A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Case of Ryan Frederick

Ryan Frederick of Cheseapeake, Virginia was turned in early on January 17, 2008. He needed to be awake early the next morning to go to work. Frederick held a job with a soft drink vendor, and routinely started his day before sunrise. Ryan Frederick's HomeA week prior, his home had been broken into, and while nothing was taken, his belongings had been ransacked. Frederick still felt the sting from the violation of his property. Around 8:30 PM, Frederick awoke to his two dogs barking, and suddenly there was a slam against his front door. The door was almost torn from it's hinges, and Frederick saw a figure trying to enter through the lower portion of the door.

Frederick was armed with a .380 pistol. He fired at the figure. The shot killed a police officer, Jarrod Shivers, who was serving a "no knock" search warrant. Shivers was a narcotics detective and a father of three children. Frederick had no prior criminal record, and he was not growing marijuana as a confidential informant had claimed. Frederick was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Two .380 shell casings were recovered, as well as a .223 hull. Judge Thomas M. Ammons III has denied bond. Frederick is represented by attorney James Broccoletti.

In a jailhouse interview, Frederick stated he did not realize the intruders were law enforcement. "I just wish I knew who they were," he said. "I didn’t want any trouble. I thought it was the person who had broken into my house the other day." Frederick is also charged with use of a firearm and possession of marijuana. A small quantity of dope was found in his home. Ryan Fredrick and James BroccolettiProsecutors claim that Detective Shivers was standing in Fredrick's front yard when he was shot. The marijuana that Frederick was supposed to be growing turned out to be a Japanese maple tree.

The loss of a father and police officer is certainly a tragedy, and an event that most law abiding people would want to prevent. So who was it that killed Jarrod Shivers? Was it Ryan Frederick? Frederick did pull the trigger, that is true, but did Frederick do anything a rational homeowner would not do? Or was Shiver's death the result of a dangerous policy of slamming down citizen's doors to capture evidence before it is destroyed? Is securing the evidence of a crime worth that kind of risk to law enforcement? That is a question law enforcement must examine themselves. Or was the real killer of Jarrod Shivers the confidential informant who gave the police bogus information in exchange for favors? If that is the case, then why is the informant still being protected? Was the informant the person who had previously broken into and ransacked Ryan Frederick's home? Time will tell.

One thing is certain.......This nightmare, like that of Cory Maye should be in the back of every home defenders mind. It should also be in the back of every police officer's mind. Bullets are irretrievable. Once fired, the person who ignited the round owns it forever. Lives are snuffed out and other lives are irrevocably altered in an instant of fear and failure to follow Rule Four. I can not fault Ryan Frederick, although I am sickened by Jarrod Shivers' death. I, too, have a small Japanese maple tree. There, but for the grace of a confidential informant and perhaps the common sense of a police officer, go I.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure all the details will come out in court, and some will have to be pried out by the defense attorney.

If the facts of the case are as presented so far - which may or may not be the case - I doubt any jury in Virginia would convict.

If an acquittal is returned I would hope that Ryan Frederick files suit against the police department and wins a judgment that not only financially cripples the department for a decade but achieves the dismissal and permanent revocation of law enforcement certification for those in the PD who ordered the raid.

Yes, that's taxpayer money, and a severe judgment may result in taxes being raised to cover it; if citizens realize that they have skin in the game, that the incompetence of local law enforcement creates a cost burden for them then they may start taking a greater interest in just how that local agency operates.

Cops have developed the attitude that what they do is so special it cannot be properly understood if you're not a 20-year cop; this has resulted in events such as this.

If a warrant needed to be served for "someone growing marijuana" I doubt it would have to be a "no knock" entry to succeed; how many marijuana plants can be flushed down a toilet at once? And, if it's a substantial operation - meaning multiple plants - evidence such as grow lights, watering systems, etc. won't fit into a toilet.

It's time to put the grownups back in charge of police departments.

6:32 AM  
Anonymous AndyJ said...

I have always said that no-knock warrants were.....well to put it mildly stupid. Think about the reasoning behind this warrant, to make sure that the evidence is not flushed. Now, consider a well announced wartant, cops come to the door in full uniform, knock politely and announce the warrant. The perp runs to his stash and flushes it. The cops enter, search the place and find no dope. BUT...........the perp also does not have the dope anymore..... out of pocket expense for him. A win-win situation. No one hurt, and a quantity of dope taken off of the street. Now how simple could that be?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Sailorcurt said...

Thanks for covering this, brother. This is a local story to me and I've been covering it from the beginning. I'm very glad to see it getting some national attention.

There's a link to a defense and assistance fund for Ryan Frederick Here for any of your readers who'd like to help out.

7:53 AM  
Blogger DCUnited said...

It is these types of stories that really scare me. Honestly, what could he have done, wait for the intruder (officer was intruding, legally or not) to enter the residence and then loose the upper hand? There is no real way to win. I live in Georgia, used to live in Atlanta, and we had our own trouble with No-Knocks a year or two ago where the 93 year old citizen got the raw end of the deal. I can see a use for No-Knocks, but very rare, only when someones life is danger. The only reason for citizens to use force is to stop immediate danger that exists, should not that standard be held to law enforcement as well?

One other note:
I do not care if you yell 'Police' a hundred times outside my door. I will not hear you, how do I know? I have two neighbors who have parties that I sleep through. You will not wake me up until you at least knock awhile or break the door down.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Don Tabor said...

