Skip to comments.Beware Warrior Cops
Posted on 08/21/2013 3:06:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
We need police to catch murderers, thieves and con men, and so we give them special power -- the power to use force on others. Sadly, today's police use that power to invade people's homes over accusations of trivial, nonviolent offenses -- and often do it with tanks, battering rams and armor you'd expect on battlefields.
In his book "Rise of the Warrior Cop," Radley Balko recounts the rise of police SWAT teams (SWAT stands for Special Weapons And Tactics) armed with heavy military equipment. SWAT raids began as rarely used methods of dealing with violent situations, like hostage-takings.
But government always grows.
In the 1970s, there were about 300 SWAT raids per year. "As of 2005," says Balko, "100 to 150 per day."
What began as a few specialized groups of police trained to address genuine threats to safety has degenerated into small armies descending on organic farms where farmers sell unpasteurized milk and legal medical marijuana dispensaries getting raided as if they were heavily armed threats.
The increase began under Nixon-era politicians who wanted to look "tough on crime," even if that meant exaggerating the threat posed by illegal drugs. As the futile war on drugs escalated, cops worried that drug users would destroy evidence if cops knocked and announced themselves. So they stopped doing that, changing a centuries-old rule that treated citizens' homes as their castles -- castles whose owners must be presented with a warrant before police can enter.
Soon, every police department wanted a SWAT team -- and many were more interested in getting cool military gear than in considering the potential downside -- like terrorizing innocent people, raiding the wrong house and causing violence.
"I found over 50 cases where a completely innocent person was killed in one of these raids," says Balko. Often this happens because the homeowner does not realize who is breaking down his door in the middle of the night.
Iraq War veteran Jose Guerena just knew that armed men were bursting in. So he picked up his semi-automatic rifle. Before he could take the safety off, police fired 71 bullets, hitting him 22 times.
Police raided his house because they suspected drugs were there. But after Guerena was killed, police found no drugs and no evidence of drug dealing. Today, the vast majority of SWAT raids are about drugs, not terrorism or hostage situations. Guerena's brother was arrested on drug charges. Balko says, "It appears Guerena's crime was being related to someone."
Now that the public is finally starting to have doubts about the drug war, another type of war has arrived: the War on Terror. The idea that domestic enemies need to be raided and rooted out -- that law enforcement should be given a free hand or we could all be killed -- got a new lease on life.
And a new source of funding.
Despite laws clearly saying that soldiers may not be used for domestic policing except in very special circumstances, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security now offer armored vehicles -- tanks and troop transports, body armor and stun grenades -- to police departments, large or small.
Local police jumped at the chance to have new toys -- so they expanded the circumstances under which those toys get used.
A sheriff in quiet Concord, N.H., cites people not so different from me as an excuse for getting DHS money to buy an armored vehicle. In an application for what is essentially a tank, he wrote that groups like the Free State Project -- libertarians who moved to New Hampshire seeking increased individual freedom -- pose "daily challenges" to the police of Concord.
Free Staters better watch out next time they get into an argument over a traffic ticket.
Most libertarians argue that police, courts and military are legitimate functions of government. We focus our skepticism on completely illegitimate government actions, like corporate welfare.
But few freedoms are more basic than being able to sleep securely in your bed without armored men bursting through your door.
They plant the seeds of a future citizens revolt.
With all the new equipment and training, OF COURSE, they want to use it. Look out folks!
How long until we see the full storm trooper uniform in regular use?
19 times out of 20 these situations could be handled by stopping the suspect coming out of work or the grocery store with no loss of life... Proving that these cops are raiding for the thrill and feeling of power, and to intimidate the people.
I think you are right.
The Davidian raid is proof. DOJ needed publicity in support of the perennial D.C. budget drills, so they conducted a massive raid rather than make a low key arrest while their target was out for his morning jog.
The blue guns are a dead give away.
Making a big splash in the media pushing for a bigger budget and more gun control
Our police forces need:
More ‘Andy Taylors’
Fewer ‘Barney Fifes’
and absolutely NO ‘Rambos’
Even in Texas!
