Tuesday, January 06, 2009

NV: Rogue police get shot for once

Three children removed from a Henderson home where three police officers were shot while serving a search warrant Sunday night were ordered returned to their mother after a hearing in Family Court on Wednesday morning. Their mother, Belinda Saavedra, was awarded custody pending her passing a drug test and the home on Panorama Ridge being certified as safe, her attorney Vicki Greco said. The children were to remain at Child Haven after the shooting until the drug test and inspection could be done, said Jennifer Knight, spokeswoman for the Clark County Child Protective Service.

In addition, Metro Police released the names of the officers who were wounded. They were Sgt. Charles Collingwood, officer James Causey and officer Patrick Ledbetter. All had been released from University Medical Center by Tuesday, police said. No further information about the officers was released.

Meanwhile, court documents revealed further details surrounding shooting of the officers as they were serving a search warrant in Seven Hills on Sunday night. Police say they obtained the warrant to search the home of Emmanuel Dozier on Dec. 23, after an undercover Metro narcotics officer purchased cocaine from Dozier at the home on three separate occasions in December. Because of Dozier's alleged arrest history in California, Metro classified the search warrant as high risk and dispatched the SWAT team to serve it on Sunday night about 10 p.m.

According to an arrest declaration filed in court, officers said the SWAT team members who approached the home repeatedly yelled, "Police! Search warrant!" When there was no response, the officers began to forcefully open the door. Shots were fired from within the home and hit three officers.

The SWAT team retreated from the door and surrounded the home. Dozier surrendered a short time later, leaving the home with Saavedra and two of the children. Police say that Dozier confessed to being the man who fired from within the home.

The woman who was in the house has said police did not identify themselves and that Dozier believed the home was being broken into and that he was acting in self-defense.

According the court document, Dozier called an officer over a short time after his arrest, before he was taken from the scene. "I want you to know something in your heart — I did not mean to shoot any cops," the officer said Dozier told him. "I wasn't sure they were cops. I thought my house was being home invaded. I just want you to know this in your heart."

Dozier is being held in the Clark County Detention Center on suspicion of three counts of attempted murder of a police officer and three counts of selling cocaine. His bail has been set at more than $3 million. He made his first appearance in Henderson Justice Court via video on Tuesday morning, and his arraignment was scheduled for Monday.

Greco said no one inside the house heard police announce themselves. She noted that, according to media reports, no drugs were found in the home and Dozier was not charged with possession of illegal drugs. "What intent would there be of a shootout with police if there were nothing to hide?" she said.

Saavedra called 911 during the incident, Greco said, and when those tapes are released, it will be clear whether Henderson dispatchers informed her that police were at their door. Metro Police spokesman officer Jacinto Rivera said Henderson police were aware of the raid and told Saavedra of it when she called.

In addition, Greco noted that the police statements say that children were present in the home when some of the alleged drug buys were made. She questioned why police did not make the arrest then if they felt the situation was dangerous for the children. "Why did they leave three times?" she said. "This is a tragic case where police did not announce."

Both Collingswood and Ledbetter have both been previously under investigation by Metro’s use-of-force board. Ledbetter was cleared in June 2001 of any wrong doing of when he fired two shots at 27-year-old wanted fugitive, Chad Smith. In July 2007, Ledbetter was under investigation again for the killing of Kyone Johnson and wounding Rayvon Wilkerson after Metro SWAT officer stormed the house on a narcotics tip.

In December 2005, Collingswood was under investigation by internal affairs for punching a handcuffed fugitive. In May 2006, Collingswood and other Metro Police officer was under investigation for the shooting of Christopher Scott Hawkins after Hawkins had engaged police in a five-hour standoff. The actions Collingswood and other law enforcement officers were ruled as justified by a jury.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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