Hat tip New University
It looks like President Obama may have to prepare another one of those beer summits. Last September there was an incident in the University Hills neighborhood adjoining UC Irvine, a neighborhood inhabited by UCI faculty and staff. It was reported in this week's edition of the New University, UCI's campus paper. Campus police responded to a call reporting a possible burglary in progress. Here is what happened next:
So what are we to make of this? Let me add my own perspective as a retired DEA agent. During my career, I often participated in drug raids on houses. In the case of a search warrant, we would make it a practice to alert the local police and if possible have a uniformed officer present. That is because if a neighbor sees a bunch of people in plain clothes rushing a house with guns drawn, they will immediately call the cops.
Sometimes during the course of an operation, we would raid a home based on the events of the case-in other words without the benefit of a warrant or pre-raid planning. It was called exigent circumstances. There was no time to get a warrant. There have been cases where police would respond to neighbors' calls and arrive with guns drawn. The potential for a tragedy is obvious, and we tried to take every precaution to eliminate that possibility.
On another occasion, in 1973, I was with a group of fellow agents in Los Angeles, and we were getting into our G-cars to go back to our office. For some reason I have long since forgotten, I was asked to drive another agent's car. Just before we got back to the DEA office, I was stopped by two LAPD squad cars. I had no idea why, but I was quite alarmed when they got out of their cars with their hands on their holsters. Turns out I was driving an official DEA car with expired 1969 Nevada plates. Those cops didn't casually walk up to the car window and casually ask, "Do you know why we stopped you, Sir?" because of my white skin.
Back to UCI: Were the antenna of the campus police raised because there was a young black guy in the house? I have no idea. A couple of months ago, my neighbors' alarm went off when they were not home. The police responded, and as they walked around the house, their hands were on their holsters. There was nobody in the house and no guns were drawn.
Thankfully, nobody got hurt last year at UCI. Let us not forget that in this day and age, cops do get killed responding to these calls. They base their actions on the information they are acting on and what they observe from one moment to the next. Based on what I read here, they handled it properly.