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Thursday, August 07, 2008

FBI Launches Review of Berwyn Heights Raid

(Posted 7 Aug 2008)

FBI Launches Review of Berwyn Heights Raid

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 7, 2008; 4:51 PM

The FBI has launched a review of the police raid of Mayor Cheye Calvo's home in Berwyn Heights last week, that resulted in the deaths of the family's two dogs.

Richard J. Wolf, spokesman for the FBI in Baltimore, which has jurisdiction over federal civil rights investigations in Maryland, said the agency has begun "reviewing the events that occurred at Mr. Calvo's residence."

The raid, conducted by the Prince George's County Sheriff's Office and county narcotics officers, was launched after police tracked a shipment of drugs addressed to the mayor's wife. During the raid, sheriff's deputies shot and killed the family's two black Labrador retrievers.

Such FBI reviews precede investigations and are used to determine if law enforcement agencies had proper procedures in place, and if they executed those plans properly.

In a news conference today Calvo and his wife, Trinity Tomsic, called for the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation into the practices of Prince George's law enforcement, including the raid on their home. The couple also sent a letter today to the department.

Calvo suggested a systemic problem might exist in the Prince George's County Sheriff's Office and the county police force in executing search warrants, noting he has received other reports of misconduct since a Sheriff's Office SWAT team and county narcotics officers raided his home.

"This has happened before, and without oversight, it will happen again," Calvo said at an afternoon news conference, while standing on his front lawn next to his wife and surrounded by county elected leaders and friends.

County law enforcement burst into the home after Calvo brought a package filled with 32 pounds of marijuana and addressed to his wife into the house. Police had been tracking the package since a drug-sniffing dog in Arizona alerted authorities to the presence of drugs. It had been left on the porch by police posing as deliverymen and was later seized unopened inside the house.

On Wednesday, police announced they had arrested a package deliveryman and another man in connection with a scheme to smuggle marijuana by intercepting packages addressed to unsuspecting recipients. Prince George's Police Chief Melvin C. High said Calvo and his wife were likely innocent victims of the conspiracy, but that the case remained under investigation. He defended the actions of deputies and officers who carried out the raid.

"A shadow was cast over our good names," Calvo said today. "We were harmed by the very people who took an oath to protect us."

Calvo also called on the sheriff's office to release graphic photos of the two black Labradors taken the night of the raid, which he said would prove the dogs did not engage deputies who entered the home, as the sheriff's department has asserted. He said those statements seemed to blame the dogs and asked for Sheriff Michael Jackson to retract them.

He also said the sheriff should take back his suggestion that the SWAT team was justified in raiding the home without announcing its presence because his 50-year old mother-in-law had screamed upon spotting officers through the window storming the home's front lawn.

The sheriff's office did not immediately return a call for comment.


  1. This seems fairly obvious that the sheriff's department is at 100% fault in this. The Mayor's family should receive a massive settlement over this. This is why I don't trust the police, ever.

    The federal government is also at fault, for making cannabis illegal in the first place. Cannabis, a substance that has been well documented as much safer than tobacco and alcohol,yet illegal still because of religious zealots. If it were legal and taxed in the first place, then there would be no smuggling ring going on, no wasted police money on this aspect of the "war" on drugs, and this incident would have never happened

  2. Anybody shoots my dog and they are dead. I don't care if it is a cop or a fed or anyone else. I would gladly sit in prison for the rest of my life to kill the sob that shot my dog. Darn cops thinkin they can do anything to anyone because they have a badge. They need better psych tests.

  3. This story breaks my heart.

  4. These violations of civil rights need to come to an end. A similar event happened to me. I was ushered from my home at gun point (three guns to be exact). My home was searched. I committed no crime, and I was never charged with any thing. When I publicly complained, I was told by the police that I should be quit or "bad things" will happen to me. Was that a death threat by the police?

    Within the last month a man was tasered seven time, and he died at the hands of a police officer. The police tactics are out of line! A traffic stop is not suppose to be a life and death issue. One false move at a traffic stop and you are dead! What is going on? That is not acceptable conduct. That is conduct that I expect in Iraq not the United States.

    I think it is time that people protest the excessive use of force by the police! Publicly send a message.

  5. People, you have got to learn how to control your dogs when you've got company.

  6. That "control your dogs" comment was disgusting. You are truly a sad, pathetic excuse for a human being. I don't know whether I should despise you and your ignorance, or just feel sorry for you.

  7. Uhhhh.... "control your dogs when you have company?" Did you not read the story of what happened? Can you read? You might need to reconnect with your mothership. I think they left you behind.

  8. we are turning into a Police State, they think they are above the law, they think their badges give them special powers, well they do not. You are all public servants and we need to overhaul All our government offices, starting in the Oval Office.

  9. This is why, though I have never in my life been in trouble with the law, I don't trust the police. I would never speak to them without an attorney, even to give a witness statement.

    This situation,in Maryland, where no knock warrant don't exist clearly show the only criminals in this situation were the police!

  10. How can a person trust law enforcement after reading a story like this? This is not an isolated incident! How was this a legal act? What form of intelligence did the Operation Commander have and why did he/she issue orders that would lead to the execution of two innocent animals? What if the mother-in-law was killed in this action? The PG County Sheriffs Dept and "SWAT" should be held accountable both in Civil and CRIMINAL courts! I hope to read about justice being served! I would like to see suspensions without pay, dismissals from duty, pensions lost, restitution awarded, and (most of all) jail time for CRIMINAL USE OF DEADLY FORCE.

    Have you ever talked to a "Cop"? I've never met nor talked to a police officer that didn't fit the following descriptions: Gregarious, narcissistic, cocky, self-centered, and over-bearing. I understand the stress and demands of their job. I am certain that the Constitution of the United States of America clearly states INNOCENT until proven guilty. It seems to be way too common for most police officers to play JUDGE, JURY, AND EXECUTIONER.

    It's obvious that no one in their right mind should trust a criminal. The ultimate question is...

    Can we trust the police and the Judiciary System that allows such breaches of CIVIL RIGHTS?

  11. Laughable!! The police policing the police.....Now that'll be a fair and balanced "Review". Now hopefully the mayor sheep will wake up and see the kind of system he supports and probably approved of before this happened. If he wasn't the mayor this story probably would never have appeared on this page. This type of "incident" happens EVERYDAY in Amerika. Homeland Security (Gestapo) and Law Enforcement (Government sponsored thugs) are completely out of control...any thinking person can see this and verify it! If we do not return to the basic principles of the Constitution, its the end of the Empire....goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.