Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct website we have identified the worst case for the month of October.
The worst police misconduct of October goes to the officers who shot David Hooks in his own home during a drug raid based on an invalid warrant and the tip of an informant who was allegedly high on meth. The informant, Rodney Garrett, had just stolen a vehicle from the Hooks’ home when he was either arrested or turned himself into the police (reports vary). Garrett told police that the 20g bag of meth he had had been stolen from Hooks’ pickup truck.
That same night, the Laurens County Drug Unit pushed through a warrant based primarily on Garrett’s word, and at 10:55 pm, executed a no-knock warrant despite the fact that the warrant did not authorize one–at a home that the police knew had just previously been burglarized two nights earlier. Hooks’ wife Teresa saw armed, hooded figures in black rushing towards the back door and woke her husband, thinking the burglars had returned. David Hooks got his gun, and when the SWAT team knocked in the back door without announcing their presence, he didn’t even have the opportunity to get a shot off before officers fired between 16 and 18 rounds, killing him.
Some of the rounds were shot blindly through a wall at Hooks, without regard for whom or what they were firing at and killing. As you might expect from a search warrant based almost entirely on the tip of a meth addict who may or may not have been high when giving it, a 44-hour search of the Hooks home produced absolutely no contraband whatsoever.
David Hooks was a successful businessman who ran a construction firm that contracted with the U.S. government. He had passed numerous security clearances and background checks, but on the word of a thief and meth addict, he was reduced to just another casualty in the war on drugs. Additional background here.