In this week's issue, Radley Balko looks at how an unprecedented police reform movement got its start in one of America's most conservative states: Utah.
Radley takes us back to Jan. 4, 2011, when Army veteran Matthew David Stewart's home in
Ogden -- where he grew marijuana -- was raided by 12 police officers in the middle of the night. Stewart exchanged fire with the police for about 20 minutes. By the end of the battle, one cop was dead, and according to various accounts, between 130 and 250 bullets had been fired. Stewart landed in prison, where he ended up hanging himself in May of this year.
An editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune after the incident questioned why the police decided to wage "a military-style attack on a small-time weed grower," while Ogden's Standard-Examiner called for a "re-evaluation of how local law enforcement handles its duties, particularly concerning raids and late-night police procedures."
The incident, and others like it, have caused many to wonder whether such middle-of-the-night raids are really necessary. As Radley puts it, "if instead of raiding the house, the police had simply arrested Stewart as he was leaving to go to work, or as he was coming home, or even at his job at Walmart, there would have been two fewer funerals in Ogden."
Elsewhere in the issue, upstate New York farmer Bob Comis writes in wrenching detail about a task central to his livelihood: slaughtering animals. Here is his description of one particular lamb's last moments, after the sheep have been carried by trailer from his farm to the slaughterhouse:
The gun will make a loud popping sound and My Pretty Girl, the cutest, sweetest, most adorable little lamb you can imagine, will drop like a stone. It will have been a very stressful morning for her, anyone who denies that is a liar, a fool, or worse, but, at the end, she will drop like a stone.
Finally, as part of our continued focus on The Third Metric, we take you inside an animal sanctuary outside Washington, D.C., where, in a twist on the usual Thanksgiving meal, it's the turkeys that get served a meal to remember.
This story appears in Issue 75 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Nov. 15 in the iTunes App store.