DC-area mayor whose dogs were shot dead in botched drug raid to speak out


Tom Angell says

Berwyn Heights, MD Mayor Cheye Calvo, who was handcuffed by police after they shot and killed his two dogs in a baseless marijuana raid on his home, will criticize the overuse of SWAT-style drug raids this Thursday (9/11) at the Cato Institute in Wash, DC.

The event can be viewed live on Cato's website. Also speaking are Radley Balko of Reason Magazine and Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of cops who want to make our streets safer by legalizing and regulating all drugs.

DC-area mayor whose dogs were shot dead in botched drug raid to speak out


  1. Everything that could go wrong with this rad did go wrong. Even the report from the Sheriff’s Office that said “we did everything right.”

  2. “we did everything right.”

    right= according to policy

    Policy= be thugs and disregard the rights of citizens.

    Good for this guy indeed.
    I hope he is trying to get some policies changed and some leaders fired.

  3. They raided THE MAYOR? And they shot LABRADOR RETRIEVERS?

    This guy must NOT be corrupt and that’s why they raided him.

    I feel even worse about the dogs. Who would shoot a lab? It’s like killing a ladybug.

  4. Peter Christ is an interesting speaker and a very worthwhile use of your time. We had him come to campus when I was an undergrad, and as an added bonus to seeing him speak, I got a good giggle out of a campus paper headline proclaiming “Christ speaks out against the War on Drugs.”

  5. It amazes me the blind support that the drug war receives from otherwise reasonable people. What’s so bad that would happen under legalization? Would gangs roam the streets? Would young inexperienced people overdose? Would money be funneled to terrorists? Would a divide grow between citizens and law enforcement? Would the country engage in shady attacks against poor foreign farmers? I’m pretty sure that all that happens now, much of it an effect of the legal status and not the chemical itself.

  6. many have just never thought it through. They live in a cloud of FUD about their daily survival and shortcut any analysis to save energy.

  7. “Botched” raids such as this, often at the wrong address either because of faulty information or faulty execution are quite common, and usually the victims are too afraid to speak out either because of intimidation by the police or fear for their own circumstances.

    It’s too bad that one has to the L.L. Bean mayor of a suburb and have cute dogs killed before it makes the news.

  8. Thinkerer, ain’t that the truth. Regular people are dead, babies wounded in their dead mother’s arms, and nothing happens until some rich guy’s dogs get shot. But, what is happening? Google the mayor’s name and without dupes you get about 40 results.

  9. Raids like this are an unfortunate but unavoidable reality. Police resources are stretched thin, and immediacy of action is often vital to the successful apprehension of dangerous criminals. This is why policy is in place to guide the decisions of officers at times like this. Policy that was followed to the letter.

    It may be thought of as an unfortunate accident that, in this case, innocent people suffered as a result. Mostly, however, unfortunate oversights like this are well within the capability of departmental spin control and public relations. I mean, in who’s interest is it to undermine the community’s faith in their police force? For the police to operate effectively, they require the support and cooperation of their community. By speaking out against these valiant officers we are really only hurting ourselves.

    The reality of the matter is that police can not be everywhere at once. With the finite resources they have, one of the most important tools in their kit is that of the Deterrent Function. The Deterrent function of the police force is governed by two factors. The likelihood of a criminal to be caught, and the severity of the punishment that the criminal will receive. Obviously using SWAT Teams more often in drug related offenses dramatically increases the Deterrent Function of police operations. If anything we should be demanding more SWAT Team use.

    My concern is that the policy of the Sheriff’s Office isn’t progressive enough. After considerable thought on how to make the police force more effective I think I have a suggestion.


    Tanks are proven technology and easily obtained. Nothing could compare for the sheer physiological factor, the effective ability to remove the criminal’s will to fight. Knowing that, as a criminal, a Tank could be coming through your wall at any second would be the most magnificent deterrent.

    As piece loving citizens, what could be more reassuring than seeing a Tank on patrol through your neighborhood? Ready to answer to crime with it’s long, powerful cannon of justice. An invulnerable symbol of the force of law.

    The world is a different place today than it was ten years ago. It is about time we started recognizing that.

  10. Cheif of Police:
    We’re right at the sharp edge of the fight against crime. And, if you want law and order, I’ve only got one thing to say: if you want us to sap ’em, give us more tanks!

  11. The war on drugs is a waste of time. What would be so wrong with people deciding when they get home on the weekend instead of drinking themselves into a perfectly legal blackout, they had some safe designer drugs that went through extensive testing, are rated as both non-addictive and non-harmful, and were made in a nice clean lab? Would the world really come to an end?

    I can name one thing that would suffer… crime. Think about it. You have a choice. You can get some nice addictive heroine mixed in some dudes basement and sold by a sketchy drug dealer and sure to make you an addict… or you can go to your local pharmacy, watch a 10 minute video and answer a 5 minute quiz on the health risks and sign a consent form, and get a nice safe designer drug made by Pfizer. It won’t be addictive, it wont fry any more brain cells than a good solid night of drinking, it wont be addictive, and it won’t leave you hung over.

    Give pharmaceutical companies even a slim chance in hell of being allowed to sell a recreational drug, and they would have a safe and fun drug before you can snap your fingers. The a black market can’t compete with an open market. An open market (even a heavily regulated one) is going to produce cheaper products that are safer and of higher quality. As an added bonus, you basically get to destroy the vast majority of criminal activity, improve public health, and in general make the world a better place.

    Let me rephrase this. When was the last time you went to the liquor store to buy alcohol. Ok. Now, when was the last time you bought alcohol from a bootlegger. Right, about 1933.

    Finally, points to #12. Right before the blood vessel popped and I died of aneurysm I realized it was a joke. Thank you for not killing me.

  12. #12

    Funny you should mention tanks. University of Maryland (which is adjacent to Berwyn Heights) students, for several years, had a habit of starting riots whenever the basketball team won (or lost) a major game (or anything involving Duke). At one of these riots a SWAT tank did, indeed, show up, though I’m not sure what jurisdiction it belonged to. So they’re already prepared!

    Also, you should see how many mounted cops there are lurking about there. They exercise their horses on the paths behind the university. Never underestimate the power of a good cavalry charge!

  13. I agree that he dosen’t look like the typical drug dealer type but the news stories I read calling attention to the fact that it wasn’t a no knock warrant, fail to point out that it dosen’t matter after drugs are found.
    The only search warrant I ever got tossed at me didn’t have a name, address or any identifying information on it at all.
    Seems to pass for law in Texas.

  14. Really who cares if the drugs are addictive, alcohol, tobacco, oxycodone, they’re all legal and highly addictive so why even bother making drugs non-addictive in a lab.

    I mean sure, ethically it would be nice but in reality “they” want us hooked anyway, gets’em more money.

    And really, is it truly possible to make them non-addictive, you can say it has a low instance of chemical dependance but if it’s a really fun drug you’ll want to do it all the time anyway so there you go, hooked.

    party on!

  15. @Chloramphenicol #13:
    Why take the word of some manga/anime artist when you could just ask Sheriff Leon Lott of the Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Department about his new “Peacemaker“?

  16. Tiunkerer@10: “It’s too bad that one has to the L.L. Bean mayor of a suburb and have cute dogs killed before it makes the news.”

    The way this war on drugs has been waged, just like the war on error, running ripshod across the Constitution and laws of the land, it was bound to eventually start hitting people who are less likely to be ignored by the cowed and controlled media. I hear what you’re saying that it is a shame that it takes something like this to get their attention.

    However, Kudos to them for trying to get justice. I can believe in this Christ. So what if he’s a yup white guy. It is shameful what happened to his family and it is shameful what has happened to many other families that have been literally and figuratively torn apart as casualties in this war vs. ourselves that can never be won. It is a shame that most people would be too intimidated or too precarious in their situation to be able to feel like they can do anything about it.

    I believe many people are starting to wake the fuck up, though, unable to continue to nurture the willful ignorance they had so carefully put in place any longer in the face of errorism so egregious. Does it really matter which incident sparked the change more than the fact that it is beginning to occur? Sometimes good comes about for the wrong reasons. In fact, one might argue; most of the time. But the original Christ was said to have invited the poor and the rich to his table without judgment. I am on the side of all who have been unjustly wronged, and against all who offer us nothing but the new face of tyranny in the guise of security.

  17. Thinkerer, sorry for the above typo in your name. It was from a typing flub and not meant to disrespect. (Actually, I really like your handle.)

  18. Jeebus, MisterVega, that is some kind of intense! You really have to wonder – just how often does this kind of thing happen?

    I don’t like the idea of having armed police storm a house anyway, especially over non-violent crimes, so there’s some confirmation bias here. I have to wonder, what would the reaction be from someone who thinks regular SWAT deployments are a good idea?

  19. officialdom tends to support these anti-drug laws because if they said they weren’t in support then their opponents would claim they were in support of drugs… kinda like the rabid patriotism in favour of the Patriot act, those against it were accused of being in favour of terrorism and of not being a “patriot”… It’s a horrible mudslinging tactic and joe public suffers because ridiculously draconian laws are passed as a result…

  20. Finding a lawyer who will represent the mayor pro bono in a lawsuit against the city will do more than some stupid speech that will be news today and forgotten tomorrow. Even better would be a lawsuit brought by the city against its own police department.

    Yes, I am a dreamer.

