POLITICS
02/20/2013 07:48 am ET Updated Apr 22, 2013

Raid Of The Day: Tibetan Monk Edition

One of my favorites, from 2006:

Some Tibetan monks on a peace mission in Omaha were recently raided by immigration officials in riot gear.

They have since bonded out of jail, but the monks hope to clear up any misunderstandings and return to their native land. For now, the six monks, their personal assistant, and an interpreter are staying in the Carter Lake home of Rob Gutha.

"They're marvelous house guests. It's wonderful to come home at the end of the day, and first thing, you're greeted with a cup of tea," Gutha said.

The monks come from a land of rich tradition, but a poor economy. Their leader, Kharnang Vangtul Rinpoche, said the monks came to the United States on a church-sponsored mission of world peace, hoping to share the plight of Tibetan people and never intending to cause trouble.

Before Carter Lake, the group was in Arizona. Their church sponsor abandoned them when the monks refused to recognize the sponsor's leader as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and Buddha. So the monks traveled to Omaha, not realizing that their immigration visas had been revoked. The next thing they knew, immigration officials showed up at their door with a SWAT team and arrested them.

(The "Raid of the Day" features accounts of police raids I've found, researched, and reported while writing my forthcoming book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. It's due out in July, but you can pre-order it here.)

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