Posted: May 7th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
This map from CATO details where botched paramilitary-style police raids (aka “SWAT” raids) have taken place nationally. Place markers are color coded in one of five colors, denoting six types of incidents:
Red = Death of an innocent or unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
Gray = Raid on an innocent suspect.
Blue = Death or injury of a police officer.
Green = Other examples of paramilitary police excess (Taser for no reason, destruction of property, etc).
Black = Death of a non-violent offender.
As you can see, these “isolated incidents” of the drug war are anything but isolated. They’re quite prolific, in fact. Here’s some examples from areas I know or have lived in:
Wyoming has no incidents – probably because, to my knowledge, Wyoming has no SWAT cops at all. Our largest cities are Cheyenne (57,000 ) and Casper (54,000).
Utah (where I used to live) has four incidents from 1997 to 2008 (the last year data was available). I remember some of these, as I lived there at the time. Two took place in 2005, one of which is totally unbelievable. A SWAT team is raiding a home and the neighbor walks out his door to see what the ruckus is. This is, apparently, enough “cause” for the SWAT to then target his home as well. How nice of them to show such courtesy.
Texas (where I grew up) is an interesting example. All of the problems are on the east side, with the exception of a couple in the panhandle. An example of every type of botchup can be made from deaths of innocents to deaths of officers and more. One of which was a police officer, shot in the neck and paralyzed by complications because the cops failed to announce themselves upon storming into the home in Dallas, so the victims opened fire to defend their house form the invaders. Two other wrongful raids (wrong address, I guess cops don’t have Google Maps) took place in 2006 and resulted in trashed homes, traumatized residents, and public relations nightmares for the cops. It should be added that criminals often pose as cops doing “raids” to gain entry to homes and compliance from dwellers, so return fire (despite calls of “POLICE”) is common in Texas.
All of this SWAT garbage happens for two reasons: we are being conditioned (both us and the cops) to live in a police state and because of the phony War on (some) Drugs.
I caught the tail end of a show on the History Channel a few days ago where FBI agents were staging a warrant raid on a home. They were “concerned” because of the three known residents, one was a “gun owner” who was known to have a “registered 9mm pistol.” This coming from cops wearing body armor, carrying shotguns and submachine guns, and on an early morning raid where they were likely surprising and awakening their victims.
All to seize a bunch of computer equipment from, as it turned out, two fat people and a mental deficient. None of which put up any kind of resistance, not that they could have in their sorry condition. Oh, and they “announced” themselves as “POLICE! WE HAVE A WARRANT” and then immediately knocked the door down with a ram. That’s what counts as a “knock” now, by the way.