Remembering Cheye Calvo

A simple reminder today: the case of Cheye Calvo.

The case is hardly remarkable. Really, it’s only “news” because of who Cheye Calvo is.

The summary? Well, it appears that in their vigor to prosecute yet another case in the War on (Some) Drugs, the county cops planted a box of the old Mary Jane on the doorstep of a choice home in a posh neighborhood in Berwyn Heights, Maryland, and waited for someone to claim it. (We are told this is a new technique being used by the dealers, you see.) When the resident of the house brought it in with the mail, county SWAT executed a no-knock raid, terrorized Calvo’s mother-in-law, shot both of his dogs (one of them in flight), and held him at gunpoint while they ransacked his house.

The only thing they found worth confiscating was…the box of weed they’d put on the doorstep. Their shifting stories about the warrant and their actions started at lame and degenerated from there. And how’s this for a punchline?

“The guy in there is crazy,” [Berwyn Heights police officer Amir] Johnson remembered a Prince George’s County officer telling him when he arrived. “He says he is the mayor of Berwyn Heights.”

“That is the mayor of Berwyn Heights,” Johnson replied.

The detective looked very surprised, Johnson later recalled: “He had that ‘Oh, crap’ look on his face.”

The solitary show of official onsite sanity was provided by Berwyn Heights officer Johnson, who was driving past the scene and checked in personally. (Remember, it was the county cops who did the raiding.) And his reaction may be the most chilling item of all:

The scene at the house was so terrible and odd to Berwyn Heights officer Johnson that he planted himself in the living room. He couldn’t see a search warrant posted anywhere. The mayor looked so vulnerable that Johnson wanted to make sure nothing even worse happened to him, such as getting shot. “Not that I didn’t trust the police,” Johnson would later say. “But I wanted to personally witness what is going to happen to my mayor, so if they try to say this guy went for a gun — and he didn’t — it’s not going to happen on my watch.”

How about that? (Maybe he recently watched the film 16 Blocks, or something.)

I mean, on the plus side, this may be an excellent example of an officer that’s actually worth more than the costume he wears. (I’d sure welcome an attitude like Johnson’s on my local police force.) But look at the sort of world we live in now.

And remember Cheye Calvo the next time someone asks you to surrender more money or liberty to “do your part” in the War on (Some) Drugs, because what happened to Cheye Calvo is not only possible, it is inevitable.

– Article from Anchorage Libertarian Examiner on August 4, 2009.