Daniel Vail was shot to death by Frederick County sheriff’s deputies as they served a search warrant
Vallery Vail thought the heater had blown up.
She was getting ready to go to sleep in her tiny two-bedroom apartment in a converted Mount Airy barn just before 1 a.m. Her son, Daniel, 19, who had an early shift at the gas station that morning, had gone to bed early. And then — boom.
It was not the heater.
Frederick County sheriff’s deputies — wearing SWAT gear, night-vision gear and military-style helmets — were storming Vallery Vail’s home in a raid connected to her son, who was a suspect in a home invasion and who the deputies feared might be armed. They set off a deafening flash-bang device. Then came gunshots.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” Vail said, describing a hail of 18 9mm bullets deputies fired at her son. There was screaming. Deputies entered her bedroom, she said, and handcuffed her.
“I don’t hear Daniel,” she remembers thinking. “Why isn’t anyone helping him?”
Daniel Vail had been shot multiple times, including twice in his left temple, according to his family, who have yet to receive the official autopsy report. He died beside his bed.
The article notes the Cato report on these no-knock raids (right hand margin of our home page) and quotes the author, Radley Balko:
Flash-bangs have become a popular but controversial diversionary tactic used by SWAT teams. The devices give officers key seconds to make tactical moves and are especially useful in hostage situations. But using them when the suspect doesn’t yet present an active threat can lead to violent confrontations instead of preventing them, said Radley Balko, a former Cato Institute researcher and author of “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.”
“The police will say, ‘We need to do these midnight raids and use these devices to take people by surprise,’ ’’ Balko said. “But then they will turn around and say, ‘Well, you should have known we were the police, and you should have dropped the gun.’ That’s an inherent contradiction.”
Yes. The police stress they had only a ‘split second’ to decide whether to use deadly force. But they recklessly created the situation. They should have arrested Vail at the gas station or school or some other place. A raid in the middle of the night was a terrible idea.
Source (not the same as title link)