10 police raids gone wrong: 1972: Dirk Dickenson
1972: Dirk Dickenson
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Federal narcotics officers and local law enforcement were expecting to find a million-dollar drug laboratory in a 1972 drug raid on a Humboldt County, Calif., home. Instead, they found Dickenson and his girlfriend, two hippies who didn’t even have running water.
As they rushed the house, one officer tripped; a fellow officer mistakenly thought his colleague had been shot. Dickenson thought he was being invaded and fled. Federal agent Lloyd Clifton shot an unarmed Dickenson square in the back as he ran.
Clifton was quickly cleared of any wrongdoing by the Department of Justice, but Humboldt County District Attorney William Ferroggiaro got Clifton indicted for second-degree murder. Nixon Attorney General Richard Kleindienst (pictured) personally intervened in Clifton’s defense, deputizing a prominent defense attorney known for representing cops in police abuse cases. The charges were ultimately moved to federal court, then dismissed.
A thorough search of the property turned up only a personal-use supply of various illicit drugs.