In an editorial, the Mobile Press-Register says that a heavily publicized raid by dozens of state troopers on two electronic bingo halls on Friday had “embarrassed Alabama.” Gov. Bob Riley recently appointed former Mobile prosecutor John Tyson Jr. to head an anti-gambling task force. Its first target was two operations that offer electronic bingo, similar to slot machines. But the facilities apparently had been tipped to the raid and were closed when the police phalanx arrived. To boot, authorities had not gotten search warrants.
The paper said, “The ominous scene of police headlights as far as the eye could see conveyed the message Gov. Bob Riley wanted to send: A crime was being committed at Country Crossing, a crime so evil it required more than 100 state troopers to halt. Too bad the troopers didn't have a search warrant in their pre-dawn raids Friday. If they had been hunting down bomb-toting terrorists instead of trying to shut down electronic bingo machines, the show of force might have made sense. As it was, the attempted raids of Country Crossing near Dothan and VictoryLand in Shorter looked like an abuse of power more suited to a police state than the state of Alabama. Riley and Tyson “overstepped their authority, made themselves look foolish and embarrassed Alabama,” the paper said.