Another Drug Bust Gone Bad

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Cops can’t get their story straight in the killing of Eugene Mallory.

from the issue

On a sweltering summer morning in the California desert, deputies looking for methamphetamines and bearing automatic weapons barged into the home of Eugene Mallory, an 80-year-old retired engineer living a quiet life in the small community of Littlerock. Moments later, Mallory lay in his bed bleeding to death from six bullets fired from an MP5 9mm submachine gun. The murky circumstances that led to the shooting are now the subject of a federal lawsuit. The officers found no meth on the property.

The raid took place on June 27, 2013, after deputies received an anonymous tip alleging meth production on Mallory's property. Patrick Hobbs, a detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LACSD) and a self-described narcotics expert, came by to investigate and later said that "he smelled the strong odor of chemicals" downwind of the house.

As deputies announced their presence that fateful morning, Tonya Pate, Mallory's wife, emerged from the trailer where she'd been sleeping to escape the heat. Mallory's stepson Adrian Lamos and a couple of his friends emerged from another trailer and surrendered-as did a handyman tinkering with a car on the property. But Mallory remained asleep in the house.

The deputies approached the house, and what happened next is disputed. Hobbs and his team say they announced their presence. Upon entering, they claim, they encountered Mallory in the hall wielding a gun and stumbling forward, which led them to open fire. So then why did investigators later find Eugene Mallory's corpse in his bed with his .22 caliber pistol on his night table? Deputies told the coroner at the scene that paramedics had moved Mallory on to the bed and attempted to revive him. Pate disputes that account, saying that Mallory would never point a gun at an officer and that it was more likely that her elderly husband remained asleep and unaware of what was happening.

The deputies later changed their story. Massive bloodstains on Mallory's mattress indicated to investigators that he'd most likely been in bed at the time of the shooting. Deputies revised their account and said that Mallory had sat up in bed and pointed his gun at them. An audio recording of the incident revealed another discrepancy in the original narrative: Sgt. John Bones told investigators that he warned Mallory to "drop the gun" prior to the shooting, but the recording revealed that his command occurred immediately after the shooting. (It was Bones' submachine gun that killed Mallory.)

The officers did discover two marijuana plants on the property belonging to Lamos, who claimed he had a medical marijuana prescription. LACSD touted the marijuana discovery as evidence of a successful drug bust. "There was a drug operation that was certainly going on in this house," LACSD spokesperson Steve Whitmore told local news station KTLA.

"How is that a justification for coming in and killing a man?" says Pate, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging Fourth and 14th Amendment violations. "To justify that through marijuana just makes it even more wrong."

LACSD officials declined to talk with Reason TV for this story, citing the pending lawsuit.

Pate, who's still awaiting an initial hearing in the case, knows that no amount of money or punishment will undo her husband's violent death at the hands of cops looking for drugs that weren't there. "Every day, he'd get to tell you a joke, tell you something, tell you you're beautiful, and now he's gone," she says. "I just want him back."

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  • Related; Inches from this comment box is a Newmax headline that says "USDA Looking to Buy Submachine Guns".

    It is difficult not to think that the political class sees disaster ahead and is preparing for a shitstorm.

    or to reply

  • Which is why some are making a list of low hanging fruit deemed responsible. You know, like your local thugs..... or your local Tonys for instance.

    or to reply

  • Dances-with-Trolls

    I wish our political class had that kind of vision. If they did there would be a chance of turning back on the path of destruction that they are leading us all on. This is simple empire building on the part of the USDA. They are doing it because now they can, and in DC the fastest way to get more money is to spend as much as possible. The iron law of bureaucracy at work.

    or to reply

  • Also, thanks Zack for screwing my mood. This story was enough of a nut punch the first time around. It is just as bad now. Jesus, what a heartbreaking story. What a craven goon John Bones is. Hanging is too good for him.

    or to reply

  • Tie him to a fire ant mound and spray him down with sugar water.

    or to reply

  • Or, as one of the regulars occasionally suggests, treat him to the boats.

    or to reply

  • LACSD touted the marijuana discovery as evidence of a successful drug bust

    Found 2 pot plants and shot to death an innocent man in his bed. Success!

    or to reply

  • Notorious G.K.C.

    "Massive bloodstains on Mallory's mattress indicated to investigators that he'd most likely been in bed at the time of the shooting."

    So they thought they could tell a story about confronting and shooting an armed man in a hallway, even when his blood was all over the bed? Did they just assume there would be only a slapdash investigation?

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  • Hugh Akston||#

    They probably assumed that nobody would challenge them on their blatant lie because the only alternative to police running amok is baby-eating anarchy.

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  • Rich||#

    a self-described narcotics expert, came by to investigate and later said that "he smelled the strong odor of chemicals" downwind

    Probably Tonya's nail polish remover, but anything to help "justify" a raid. 8-(

    OT, but on a more positive note: Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce what would have been the highest minimum wage in the world

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  • Hyperion||#

    OT, but on a more positive note: Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce what would have been the highest minimum wage in the world

    That's the story right before this one. But I don't advise to look at it. The picture is racist in typical H&R fashion, depicting Swiss folks as standing on some alpine slope, in funny clothes, and blowing some long horns. Probably yodeling also, but there's no sound track.

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  • Rich||#

    Thanks, Hyperion. I'll go check it out.

    "Little old lady, who?"

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  • Dweebston||#

    Analysis: Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva

    This was the third referendum on pay in Switzerland in the last 18 months, reflecting concern that the gap between rich and poor is growing here too.

    Is that right, Imogen? From where I'm standing it looks like a measure brought about or at least advocated primarily by unionists, and overwhelmingly rejected by voters. Yeah, the Swiss are utterly flummoxed by the pay gap.

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  • Specail Sauce||#

    Must. Stick. To. The. Narrative.

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  • ArbutusJoe||#

    RE Swiss vote:

    In another sense, it's terrible news: that would have been one hell of an eye-opening social experiment.

    Everyone has a gut intuition that legislating a wage rate won't work, but gut intuitions have to duke it out with emotional attachments to poorly-defined terms such as "living wage", "fairness" and "social justice". In this case, the proposal was wacky enough to tip the scale in favor of gut intuition. Next time....

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  • jdfinct||#

    Where's the Punisher when we need him.

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  • GILMORE||#

    OT = James Yeager, firearms trainer and frequent media-darling (often used by the press as the iconic 'gun nut', he having just the right haircut* and accent), explains to his viewers Why We're All Libertarians

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  • Christophe||#

    Guy needs a Nolan chart. The "center" has libertarians, but it also has Mr. Bloomberg.

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  • DJF||#

    How many times does an “officer of the law’ get to change their official story before it become perjury?

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  • Christophe||#

    Trick question. The only people who get charged with perjury are witnesses whose story is different than whatever the officer ends up with in the end.

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  • The Late P Brooks||#

    Just another egg in the world's largest, most expensive omelette.

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  • Bill Dalasio||#

    Thank you for that nutpunch on a beautiful Sunday morning.

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  • Hyperion||#

    This damn music is stuck in my head, I hate it when that happens. It can only mean beer this afternoon. Lots of beer. Have to ... make .... it ... go ... away!

    Get out of my head!

    It's that damn polka slinky thingy, it's of da debil!

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