The Feb. 11 police raid at Jonathon Whitworth’s southwest Columbia home has garnered tremendous attention since the video of the SWAT action was first posted to the Tribune website on May 3.

Reporter Brennan David requested the video after he wrote a story about the raid on Feb. 23. Because the investigation was ongoing at the time, his request was denied. David received the video at the end last month when Whitworth pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia, ending the case.

After the video was published on the Tribune website, a reader posted it to YouTube and it was picked up by bloggers. The response has been building ever since. Below is a timeline of events:

Late January: Informants notify Columbia police narcotics investigators that Jonathan E. Whitworth is in possession of a large amount of high-grade marijuana.
Feb. 3: Boone County Associate Circuit Court Judge Leslie Schneider approves a search warrant of Whitworth’s residence, 1501 Kinloch Court. Warrant requested by Detective Ronald Hall Jr.
Feb. 11: Search warrant is served at Whitworth’s residence. His wife and son are present. Officers shot both of the family dogs; a pit bull dies.
Feb. 13: Tribune begins receiving e-mails and phone calls from neighbors concerned with SWAT’s entry and the killing of Whitworth’s dog.
Feb. 23: Tribune publishes its first story about the incident.
Feb. 26: Tribune learns the request for the SWAT video has been denied.
April 20: Whitworth pleads guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia after charges of second-degree child endangerment and possession of marijuana are dropped. He was issued a $300 fine in addition to court cost.
April 30: Tribune receives SWAT video in response to a public information request issued to the department on April 27.
May 3: Tribune publishes second story concerning the incident and with SWAT video. This is the first time the video is available to the public. The same day a reader posts the video to YouTube.
May 6: Police Chief Ken Burton and Mayor Bob McDavid address reporters to answer questions about the raid.
May 10: Police Chief Ken Burton announces changes to SWAT policy, including a change in who determines how search warrants will be served and mandating that drug-related warrants be served "within a reasonable time," generally eight hours.
May 11: The video of the raid posted to YouTube surpasses 1 million views.
Sept. 20: Whitworth's family files a lawsuit against the city in U.S. Western District Court.
The decisions of the Citizens Police Review Board and Columbia’s police chief concerning a February SWAT raid have been confirmed by City Manager Bill Watkins.
Watkins’ letter is dated Friday and addressed to California marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal, who appealed the board’s decision.

The letter says that based upon his review of Rosenthal’s complaint, a Columbia Police Department internal investigation, Chief Ken Burton’s decision and the recommendations of the review board, Watkins supports Burton’s decision in the matter.

Watkins’ decision is the third that has found the officers to have acted appropriately in the drug-related raid at a southwest Columbia home. The review board voted 4-3 in support of police actions concerning the raid during an Aug. 4 meeting, which was a confirmation of Burton’s prior internal investigation.
Here's the video: YouTube - Columbia Mo SWAT Raid 2/11/2010. Cops Shoot Pets With Children Present
WARNING: Not for the faint of heart. The police break into this man's home, traumatize the family, and shoot the dogs. Very vivid, real police footage of the entire incident.

The simple fact that there is video evidence showing precisely what the police did in this incident, should be enough to put it to bed. Especially in a relatively peaceful college town like Columbia where you would think, hope anyway, that this kind of happening would stir up enough outrage that anyone interested in keeping their job would be falling all over themselves to try to make it better. Instead it has been obstruct, deny, and cover up, everything which happened.

And it's on video. You can see the cops bust into this guy's house, quickly sweep the area and secure him as well as his family, and then several seconds after it is clear that this is the situation and there is no threat, one of the cops shoots the chained dogs in the kitchen. He's on the ground, his family is running out of the house, and the SWAT already cleared every room. And its well known that to even consider firing one's weapon as a police officer, is an absolute last resort.

And they acted appropriately? Busting into the house, full assault SWAT gear, when there was no apparent threat, shooting the dogs, over three grams of marijuana?

Its just sickening. No other way to say it. This is the status of the drug war in America, and the cost.