Imagine that you pick up a package addressed to your home. Next thing you know, undercover police officers break into your home, shoot your dogs, and refuse to believe that you’re uninvolved in a drug ring. Completely frightening and horrible, right?
Imagine that you’re in your home with your children when police enter with guns drawn and open fire on you–and your children.
One story is making the rounds–the other not so much. Care to guess why?
Police say the couple appeared to be innocent victims of a scheme by two men to smuggle millions of dollars worth of marijuana by having it delivered to about a half-dozen unsuspecting recipients.
The police actually held the mayor and his mother in law, in handcuffs, for two hours after they entered the home and shot the dogs.
“Our dogs were our children,” said the 37-year-old Calvo. “They were the reason we bought this house because it had a big yard for them to run in.” (Yahoo)
Some facts are known. A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson’s rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima’s police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbors who saw the raid.
Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Beyond these scant certainties, there is mostly rumor and rage. The police refuse to give any account of the raid, pending an investigation by the Ohio attorney general.
During the raid, Ms. Wilson’s youngest son, Sincere, was shot in the left shoulder and hand. Three weeks after the shooting, he remains in fair condition, said a spokeswoman at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
The New York Times felt it was necessary to include the fact that Wilson had six children fathered by five men–all drug dealers. They also offer a quote from Tarika’s sister that she never took drugs or allowed them to be dealt out her home.
So here we have two cases in which people who were not using or selling drugs who were subject to drug raid levels of police force that resulted in death. Mayor Cheye Calvo and his wife Trinity Tomsic lost their dogs that they considered as children (note the photo they have of themselves with the dogs in the AP photo from their press conference). Tarika Wilson lost her life, her children lost their mother, her family lost a daughter and a sister. Yet the overall levels of outrage and news coverage seem to indicate that if our dogs are no longer safe–now we must be outraged.
To take a point from The Message blog, is this an example of the two Americas?
The experience of Mayor Calvo and his wife had to have been incredibly traumatic and was essentially a sanctioned violation of their rights. They did nothing more than bring in a package and suddenly the (unannounced and ununiformed) police were invading their space and killing their dogs.
At the same time–what makes them any different than the Tanika Wilson’s of the world–equally innocent and more routinely harmed by police?
*More about Tanika Wilson at Womanist Musings