  21. From what I heard from a relative, it’s not any easier to handle the cops shooting your dogs in a raid even if you are guilty. Whatever happened to due process?

  22. MisterVega,

    According to the article, Khang fired three shots and hit two policemen. The police returned fire an estimated 22 times and hit no-one. They really did have the wrong address! You just don’t fuck with the Hmong.

    I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that raids of this sort keep happening, or the fact that the Police so bad at them.

  23. #12: I LOLed, right after I thought “This guy is going to get roasted alive!”

    They won’t make drugs non-addictive, and really they can’t. Sure they can make them so they aren’t physically addictive maybe, but it’s hard to change people’s mind when they mentally want something.

    If they do make drugs legal, as a recovering addict I hope that they make the drug makers set aside money for quitting and counseling (like tobacco companies). Most people that go through the process will tell you that legal issues that you might face are a far second compared to the phyisical and mental healing process. I’m ok with people making their own descisions on whether to do a “strong” drug, I would just like the people that are for complete legalization to think the ramifications through.

    #32: It’s this type of ignorant thinking that makes things worse. Might does not make right, and what you’re suggesting is a poor knee jerk reaction that makes you no better than them.

  24. I do so love people afforded anonymity over the internet beat their chests, call for the death of “pigs” and then call them fascists. Extra style points for calling for a slow painfull death, and then calling the “pigs” “macho”. Bravo!

    So, tell us, Mojave, when was the last time you killed a fascist “pig”? What methods of slow execution did you use?

  25. Here is another example of The most failed and destructive public policy ever .. the “War On Some Drugs’.
    No intoxicant is more toxic to the human body or more disruptive to a person’s judgment than alcohol,yet it is legal.Alcohol is legal because Prohibition showed us what happens when you make an intoxicant (or any self-inflicted human behavior) and make it illegal.
    Intoxicants cause very little trouble when legal to adults. When these same substances are made illegal they become giant problems,even for people who don’t use them.
    The “War On Some Drugs” and those who support keeping drugs illegal are directly responsible for violent drug gangs, political and judicial corruption,funding evil people including terrorists and crime syndicates, police brutality, an erosion of Freedom and a giant waste of taxpayer money.
    $5000 will buy a ton of opium and convert it into 400 lbs of heroin. This $5000 dollars of heroin can be sold for $58,000,000 on the streets of the USA.
    Do you REALLY think this “War” can be won? Even the DEA says that they could seize 99% of all drugs smuggled into the US and it would STILL be profitable.
    Drugs were 100% legal through all human history for the most part until 1902. The problems were minimal and could be avoided by not abusing drugs.

  26. If the people making the decisions about the war on drugs didn’t have a vested interest in keeping it going (usually, a political interest) then it would stop.

    I am amused at the violent raids on marijuana dealers, most of whom are only armed because of possible violent raids.

  27. Um, all you people going on about how funny the tank thing was do realize that most state police departments, major city police departments, and a growing number of rural Sheriff’s departments HAVE TANKS, right?

  28. #38: Yes, but they have “Have a Nice Day” on covering the barrel, like in Dan Akyrod’s Dragnet, so it’s Ok.

  29. RealVideo/RealAudio only? Really? I didn’t even know they were still around…their software was among the first I vowed to never install again, after awful user experiences. Anyone have a Youtube link?

  30. SuperNate @29

    That’s an interesting article you linked to. No news in it for me, really, but interesting that it was published on MSN.

    One thing I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t mention, or at any rate only hinted at in passing, was the extent to which the harmful effects of currently illegal drugs are due not to the drugs themselves, but to all the impurities arising from the substandard production quality you get from dodgy basement labs – e.g. comparing the effects of using street-quality methamphetamine, to those of using Desoxyn®.

  31. It’s important to remember these facts that are left out of this discussion:

    Calvo is the mayor of a VERY SMALL incorporated town while the sheriff is the sheriff of a VERY LARGE area. It’s not like they would be best friends as might happen in a different area.

    But the county has been majority-corrupt for about 20 years and the only time I was really, truly chewed out and threatened with an arrest for not doing anything illegal, it was in Prince George’s County, MD. I was walking around my dorm at UMD trying to find which entrance my friend was waiting at, around 1am in the morning. Totally normal college campus behavior, but the cop thought I was some kind of prowler/ drug dealer and proceeded to threaten me with all kinds of violence because I “was on HIS campus now!” Even though I was standing, literally, in front of the entrance to what was my home.

    I have yet to tell that story to any police officer, not to be met with their own stories about PG County corruption, bribery and illegal behavior on the part of the county police and sheriff’s department.

  32. It’s too bad that one has to the L.L. Bean mayor of a suburb and have cute dogs killed before it makes the news.

    Well, I’m sorry that the press isn’t interested in how some dude (probably with priors) got raided, but it was a mistake THIS time.

