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Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 06/ 2/2010

Jackson still stands by Calvo raid

By washingtonpost.com editors
LOCAL BLOG NETWORK

In case you missed it last week, Prince George’s County Sheriff Michael A. Jackson, who is running for county executive, answered criticism for Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo's dogs being shot during an infamous, botched raid by sheriff's deputies in 2008 … sort of.

What Jackson actually said during his appearance on WAMU (88.5FM) was that he has made public apologies to the homeowner. He added that the raid was only one incident in the eight years that he has been sheriff and that, by the way, his deputies successfully kept 32 pounds of drugs from reaching the streets that day. Oh, and he argued that his deputies' role that day was to do the bidding of the Prince George’s Police Department.

There are a couple of problems here. For starters, Jackson has only made one apology to Calvo, and that came nearly a year after the raid. Plus, it was a nonapology apology, since mainly he said his deputies did nothing wrong. It reminded me of myself as a lad, explaining to my mother that I disrespected my band teacher but he was a jerk. Things don't work that way. I still had to respect my band teacher; Jackson should have acknowledged that his department made a mistake. Yes, there was a warrant to be at the home, but it turned out not to be the “no-knock” warrant it was described as being.

The other problem is simply that this was not just one incident. Jackson is forgetting about the $261,000 his department has to pay a Greenbelt woman for violating her constitutional rights, in addition to another dog shooting incident in Accokeek and a 2007 incident in which Jackson's office was accused of searching an Upper Marlboro home without a warrant.

Yes, drugs were kept from hitting the streets in Prince George’s County and a drug operation was busted that day. But police officers and sheriff’s deputies have a responsibility not only to enforce the law but also to uphold the rights of the county's residents. Jackson fails to realize that ultimately, his deputies did not do a good job that day. The rights of Calvo and his household were not upheld.

Kenny Burns blogs at Maryland Politics Today. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | June 2, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network  
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Comments

Mr. Burns you are saying all that just to say you don't like Mr. Jackson or he is responsible for the foul ups. If that were to have happened in Southeast in DC we would never have heard a word from you. Get real and stop showing your bias.

Posted by: franck941 | June 3, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Excellent blog. It would have cost Sheriff Jackson nothing to acknowledge that the raid on the Calvo's was a terrible mistake, that he apologized unequivocally and that he would take steps to ensure nothing like it would happen again. Because he has not done so, he has kept the spotlight on a law enforcement system in PG County with a long history of being unaccountable for its actions and a shorter history of over-reliance on SWAT team raids with their attendant higher risks.
While the police in SE DC have their problems, abuses in DC tend to be fully aired and usually result in police reforms.

Posted by: krickey7 | June 3, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Very nice piece.

To add, the deputies could have kept 32 pounds of drugs off the streets simply by picking up the package. My grandmother could have kept 32 pounds of drugs off the street that day. It was hardly a successful operation.

Posted by: ghokee | June 3, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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