No More Wacos: What's Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement and how to Fix It

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Waco and Ruby Ridge were neither conspiracies nor flukes. They represent the worst-case scenario of problems that now plague federal law enforcement, including its militarisation, judicial rubberstamping of search and arrest applications, aggressive and violent arrest procedures, indifference to religious beliefs, the complicity of an overzealous media, and failed congressional investigations. In "No More Wacos", David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman use their expertise in law and criminology to outline the evidence in these cases and dozens of others to explain how and why such tragedies occur. Meticulously documented, this volume analyses all sides of this complex subject: flawed search warrants, authorities ignoring the difference between religious and criminal suspects, and intra-governmental deception, among other issues. Whenever problems are found, specific remedies are proposed - over one hundred solutions in all - both comprehensive and technical in nature. Each is offered in the hope of preventing future Wacos by properly placing federal law enforcement under the rule of law.

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Editorial Reviews

Attorney David Kopel and criminologist Paul Blackman find a frightening pattern of government overreaching that demands a public response.
American Rifleman
This may well be the definitive book on Waco: welll-written, intensively researched and compellingly argued.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This scathing, heavily annotated critique of the government's 1993 siege of David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex., which ended in a cataclysmic fire after a 51-day standoff, provides insights and facts not found in most newspaper or TV coverage. The authors assert that the federal warrant to search the compound was based on falsehoods and legal errors, and they find a lack of justification for what they see as a gratuitously violent, armed military assault on the home of 127 persons. Using government documents and interviews, they convincingly challenge the FBI's claim that the agency never expected the Davidians to commit suicide, and they cogently argue that the FBI, ignoring a surrender offer by Koresh, deceived Attorney General Janet Reno concerning the ongoing negotiations in order to win her approval for a tank assault. CS, the "tear gas" used, the authors explain, is an incapacitating chemical warfare agent (outlawed by an international convention in 1993) that can kill children in 10 minutes. They accuse the FBI and the departments of Justice and Treasury of a cover-up, including the destruction, alteration and withholding of evidence. They propose pertinent policy measures to compel federal law enforcement to act lawfully. Kopel is a Denver attorney, Blackman a research coordinator for the National Rifle Association. (Mar.)
Attorney Kopel and criminologist Blackman collaborate to meticulously analyze what went wrong at Waco (and other situations in which the Federal government has been involved), offering detailed evidence and a plethora of solutions to avoid future tragedies. The authors argue that Waco was the result of flawed search warrants, authorities ignoring the difference between religious and criminal suspects, intergovernmental deception, and militarized federal law enforcement. Their remedies, over 100 in total, suggest comprehensive and technical solutions aimed at placing federal law under the standards of the nation's rules of law. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573921251
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 524
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 11
A Note on Sources 13
Introduction 15
Prologue 19
1 The Unwarranted Warrant 47
2 A Search Warrant or a Death Warrant? 79
3 The Siege 130
4 The Great Disappointment 186
5 The Cover-Up 224
6 Policy Lessons 292
App. A The Comprehensive Public Safety and Federal Law Enforcement Improvement Act and Law Enforcement Reform 375
App. B Chronology 394
App. C Part 1: Cast of Characters 399
App. C Part 2: Mount Carmel's Dead 409
App. D Negotiation Tape Summaries 412
Selected Bibliography 477
Index 489
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