FORT WORTH, TX — Gun-wielding, black-suited law enforcers busted into a home with a battering ram, terrifying everyone inside and leaving one man dead. Newly released helmet-cam video of the incident shows in graphic detail how this violent no-knock raid produced yet another casualty in the vicious War on Drugs.
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The raid took place on May 16th, 2013. So-called “Zero Tolerance Officers” from the Fort Worth Police Department staged raid on a suspected “drug house” with the intent of rounding up and imprisoning people for getting high without government permission. Police sought and received permission from Tarrant County Magistrate Cheyenne Minick to break into the home with no warning in order to surprise everyone inside.
As the video shows, sometime after 3:35 p.m., men in helmets and black uniforms sprinted through the yard with shotguns and pistols already drawn. A cop with a large steel battering ram instantly went to the front door and smashed it in without hesitation. From a first-person perspective, the video shows cops running into the home, aggressively screaming and aiming guns.
In a video obtained by WFAA, an officer holding a shotgun literally sweeps his barrel past everyone he sees in the living room. First a large man sleeping on the couch, then a tiny female child dressed in blue, a woman in purple, and three men seated at a round table.
“When they came in, they had their weapons drawn like we were members of a drug cartel,” a woman who was in the house told the Star-Telegraph .
After sufficiently terrifying everyone with the surprise assault, officers proceeded to force everyone to lie face down on the floor in handcuffs.
Jermaine “DJ” Darden, 34, who had been startled awake by the intrusion, received particular attention from police. Darden, a large man who weighed over 300 pounds, was having physical difficulties after being forced to the ground with several officers on top of him. He was physically unable to breathe in that position due to his asthma condition, heart disease, and the weight of the police officers.
“They physically pulled him off the couch because, like I said, he was asleep,” explained his mother, Donna Randle, to CBS-DFW . “They pulled him off the couch and they tried to put him on his stomach. He can’t breathe on his stomach. He don’t even lie on the bed on his stomach.”
Officers characterized his futile struggle to breathe as being “met with resistance.” At least five officers piled on top of him, exacerbating his breathing problem.