The Death of a Slave-Catcher
(PRO LIBERTATE) Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom was fatally shot during a raid on the home of Matthew David Stewart last January 4. Francom was part of a twelve-man SWAT team attached to the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, a federally subsidized counter-narcotics squad.
A few weeks earlier, a woman named Stacy Wilson who had broken up with Stewart called the Strike Force snitch line to report that Stewart was cultivating marijuana on his property. After three attempts to conduct a “knock and talk” search of the home, the Strike Force obtained a warrant for a nighttime paramilitary raid – despite the fact that they didn’t even bother to do a background check on the accuser.
In familiar fashion, the SWAT team knocked on the front door, shouted “Search warrant!” and immediately broke into the home with a battering ram. Stewart barricaded himself in a room and began shooting. Francom was shot six times, although it’s possible he was hit by “friendly fire.” Five other officers were wounded, as was Stewart, who was arrested in a shed outside his home. He has been charged with one count of aggravated murder and seven counts of attempted aggravated murder. The state intends to seek the death penalty.
A search of the home turned up a handful of marijuana plants. Stewart, a veteran, insists that he used marijuana to treat a variety of physical and psychological conditions that are the residue of his time in the military. He also maintains that he didn’t know that the armed invaders – some of whom had long hair intended to make them look like gang-bangers — were police officers.