A no-knock raid is a law enforcement technique designed to search for incriminating evidence while taking suspects by surprise. However, on the morning of May 9, it left one officer dead and another injured.
Now prosecutors in Killeen, Texas, are hoping to impose the death penalty on the suspect, 49-year-old Marvin Louis Guy (pictured above), in spite of the fact that no drugs were found.
The Washington Post writer Radley Balko looks at why this may not be such a good idea.
“Perhaps this was a major drug operation that justified a pre-dawn, no-knock raid. But it doesn’t seem like it from the evidence found,” Balko said. “I’d imagine that a good percentage of households in Texas have at least one firearm and that a good percentage of households elsewhere in America have cellphones and a set of walkie-talkies [items found in the raid].”
While there was a drug pipe found at the scene, this “suggests drug use, not distribution,” and Balko rightly points out that while an informant “saw white bags of cocaine transported in and around the house,” criminal informants are not typically that reliable.
“But all of that is mostly beside the point,” Balko concludes. “The fact that the police didn’t find any drugs in the house suggests that Marvin Louis Guy didn’t know he was shooting at cops. Drug dealer or no, unless he had a death wish, it’s unlikely that a guy would knowingly fire at police officers when he had nothing in the house that was particularly incriminating.”
Still, the Killeen Police Department lost one of its own in 47-year-old Officer Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, and that isn’t lost on the prosecution, notes KWTX. The outlet originally broke the news prosecutors would be seeking the death penalty in spite of the probability that Guy, awakened at 5:30 a.m/ by the no-knock raid, was simply shooting wildly at what he believed to be armed intruders.
His gunfire also struck the femur of Officer Odis Denton, 37, who underwent surgery and was later released from Scott & White Hospital.
Guy also shot two additional officers, who were unharmed due to the bullets striking protective gear.
While the evidence presented thus far does not indicate that police had substantial reason to believe Guy was a drug dealer, the case is still in the early stages of being tried, so it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.
What do you think, readers? Should the prosecution push for the death penalty, or did the police’s unsuccessful no-knock raid justify the early morning gunfire?