselves in the foot or leg.
Yes, Glocks make great target shooting pistols. I don't think it's a good gun to be putting into the hands of adrenaline-jacked people on the street. This year alone we've seen several instances of cops having shot suspects already subdued on the ground as well as each other because they are squeezing the gun too tightly while drawing and aiming. Adrenaline stress + bad trigger discipline = "the gun just went off".
You might disagree that DAO firearms are good for avoiding accidental discharge, but it's not an uninformed opinion. I own several firearms, have gone through several firearm safety courses, and have even had my own CCW permit in the past. I don't know how common of an opinion it is, but it's not just something I've made up because I don't know anything about guns.
It sounds like the big problem is shitty training for cops.
The problem in NYC has been well-documented by gun experts, it's not the number of people they're trying to shoot. There have been many cases of them shooting at legitimate targets (not black guys running away, not small black children with toys, but real suspects wielding weapons on the street) at hitting bystanders because their shot accuracy is so pathetically bad. A 12-lb trigger pull (specifically designed into Glocks that were never meant to have them, at the insistence of the NYPD because they were used to crappy old revolvers) is a big part of that.
If a cop shoots a suspect on the ground, that's just plain murder, I don't care what their excuse is. Bad trigger discipline should be prosecuted as murder: you never put your finger on the trigger unless you've decided to kill the target.
yeeeeah, definitely not suitable for cops
If you want to argue about police tactics, recruitment, training, or purpose, this isn't the place for it. This is a thread about pistols and trigger pull weights.
As for military duty, that should be a plus for police duty. Military soldiers have to learn about things like "rules of engagement" and had very strict training about that. If they saw combat, then they are also much less likely to lose their demeanor when dealing with a rough situation, because they've already seen much worse. The cops who have all the problems seem to be ones who were never in the military, and probably would have been (or were) rejected if they had applied: basically thugs who want to play soldier and never got the chance. Notice that you never hear about problems with military police (MPs) shooting people unnecessarily, despite the extremely high numbers of non-white people in the military? I think there's a reason for that.
Come on now. Plenty of the most seasoned experts on earth don't care for the Glock design.
DA/SA requires a lot of practice, sure, but it's a great mechanism.
Are you saying that there's a known correlation between departments who, say, carry Sigs (the worst in your assessment), vs heavy glocks (second worst) vs. light glocks? I'm aware of no such data.
At the end of the day, different people prefer different pistols. I happen to really like the DA/SA of the FNH's and Sig P220.
But then, as another response to you mentioned, it's hard to hit what you're aiming at.
What's your objection to "traditional double-action", aka double-action/single-action? At least that way, it's easier to control subsequent shots, while still requiring double-action for the first shot.
It turns out that Police had done zero testing and had no idea if tasers are "safe" - it just happened that some company started making and selling them, so Police started buying and using them.
this sound a lot like a stasi operation.
the Stasi/KGB would be salivating at the scale and the capabilities that has already been deployed. They could only dream about automatic recording of every sound around any connected electronic device and automatic transription of it into a searchable database already containing all the un- and weakly-encrypted electronic communications of all your populace and all the movements of that populace. Add to that constant video recording from security, police and backdoored consumer cameras with automatic image recognition. Stasi/KGB was a kiddie game compare to that.
Assuming that the parking lot is exposed to the street, there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting an officer in or near the lot and recording the plates of vehicles that travel near the area. The notion that it is 100% okay that things that happen in public view may be subject to notice and recording at any time is very important to preserve.
Where this goes oh so wrong is when the PD posts a robot policeman  at the location, or a network of them throughout the district that record things (like license plates).
There are only so many officers in a district, each of them can only be doing one thing at a time, and every one of them requires OT pay for extended work hours. This means that a district has to decide if plate collection at a location is the best thing that they can be doing with a particular officer.
If a district can suddenly -for the price of one meatbag officer- dedicate ten new robot "officers"  to the task of car movement surveillance, then their powers have been greatly expanded.
