POLITICS
04/08/2013 08:53 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Raid Of The Day: Pedro Navarro

Note: 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.

In the summer of 1998, two Houston police officers pulled over a car with three men inside. One of them, 28-year-old Ryan Baxter, admitted he had been drinking and smoking crack. He was subsequently arrested for public intoxication and for providing alcohol to a 15-year-old who was also in the car.

Already on probation, Baxter cut a deal that would let him off the hook if he told the cops where he had bought his drugs. Baxter's story eventually led the police to 6711 Atwell Street. At 1:40 am, nine officers from the city's anti-gang task force gathered outside of apartment 16. The informant knocked on the door, and when it opened, the officers swarmed the place. As the cops came in, Pedro Navaro, 22, ran back toward his bedroom. The police followed, squeezing into a narrow hallway as they pursued him. At some point, Officer David R. Barrera's gun "accidentally discharged," striking Officer Lamont Tillery. Mistaking Berrera's gun for hostile fire, the other officers emptied their weapons at Navarro, killing him. He was shot 12 times, nine times in the back. The police found no drugs in the home.

Six of the nine officers involved were investigated. A grand jury would later clear five of them, and indict one for a misdemeanor. He was later acquitted of misdemeanor charges. All were later fired from the Houston Police Department.

Sources: Lisa Teachey and Jo Ann Zuniga, "Six officers in Oregon case fired," Houston Chronicle, November 2, 1998; Tim Lynch, "Another Drug War Casualty," Cato Institute, November 30, 1998; S.K. Bardwell, "Police Shot Man 12 Times in Raid," Houston Chronicle, July 21, 1998.