If you were in Paris Kentucky on the afternoon of June 17, 2010 you will never forget what you saw: Men with machine guns standing in the middle of US 460, armored vehicles driving down 8th Street, with troopers hanging off the sides, vehicle stops in church parking on High Street with weapons aimed at the driver, road blocks set up all over town checking ID cards and restricting access to neighborhoods, and three helicopters flying over head keeping an eye on all the activity. For a time on Thursday Paris, Kentucky was under siege and to date there is no substantive explanation as to why.
Almost 48 hours have passed since the siege and the most that has been released to the media is that the operation was an joint ATF/KSP investigation regarding the drug trade in Paris. It has also been indicated that additional people are being sought and this requires secrecy.
Over course of my career I have both prosecuted and defended criminals and I understand that investigations of criminal activity are sensitive and some aspects need to remain “quiet”. However, when the government engages in a display of overwhelming force throughout a small town, its citizens are entitled more information from the government than this is an “ongoing investigation.”
There can be no doubt that drugs are a blight on the community, I would guess that every person in Paris/Bourbon County knows someone who has been addicted to street or prescription drugs. I would also guess that almost everyone knows someone who has died due their drug addiction. The neighborhood that was primarily under siege has a reputation of having a lot of drug activity at all hours of the day and night.
Some may argue that the drug trade has caused its own siege in the community and that argument is quite compelling. However, the siege by the drug trade was a criminal enterprise managed by felons and thugs. The siege of Thursday was executed by officers of the law who are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. While the ATF/KSP may have met its obligation to defend the community from drug dealers it has failed to meet its obligation to inform the community why it was saw such an overwhelming show of force.
The time has passed for the Government (ATF, U.S. Attorney, State Police and/or the City of Paris) to stand before the media and explain the who, what where, when, why and how of Thursday June 17, 2010. This failure to communicate with citizens is keeping the rumor mill at full throttle and gives the impression that the government has no obligation to keep her citizens informed.