Sunday, April 5, 2009
drug war SWAT teams take the old homily about shooting first and asking questions later to heart
So, SWAT Teams should wait judiciously before entering a situation.
Up to three hours, if they need to. Hey, a hostage situation can only get better as time goes along, right?
Unless, of course, drug are involved. Then, barge in, and sort out if it's the correct address later.
And feel free to mow down innocents,dogs, and
children while you're at it.
Now, one thing we really need SWAT teams for is to curb underage drinking.
(Mentally, I file this case under WTF, But Should I Really Be Surprised?)
As blogger JD Tucille does, let's rephrase this: "Paramilitary police officers trained for high-risk, violent confrontations were dispatched to arrest college students who were a year or three younger than the current legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages." Sounds like an effective use of this resource, doesn't it?
SWAT teams were originally created by the LAPD--the source of so many wonderful things. As the following report on the Symbionese Liberation Army details,they were intended to address "riots," "the sniper," "political assassins" and "urban guerrilla warfare." Their training was "to successfully combat urban violence". Whether you agree with this use of paramilitary forces against our citizenry or not--which I do not, for many reasons, including the fact that the police often conveniently misinterpret protests as riots--this is at least a somewhat reasonable limitation of their use. Yet, nowadays, SWAT teams are being used on nonviolent offenders, that is, they're being used to deal out death in the drug war. And as this frat party attack demonstrates, this is being extended now to underage users of licit drugs.
Here below is a list of botched drug war SWAT team raids. Often, SWAT teams do not identify themselves, so terrified residents utilize the rights given to them by the Constitution and defend themselves against armed intruders, often causing more damage to themselves and their dependents in the process. Those among the wounded and dead include a one year old boy, many grandparents, a mentally disabled boy, a woman seperated from the oxygen tank she required to breathe, an Army reservist, an Alzheimer sufferer who fired back at police in his confused state and was slaughtered for doing so, a man with severe gout and a pacemaker, and a mentally disabled man who was hogtied by seven police officers and died agonizingly in the process. The police handcuffed an 11 year old and a 12 year old in one case. The vast majority of these cases were no knock drug warrants on the wrong addresses. When the police did find drugs, it was usually only a few joints of marijuana. Eyewitnesses report gratuitous violence on the part of the SWAT teams while subjects did not resist arrest--in one case, the team replied to a 68 year old lawyer's pleas that the team had the wrong place by striking him on the head with a police shield and slamming him into a closet door.
In all but one case, the suspicion that led to the SWAT raids were tips that small amounts of marijuana were present. In only one case, police alleged that they believed two small rocks of crack had been sold at the address.
I urge you to sign the form letter stopthedrugwar.org has prepared to urge decisionmakers to limit the use of SWAT team raids, occasioned by the murder of a mother and a child by a SWAT team a little more than a year ago: