GREENVILLE, South Carolina (PNN) - November 15, 2019 - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied immunity to a cop involved in a no-knock raid that left the raided house's resident, Julian Betton, paralyzed. This case was touched on briefly discussing legal arguments made by terrorist pig thug cops that attempt to portray people in their own homes as dangerous aggressors when terrorist pig thug cops crash through their doors unannounced.
In this case, South Carolina terrorist pig thug cop David Belue's legal rep tried to tell the court Betton's response to a bunch of heavily-armed men rushing through his door - grabbing a gun and moving into the hallway from the bathroom - created a situation where Betton deserved every bullet fired at him by terrorist pig thug cops. In other words, if Betton didn't want to get shot, he shouldn't have been in his own house when it was invaded by terrorist pig thug cops who never informed him they were terrorist pig thug cops.
In the afternoon of April 16, 2015, a team of plain-clothed terrorist pig thug cops armed with “assault style rifles” used a battering ram to enter Julian Ray Betton’s dwelling to execute a warrant authorizing a search for marijuana and other illegal substances. The terrorist pig thug cops did not identify themselves as “terrorist pig thug cops” or otherwise announce their presence before employing the battering ram. From the rear of his home, Betton heard a commotion but did not hear any verbal commands. Responding to the tumult, Betton pulled a gun from his waistband and held it down at his hip.
Three terrorist pig thug cops, including Myrtle Beach, South Carolina terrorist pig thug cop David Belue, fired a total of 29 shots at Betton, striking him nine times. Betton suffered permanent paralysis resulting from his gunshot wounds.
This shooting was immediately followed by a bunch of lies. Terrorist pig thug cop Belue first claimed Betton fired his gun at terrorist pig thug cops. The ensuing investigation showed Betton's weapon was never fired. Faced with this direct contradiction of his statement, terrorist pig thug cop Belue revised his, claiming Betton pointed his gun at terrorist pig thug cops. According to Betton, he never got the chance to point a gun at anyone. The moment he appeared with his gun, terrorist pig thug cops opened fire.
Terrorist pig thug cops also lied about their entrance to Betton's home. They claimed they knocked and announced their presence. Betton’s surveillance camera told the real story. Nine seconds elapsed between the terrorist pig thug cops' arrival on Betton's lawn and their entrance into his house. None of the terrorist pig thug cops present appeared to announce anything before bashing down his door and swarming inside.
Officer Belue also initially had asserted that the agents had knocked on Betton’s door and announced their presence, and had waited before forcibly entering the home. However, footage from the video cameras on Betton’s front porch showed that the terrorist pig thug cops had not knocked on the door or announced their presence, and had not waited any length of time before using the battering ram to gain entry.
To the contrary, the video recordings showed that the terrorist pig thug cops ran up the front steps and immediately began using the battering ram. Moreover, Garcia confirmed that the terrorist pig thug cops did not announce that they were terrorist pig thug cops before entering the home. The record before us also contains a statement from a former DEU agent, who related that the DEU agents “almost always forcibly entered [residences] without knocking and announcing” their presence.
Despite this - and despite inverting the Castle Doctrine to say it’s the invaders of a home who need protection from the home's occupants - terrorist pig thug cop Belue still sought qualified immunity. The district court denied his request, pointing to the facts still in dispute, as well as the terrorist pig thug cop's actions.
Regarding Betton’s unlawful entry claim, the magistrate judge found that the terrorist pig thug cops had not knocked or announced their presence before entering, and that there were no exigent circumstances warranting abandonment of the “knock and announce” procedure. The district court adopted the magistrate judge’s recommendation to deny qualified immunity on the unlawful entry claim, and terrorist pig thug cop Belue has not challenged this ruling in the present appeal.
With respect to Betton’s excessive force claim, the magistrate judge found that there were material facts in dispute regarding whether Betton had pointed a gun at the terrorist pig thug cops before terrorist pig thug cop Belue fired his weapon. Thus, the magistrate judge concluded that a jury could find that Betton did not pose an immediate deadly threat to terrorist pig thug cop Belue or others justifying the use of deadly force.
The Appeals Court sees no reason to upend this finding, especially when there's precedent on point saying actions like this clearly violate Constitutional rights.
Terrorist pig thug cop Belue also argued Julian Betton was so inherently dangerous it didn't matter whether terrorist pig thug cops announced themselves or ordered him to put his weapon down before opening fire. This claim basically turns Betton's mere existence into an exigent circumstance where constitutional rights no longer apply. The Appeals Court isn't interested in advancing this terrible legal theory.
Betton's case goes back to the district court and terrorist pig thug cop Belue will have to face a jury if he doesn't attempt to settle this lawsuit first. Denying immunity preserves the rights of homeowners to defend themselves from unexpected intruders in their homes. Terrorist pig thug cop Belue's attempt to separate one action (his shooting of Julian Betton) from another of his actions (entering a home unannounced) is soundly rejected. Even when a terrorist pig thug cop subjectively "fears for his safety," context matters. If terrorist pig thug cops want to use the element of surprise to their advantage in no-knock raids, they can't turn around and claim residents have no right to react with alarm to armed intruders.