DEA 'NINJA NARC' TACTICS KILL ANOTHER INNOCENT MAN
But This Time, SHAME Enters The Story
by Preston Peet-
October 20, 2000
'We're not happy with those national procedures now. We're going
to back off of this knocking-down-doors. There's going to have
to be some really strong evidence that something life- threatening
is actually there. We're getting off of that. I mean, that's bullshit,
if you'll pardon my French.'
--Lebanon, TN Mayor John Fox
On the eastern edge of the Lebanon, Tennessee city limits, relaxing
for the early October evening in front of his television, 64-year-old
John Adams had no remotest reason to imagine that the War on Drugs
was coming after him. But in the dark out there on Joseph Street,
just outside his double- wide trailer's door in the predominantly
black section of town, crouched a team of federally trained narcotics
agents in black uniforms, a drug warrant, and itchy trigger fingers.
Wham, Bam, Sorry, Ma'Am
Adams' 61-year-old wife Loraine, right at 10PM that night of
October 4, heard someone knock thunderously at the door. Asking
who it was only provoked a harder knock, and then BLAM, the double-wide's
door was kicked in by an invasion squad of seven drug-war troopers
in full combat gear--and wearing ski masks, according to one close
family friend. Cuffing Loraine, they shoved her back towards a
bedroom, whereupon she yelled to her husband that someone was
breaking in, and to get his gun.
The police story alleges that Adams fired his sawn-off shotgun
at Lebanon narcs Kyle Shedran and Greg Day, as they came around
the corner to where Adams sat in front of his TV. They were "forced
to fire back" in the WORLDNETDAILY version of the invasion,
mortally wounding Adams. Afterward, a Medivac helicopter flew
the bleeding victim to Vanderbilt University Hospital, where he
died in surgery about an hour and a half later.
Narc-squad officers Shedran and Day were placed on paid administrative
leave immediately following the trailer invasion and shooting,
while state cops began investigating. The raid's supervisor, 10-year
veteran lieutenant Steven Nokes, was fired on Oct. 10, and officer
Tommy Maggort was placed on unpaid leave. Both had been involved
in the pre-raid surveillance for the narco squad, yet neither
somehow noticed that they were targeting not only the wrong residence,
but indeed the wrong kind of building: hitting a TRAILER, instead
of a HOUSE!
'Didn't Even Drink Alcohol'
"They, the police, were supposed to be targeting the [individual]
who owns the house next door," explains former Wilson County
commissioner Natchel Palmer, who became very familiar with John
Adams and his family over many years. The elder Adams, Palmer
recalled sadly for HT, "was retired from 37 years at Precision
Rubber Company. He had been sick, and retired on account of his
health. He never did drugs, didn't even drink alcohol. He and
his wife were church-going people. He was on disability, took
him several years to get it, but they paid him a lump sum, and
so he bought himself a new double-wide trailer."
The Adams trailer and one single house were the only residences
on that stretch of Joseph Street. Asked if there was any possible
resemblance between the two structures, Palmer responded, "It's
a house! John's is a double-wide trailer! John's was on the corner,
and [the other] was the house next door. But you can tell a house
from a trailer!"
Did They Even READ The Warrant?
Lebanon Police Chief Billy Weeks, at a press conference after
the shooting, called it a "severe, costly mistake. They were
not the target of our investigation. We hate that it happened."
He said that Adams' trailer was mistakenly described on the search
warrant carried by the raid squad, but that the correct address
had been plainly written there. Lebanon cops had allegedly made
at least one prior dope buy at the targeted house nearby, says
Mayor Fox, speaking to HT later, said, "The problem was
that [the targeted individual] had parked in the wrong driveway,
and that is what bought about most of the confusion." The
search warrant had been written, he indicated, largely based on
descriptions given by an anonymous informant to the cops, who
themselves had only conducted a perfunctory "drive-by"
surveillance of the two Joseph Street residences: "It's a
confusing street. It's a turn, you turn off the main road, Blue
Bird Road, onto a street, and then you have to make another turn
to the right almost immediately. So there are two houses; it could
be confusing if you went out at night. As far as confusion about
which house was which, I think they knew where they were going,
they weren't lost. They had been there, there was just misinformation."
(It's also conceivable the cops were only identifying the "target
residence" here based exclusively on the make or license
plates of the vehicle that happened to be parked near it that
night, without bothering to check any more of their snitch's information
written into the warrant they were carrying.)
A Shotgun Blast In A Trailer, And He MISSED?
Commissioner Palmer told HT what he thinks of the police version
of events. "I don't see how anyone with any training at all
could make a mistake with where they were going," said Palmer.