It's very important that we protect the right to notice and record things that happen in public. I feel that it's equally important that we work to limit the damage that an entity can do when they have the resources available to record such things on a large scale.
 AKA: a camera
 who can work 24/7 and never require OT pay
From the Stasi article on Wikipedia:
By 1995, some 174,000 inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IMs) Stasi informants had been identified, almost 2.5% of East Germany's population between the ages of 18 and 60. 10,000 IMs were under 18 years of age. From the volume of material destroyed in the final days of the regime, the office of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records (BStU) believes that there could have been as many as 500,000 informers. A former Stasi colonel who served in the counterintelligence directorate estimated that the figure could be as high as 2 million if occasional informants were included.
According to this there are 1.22 million police in the US, which is about 0.373% of the population. Imagine 10 times as many police / informants / analysts / etc.
I would be very surprised if any Policeman's Union would permit that.
I guarantee you that a Policeman's Union is going to stop you if it looks like you're using informants as a cheap source of labor to perform police scutwork such as stakeouts and other such surveillance.
If the problem is that petty things are punished too harshly or are selectively enforced, then that is where attention should be directed. I don't think being caught and prosecuted for a crime should be a roll of the dice. If society decides something is illegal, I want that thing enforced. I don't want my tax money wasted on police sitting around watching for speeders. I want them doing the things that an expensive human is paid for.
When you hand a powerful tool to a powerful organization you must make sure that there are safeguards in place to limit the damage that can be done when parts of that organization use that tool for evil.
For the past couple of decades, the US has been having a painful conversation about the just what this proper privacy/LEO-convenience balance should be. LEO rhetoric notwithstanding, it's abundantly clear that it has never been easier to perform surveillance than it is today.
I expect that not many people would object to temporary placement of an ALPR system at a place of interest when all data from that system that is not _clearly_ directly related to a person of interest is purged before it ever gets into the hands of law enforcement.
I expect that many (but far too few) people would object to blanketing an entire metro area in ALPR cameras, RFID toll tag readers, DRT boxes, and the like and retaining all of that information forever, just in case it was needed to speed an investigation along later.
> I don't want my tax money wasted on police sitting around watching for speeders.
Thing is, I do. I want police to have to choose to pay a meatbag to do this sort of scutwork because in way too many cases, those laws are enforced to enrich the department's coffers or to target disfavored people.
I totally 100% agree that we should have sane laws that are applied evenly across the board. I would LOVE for prosecutor and police discretion, as well as plea bargaining to be removed, forever. This will not happen in my lifetime, if it ever does.
So -for now- we limit the damage evil people can do with the power tools that they have available to them. This makes policing more expensive. That's okay with me.
Yes, but the problem here isn't that this number was recorded, it's that it was recorded at a garden supply shop with no real reason to believe that anyone at the shop was growing marijuana.
The key bit is that it puts innocent people under suspicion and leads to wasted effort on the police side, along with pointless legal bullshit on the innocent's side. Not everyone who goes to that stpre is gonna be a marijuana dealer, or even a user; garden supply stores are kind of a key place to get supplies for any garden. The chance of that garden being laced with pot is a lot smaller than 100% of the time.
We all have a right to privacy. However, we all also have a long-standing right to notice and take note of things that happen in plain sight in public areas. Be very careful with how you propose to fix any wrongs here.
> The key bit is that it puts innocent people under suspicion and leads to wasted effort on the police side...
I'm having difficulty understanding what this has to do with surveillance of a parking lot that was publicly visible.
Anyone who has undertaken a non-trivial endeavor understands that one is likely to try many approaches that end up not working out. Police investigation is often non-trivial work. Sometimes, you'll go to a place, collect a bunch of publicly available information, sift through that information, and discover that it was all a dead end. This seems to me to be perfectly okay, as long as your motivation for gathering that information was good.
