SWAT raids of poker games. My heart swells with pride.
In the last couple of months, police have broken up games in Charleston, South Carolina (netting a poker playing cop and prosecutor in the process) and, no surprise here, in Dallas and Houston.
In the Houston case, prosecutors planned to file felony organized crime charges against the operators of a $300 buy-in tournament.
In the Charleston case, investigators went back more than a year to find names of players who may not have been playing on the night of the raid. They then went out and arrested them, too. They were eventually charged with misdemeanors.
Here’s a first-hand account of similar Charleston raid from a couple of years ago:
At the game in 2006, Chimento said there was a knock on the door and then “…all of a sudden it was like a commandos SWAT team raiding a bunch of crack dealers. It’s was like the SWAT team that you see on TV, busting into your home, guns drawn, ski masks on, full protective gear, and demanding we put out hands on top of our heads,” Chimento said. “At first we thought we were getting robbed, then we realized they had police written all over them, and we were like ‘Oh my God, check this out.’ Someone could have easily been killed that night.”
A 78-year-old grandmother was one of the players swept up that night. Police issued citations on the spot and seized about $6,000 in total from all of the players.
One of Balko’s commenters issues a point of order.
“At first we thought we were getting robbed…
…Police issued citations on the spot and seized about $6,000 in total from all of the players.”
They were robbed.