"This [individual named on the warrant] had been known for
selling drugs, and has even been arrested before. How they could
get the two houses mixed up is just inappropriate." Sounding
angrier as he spoke, Palmer continued, "They said he fired,
but it seems to me if he fired a shotgun, somebody would have
been hit. And there should be some buckshot in the wall or something."
The Lebanon cops, says WORLDNETDAILY, have cut a large portion
out of the trailer wall, claiming it contains evidence of Adams
having fired his shotgun. Palmer is skeptical: "If you've
fired a shotgun, you know that the buckshot is going to scatter.
But even at that, his wife heard someone breaking in and said
to get the gun, and quite naturally he had it."
'Narco Ninjas': The DEA Script For Invasive Entry
Noting that Loraine Adams says the cops never identified themselves
before breaking down the door, Palmer adds, "Now I am not
sure, but I have heard that the police had ski masks on. I never
heard of the police using ski masks before. I can't understand
why the police would need masks. The crooks are the ones who use
those, the police shouldn't need to hide their faces. Anyone comes
in your home with a ski-mask on, you're going to think he's a
In fact, the wearing of ski masks and plain, dark combat outfits
devoid of police insignia has become common midnight-raid fashion
among local American narc squads over the last 20 years of the
US War on Drugs. If the Lebanon cops are wearing ski masks on
dope raids, though, Mayor Fox says he hasn't heard about it yet.
"I have been on drug raids myself with them," he tells
HT, "and have not ever seen them wear those things. This
is the first time I ever heard that. And the chief is very candid
with me. I would fire him in a minute for distortion or cover-up
on anything, not just John Adams' case."
Acknowledging that these "Narco Ninja" tactics have
indeed become overwhelmingly popular with police departments around
the country, Mayor Fox made it clear he does not condone them
for his own town's cops. However, he also acknowledged that his
cops are closely counseled in drug busting tactics by the federal
Drug Enforcement Administration, the prime promoter of the Ninja
Narco vogue for violent entry and concealed identity among America's
rising generation of storm troopers.
It's The National Way
"Our guys, the supervisor on the scene," Fox told HT,
"was trained with the DEA. We have an agreement with the
Drug Enforcement Agency, the Feds, we have a policeman working
with them full time. I mean, he's there, he works full time for
them. He's our guy, but he's down there. They are being trained.
We had a well-qualified, highly trained individual in charge there.
And we were following not only OUR procedures, but national procedures.
It is the national way."
Then the Mayor thoughtfully continued: "But we are not happy
with those national procedures now. We're going to back off of
this knocking-down- doors. There's going to have to be some really
strong evidence that something life-threatening is actually there."
Which obviously brought to mind the matter of the Lebanon dope
squad's black uniforms (recommended to local cops everywhere by
the DEA, on the plain realistic basis that citizens are sure to
file lots fewer complaints about police violence after narcotics
raids, if they have no way to tell the officers' names or ranks,
or even what kind of cop squad they're operating with.) "We're
coming off the black uniforms," Mayor Fox says he's already
ordered Police Chief Weeks. "I told him to get rid of the
damn black uniforms, get rid of them! When we go up to knock on
a door, we're going to have on our suit and tie, or our police
uniform, and that's it. And when they open the door, a citizen
is going to be a citizen until there is actually proof of guilt."
'This Was A Man Got Killed Here'
The slaying of a perfectly innocent, law-abiding 64-year-old
disabled retiree, well known to the Lebanon community, has manifestly
taken some of the glamour out of midnight Ninja drug busting for
the local authorities. Apologizing to the widow was a chastening
experience. "I went to the lady's house the day before the
funeral," recalls Mayor Fox, "and I sat down with her,
and she with me, and she was very gracious. The Police Chief has
done the same thing, trying to express our sorrow to the lady.
The chief cried over it, and when I learned we had made a mistake
there in that situation, that we had killed an innocent man, I
had to wipe tears from my eyes. I mean now, here, I had spoken
to him two days earlier! We're not talking about going in with
the SWAT bunch and wiping out some criminal. This was a man that
got killed here."
Little Lebanon, TN, now has a brand-new citizens' review board
of nine persons, in hopes of forestalling future police tragedies.
"We have really three direct victims here, or four,"
Mayor Fox concludes. "We have Loraine, we have of course
John, and the two policemen. Really, it's just terrible. But yes,
we will have some broad sweeping changes, a lot of softening.
Even if it is the national procedure, we are not going to do that."
by Preston Peet, Special to HighWitness News