The use of no-knock police raids has become more controversial in recent years as the tactic has become more widespread among law enforcement agencies for even relatively minor offenses.
In multiple instances those being raided thought that they were experiencing a home invasion, and took up arms. This has led to people being shot and killed by heavily-armed officers over relatively minor offenses, or being charged with crimes for shooting at (and sometimes striking and killing) law enforcement officers in the fog and confusion of the moment.
Grand juries have almost always sided with law enforcement in this instances.
A Burleson County Grand Jury declined to indict the man who shot and killed a Burleson County Sheriff’s Deputy who was serving a search warrant in December.
Investigators were executing a search warrant at Henry McGee’s mobile home near Snook when the shooting happened.
News 3 takes a look at why deputies had targeted McGee’s home.
28-year-old Henry Magee is no longer charged in the shooting death of Burleson County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Sowders.
A grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence for him to stand trial on the capital murder charge.
McGee admitted to shooting Sowders before sunrise on December 19th while the deputy and other investigators were serving a no knock search warrant for drugs at McGee’s mobile home near Snook.
Magee’s Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin says his client thought someone was breaking into his home and fired to protect his pregnant girlfriend and himself.
“Well we feel that the grand jury acted fairly and reasonably and had all of the information that it needed to make the decision that it did. That is that this was a justified shooting and, but we need to say that this is a tragedy,” Dick DeGuerin said.
The SWAT Team found less than five pounds of marijuana plants growing inside and the grand jury indicted him for possession of marijuana while in possession of a deadly weapon.
“It need not have happened. They could have walked up to his house in the daylight and he would have let him in or they could have stopped him as he left his house to go to the store,” said DeGuerin.
Our attempts to reach Sheriff Dale Stroud were unsuccessful.
Burleson County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Sowders was shot and killed by Henry McGee during a “no-knock” raid early on the morning of December 19, 2013. The raid was conducted by a warrant obtained on the word of an informant who claimed that 12-15 marijuana plants and a number of stolen firearms were within McGee’s trailer.
The grand jury found that the raid team failed to properly announce themselves, and that McGee acted reasonably by shooting in self defense of himself and his pregnant girlfriend in what he thought was a home invasion.
McGee’s guns were legally owned, but he is still facing charges for felony drug charges for having roughly five pounds of marijuana in his possession.
At law enforcement site PoliceOne, reactions to the grand jury’s decision by member officers are mixed. While most are upset that the grand jury did nit indict McGee, many officers are blaming police chiefs for over-use of no-knock tactics, which are high risk for both suspects and officers. Whether this leads to reconsideration and reduction in use of no-knock raids for relatively minor offenses in the future remains to be seen.
It is not known if prosecutors will attempt to have another grand jury hear the capital murder charges.