Because I am old enough to remember a time in America when state and community police agencies wouldn't dare to forcibly break into a private residence except under the most extreme and exigent circumstances. For that reason I was stunned to learn that paramilitary style "no-knock" raids take place on average of forty thousand times a year! That's about 110 times a day! Not only are the majority of these raids conducted for such trivial reasons as the mere suspicion of marijuana possession, a significant percentage of them are "botched," meaning they are directed at wrong addresses in which innocent persons are assaulted, humiliated, terrified and, in some cases, killed. And, incredibly, the offending police are rarely if ever held accountable for these outrageous and oppressive invasions of privacy. Details of this disturbing development are contained in an important exposè by the highly respected Cato Institute which may be freely accessed at: http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/balko_whitepaper_2006.pdf The following is one of many similar excerpts from this report which I intend to post here on a daily basis. Those who are interested in this menacing development are urged to follow the link to Cato and learn what is being done to American Liberty. #1 On May 16, 2003, a dozen New York City police officers stormed an apartment building in Harlem on a no-knock warrant. They were acting on a tip from a confidential informant who told them a convicted felon was dealing drugs and guns from the sixth floor. There was no felon. The only resident in the building was Alberta Spruill, described by friends as a "devout churchgoer." Before entering, police deployed a flashbang grenade. The blinding, deafening explosion stunned the 57 year-old city worker. As the officers realized their mistake and helped Spruill to her feet the woman slipped into cardiac arrest. She died two hours later. A police investigation would later find that the drug dealer the raid team was looking for had been arrested days earlier and was still in police custody. He couldn't possibly have been at Spruill's apartment. The officers who conducted the raid did no investigation whatsoever to corroborate the informant's tip. Worse, a police source later told the New York Daily News that the informant had offered police tips on several occasions, none of which had led to an arrest. His record was so poor, in fact, he was due to be dropped from the City's informant list. Nevertheless, police took his tip about the ex-con in Spruill's building to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which approved the application for a no-knock entry. A judge then issued the warrant resulting in Spruill's death. The entire process took only a matter of hours.