    Now that it happened to someone important, things might change. That’s just how the world works.

  33. The biggest hurtle to decriminalization are the alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical lobbies, as well as the privatized prisons and special DEA “task forces” like those who botched this raid, and mercenary groups like Blackwater. What a wonderful thing it would be to toss them all out on their asses while making much needed medicine available to millions who are suffering for lack of access to the miracle drug that marijuana has turned out to be.

  34. Look, I don’t want decriminalization of drugs. I don’t really want decriminalization of GAMBLING and I think all one has to do is visit the wasteland of Atlantic City, NJ to see what happens when what we consider as a society as vices are legalized.

    We all know that Victorianism has negative repercussions, but making these vices legal are really problematic. I went to a strip bar once and it was totally disgusting and appealed to the worst prurience- totally different from how it seemed on TV and these lunkheads LOVED IT! I never went to a strip bar again of course. My friends who were strippers loved how they could pay their college rent for a month in one weekend, pay for their college classes by working one night a week. But my friend is 40, like I am, cannot have the relationship she wants and has been paying for therapy specifically about how she related to men for at least 10 years that I’m aware. I’m not going to say that she became a stripper because she had a positive view of men, but she was 19! She was not finished forming her idea about men when she entered into a job as a stripper and at 40 she is still paying big bucks to try to get her head straight around dating men.

    I stopped drinking, as did all of my friends, around age 30-33. After that very few of us drank anymore and no one got drunk because alcohol use is really pretty stupid. If you aren’t comfortable at a party sober, it’s a sign that you have issues. These issues can get solved. Once they’re solved, no more drinking. So… when people talk about legalizing drugs and compare them to alcohol. I don’t want people to drink anymore either because it’s really a bad thing- not a good thing. I’m not going to get into your face about drinking, but I buy more than a few bottles of wine for a party and people neither get, nor ask for, too many extra glasses. Drinking too much is lame. I don’t encourage lameness. So can’t convince me through the liquor industry argument- they aren’t cool.

  35. Here is an amazing interactive map of the botched raids which have been reported across the country over the past few years… Note, most of these incidents are unreported, and this map shows only a select few where the media has picked up the story.


  36. why do people automatically assume that “the war on drugs” is based on emotion and not solely the economic advancement of a few connected powers?
    jails are an industry. federal funding of local police depts. is a economy builder. court mandated drug consuling makes money for someones brother-in-law. please try to understand what you’re dealing with before you critique it.

  37. So… when people talk about legalizing drugs and compare them to alcohol. I don’t want people to drink anymore either because it’s really a bad thing- not a good thing. I’m not going to get into your face about drinking, but I buy more than a few bottles of wine for a party and people neither get, nor ask for, too many extra glasses. Drinking too much is lame. I don’t encourage lameness. So can’t convince me through the liquor industry argument- they aren’t cool.

    So do you want to make drinking illegal? Do you think that the years of alcohol prohibition were some magical age of human happiness and well being? I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are a sane human who realizes that alcohol prohibition, even if you hate alcohol, would not be worth the mass amounts of pain and suffering it would bring. The argument isn’t “alcohol is cool, so other drugs should be cool too”. The argument is, “the effects of alcohol prohibition were horrific and lead to a vast increase in crime and general human misery that abated once the prohibition was gone, drugs would be the same”.

    You don’t have to like alcohol or any other drug to be in favor of making it legal.

    Legalization will result in trade offs. Certainly, if you were to suddenly legalize all drugs the following would happen:

    1) Drug use would go up.
    2) Drug dependency would go up.
    3) Drug treatment would improve (no legal hurdles to treating drug abuse).
    4) Crime would plummet, as you would rip the beating heart out of pretty much all criminal activity in the US.
    5) Fewer people would die of overdose and impurities because legal vendors would have health and safety regulations
    6) Vastly fewer people would die to drug related violence as the black market (the heart of drug related violence) would be utterly destroyed.
    7) Government revenue would go through the rough via collected taxes.

    So sure, there is some good and some bad, but on the whole I think it is pretty clear which side of the equation is the better side. Legalization would result in greater human happiness, prosperity, and longer lives. The illegality of drugs on the other hand is the number one reason for human suffering and misery.

  38. “So do you want to make drinking illegal? ”

    How can I take this kind of analysis with a straight face. What a perfectly lousy distillation (pun intended) of the nuances of my comment.

  39. Yessir, banning gambling would stop Atlantic City from being a wasteland. Jobs would flow in, crime would go down, and that city would be great again.


  40. The idea of these Nazi Storm Troopers breaking every law of humanity known to Man…..America is a nation of drunk Freeks who rape children, shoot their neighbors…..It’s a sick country….Murder Inc.

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