If incompetent or lazy officers are either spending an inordinate amount of time chasing dead ends, or they are throwing cuffs on the first name that floats in front of their faces, they should be corrected. If they can't be corrected, they should be removed from policing.
If incompetent or lazy officers end up jailing or causing someone to have to pay legal fees when that someone is obviously not the person(s) that they're after, the department should be required to compensate  the person that they fucked over.
If malicious officers are using their powers to harass and intimidate, they should face real charges and be removed from policing.
 This compensation would obviously go above and beyond compensation for direct costs and time lost and cover pain and anguish compensation as well.
The problem is that people were being raided based on buying garden supplies. The purchase of legal, useful tools--used for things like growing your own food, or even basic maintenance of your front yard (which is mandatory in some places)--was being used as a means of deciding who to arrest. This is not only a massive insult to the people being raided, but also a waste of time for the police, on top of being questionably moral and against the principles upon which the US was founded. Literally everyone involved is losing here, and that means this method of looking for people to arrest is wrong.
I get that. That's a big problem. I thought I made my stance on this clear. :)
Don't get confused! The problem isn't the exercise of the right to take notice and note of things that happen in public. The problem is police who perform balls-to-the-wall SWAT raids on people just because they were seen purchasing gardening supplies.
Punish the shitty policing. Make those who were raided far more than whole. Actually punish the people responsible for ordering the raid on such flimsy evidence. Make it abundantly clear that this is behavior is entirely unacceptable and not how police behave. If you don't fix the root cause, the problem will happen over and over again.
If police are going to record citizens, citizens should feel comfortable recording police. What their routes are, favorite stops, conversations, etc.
You are following me. That's exactly what I'm saying.
Human scale surveillance is okay. Because the surveillance is carried out by a human on the scene, it requires the surveillers to decide who should be surveilled, and prevents or eliminates blanket surveillance.
> If police are going to record citizens, citizens should feel comfortable recording police.
100% agreed. Because of the extraordinary powers they are entrusted with, on-duty police  should be held to a much higher standard than regular folks.
Off-duty cops who aren't exercising police power? They're folks like any other and must be afforded the same rights and protections as every other regular citizen.
 Or off-duty police who are otherwise exercising their police powers.
But what we're describing is not a human using his judgment to select probable suspects for further investigation. It's a guy parked pointing a camera at all license plates and feeding them en masse to a computer for automated processing. It is not functionally different than the hypothetical robot you described, only this happens to be a robot with an organic component.
1) You appear to have missed this in my original comment:
> It's very important that we protect the right to notice and record things that happen in public. I feel that it's equally important that we work to limit the damage that an entity can do when they have the resources available to record such things on a large scale.
2) It's obvious that one can very cost-effectively blanket any urban or semi-urban area in ALPR cameras. When you do this, you gain the ability to track any vehicle in that area forever. For areas of any appreciable size, no police force has the personnel on hand to achieve the same level of coverage with human officers. This means that -if you ban robot officers- you dramatically limit the parts of one's trips that the police can remember.
It's the difference between a passive attacker that controls a few nodes in the Tor network, and a passive attacker that controls most of the nodes in the Tor network. In the former situation, that attacker may be able to use traffic analysis to unmask a few Tor users. In the latter situation, they will be able to unmask very many Tor users. 
 This is -as the Tor people have always said- not something that Tor protects against.
Because what's most likely to happen is that the police choose to surveil an area for political reasons (like racial segregation), and are thus attacking a specific group.
Yes, by limiting robot police & robot cameras you make this difficult for police by limiting their memory, but mass-surveillance is still happening! This, myself & the other commenter (I believe) find this unacceptable.
I'm arguing that police shouldn't be mass surveilling at all -- with robots, helmet cams that track license plates or by individual human officers selecting a zone to surveil. Or that if this surveillance happens -- it becomes public knowledge. Let every citizen view the live feeds around them, perform their own tracking if they wish, to keep the playing field open.
