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Berwyn Heights Rallies for Mayor and His Dogs

Phyllis Jordan

About 100 people gathered on a ball field in the tiny town of Berwyn Heights last night to rally in support of the town's mayor and in memory of his two dogs who were shot and killed by law enforcement officers during a drug raid last week.

Residents, many accompanied by their own dogs on leashes, recalled 7-year-old Payton and 4-year-old Chase, black Labrador retrievers, as dogs who would stop and greet them on walks.

Members of a Prince George's County Sheriff's Office SWAT team shot the dogs Tuesday while bursting into the home of Mayor Cheye Calvo. The raid, conducted jointly with county police narcotics officers, took place after officers saw Calvo bring a package containing more than 30 pounds of marijuana from his front porch into his house. They had been tracking the package since police dogs sniffed out the presence of drugs at a shipping facility in Arizona.

The package was addressed to Trinity Tomsic, Calvo's wife. But law enforcement sources said last week that they are now investigating the possibility that the mayor and his wife were unwitting recipients and that a deliveryman might have intended to intercept the package as part of a drug smuggling scheme.

The package landed on Calvo's doorstep after police posing as deliverymen brought it to the door and Calvo's mother-in-law asked that it be left on the porch. Police recovered the unopened package from the home Tuesday night but made no arrests. Calvo has said he was interrogated for hours while handcuffed and surrounded by the bloody bodies of his dogs.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office has said that the department regretted the shooting of the dogs but that deputies felt threatened by them. The spokesman did not return a call for comment yesterday.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 4, 2008; 11:36 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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It would seem that Cheye Calvo and Trinity Tomsic are the type of people a community would want to attract. They are people who by their actions make a positive difference in their community.
How Prince Georges handles this incident will effect its health long term. It will encourage or dissuade good people on the major decision of their lives, where to live and where to raise their families.

Posted by: Apilgrim | August 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The War on Drugs is criminally insane.

Hopefully, the fact that this sort of thing happened to an elected official instead of the usual poor black male will change some minds.

Posted by: Baltimoron | August 4, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Take care of a politician you don't like. Mail him a pot package.

Posted by: Dirty Trick? | August 4, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Well accordingly washington is best place.


Posted by: rohan | August 5, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

I hope Tomsic and Calvo sue the Sherrif's department for killing their dogs. It is nice to see they are receiving so much supoport from their community.

Posted by: carol | August 6, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

First of all, pot should be legalized just as alcohol,a much more harmful drug is. If the police broke into my home and killed my child(dog) I would sue the department for all I could get. If the Calvos sue, I would like to be on the jury. The police remind me of German Gestapos. How can that happen in this country?

Posted by: Margo | August 6, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

First of all, pot should be legalized just as alcohol,a much more harmful drug is. If the police broke into my home and killed my child(dog) I would sue the department for all I could get. If the Calvos sue, I would like to be on the jury. The police remind me of German Gestapos. How can that happen in this country?

Posted by: Margot 1 | August 6, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Cheye Calvo and his family have been subjected to brutality and obvious violations of their civil rights. Mayor Calvo's highly dignified, measured response in his public statement on CNN today proves that he truly respects himself, his family, and his community.
There is a systemic attitude of arrogant abuse of policing responsibility
in Prince Georges County, and the facts in this case warrant a complete investigation by the Justice Department.
I extend my sincere condolences to Mayor Calvo and his family.

Posted by: Andrew Patrick O'Malley | August 7, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

It is quite obvious to me that a lot of these comments are about legalizing drugs. This is not the point. Mayor Calvo and his family's civil rights were abused. I was appalled at the treatment he and his family received, including his deceased dogs. This is just another case of the police over-stepping their bounds.

Posted by: Dorothy | August 7, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

This is a horrific incident, just horrible. The mental anguish left behind by this senseless invasion of privacy and the more senseless killing of two innocent victims. Two beautiful labrador retrievers who didn't harm a sole. what labrador would. I owned two and have one now. I hope they sue the feds and the city and who ever for this horrible killing infront of a family who didn't deserve it. I live in Los Angeles and can't believe America is like this.

Posted by: Ruth Silny | August 7, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Guys if you think this is bad just think about what happened in Atlanta to Kathtyn Johnson.

What Wikipedia doesn't say is that after they shot her they handcuffed her and she laid there and bled to death. Terrified out of her wits. How does these things happen?

Posted by: Kristin | August 7, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that policing should not be run at the municipal level. Way too many high school drop-outs who never left town doing it and thinking that they can go vigilante. I know everyone knows a 'good cop' but aren't they all until they decide to unload their sidearm into a pair of black labs. That's like punching the Easter Bunny in the nose in front of 1000 children.
I hope the families of those cops involved suffer so these gorillas can feel some pain themselves.

Posted by: YRS | August 7, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you give some of the most uneducated people in the country the right to carry and use guns. Most police officers don't even have to have a college education but are the ones that carry guns. To me that seems inherently wrong...

Posted by: Venom | August 8, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

To me the most chilling aspect of all the horrendous breaches of human and animal rights in this story is that the police, after realizing how badly they screwed up, still would not clear the mayor and his family. Even a prominent citizen who has been erroneously terrorized by the cops finds it hard to extricate himself from the jaws of a corrupt legal system. How can an average citizen hope to be treated with dignity when the mayor of the town is handcuffed in his underwear and interrogated for hours over the corpses of his murdered labradors? George Carlin once said that we have no rights, only temporary privileges -sadly, the undereducated, ignorant armed vigilantes of our police departments prove this on a daily basis.