I am please to see you take an interest in this matter, the poor guy needs all the support he can get. I host the Tidewater Liberty blog/pub and have been posting on the incident from the beginning, starting with my own close call with a police break in 38 years ago. See http://tidewaterliberty.wordpress.com/2008/01/22/knock-knock/

8:51 AM  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

I'm an old man, long past any "experiments" that might be illegal.
Whether it's home invasion robbers in raid jackets (yes, that does happen) or police with misinformation and a NAZI Warrant, I don't expect to survive if someone boots in my door in the middle of the night. I will do my best to see that they don't survive either.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

So long as the paramilitary actions of police are used then they need to own up to their own tactics.

Those tactics put officers on the firing line. There is a LONG legal history of people being able to defend themselves from sudden attack that must NEVER be removed.

There are already documented cases of criminal home invaders identifying themselves as law enforcement to gain initial cooperation from victims. This puts an INCREASED need for clear and real documentation upon the genuine authorities. Anyone can buy black BDUs and SWAT caps.

The claims about destroyed evidence are just too flimsy. If you worry someone will flush then intercept their sewer pipe. It's part of the chain of evidence. Any other form of destruction leaves forensic trails.

To accept that police do not need to make clear and verifiable identification before assaulting citizens goes against centuries of legal precedent. It is also part of a slippery slope. If they can be blameless for assaulting an innocent resident without identification today they will want to be able to shoot first tomorrow.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are important cases for the country and citizenry. Thanks for posting an update.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First degree murder charges require premeditation. The prosecutor is an idiot for trying to get such a conviction.

1:51 PM  
Blogger the pawnbroker said...

i guess ryan should be glad he's only being charged with murder and not getting suspended from the force and (temporarily) losing his law enforcement certification...oh, wait, that was another murder...


3:39 PM  
Blogger Ogre said...

DC United -- you get it. You're SUPPOSED to be scared. It's how this government works today -- fear and fear alone can ensure compliance.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a situation... from all sides!

I do not fault the police for using the tools they were given, i.e. the "no-knock" warrant. It seems, however, that having such a thing as that warrant even in existence means that good cops, just doing their job, will keep getting killed in these situations. The whole idea of privacy, that knock at the door, should be respected - yes, even to suspected criminals, because people are still innocent until proven guilty, right?

For me, the last thing that would go through my mind upon hearing someone breaking in at 2 a.m. would be "Hmm, perhaps I should just sit and wait to greet this person, in case it is the police."

I don't think Mr. Frederick should try to "cripple" the police department financially, but I hope this case does something about that no-knock warrant.

Keep up the great work, Xavier.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xavier picks his 'cops' post very carefully, and that's okay. He is entitled to write, and I might add quite well, about whatever he chooses. Cops are like anyone else, they make mistakes, some very serious ones and they should pay for it.

The other side of the coin is 'not enough slack' is cut for cops in general. They are the ones with special training and REALLY do put their lives on the line every day. Watch the TV show Cops a couple of times to see what jerks people can be. Try dealing with those issues EVERY day like the police do and see what happens to your senses. It's a wonder more people are not beat senseless when they act like total morons when dealing with the police.

All they ask for is respect, while doing their job. Far too many people do not acknowledge that.

In closing, the bad cops do get weeded out, but it takes something like what Xavier wrote about to identify them which is sad....

6:12 PM  
Blogger Heartless Libertarian said...

Radley Balko has posted a few posts on this subject.

According to at least one, the informant was indeed the burglar whom had earlier broken into Fredrick's home.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Jack Booted Thugs. No more, No less.

The other side of the coin is 'not enough slack' is cut for cops in general. They are the ones with special training and REALLY do put their lives on the line every day.

And that is why they collect a paycheck every two weeks.
They are cut entirely too much slack for this kind of behavior as it is.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget the minutiae for a minute... forget the knock or no-knock, warrant or not. Let's cut right to the bone of this one: why, in the first place, is anyone arresting people for possessing a substance that is less dangerous than alcohol?

Someone please give me a good reason that is based on reason. If someone can legally have 250 gallons of wine, capable of sloshing an entire city block, in his basement, why can he not have a marijuana plant? Not that I support either getting drunk or high, but let's use some logic here!

"Some drugs are bad, mmmkay?" is about the only logic I ever see about the issue.

-Sans Authoritas

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Camry said...

Anony Mouse:

"Try dealing with those issues EVERY day like the police do and see what happens to your senses. It's a wonder more people are not beat senseless when they act like total morons when dealing with the police."

Hmm, sounds to me like you might be the kind of cop who'd want to charge me with a bogus charge because I don't respect his authoritah and prufessonalism. I guess I should be glad you don't just give me the beat down I so richly deserve?

I've worked with cops long enough to realize a lot of them are complete, utter morons on a powertrip.

Would you, for example, like to comment on the HP cars zooming past regular traffic at 80 MPH in a 60 MPH zone? One law for me, another one for thee?

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Wade said...

There's one simple solution to this kind of thing that will never be put in place. Simply make policemen personally liable for their errors. Every other kind of "professional" has to buy liability insurance and comply with best practices and procedures handed down by insurance companies; why shouldn't policemen? They call themselves professionals, let them put their money (and all their property) where their mouths are.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Captain Harley said...

A somewhat similar situation like this happened on the East coast of
Florida around maybe 8 or 10 years ago. Cop was killed but the "civilian" was found justifiably innocent.

"As long as we hold cops above the law...there will be no law"

6:13 AM  

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