The Tor project doesn't protect against isolated attacks (surveillance), but would it not be nice if it could?
I think we have a difference of opinion here so I'm curious -- what are valid reasons from your viewpoint in which a human officer should select an area to surveil?
That has nothing to do with police surveillance. That has everything to do with crooked cops. It's a problem that's worth talking about, but it's completely unrelated to a conversation about limiting the damage that can be done with tireless, incredibly cheap robot police officers.
> ...but mass-surveillance is still happening!
What I'm describing as the ideal situation isn't mass surveillance. If you declare all surveillance that gets fed back into a filing cabinet (computerized or otherwise) to be mass surveillance, you make it impossible to distinguish between a single guy on a stakeout and an organization that records and stores for the rest of eternity every single phone call in a nation, the exterior of every single piece of snail mail in a nation, and the movement of every single automobile in every major and most minor metropolitan areas in that nation.
Please don't do that.
> The Tor project doesn't protect against isolated attacks (surveillance), but would it not be nice if it could?
If you could get it for free, it would be nice. It's a hard problem that requires some very serious tradeoffs. There is no way around those tradeoffs.
Tor -as is- is very useful. If it protected against a passive adversary that controlled most of the nodes in the network, nearly noone would use it because it would be too slow.
> ...what are valid reasons from your viewpoint in which a human officer should select an area to surveil?
I mean, the obvious stuff?
* As part of a routine crime-prevention patrol. (E.g. an officer walking a regular beat.)
* As part of an ongoing investigation into one or more people who are -at a minimum- suspected of being involved in illegal activity.
Let's skip the conversation about what should or shouldn't be illegal. While that's a useful conversation to have, it's not in-scope for a conversation about limiting the damage done by robot policing.
Nobody's debating that.
Much of the problem stems from our hysterical over-reaction to the crime spikes of the 60's and 70's, where the citizenry clamored for and were provided with draconian laws and tactics. Combine this with an almost blind deference to police authority (both as a matter of law and public opinion) and the environment is ripe for abuses of power.
That being said, this particular case did result in some small legislation to help correct the problems of police overreach. Which is small nudge in the right direction, away from the fear-driven policies of the past. But I'm still afraid - that the situation will get much worse, and the abuses even more egregious, before any substantial reform is enacted.
This applies to almost every entity - whether a system, industry, organization or individual. Any value the entity delivers externally is of secondary concern to the entity, but it is also how the entity defines its usefulness in the eyes of others.
In any case, regardless of the fact that these sorts of incident are not uncommon, they're not particularly frequent either.
The term _police state_ has 'taken on an emotional and derogatory meaning" by describing an undesirable state of living characterized by the overbearing presence of the civil authorities'
Which isn't at all the case for most people. More like isolated abuses of power than the pervasive control of civil authorities. It's a problem, and the problem is growing, but "police state" is an unhelpful hyperbole – using terms like that loses you credibility and distracts from the real discussions that should be happening.
The title on page 10 is "Violent extremism", followed by a 'Case Study' on page 11 which reads:
"Karen grew up in a loving family who never participated in activism of any sort. When she moved out of home to attend university Karen became involved in the alternative music scene, student politics and left-wing activism."
The Australian Government associating "university" and "the alternative music scene, student politics, and left-wing activism" with "violent extremism" is an undesirable state of living charactered by the overbearing presence of the civil authorities indeed.
> More like isolated abuses of power than the pervasive control of civil authorities.
In Australia, first they came for people who listened to alternative music. And I didn't speak up because I didn't listen to alternative music. ... Except, I do. I've also voted for, and been a member of, left-wing political parties in the past. When should I start worrying? Probably not until the current set of primary school aged kids are running the country, because it's them who have been born in to a world where persistent surveillance is normal and listening to alternative music is extreme.
Oh well, we tried.
Literally on the same page as the Karen story is examples of far right hate groups including anti-islam and abortion clinic attacks.
