Here’s another chapter for my future book on police abuse (which will never be released because a no-knock raid will be performed shortly before publishing due to the fact I hold a carry permit). A Mr. Bellotte made the mistake of getting photographs contained *gasp* nudity developed at Wal-Mart. This is always a mistake because any nudity can be contrived as being child pornography which is what the Wal-Mart employee claimed when he called the police. The Frederick County police responded in kind by deploying their SWAT team to perform a no-knock raid on Mr. Bellotte’s residence because he held a carry permit:
In order to execute the warrant, Detective Edwards sought and received approval from the ranking Jefferson County law enforcement officer for the assistance of the Jefferson County Special Operations Team (“SORT Team”). The SORT Team leaders decided that their involvement was justified due to the possibility of a violent reaction from Mr. Bellotte and the concealed carry permits held by both Mr. and Mrs. Bellotte. After the three SORT squads were assembled and briefed, they arrived at the Bellotte residence around 10:15 p.m.
I’m certainly no expert on tactics in storming peoples’ homes but it seems to me knowing somebody has a carry permit would be grounds to perform a knock and announce entry. By busting down the door and storming into a residence a home defense situation has been created by the fact unknown assailants have entered the building. As the police never announced the fact that they were police and that you can’t know if the police actually are police without at least some kind of proof (a warrant) it would be a valid reaction for a home owner to take measures to defend himself in a no-knock raid.
Of course when the accusation of child pornography is being made absolutely any tactic the police wish to use is considered valid by most of the populace. When this accusation comes from a photo developer who can’t reasonably be assured a person in a picture is a child though, then there is no grounds for anything beyond a cursory investigation. Can you guess what the police found after storming the residence and performing an investigation?
Mr. Bellotte, it turns out, had spent that night in his hunting cabin in Hampshire County, West Virginia. The next morning, when his wife told him what happened, he went to see Detective Edwards at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He gave a recorded statement and later produced a passport and birth certificate showing that the female in the photo was not a child, but in fact a 35-year-old woman who lived in the Philippines. Thus Mr. Bellotte did not in fact possess any child pornography, and no charges were ever filed against him.
Apparently our potential child was 35 years-old. The police created a potential home defense situation for people whom have had no history of violence because some punk at Wal-Mart said a carry permit holder may have produced child pornography. Just thinking about the fact that the police took action that could have caused a peaceful and innocent person to need the use of violence in apparent self-defense just makes my head spin.
If Mr. Bellotte had shot one of the police thinking they were generic cooks you can guarantee he’s be in prison for murder while the police officers would be off scot-free.