By Sarah Rae Fruchtnicht
From Opposing Views
John Gerard Quinn is taking his case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals after police officers executed a no-knock raid on his home because they believed he had an AK-47 assault rifle inside, reported WND.
“Here, the police based their no-knock entry solely upon their suspicion that the occupants of the residence may have been in possession of a rifle,” claims Quinn’s appeal. “That the suspected possession of weapons was the only ‘justification’ for use of a no-knock entry in this case is undisputed.”
Quinn is defended by the The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based group offering free legal services to those who feel their civil liberties and human rights have been violated.
A no-knock search can only be executed under a particular kind of warrant obtained when officers believe someone might be hurt or evidence would be lost if they knock.
The officers that performed the raid had no such warrant. The SWAT team entered his home after Quinn had gone to bed.
“Whatever the issue might be, whether it’s mass surveillance, no-knock raids, or the right to freely express one’s views about the government, we’ve moved into a new age in which the rights of the citizenry are being treated as a secondary concern by the White House, Congress, the courts and their vast holding of employees, including law enforcement officials,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
Ruthford said the Quinn’s home was “stormed by a SWAT team that failed to knock and announce its entry in keeping with police protocol for non-violent situations.”
“Although the SWAT team had been granted a search warrant on the basis of leads provided by informants that Quinn’s son may have been involved in drug activity, the warrant did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry,” he added.
The SWAT team found less than one ounce of cocaine in the home and Quinn was charged with possession. But the appeal states that the Supreme Court never upheld that the suspicion of a rifle was enough to execute a no-knock raid.
“As a gun collector who prudently kept his legally owned collection safely secured in gun vaults, it was altogether possible that Mr. Quinn could have had a large number of guns in his home and no ammunition. The point here is not to argue that ‘possession’ of guns does not roughly or usually equate to possession of ‘working’ guns. The point is: an AK-47 is no more powerful – and is indeed less powerful – than many common hunting rifles.
“The police, being weapons experts, obviously knew this – but testified about the ‘dangerous’ nature of this particular gun because they knew the jury would have heard of it in the media and would know about its mystique as the weapon of choice for terrorists around the world. Clever, but misleading.”
Last week, a father and son in Massachusetts were arrested after a no-knock raid was executed at their Pittsfield home. A handgun and crack cocaine were found in the residence. Police, however, had a warrant specifying a no-knock entry.