Radley Balko of The Agitator posts on a somewhat disturbing case of a man sentenced to death because he shot a policeman who broke down his door in the middle of the night on a search warrant that didn't apply to that house. The shooter claims that the policeman never identified himself and never knocked, meaning that it's absolutely reasonable that the shooter was fearing for his life (and the life of his young daughter). There's still some holes in Balko's reasoning - for example, why did the shooter shoot first and ask questions later, and why would a cop burst through a doorway unarmed without identifying himself - but I'm inclined to agree with him for the most part. If he's right, it's a travesty that someone is about to die because a police officer was stupid. (The original post on the case is a little ways down.)
Interestingly, at the bottom of the Dec. 7 posts, Balko outlines a whole litany of "no-knock raids" in Baltimore. This careless activity by police is apparently more prevalent than we would like to believe. Furthermore, I don't see what is gained by not knocking on the door first. If it means you have to look a little harder to find the drugs, fine.
Yet another life claimed by the war on drugs. How much longer are we going to keep up this silliness?