Here’s why I ask:
Police evacuated citizens from their homes within a quarantined area near Smith Elementary School Saturday night (July 17, 2004) to conduct a broad gun sweep of the neighborhood following the shooting of Oshkosh police officer Nate Gallagher.
Residents reported returning home from area shelters — where they were herded by police — to find their guns gone. Others watched in awe as police took their firearms after giving police consent to search. Some were told by police their firearms would be subjected to ballistics tests, and would be returned.
“However, the bullet that hit officer Gallagher was not found,” said Corey Graff, executive director of Wisconsin Gun Owners Inc. “So how can police conduct ballistics tests if there’s no bullet with which to match the results? It defies logic.”
Graff said the biggest issue is what he calls the department’s “guilty-until-proven-innocent” posture towards citizens.
In what appears to be a blatant knee jerk abuse of police power, the department unleashed the dogs — literally — when the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT) showed up with its K-9 Unit to begin house-to-house searches.
According to media reports, the suspect fled on foot into the neighborhood, and has not been apprehended.
Warrants for searches were issued for at least two homes (perhaps more), but homeowners in the area reported having all their firearms taken by police.
What’s fascinating is that the reports I found in the standard media outlets–newspaper and television news sites based in nearby Appleton and Green Bay–report only on the guns seized with warrants, not those taken during the house-to-house search.
Since when do police have the right to evict people from a six-block area and seize all the guns they can find?