Freedom Fighter of the Month
December 2009 – Corina Amato
By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
Marylanders and Americans everywhere were shocked and saddened by the case of Mayor Cheye Calvo in Berwyn Heights, whose door was broken down by a drug task force that was executing a raid on the mayor’s home over a box of marijuana delivered by a shipping company. The mayor was innocent (it was a conspiracy of some workers for the shipping company to traffic marijuana) but that didn’t stop the horror of the police shooting and killing the mayor’s two black Labrador retrievers – one in the back as it had run away from the commotion.
Since that tragedy over a year ago, the NORML Daily Audio Stash has reported on many cases of unnecessary canicide by police serving these marijuana warrants. Calvo’s case was extraordinary in that it involved a mayor, but not unique, as dozens of people targeted for marijuana “crimes” have lost their beloved pets to this police brutality.
One such case is this month’s Freedom Fighter, another Marylander, Corina Amato of Baltimore. Last June, acting on a tip from a confidential informant, Baltimore police served a warrant at Amato’s home. Amato and her husband were both at work when police arrived. Police knew the home contained dogs, but rather than call Animal Control to deal with the animals, as is police protocol, they knocked on the door to attract the dog, then pointed the barrels of their automatic rifles into the front door’s mail slot and fired. The dog, Jasmine, was wounded and ran upstairs to Amato’s bedroom, where the police followed and killed the dog on her bed.
Amato is fighting back, working to build the new Baltimore NORML chapter and creating the website WatchdogBaltimore.org to track police brutality in Charm City. And in case you’re wondering, absolutely no marijuana was found in the raid.
Corina Amato’s interview can be heard on the Friday, June 19 episode of the Daily Audio Stash.