All ideologies can produce extremist according this document, why are you so upset there is an example of yours?
This is a statement of privilege. That doesn't prove that it's wrong, but it does make it quite unconvincing. It amounts to simply ignoring the experience of those who are regularly subject to such a state of living.
...using terms like that loses you credibility and distracts from the real discussions that should be happening.
Who are we trying to convince, of what? USA residents who don't fear the excess and caprice of police vote that ignorance; they are part of the problem. The only way to help them is to end their ignorance. Since they only think what they're told to think by the news media, and the news media ignored this issue until forced by mass protests to address it, "hyperbole" is one of the few techniques that has accomplished anything.
To my way of thinking, the entire concept of drug prohibition is an attack on a particular culture - a particular diet - which is strongly associated with a particular array of politics.
I think it's reasonable to assess that the US today is a police state.
I agree that the US is a police state.
*And by targeted I mean we had undercover police officer agent-provocateurs trying to encourage our local Occupy group to engage in serious crimes and provided materials for those crimes.
Also, if you acknowledge that ethnic groups can have separate cultures (not a bold claim, IMO) and look at the ethnic distribution of US citizens accidentally (giving them the benefit of the doubt) killed by the police I think that claim is hard to defend.
The police use a culture of paramilitary raids to stroke their need to feel like soldiers while not being in danger from the civilians whose homes they break into late at night.
Oh yeah, and then there's the whole civil asset forfeiture thing, where the pigs steal from people not accused of any crime.
Much of the time incidents are pointed to as evidence for the US being a police state -- including the present article -- they involve actions of local police forces that, while unconstrained by the federal government, are also not acts of a national political police force enforcing some centralized policy.
Merely having inadequate constraints on a variety of different police forces with different and sometimes conflicting agendas is a distinctly different problem from being a classic police state.
Imagine that in Bayes World, the presence of a positive THC test updates, in a way that takes into account the probability that the test gives a false positive, a random variable G|* representing the probability that, given all available information, the suspect is growing marijuana. Similarly, the event of the resident's visit to a garden store updates G|*. 
Then, perhaps the Bayes City Police Department would use Bayesian Decision Theory  (perhaps with a custom loss function that takes into the account that a false positive for sending a SWAT team can actually cause needless loss of life!) to decide who to raid. The Judge (a trained statistician and data scientist) would supervise the algorithm and make sure that procedures are updated to constantly balance the case-specific "gut feelings" of the investigators with the need for a predictable system.
And let's keep rolling with this! In Bayes World, we never think of "guilty" or "not guilty" as a set fact. If there's any uncertainty in the case, that's taken into account quantitatively in sentencing. A jury of the accused's peers, all educated in statistics (because in Bayes World, the politicians dispute certain assumptions going into macroeconomic models, but they grudgingly agree that investments in basic income and education have positive expected value when weighted by the likelihood of those assumptions... but I digress...) choose certain coefficients for sentencing based on the human factors of the case.
But we don't live in Bayes World, so we get stories like this.
Based on the article, these people were not considered "high risk", in which case the Police could have politely knocked on the door, informed the residents what was happening without ever drawing a weapon, or forcing anyone to the ground.
In the same way their decision making is binary, it appears their method of action is also binary - either take no action, or bring the big guns and go all out with a show of force and violence.
... but then they wouldn't get to stage a raid that justified their purchase of military surplus gear.
If they actually had probable cause to believe that it was a major criminal marijuana grow operation, that itself would probably be nearly sufficient reason to expect that the risk of armed resistance would be high enough to warrant the kind of raid actually conducted.
The real reason for the SWAT raid is because SWAT raids are cool. Look at the gear. Look at the guns. Looks like fun. In fact, it looks like more fun than anything in the average policeman's day job. Ever seen a coder pick the more fun, cooler approach rather than the more appropriate, boring tool that gets the job done with a minimum of fuss?
1) Some percentage of people > 0% who buy hydroponic equipment are using it to illegally grow marijuana. Depending on what percentage you assign to this, this is reason enough to go to 2.
2) Some percentage of substances > 0% that test positive for THC are marijuana. Again, depending on what percentage you assign to this, this is enough reason to go to 3.
3) The house is searched, and the suspects are determined not to be growing marijuana.
The huge problem with Bayesian statistics, is that incredibly difficult to assign these probabilities objectively for many real world scenarios. How many people who purchase hydroponic equipment in Johnson County, Kentucky are growing marijuana? 1%? 50%? 90%? You could analyze this to death, and you'd never be able to put an exact number on it.
1) You realize hydroponics has nothing to do with growing pot. 100 % of pot growers breath air. You don't use that to single them out.
2) You make sure the tested substance is actually pot. No test can be perfect, but it can be a LOT better than "sometimes it works".
3) You don't pretend you are military. Just knock the door, have chat with the white couple instead of pushing their face into the floor, pet the dog instead of shooting it, and have a look around for the pot growing operation instead of searching the entire house for something else.
It is undeniable that police do not behave under the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty, or innocent until it's been proven beyond reasonable uncertainty - it is purely for the courts to decide that.
Police, when they suspect a person of wrongdoing will treat that person as guilty as far as the law will allow them to. They can handcuff you, put you in jail, point a gun at you, interrogate you, etc. as long as they believe they have a reasonable suspicion (not certainty, not a great deal of evidence, just reasonable suspicion).
Given the number of false positives I've gotten with Bayesian spam filters, I'll take reasonable doubt over Bayesian justice ;)
Ending the War on Drugs is a great step in the right direction and make sense any way you look at it, but it will not end the systematic abuses of power perpetrated by the State.
They got raided because in a police state, constant paramilitary raids happen whether or not the police have valid criminal targets. If there are no real criminals to raid, criminals will be invented. Poor quality contraband testing and the drug war itself are two such ways that criminals can be invented. The purpose of creating criminals and conducting armed raids is to keep the citizens afraid of their government.
We've fallen a long way. In what world is the growing of a certain kind of plant a legitimate reason for a violent raid?
Fascist behavior is exactly why I am purely indifferent when the police are killed or maimed: they have earned their reputation as oppressors and wear it with stolid pride.
The apologist would say "but they weren't convicted of anything, so the system worked!"
Personally, I would say they were lucky that no one was killed. None of the "probable cause" for this raid justifies pointing a loaded gun(s) at an unarmed person.
Bought fertilizer? said online that you’re indifferent to police being killed?
"We have clues the person might have planned a bomb attack on local police headquarters".
The whole issue of being able to use planted evidence, misinterpreted information, or faked witness statements to hurt some random person is real. As can be seen in the fact that a single call can lead to a SWATting.
Sure, maybe by being a bit more edgy you get put on the next edgier list and there's more scrutiny, but let's face it, the government isn't even aggressive enough to stop the people on the no-fly list from weaponizing, so they are sure as hell not aggressive enough to bother people not associated with terrorism but who disagree with them overtly. As of now, there are not so many tangible consequences to disagreeing with the government in public.
So, in short: the "attention" of the federal part of the police state is algorithmic, and, while malicious, relatively impotent in terms of effecting armed raids. The local cops aren't empowered to hunt down their detractors or federal dissenters so long as they don't demonstrate physically en masse.
The level of analysis here is very very shallow: a set of registration numbers jotted down by a police officer on a parking lot 5 months before. The rest, which is already not much at all, is at best heavily biased dice throw, or as the author suggest simply planted evidence.
No deep connection check ( like government monitoring database for activities like on reddit trees ), background analysis (why would a rich family start a home pot operation in the first place), no basic policing work ( electricity/water consumption, movement, contact with dealer, ...).
Parent can say whatever he wants here. Visiting a fishing and hunting shop, or picking his friend at the gun range is all that is needed for the police.
