Yet again, local law enforcement, driven by the increasingly inane, stupid, counterproductive, and unethical “War on Drugs,” have shown they have no class or decency by busting in on a dying woman to confiscate her perscription drugs:
A man says Vernal police disrupted an intimate moment of mourning with his deceased wife of 58 years when they searched his house for her prescription medication without a warrant within minutes of her death.
Barbara Alice Mahaffey died of colon cancer in her bedroom last May. Ben D. Mahaffey, 80, said he was distraught and trying to make sure his wife’s body would be taken to the funeral home with dignity, when he says officers insisted he help them look for the drugs.
“I was holding her hand saying goodbye when all the intrusion happened,” he told the Deseret News.
Barbara Mahaffey died at 12:35 a.m. with Mahaffey, a Navy medic in the Korean War, and his friend, an EMT, at her side. In addition to police, a mortician and a hospice worker arrived at the home about 12:45 a.m., Mahaffey said. He said he doesn’t know how police came to be there.
“I was indignant to think you can’t even have a private moment. All these people were there and they’re not concerned about her or me. They’re concerned about the damn drugs. Isn’t that something?” Mahaffey said.
Mahaffey said he was treated as if he were going to sell the painkillers, which included OxyContin, oxycodone and morphine, on the street.
“I had no interest in the drugs,” he said. “I’m no addict.”
Mahaffey filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging police violated his Fourth and 14th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and for equal protection under the law, respectively.
This is disgusting. This is beyond disgusting, actually. Besides the question of “Should the police be there in the first place?” you gotta ask “Couldn’t they have waited a day or two?” No, police can’t even wait for you to die to barge in and take all your stuff.
Not to mention these guys didn’t have a warrant. Pretty sure that was required under the Constitution. Unfortunately, it seems that law enforcement these days is totally unconcerned with the Constitution, or the rule of law, or in this case, human decency.
I don’t know what criteria police departments are using to screen officer candidates, but it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that they are either scraping the bottom of the barrel or just don’t give a damn anymore. I’ve said before that we really need to take a second look at police and what they’re doing.
The function of police is to protect us from rights violations. Yet today, with police now violating our rights left and right, they are clearly not doing their job. And the shameful behavior of the Vernal police department towards the Mahaffeys shows they not only are they not doing their jobs, they’re also being raised in barns. The cops, I mean. There is no standard, no code of ethics, it seems. They’ll just do whatever they want, willy-nilly.
If we’re going to start having a national discussion about anything, it should be about our law enforcement nightmare. It should be about shameless, petty police officers who abuse their power. It should be about police brutality. It should be about how these cops intruded upon a most intimate moment, as a woman lay dying, and they wanted to ransack her house as she did so.
It should be about making cops go back to their original function of actually protecting people, instead of invading their lives. We did that for well over a century and a half. We can do it again.