Police Shoot and Kill Georgia Man in Raid Over Non-Existent Meth

By Victoria Kim 10/08/14

The killing of 59-year-old David Hooks is the latest in a string of deaths caused by botched police raids across the country.

david hooks.jpg
David Hooks. Photo via

The Laurens County, Ga. sheriff’s department has become the latest to make headlines for a botched raid that resulted in the death of an East Dublin resident.

On September 24, around 11 p.m., deputies raided the home of David Hooks, 59, after obtaining a search warrant based on a tip from known meth addict Rodney Garrett.

Garrett told authorities he had found 20 grams of methamphetamine inside a plastic bag he stole from a vehicle at the Hooks’ residence, according to Georgia station WMAZ. Garrett said that when he discovered meth instead of cash inside the bag, he turned himself into the police because the drugs made him fear for his safety.

Based on this information, authorities applied for a warrant to search Hooks’ home. Deputy Magistrate Faith Snell issued the search warrant, but Hooks’ lawyer Mitchell Shook has maintained that it was invalid, as it did not comport with the requirements of the Georgia state constitution nor the U.S. Constitution, as well as the fact that the word of a thief should not be the basis of a search warrant.

When the deputies arrived at the Hooks residence, the authorities claim they told him they were officers with a search warrant. However, according to a statement by Shooks, officers raided the home without identifying themselves, arriving without lights or sirens.

According to Shook, authorities broke down the back door of the family’s home and entered, firing more than 16 times. Hooks was hit multiple times and died soon after. Laurens County Sheriff Bill Herrell defended the police’s decision to shoot, claiming Hooks aggressively brandished a gun at the SWAT team that broke in his back door.

Hooks’ wife Teresa was the first to see the authorities lurking around the house. As the home had been burglarized just two nights earlier, she believed the thieves had returned. Hooks armed himself to protect his home and family, not knowing that the men on the other side of the door were police officers.

Not one item of contraband was found after the search was conducted by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents, which lasted some 44 hours, according to Shook.

These botched police raids happen all too often, resulting in innocent lives lost in the name of fighting the war on drugs. Vice writer Lucy Steigerwald, who covered this story, put it succinctly: “The [Hooks] raid can serve as a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the war on drugs: a door busted down on what, in hindsight at least, was flimsy evidence; a search warrant that was seemingly signed off on and executed in a hurry; an operation that was unnecessarily militaristic.”

From the time seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by police in a raid in Detroit, to when authorities in Berwyn Heights, Md. raided their own mayor’s home, shooting and killing his two dogs and holding the mayor and his mother-in-law at gunpoint over a package of marijuana, the tragic story of David Hooks becomes one of countless botched raids that happen all over the U.S.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr