While Mobile police ban pre-dawn raids, it’s business as usual for sheriff’s office – Fox 10 News

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Pre-dawn raids are under scrutiny in the Port City and – for the time being, at least – banned by the Police Department except in extraordinary circumstances.
But it’s business as usual at the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
“We will continue to do business like we always have,” Sheriff Paul Burch told FOX10 News. “If a situation dictates a pre-dawn warrant, that’s what we will do.”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced a temporary suspension of pre-dawn raids in the wake of a SWAT Team officer fatally shooting 16-year-old Randall Adjessom before sunrise on Nov. 13 on Sheringham Drive. It was the fourth time this year that someone died during a confrontation with Mobile police and the second involving pre-dawn raids.
Police have said officers had probable cause to believe marijuana distribution was occurring at the house, although court records show they found just 8 grams. Chief Paul Prine told reporters that they were looking for Adjessom’s 18-year-old relative, Dangelo Adjessom. He said the younger Adjessom pointed a laser-sighted gun at the officer.
Under the new policy, pre-dawn raids can be conducted only with approval from the highest levels. Former U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown, at the mayor’s request, is set to conduct a comprehensive review of the department’s policies and training.
Robert Clopton, president of the Mobile County branch of the NAACP, said pre-dawn raids create too much of a risk – especially when children might be inside a house.
“From my perspective, I don’t think they should have pre-dawn raids, and I do agree with the mayor on this assessment,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Office has experience with an early-morning raid that didn’t go according to plan. Deputies participated in a U.S. Marshals Service task force in 2019 that surrounded a house in Wilmer in a search of a fugitive who, it later turned out, had been locked up at Mobile County Metro Jail at the time. A task force officer – not with the Sheriff’s Office – shot a woman named Ann Rylee McLeod.
That is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit that McLeod filed against the federal government, three Sheriff’s Office employees and several agents from other agencies that were part of the task force.
Clopton said it would be best if all agencies banned pre-dawn raids.
“I think that we should have consistency throughout the county,” he said. “The county and city should work together. There are really no ands, ifs of buts about it – up to and including when it comes to body cameras.”
While Mobile police officers wear body cameras, Burch has continued his predecessor’s policy of not having them for deputies. As for when to conduct a raid, the sheriff said a variety of factors influence that.
“We don’t plan on changing our strategy,” Burch said. “You know, it’s not something you do every day. But each search warrant is, you know, standalone circumstances as to what you’re gonna do that day at that time.”
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