Posted by: James Weisser | August 8, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I was shocked to read about how the keystone cops bungled the investigation of a drug shipment. I hope that the Calvos pursue a lawsuit against the Sheriffs Department and against the officer(s) who found it necessary to shoot 2 labrador dogs. While the police have a very difficult job, the gunning down of the 2 dogs(Labradors), for sport, is very revealing!

Posted by: George from Binghamton NY | August 8, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Everyone who has a dog or loves dogs should go down to their local police and sheriffs office and protest this shooting to make aware to law enforcement that enough is enough as to the shooting of innocent animals with the excuse that the animal running away was a "threat" to the SWAT memebers.

Posted by: Philip | August 8, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

If the police violated a prominent citizen's rights so violently, one cannot expect animals to have any rights under an archaic law! Now is the time to demand that our legislators stand up for animal rights--the right to have representation in a court of law--to be recognized as MORE than a possession or property! Now is the time for mayor Calvos to actively push for a legislative bill for the right of citizens' to collect emotional distress and wrongful death economic recovery for their companion pets, not for mere economic satisfaction, but for emotional healing. My deepest sympathy goes to the mayor and his familty for their traumatic experience.

Posted by: Tina | August 8, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Will the Mayor and his violated family be able to sue for $million for the cold-blooded murder of their "children?" What is the procedure? I'm sure the legal community will volunteer time and services for this slaughter to be broughto justice.
Someone please detail their options.
Thank you.

Posted by: curious | August 8, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

This is another missuse of police! To get so hyped up over a few pounds of pot, to kill two dogs and throw on the ground and handcuff an old lady! They acted like they were arresting Scarface! I guess they were thinking, wow this will be the biggest bust ever, here in East BooFoo!

The war on drugs is a joke and has been from day one. They get all this money when they fill there books with drug offences. However they dont mention that most are simple pot related offences, but they should be Meth and Crack arrests! Potheads are easy to catch! Safer too!

Its easyer to arrest two guys eating chips and playing video games that are stoned and peaceful, then to chance busting that Meth maker's cabin in the woods, from fear they will have a fight on there hands!

They take the easy way out and love to put there stupid little pot bust on the front page! Hell where I live they go nutz when they find a 2' half dead, pot plant. They take a stupid picture with them all around it and holding a shotguns, what a joke. Some kid's plant that he would have never finished growing, due to fear! They needed a shotgun for little Jimmy,14 years old? Come on!

Back to the mayor, this is what happens when the government seeks to over power the people. Ever heard of The patriot act! Well this has its prints all over it! No warrent shown at the door~! Hum Sounds like they thought they would have a big bust, who would ask if it was done right or not! They got 30 pounds off the street! Wooo, big deal!

The Nazis did this type of thing, and we fought a war to stop it! Now we need to stand up and stop this corruption in our government, they know they can do what they want, when they want, without regard to who or what they hurt! We need to take our freedoms back! Like freedom to smoke what I want to smoke, in my own home, not bugging anyone, and not endangering anything!

As for the dogs, its a shame, I love dogs, have five myself, and if they shot my dogs, it would be worth it to me to rot in jail for what I would do to them! And if they did that to my Mother, well, lets just say, I wouldnt even care if I got the death penlty!

But I must say, this type of thing happens all the time, I had the same deal In Ohio, but they just showed up at my house with the package and arrested me right in my front yard, in front of all who could see!

After 12hrs down at the station, I finaly said book me or let me go, they did, let me go. 1 Week later they busted the right people sending the packages. I never sued, I should have but I was young and dumb!

Tommy Chong was arrested for just selling Pipes online, not even any pot, just pipes and he did time just so they could say they got him for something!

America, stop arresting these potheads that do nothing wrong other then, choose to smoke pot vs drink to unwind or use for medical reasons. 9 times out of 10, potheads live peaceful, productive and contributing lives! The only reason there is a criminal aspect to pot, well, cuz its outlawed, they put it in the streets! I would ratther see people smoking pot, tax it to pay for schools, VS. drinking alcohol, driving and killing my kids! Thats the drug that causes more problems! Never seen pushy, violent, and total Jerky, Potheads!

Wake Up People, they are taking our freedoms away, right under our noses! They wont stop until we all look, talk, drink, eat, sleep, sh-t and vote the way they want, like sheep, Baah Baah!

Posted by: WakeUpPeople | August 9, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

All of these incidents are outrageous - the Cayvo's, Ms. Johnston and the incidents in Lima, Ohio and Baltimore, MD. This is tragic that SWAT teams can just enter an innocent party's home, not identify themselves properly, and shoot to kill people and beloved pets who they deem as a threat. This kind of craziness is cannon fodder for criminals. Mind your enemies, they just might use this tactic to retaliate; they now have the upper hand. And we can no longer trust the police to protect us and serve us. We still are paying their salaries with our tax dollars...correct? So, what do we do to stop this madness? Do we write our congressmen? Will that do ANYTHING? Do we put our time and energy behind Calvo's case being that it is likely to make the greatest impact in the legal system because he is an elected official? What do we do to stop this insanity?

Posted by: Concerned in Frederick Co., MD | August 11, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

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