> He also ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate, nor were they obligated to wait for the more accurate lab tests before conducting the SWAT raid.
This is bullshit.
By this standard, Marijuana Dowsing Rods can be sold to the police and used to raid people's homes!
Oh, and the police are under no obligation to disclose the fact they use dowsing rods as a primary method of "discovering" drug dens!
> Keep in mind that this was a ruling for summary judgment. This was not a trial. To dismiss the suit at this stage, Lungstrum needed to view the facts in a light most favorable to the Hartes. And yet he still found that at no point did the police violate the family’s constitutional rights.
Congratulations! We live in a police state if the most favorable interpretation of those events for the victims is "Nope, no problem here!"
Not that this is so much better in France. They recently administratively home arrested ecologist activists using extra power given by the state of emergency that was activated by the islamist terror attacks. That's beyond fucked-up, but given demonstrations were forbidden at the same time they could get away with that totalitarianism move without much trouble... :/
Naturally, every police encounter where a gun is not drawn/no one's rights are apparently violated will never make the news.
It's the exceptions that make headlines, and it's the internet that has empowered those exceptions to be made public and spread much farther and wider than they ever had even 10 years ago (what with everybody and their mother and grandmother on Facebook these days). This is perhaps one upside of the true eternal September that we've entered (much more so than the advent of AOL back in the day).
This is not to say that there isn't a problem. The fact that stories like these have popped up in basically every state in the US suggests that there is indeed a culture that has developed amongst law enforcement/government that facts and science and reason play second fiddle to a number of other factors (not to mention the "thin blue line").
I do believe that most cops in the US act in the public interest to the best of their knowledge/ability; the problem is that it's most and not all, and the minority with perhaps ulterior motives now has access to a great deal of surplus military equipment manufactured for various recent US military operations (and provided to local law enforcement at tremendous discounts), and laws that allow them to behave in ways that they should not be allowed to behave.
Hard to know how to change a problem behavior, hard to organize against it, and if you do organize against an existing power structure, you can be sure there are companies making money off the existing structure that can counter-organize with easier access to funding than your own group.
Words fail me.
As you state, this was a motion for summary judgement, not a trial. The burden of proof for summary judgement is higher than for a civil suit trial. 
While the information presented in this article raised disturbing questions and the family involved appears to have been subjected to unreasonable search based on faulty testing, the article is light on details for why the judge rejected the request for summary judgement.
Has anyone found a link to the judgement?
I hope the family continue to push their case - it appears the were a victim of 'war on drugs theatre'.
 Burden of proof for summary judgement:
The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion.
In civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence.
 Burden of proof for civil cases:
In civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence.
How can they do that? TFA clearly describes judgement in favor of the defendants' (i.e. the cops) summary motion to dismiss all elements of the suit completely. Read TFA more closely, please.
[EDIT:] The comment to which I reply seems to misunderstand TFA to have referred to a summary motion by the plaintiffs, which is not the case. If appealing to a higher court rather than just getting the fair trial to which one is entitled seems like a trivial thing, then one must be either fabulously wealthy, or an attorney. We're certainly out of the $25k range mentioned in TFA.
By appealing to the appropriate US Court of Appeals.
> TFA clearly describes judgement in favor of the defendants' (i.e. the cops) summary motion to dismiss all elements of the suit completely.
Such a judgment does not prevent an appeal. (Indeed, a final judgment of this type may be necessary for an appeal to be ripe.)
> Read TFA more closely, please.
Good advice for you to follow. Note the last sentence (also, paragraph) of the article: "The Hartes’s attorney recently told KMBC that they will likely appeal Lungstrum’s decision."
> The Hartes are also a white, financially sound couple who both happened to have worked for the CIA. Most people on the receiving end of these raids aren’t white, aren’t middle-class, didn’t once work for a federal law enforcement agency and don’t have $25,000 to fund a fight in court.
