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The FBI’s Misuse of Police Tactics in the Stone Arrest

The street was dark when the tactical response team, donning shoulder weapons, body armor and fatigues, began banging on the home’s entrance, yelling, “FBI! Open the door.

On January 25, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s special investigation filed criminal charges against Roger Stone, alleging lying, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. These charges are called “process crimes,” which according to the United State Criminal Procedure terminology is defined as “offenses against the judicial process.” 

Process crimes are often laid against persons if they failed to appear, provided false statements, or were found in contempt of court. These types of crimes are generally unrelated to the materiality of the original criminal case being investigated. Commonly, process offenses are not handled by police. Most often, the prosecutor works with the defense attorney of the person being charged to turn themselves in at the courthouse on their own accord and within a specific time frame. However, as a result of these charges, instead of the normal practice, nearly thirty Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents planned and executed a pre-dawn raid on Stone’s home, all coincidently caught on camera by CNN personnel. This misuse of FBI resources and tactics should give us pause for concern. 

There is nothing more dangerous to civil liberty than misuse of government resources against the citizenry and the weaponization of power for political show. The heavy-handed response by authorities is very possibly a result of Stone’s unwillingness to assist the Special Counsel with information related to the scope of Mueller’s investigation. Stone has a constitutional right to decline to work with the special counsel and prosecutors and police should not treat those that use their constitutional rights in a different matter than those that chose to assist prosecutors in criminal cases. 

Alan Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Law School, said civil libertarians should be concerned with the playing out of Mueller’s investigation. Arresting a citizen in a pre-dawn raid and placing him in shackles is nothing more than a show arrest. Law enforcement officials should be concerned as well. Conducting a pre-dawn raid on a 66-year-old man, under indictment for process-related crimes, with no indicators that the person is a flight risk or is a danger to his community, does not justify the use of these kinds of police tactics or resources. 

The truth of this abuse is shown in Stone’s release. Within hours of being booked, Stone was release on just a $250,000 bond. If Stone was such a significant threat to use these kind of police tactics then why was his bond so low relative to his resources and why did the government not request the judge to increase Stone’s bond to a level that is commensurate with the FBI’s response? 

It is the criminalization of politics, the weaponization of police resources, and a perfect example of the overcriminalization of America today! 

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