But the feds decided to send a heavily armed SWAT-like team to his home to hammer on his door and initiate an 'incident' so as to justify using overwhelming force.
Imagine how the outcome would have differed if they had simply used a little common sense and reason.
Within ten years if that long.
A couple of weeks ago, "they" flew 150 Fibbie snipers out to Idaho to snuff out one dude on the spur of the moment. How much do you think that cost for last-minute airline tickets? They were PRACTICING for the "future citizens revolt" - on YOUR dime.
They couldn't care less about a "future citizens revolt". They'll spend WHATEVER it takes to murder resisters.
Judging from how the majority of voters voted in 2008 and 2012, I would have to answer, yes it is.
There are a couple/several of “barricaded” men incidents per year in my area, and they often seem to end with the man in question dead. I wonder WHY? Why was his home attacked, why was he killed? Local news rarely answers or even asks these questions. It just seems a way to make the entire population victims of a kind of Stockholm Syndrome.
On many issues, I do not agree with Libertarians. However, this is one of the few where I do. Only in extreme circumstances should lawmen (we used to call them “peace officers”) use military tactics and equipment.
See ‘The Rise of the Praetorian Class’
by Pete Kofod
Yes there is a tipping point with this kind of stuff. Once that point is passed you will see cops waking up dead in their cars out in remote locations or SWAT trucks taking a .50 cal as they roll down the street. If you keep poking the bear long enough it wakes up grumpy.
” In the 1970s, there were about 300 SWAT raids per year. “As of 2005,” says Balko, “100 to 150 per day.” “
THE FED GAVE THEM A LOT OF MONEY FOR NEW TOYS.
Now we have botched faux raids every day, and innocent civilians die!
More than just die. Countless innocents are terrorized, injured, abused, and suffer the after affects of such an action. A cop in a mistaken raid just says “opps.” Their innocent victims, or very low level criminals, get to deal with the emotional issues of such raids.
You don’t just have masked gunmen smash through your home, and everyone deals with it just fine. Not even guys are immune to the psychological issues, let alone children.
You just posted to a FReeper who was the victim of a SWAT raid
(8 cops)on my house (2006). They pounded on the door, I was about to open it, when they smashed it open, and cuffed me, and placed me on my belly. on the floor. Only the guy they were after, no longer lived there...
They ransacked the house, throwing my stuff all over the floor in every room(8 rooms, 3200 sq.ft.). They wouldn’t listen to anything I told them. The guy they were after sold me the house, had moved away, and they didn’t give a damn! This was nothing but HOME INVASION BY COP.
I didn’t dare try to call my attorney, or anyone else while they were still there. They finally left, after not finding whatever the hell they were looking for.One female cop told me “ I don’t understand why they smashed your door down. We could see that you were unarmed right through the window”.I have never been arrested/detained by the cope in 59 years!
Leaving it unchecked is seriously dangerous, condoning their behavior and encouraging more of the same; plus, these usurped-power types seriously cannot stand to be the butt of any joke.
” In the 1970s, there were about 300 SWAT raids per year. “As of 2005,” says Balko, “100 to 150 per day.”
THIS is the problem. Billions from DHS/FedGov to buy SWAT toys for the cops.
My favorite kind of raid. One in which the most basic investigation would have warned them off, and they were too lazy to bother.
Numerous stories about that kind of mistaken raid exist. Usually, it is single mothers in low income apartments favored by criminal elements. The guy has moved out months prior, but the cops never bothered to check. The innocents are publicly humiliated, even dragged out of bed or the shower by male cops.
“One female cop told me I dont understand why they smashed your door down. We could see that you were unarmed right through the window”
Are you kidding? And give up the opportunity to destroy a door?
It is a shame the media doesn’t report this kind of thing accurately. If they did, sheriffs across the country would be shamed into reigning this kind of crap in, or get voted out.
And of course if anyone has a problem with any of this, they’re just anti-cop and pro crime. No good citizen could possibly object to giving cops a blank check on their methods.
Damn sjb...had no idea! :(
Hey sjb -I’m a little late responding here, but wanted to know if you brought a lawsuit against LEO for this illegal and unwarranted raid on your home.