The CIA is not now, and has never been, a federal law enforcement agency.
Since there is no argument actually made, just a recitation of supposedly-relevant facts designed to create an emotional response, the argument can't actually be changed. But, yes, I think that the given that this is a non-security-related law enforcement issue, the change even in the fuzzy emotional appeal the reporter is making with that paragraph is radically transformed without the implication that he Hartes' have a background in law enforcement specifically giving them a notional advantage in dealing with this kind of law enforcement action.
Haven't you heard of parallel construction?
Is it not related to the events? I only skipped through the article, but they didn't seem to mention it ever again.
I believe it to say that even with intimate knowledge of US law enforcement, they still had trouble getting answers and results... the rest of us are equally screwed.
While the article by its use of comparisons in that paragraph tries to suggest that (by imply that the CIA is a federal law enforcement agency and therefore, being former CIA analysts, the Hartes would have intimate knowledge of law enforcement), this is false because the CIA is not a law enforcement agency, it is a foreign intelligence agency, and to the extent that it coordinates with law enforcement, it is principally with federal agencies (mostly the FBI) whose law enforcement brief includes national security matters, and there is no indication in the article that this coordination was any part of the Hartes' work as CIA analysts.
I think the reporter here is either being willfully misleading to give the story greater emotional appeal, or has watched too many of the movies and TV shows in which the CIA is portrayed as having a role that is a mix of its own and that of the FBI, and mistaken them for reality.
The implication is rather that the Hartes are firmly part of the Establishment, and even the privileges bestowed by that membership couldn't help them.
My guess is that they did no homework at all before performing this raid; they just built a spreadsheet of gardeners, started checking trash cans and raided the first house that had a positive field test.
I'm more inclined to side with both Occam's and Hanlon's razor in this case.
Further, if we had data on the number of false positives these "4/20" raids turned up (which, per the article, seems like it could be quite a task to produce), we could come to a reasonable statistical certainty either way.
Well, unless you get into a fairly deep conspiracy theory.
But the only people who seem to refuse to understand the circumstances are those whose righteousness depends on portraying the police as cartoon villains.
And it's not just simple ignorance, it's prideful ignorance, and active resentment of people who question the local politics, status quo, religion, and anyone liberal.
And the judge in the case? George H.W. Bush appointed him. So yeah, this story is not a surprise to me at all.
Now in defense of podunk, they're incentivized by our militaristic culture to behave this way. Not merely the violence, but also the money and arms the Feds have thrown at them in pursuit of "drugs" without respect to the drugs' relative risk factors. And these dense states who pay less in taxes than they take in are more than happy to lie through their teeth like in this story to get more Federal drug war resources.
Upon searching his apartment, the police found not one, but two double basses in his possession. Never mind that he had documentation to show that they both belonged to him, and never mind that neither one fit the description of the instrument that had been stolen. There can clearly be only one bass in existence, and these ... two ... basses, somehow, are ... it? I dunno, these aren't the same maker, and they don't have the same identifying marks, but hey, they have four strings! The one that's missing has four strings! Good enough, he must have just hidden the stolen bass under a rug or something. (They're easy to hide, right?) Let's just make an arrest and go home.
So they arrested him, and (again, despite having conclusive proof that neither was the instrument in question) seized both basses, along with his cell phone, and held him on $100,000 bail.
Astonishingly, charges were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence.
This was in San Francisco -- about as un-podunk, un-middle-America, and un-Republican as you can get without showing a passport. Lazy police work is everywhere. It has nothing to do with politics or ignorance, and it doesn't really even have to do particularly with the war on drugs (although that certainly gives the police more opportunities to brandish their laziness publicly). It's a combination of pressure to show action by making arrests and an utter lack of accountability when those arrests turn out to be specious, and those two factors exist everywhere in this country.
This has been true for a while, but is becoming increasingly difficult for the public to ignore.