A Prince George’s County, Maryland SWAT team raided the home of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo last night, shooting and killing his two black labs in the process.
"My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs," Calvo said. "They thought we were drug dealers, and we were treated as such. I don’t think they really ever considered that we weren’t."
Calvo described a chaotic scene, in which he — wearing only underwear and socks — and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and interrogated for hours. They were surrounded by the dogs’ carcasses and pools of the dogs’ blood, Calvo said.
Spokesmen for the Sheriff’s Office and Prince George’s police expressed regret yesterday that the mayor’s dogs were killed. But they defended the way the raid was carried out, saying it was proper for a case involving such a large amount of drugs.
Well no, it isn’t, unless there’s reason to believe that the mayor, his wife, and his mother-in-law are violent people capable of killing cops who might have served the warrant in a less confrontational manner. The possibility of the mayor or his wife disposing of the drugs doesn’t seem likely, either, unless the family owns an industrial-strength toilet: The raid commenced after police began tracking a package filled with 30 pounds marijuana originating in Arizona that was eventually delivered to the mayor’s wife.
Local police are angry that they weren’t notified first:
"You can’t tell me the chief of police of a municipality wouldn’t have been able to knock on the door of the mayor of that municipality, gain his confidence and enter the residence," Murphy said. "It would not have been a necessity to shoot and kill this man’s dogs."
It’s worth emphasizing that these were labs. Not the most intimidating dog in the world. Of course, offing the dog is almost standard procedure in these things, now.
On the other hand, maybe once a few public officials feel the brunt end of the militarized drug war, we’ll get some real discussion about whether it’s all really necessary.