"Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book": The new warrior cop is out of control
July 7, 2013
SWAT teams raiding poker games and trying to stop underage drinking? Overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise
Sal Culosi is dead because he bet on a football game - but it wasn't a bookie or a loan shark who killed him. His local government killed him, ostensibly to protect him from his gambling habit. Several months earlier at a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. "To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends," a friend of Culosi's told me shortly after his death. "None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia-Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation." Baucum apparently did. After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that's when they brought in the SWAT team.