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Ryan Fredrick – Another Drug War Victim

It was about 8 PM, and Ryan Fredrick was sleeping.  He had to get up early for his soda delivery job.  Two days before he his home was burglarized, and in a nearby neighborhood people had been killed in a home invasion.  He had bought a gun to protect himself.

He woke to pounding and smashing sounds at his front door.  He grabbed his gun, ran out of the bedroom, and saw that part of his door had been smashed in.  An arm was coming through the broken door.  Thinking, correctly, that he was being attacked by thugs, he fired through the door.

Unfortunately for him, the thugs were police officers.  One of them was cleverly standing sideways to the door, where his armor didn’t protect him.  He was hit by the bullet and killed.

As soon as he heard them shout “Police” he dropped his weapon and surrendered.  Surprisingly, the cops didn’t execute him on the spot, but arrested him instead.

He waited in jail for a year.  Supporters put a sign on his front lawn, and over a hundred people signed it.  The local bureaucrats amused themselves by citing him for code violations, some of which included damage done by the police and the burglars.  They were particarly pissed about the sign, which claimed was a safety volition.

It turned out the burglars were working for the cops.  It was a sweet deal for both sides.  When the cops didn’t have probable cause for a warrant they’d send in their free-lance burglars, who would steal what they could and snitch to the cops, giving them the pretense for a raid.

They were looking for pot.  They believed, without any evidence, that Ryan had a major growing operation.  In the trial it came out that he had grown a few plants in the past, but wasn’t doing it at the time of the raid.  They only found a few grams of pot when they raided his home.

The prosecutor was eager to set a record for the number of dishonest dirty tricks in a trial.  He started out with the claim that Ryan was “stoned out of his mind” and “in a blind rage,”  eager to kill cops.  If anyone on the jury had ever smoked a joint they would have known to disregard anything the DA said from that point forward.  (As the great philosopher Bill Hicks explained, “I have never seen people on pot get in a fight because. . . it’s fucking impossible.”)  His first witness was the cop’s mother, who had absolutely no facts to offer, just an emotional plea to the jury to avenge the death of her son.  The DA brought in a jailhouse snitch, who claimed Ryan said he wanted to kill cops.  The defense discredited his testimony so thoroughly even the DA told the jury to disregard it.

But a cop was killed, and someone had to be punished.  The jury declined to convict Ryan on capital murder, bringing back a verdict of manslaughter, and a recommendation he receive the maximum sentence.  Ryan won’t see daylight for at least seven and a half years.  He should have been acquitted.

The real criminals in this case were the police.  They broke the law to get a pretense for the raid, but that’s standard operating procedure for most police departments.  The real crime was breaking into a citizen’s home in a SWAT raid.  They could have arrested Ryan when he was on his way to work in the morning, quietly, peacefully, and then searched his now empty house.  It would have been a minor local story and Ryan would have received a fine for the small amount of pot he had in the house.  But no, they had too much testosterone for that.  They had to get all dressed up in their fancy gear and play army men.  And when this sleepy guy defended himself from unidentified thugs breaking into his house, one life was lost and another was ruined.

This is not an isolated instance.  Hundreds of these raids happen every year and far too many end in tragedy.  Cop who murder citizens go free, but when a citizen defends themselves and kills a cop they go to jail, sometimes even to death row.  All over the most harmless intoxicant known to man.  All because these thugs in blue are adrenaline junkies who simply don’t give a rat’s ass about the citizens they pretend to protect.

The best coverage I’ve found on this story comes from Radley Balko, whose articles are on The Agitator and Reason.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Insanity. This is the kind of story that just makes you horror stricken and makes you question what you would do in such a situation. All the news has actually been pretty bad this last week, but this might just take the cake. Two peoples’ lives were fucked over for no real reason.

    Enshoku | Feb 9, 2009 | Reply

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