Police State America - or - Just Simple Job Justification at Taxpayer Expense

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Contessa_Sharra, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    Maryland's SWAT transparency bill produces its first disturbing results

    Radley Balko | March 1, 2010


    Cheye Calvo's July 2008 encounter with a Prince George's County, Maryland, SWAT team is now pretty well-known: After intercepting a package of marijuana at a delivery service warehouse, police completed the delivery, in disguise, to the address on the package. That address belonged to Calvo, who also happened to be the mayor of the small Prince George’s town of Berwyn Heights. When Calvo's mother-in-law brought the package in from the porch, the SWAT team pounced, forcing their way into Calvo's home. By the time the raid was over, Calvo and his mother-in-law had been handcuffed for hours, police realized they'd made a mistake, and Calvo's two black Labradors lay dead on the floor from gunshot wounds.

    As a result of this colossal yet not-unprecedented screw-up, plus Calvo's notoriety and persistence, last year Maryland became the first state in the country to make every one of its police departments issue a report on how often and for what purpose they use their SWAT teams. The first reports from the legislation are in, and the results are disturbing.

    Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.

    Worse even than those dreary numbers is the fact that more than half of the county’s SWAT deployments were for misdemeanors and nonserious felonies. That means more than 100 times last year Prince George’s County brought state-sanctioned violence to confront people suspected of nonviolent crimes. And that's just one county in Maryland. These outrageous numbers should provide a long-overdue wake-up call to public officials about how far the pendulum has swung toward institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry, usually in the name of the drug war.

    But that’s unlikely to happen, at least in Prince George's County. To this day, Sheriff Michael Jackson insists his officers did nothing wrong in the Calvo raid—not the killing of the dogs, not neglecting to conduct any corroborating investigation to be sure they had the correct house, not failing to notify the Berwyn Heights police chief of the raid, not the repeated and documented instances of Jackson’s deputies playing fast and loose with the truth.

    Jackson, who's now running for county executive, is incapable of shame. He has tried to block Calvo's efforts to access information about the raid at every turn. Last week, Prince George's County Circuit Judge Arthur M. Ahalt ruled that Calvo's civil rights suit against the county can go forward. But Jackson has been fighting to delay the discovery process in that suit until federal authorities complete their own investigation into the raid. That would likely (and conveniently) prevent Prince George's County voters from learning any embarrassing details about the raid until after the election.

    MORE: 4.5 SWAT Raids Per Day - Reason Magazine
     
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  2. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    [​IMG][​IMG]

    It's not supposed to be this way.
     
  3. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    It is very scary. What kind of PD serves non-violent misdemeanor warrants with a SWAT posse?

    I wonder about the cost benefit anaiysis on that all of this, man hours, cost of equipment, and so on...
     
  4. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    I like big guns as much as the next guy, but I don't think they need to be pulled when granny jaywalks!

    This is but one symptom of the gradual erosion of our liberties.
     
  5. Dr Gregg
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    I fail to see any real widespread issue. Is the swat supposed to just do nothing until there is a bank robbery, all while getting paid? How often would swat be deployed? And when they were deployed to serve warrants, were they in full gear with rifles and such, or did htey just go like regular cops?

    And one case of bumbling mistakes doesn'gt make it seem like its a widespread phenomenon of abuse.

    Looks to me like yet another biased, piece of crap internet article trying to pass off as real news
     
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  6. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Yes. Would you prefer them pulling over speeders with M-16s?

    4.5 raids per day in Maryland alone.

    SWAT teams, by definition, don't go in like regular cops. If they had, this wouldn't be an issue.

    How did we survive before the establishment of paramilitary SWAT teams in 1968?
     
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  7. Dr Gregg
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    Dr Gregg BANNED

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    I see no difference between a handgun that a cop has and a rifle.
    Wouldn't people be complianing that swat gets paid all the time to do nothing and wait until there needs to be a situation where swat was necessary? Maybe they were just not wanting to have them sitting around wasting money so they had them do other things. Wouldn't it be wise to have regular cops trained for swat, so only when a situation arises that requires swat (which is rare in many places) are those guys "swat" and not regular cops

    I don't see any conspiracy and SS type shit going on as the opinion piece that is this article seem to insinuate
     
  8. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Battering rams, ballistic shields, SMGs, tear gas, flashbangs, and no chance to peacefully surrender. They shot his dogs.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BH0zhjbspc]YouTube - Dallas Swat Raid[/ame]
     
  9. Dr Gregg
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    yeah? Regular cops make mistakes in arrests also. It's horrible, but that's just one case of a major fuckup, and I fail to see that as the case for every single warrant they went out and served. You think they used tear gas and battering rams for all the warrants they served just because they are swat?
     
  10. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    That's a lot of deployments. But how many went tits up like the fuckup re Calvo?

    You have to accept that police going into someone's house with a warrant (or without) is potentially dangerous in any jurisdiction where there is a high level of firearms ownership by individuals. I'd like to see the risk assessment methods they use.
     

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