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May 27, 2011
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Video: Helmet cam captures deadly SWAT raid

Ariz. department releases video of drug raid that left former marine Jose Guerena dead

Editor's Note: Body-worn video cameras present some outstanding tactical advantages for police officers. They consistently enable law enforcers to prove wrongdoing on the part of a violator, and frequently clear up wildly inaccurate assumptions by the media and the public about officer’s actions. However, the use of helmet cameras in SWAT operations can potentially have several negative consequences. First and foremost, once those videos get out into the public — and they are as discoverable at trial as every other element of the department’s communications and records — the bad guys can use them to observe police tactics. And in some rare cases, such video could lead to civil lawsuits down the road. Do SWAT teams need helmet cams? Do the many benefits outweigh the occasional risks? Add your thoughts in the comments area or send us an email.

By Fernanda Echavarri
Arizona Daily Star

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — The man shot and killed by SWAT officers, as well as his brother and another man, were listed as suspects in a complex drug investigation being conducted by the Sheriff's Department, according to documents released Thursday.

That investigation was the reason heavily armed SWAT officers went to Jose Guerena's house to serve a search warrant that ended in his fatal shooting May 5, reports show.

More than 500 pages of officers' statements, evidence lists and witness interviews were released by the Pima County Sheriff's Department. Also released were audiotapes from the shooting scene, radio transmissions and other communications made by law enforcement personnel during the serving of search warrants on four homes on the southwest side.

A short video showing Pima County Regional SWAT team members serving the warrant was also released. The written documents detail what sheriff's personnel did during the incident.

Audiotapes reveal that no SWAT officers entered Guerena's house. Law enforcement officers went into his home only after a robot was sent in and it was determined about an hour after the shooting that Guerena, a former Marine, was dead.

Read the full story

 






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