In a sad case of investigative error, a man has tragically lost his life in a SWAT raid. The raid turned up only $2.00 worth of marijuana in his possession.
A drug informant identified and accused Jason Westcott of dealing drugs for the Tampa Bay Police Department, despite Westcott’s having no previous criminal record.
The informant, known as Ronnie “Bodie” Coogle, has confessed to lying to the police after it was too late, according to the Tampa Bay Times:
Coogle said they were all wrong. He said he repeatedly lied about suspects, stole drugs he bought on the public’s dime and conspired to falsify drug deals.
One of those he lied about, he said, was Jason Westcott, a young man with no criminal convictions whom a SWAT team killed during a drug raid that found just $2 worth of marijuana. Critics from across the country condemned the Police Department’s handling of the case as an example of the drug war’s lethal excesses.
“They’re making statements that are lies, that are absolute untruths, that are based on shady facts,” Coogle said of Tampa police. “Everything they’re saying is based on the informant. And I was the informant.”
The victim of the SWAT raid, Jason Westcott, had fears of being robbed and even armed himself, on the advice of officers who had investigating threats Westcott reported.
Westcott, those close to him said, was left with a word of advice from the investigating officers: If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.
When the SWAT team broke down his door, at the permission of a no-knock warrant, Westcott reached for his gun to protect himself from what he thought were robbers. He was met by a wave of gunfire by the SWAT agents, and died in his home.
(keep reading at ljreview.com)