No Wrongdoing? Really?
A few weeks back, Berwyn Heights mayor, Cheye Calvo, was the subject of a no-knock warrant served on his home after a package addressed to his wife was delivered to his home. During shipping, drug dogs searched for and discovered 32 pounds of marijuana in that package. Police delivered the package dressed as FedEx deliverymen and were instructed to leave the package on the porch by Calvo’s mother-in-law. The Washington Post gives a full account of the ensuing happenings here. For those of you following this incident as closely as I did, you will already know those events, as well as subsequent updates to the story here, here, and here. Yesterday, an internal investigation by the Prince Georges County, Maryland Sheriff’s Department concluded that the officers that raided Cheye Clavo’s home were responsible for no wrongdoing in the execution of a drug raid on July 29th.
The most interesting aspects of this investigation are that neither Cheye Calvo nor his mother-in-law were interviewed, the necropsy showing that neither dog was threatening officers as they burst into the home, and the fact that an ordinary search warrant was executed as a “no-knock” warrant were considered as the Sheriff’s Department cleared itself of any wrongful conduct. The good news is that Calvo’s efforts to have the violations of his civil rights investigated have not fallen on deaf ears. His high-profile position has afforded him quite a network of officials in the county and state governments.
As expected, the Calvo family was cleared of any illegalities, since they were near the bottom of a long list of victims of a drug smuggling ring that shipped marijuana to the Washington D.C. suburb. Once delivered, the FedEx deliveryman would call a contact who would pick up the package and complete its delivery to the actual intended recipients. Area police were aware of this tactic, as they have seized 417 pounds of marijuana in subsequent arrests of the FedEx employee and his partner in the delivery scheme.
So, if I have this straight, the police and sheriff’s department did nothing wrong when they intruded on the home of the mayor without a proper warrant to do so, fatally shot two dogs who were not presenting an immediate threat to officers, and detained two individuals who were obviously the victims of a scheme to deliver marijuana to the Washington D.C. area. An internal investigation will almost always show bias toward the body it represents, and the utter disregard for the facts and interviews that have been ignored will certainly be used by the FBI when their investigation concludes. It is certainly helpful that Cheye Calvo is a well-connected individual in a position of authority and not the usual victims of an overzealous police force trampling the rights of the citizens they have sworn to protect, like Cory Maye.