Deadly raid produces few drugs and many questions for Tampa Poli - FOX 13 News

Deadly raid produces few drugs and many questions for Tampa Police Department

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Patti Silliman says Tampa police officers killed her son, 29-year-old Jason Westcott, on a bogus drug raid, and now they're trying to cover it up.

"Tampa police have lied about a lot of things, and they will continue to lie," Silliman said.

The scene in May involved drugs, guns and a SWAT team. At first, it looked like a big drug bust.

The Tampa Police Department said the suspect, Westcott, was a big-time drug dealer who was armed when a SWAT team raided his home.

They say he pointed a gun at officers, so they shot and killed him.

But weeks later, we learned police found barely any marijuana.

"Now my son is dead over two dollars of marijuana and a confidential informant wanting to get off from being in trouble," Silliman said.

Several months before the raid, Silliman says her son even called Tampa police for help when he learned someone who visited his home had plans to rob him.

"He goes and buys a security system, and Tampa police say it’s because he’s a big-time drug dealer? No. It’s because he called you to protect him, and then you killed him," Silliman said.

From the very start, misinformation led to more confusion.

At first Tampa police said a neighborhood tips lead them to Westcott’s home. Then later, they said no, it was actually an undercover officer who had made drug buys there.

Then it changed again when we learned the information really came from a confidential informant.

"There got to be times when I expect the chief of police to come forward and say we made a mistake on this. This was wrong, we screwed this up when this officer was out of line, and it seems like they never do that until we provide them with overwhelming evidence on this," said Tampa defense attorney Jeff Brown, who is not involved with the case.

But Tampa police spokesperson Laura McElroy says the informant's information was right. She says Westcott was a street-level drug dealer.

The confidential informant, McElroy says, made four drug buys from Westcott, and each time he was armed -- which is why she says the SWAT team was called out.

"Each time the informant was at his house, he saw pre-packaged marijuana, up to 40 baggies. If you’re just a personal user, you’re not going to have prepackaged marijuana that is for distribution," McElroy said.

Currently there is an internal affairs investigation on the incident, but Patti Silliman says she won’t be satisfied until police own up to their mistakes.

"Tampa police need to have some kind of accountability when they go into a home," Silliman said.

 

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