Militarized SWAT Drug Raids on the Rise
May 7, 2010
The Cato Institute has compiled information on botched SWAT thug raids around the country and produced the map below. The map graphically reveals how often militarized police mistakenly terrorize citizens as the government pursues its totalitarian drug war.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of “no-knock” or “quick-knock” raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt — it’s difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night.
But even more disturbing are the number of times such “wrong door” raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare.
A map showing raids on correctly identified addresses would be ten-deep with markers.
Alex Jones has produced a video (below) in response to a brutal drug raid in Missouri that resulted in steroid SWAT cops executing one family dog and wounding another during a drug raid that netted less than a gram of marijuana. Alex describes how the government imports drugs (primarily heroin and cocaine) and then brutalizes and imprisons citizens who are foolish enough to consume drugs.
People are outraged by the thuggish and murderous behavior of the cops in Missouri. “In Columbia, police are getting death threats over a February drug raid where SWAT team members shot a suspect’s dogs, killing one of them,” reports the Crime Scene KC blog. “The department’s police chief is defending the officers, saying the pit bull was acting aggressively. The other dog is a corgi and lived. The chief notes they’re reviewing their policies on raids because of the raid.”
Jonathan E. Whitworth entered into a plea agreement with the state to drop charges of possession of marijuana and second-degree child endangerment for a guilty plea to possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Psychotic cops like shooting dogs during drug raids. In 2008, a Maryland SWAT team raided the home of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo and shot two of his dogs to death. “It’s worth emphasizing that these were labs. Not the most intimidating dog in the world. Of course, offing the dog is almost standard procedure in these things, now,” writes Radley Balko. “On the other hand, maybe once a few public officials feel the brunt end of the militarized drug war, we’ll get some real discussion about whether it’s all really necessary.”
Calvo was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. Police refused to apologize for executing his pets.
Cops not only kill dogs during drug raids. They also murder people. In 2006 cops in Atlanta, Georgia, slaughtered 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston with a hail of gunfire during a botched raid. In order to cover up their crime, the police planted bags of marijuana in Johnston’s house after her death.
The murder was so outrageous and public outrage so intense the state of Georgia was obliged to put three cops on trial.
“The fundamental travesty is the use of such paramilitary-style police tactics in the first place. It has become commonplace in the US drug war for teams of black-clad anti-drug officers to knock down doors without warning, often in the middle of the night, setting off stun grenades, tackling confused residents to the ground and handcuffing them or waving guns in their faces or holding guns to their heads — sometimes even children,” writes David Borden in response to the death of Alberta Spruill during a mistaken drug raid in New York. The 57-year-old Harlem woman died of a heart attack after police threw a stun grenade into her apartment. New York ended up paying $1.6 million to Spruill’s family.
Indeed, as Borden notes, the drug war is a travesty. It has nothing to do with preventing the consumption of illegal drugs, however, as the government and the corporate media tell us. It is about making a tidy profit for the CIA (so they can run their covert ops off the books) and Wall Street. It is also an excuse to militarize the cops and expand the for-profit prison industry.
Militarized cops that have cut their teeth on harmless drug users will be soon be used on the American people as they turn out in the streets in response to the Greatest Depression now unfolding.
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