You would think that being a Constitutionalist is a good thing, right? After all the United States Constitution which contains the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment, is the Supreme Law of the land.
But according to Pakalertpress.com a popular alternative Internet news publisher, being labeled a Constitutionalist by the government can lead to an illegal search without a warrant.
A farming family in Letha, Idaho recently had their house raided and illegally searched by Sheriff’s deputies after a neighbor called 911 after overhearing a verbal argument between the husband and wife.
In any other situation they would have had a simple knock on their door and the police would check in to make sure that no one was being hurt.
However, Marcella Cruz and Michael Gibbons were flagged in the police department’s database as dangerous individuals because one or both of them identified as “constitutionalists”.
Due to this identification their simple domestic disturbance call was responded to by deputies armed with semi automatic carbines in a raid that resulted in the wife being assaulted by the responding law enforcement officers. The officers than conducted a warrantless search of the home, scouring the house for evidence of Marijuana.
A detective pulled Marcella Cruz out of the house, and held both her and her husband on the ground in handcuffs, with guns pointed at them while other officers searched the house.
The police found an aquaponics system that was growing tomatoes in an upstairs room of the house and celebrated, thinking that they had found a Marijuana grow operation.
The crop turned out to be tomatoes, since after all, it was a farm house in Idaho which has a very short growing season.
In a recording that surfaced after the raid, the couple appears to have been targeted because of their political beliefs. The recording documents the following exchange:
“Are you familiar with these guys?” asked a deputy identified in the 911 recordings as “Officer 57.”
“Negative,” answered another deputy designated “Officer 56.”
“I am, and it’s affirmative, there is [sic] weapons,” continued Officer 57. “He is – or at least was – anti-law enforcement. We’ve had issues with him. He’s a Constitutionalist.”
Since when does having legal weapons, including firearms allow law enforcement officers to suspend the Constitution and violate the civil rights of citizens in their homes? Here’s some breaking news. EVERY house in America has weapons that can be used to assault law enforcement officers or anyone else. In my three years as a local cop, I responded to assaults committed with kitchen knives, pocket knives, screw drivers, hammers, chain saws, bats, chairs, tire irons, lamps, razors and pots of both boiling water and 370 degree liquid lard!
You can listen to the full police audio below:
It seems that the only “issues” that Sheriff’s deputies had with the residents were their political beliefs, that being constitutionalists because neither Gibbons nor Cruz have criminal records.
The only previous contact that Gibbons has had with local law enforcement, was when he reported a theft. The Sheriff’s Department refused to investigate, according to Pakalert Press.
More than a year ago, Marcella contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report that a man calling himself “Greg Hall,” who had lived with them for an extended period, had stolen money and jewelry from them.
Marcella provided me with copies of e-mail messages in which she and Detective Perecz had discussed the theft – including the suspect’s specific location, which at the time was just across the Snake River in Ontario, Oregon.
“He told me that he couldn’t help us, because the suspect had fled the jurisdiction,” Marcella related to me. “But it’s not as if he couldn’t pick up a telephone and inform the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, or the Ontario Police.
The bogus `domestic violence’ report that led to the raid on our home was originally received by Payette County and relayed to Gem County. It’s not as if these people don’t talk to each other.”
The victim’s account of the event is confirmed by what appears to be a Sheriff’s Department video, taken by one of the deputies during the incident. In this video the officers don’t identify themselves until after dragging Cruz out by the arm. You can see officers pulling Marcella Cruz out of the house by her arm and ordering both her and Gibbons to the ground.
“Bear! There are guys with guns outside!” shouted Marcella Cruz to her husband as she looked out the kitchen window of their farmhouse in Letha, Idaho.
Timidly opening the kitchen door, Marcella – a small, slender, middle-aged woman – spied a large man carrying a gun and wearing a tactical vest. “Don’t go back into the house,” the stranger ordered Marcella as the woman instinctively retreated into the safety of her home.
At roughly the same time, another intruder armed with an assault rifle pounded on the front door.
“Come out!” he demanded.
As Marcella tried to shut the kitchen door, the first intruder – who outweighed her by at least 100 pounds – grabbed her by the left wrist and started to pull the terrified woman from the house.
“Why are you dragging me out of my home?” asked the terrified woman. “Why would you be pulling me out of my home?”
“Open the door,” insisted the assailant, using his weight advantage and leverage to extract the woman, who had braced herself against one side of the door while clinging desperately to the other with her right hand. As she lost her grip, the left side of Marcella’s body scraped painfully against the door frame before she was thrown to the ground.
One of the invaders finally identified himself.
“Bear! Step out – Sheriff’s office!” bellowed the Berserker packing an assault weapon.
Pakalert Press reports that the brutal treatment she was given by police left her sore and bruised for weeks, which is ironic considering that law enforcement officers were called to the house over domestic disturbance! The call came from a third party, a feuding neighbor.
The officer who pulled Marcella Cruz outside of her home has been identified as Gem County Idaho Sheriff’s Detective Rich Perecz and so far has suffered no consequences for his actions, according to PakAlert Press.
The force applied to Cruz when the deputies arrived, using the tactical advantage excuse as justification for an illegal search and the outright contempt for the Constitution concerns me. I was a law enforcement officer for over thirty years. Law Enforcement officers take an oath to to preserve, defend and uphold the Constitution. A badge is not a right to dishonor the Constitution and in fact, it’s a violation of federal law to deny civil rights under the color of law enforcement. Contrary to Department of Justice policy, the law is intended to protect the civil rights of all citizens not just members of identified minority groups.