April 30, 2003

SEVERAL PEOPLE have emailed me this story from AlterNet about a “Patriot Act” raid. It seems a bit odd to me: 5 NYPD officers come in with drawn guns — but then they’re followed up by “officers of the INS and Homeland Security Department.” I’m no expert on how federal raids are conducted, but I’ve never heard of one conducted in this fashion. The feds generally have their own guys with guns.

Does anyone know if this M.O. makes sense?

These questions aside, the raid seems heavyhanded, but not dreadful. (Certainly not as bad as this pre-911 raid, which wasn’t even especially famous.) It’s hard to know more, since the story has few specifics, and we never learn what the feds were looking for.

UPDATE: Orin Kerr is skeptical — there was a raid, apparently, but this account raises doubts:

The idea that the author was told that he was “being held under the Patriot Act” sounds particularly unlikely to me. I can’t find a section of the Patriot Act that could conceivably apply to this.

It’s not impossible, of course, that a cop would claim to be acting under a law that, in fact, offers no such authority.