Saturday, August 19, 2006

SWAT Raids Gone Bad

Prosecuting Murderers

I couldn't say it much better than Kim does: The problems of (a) criminals claiming to be SWAT or Police, and raiding homes, and (b) SWAT/Police raiding the wrong house and killing innocent people.
Because let me tell you all this: I’m also sick of reading about cops raiding the wrong address, and slapping around the wrong people.

Law enforcement cannot have it both ways: they cannot have greater power over the populace without also being more responsible for its use.

In other words, the next time the Swatties raid the wrong place and kill some poor innocent schmuck like me, I want the raid commander to be charged with first-degree murder. No cover-ups, no weasel words, no nonsense. Wrong address + dead innocent = severe punishment (and not adminstrative punishment, but criminal punishment).

If we armed citizens have to exercise extreme care with our weapons, then law enforcement needs to be held to a higher standard. That’s the beginning and the end of it—or else this whole thing is going to end badly. Hell, for some people, it’s already ended badly.

No more. Not one.

Or else the police are going to have to go back to being ordinary cops, and not some wannabe-military force, with all the risks that this would entail.

Amen. And amnesty for anyone who shoots a cop raiding the wrong home. Because ANYONE can don a "SWAT" t-shirt and yell, "Police!" as they break through the door.

**EDIT** Go to the post at Kim's, and read some of the comments, particularly these (relevant portions):
(by TheUnderdog)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been an avid reader of this site for many months now, and it is this topic that has finally provoked me to come out of the shadows and respond.

“99.99% of police are fine, wonderful and upstanding people”

Sorry to disagree with you.

As a former police officer, I can tell you that the percentage of outstanding police officers (the kind worthy of our trust and respect) is exactly the same as the percentage of outstanding people in any other blue collar occupation. (<10%) Maybe less.

And the bell curve goes up from there. The largest percentage are average at their job, and an equally small percentage are below average.

How many outstanding construction workers have you met? How many garbage men would you trust with your life? How often would you let a car mechanic hold a gun on you?

I do not mean to degrade the men who do these jobs, but they are also blue collar (don’t need a college degree) just like cops.

You might know many cops who are all great, but that’s bacuase the good ones tend to flock together. (as do the bad ones)

21 and a GED is the only qualifications you needed to apply to the academy in my city. FBI and other special Units being the exception.

Due to the life and death nature of the job, being an “average” police officer doesn’t really cut it in my book. That means that they are as likely to deny me my rights/abuse their authority as not. (maybe through ignorance or attitude, poor training or indifference.)

The other readers who have expressed concerns about the Cops vs. Civillians attitude have it excatly right. Guys who couldn’t get respect any other way, can get it with a badge and a gun. And they do.

It is a corrupting influence even for good hearted people. I have felt the surge of power when you pull someone over, code 3. I also know that my attitude, as the arresting officer, was often THE KEY FACTOR in determining if a traffic stop would become confrontational/violent.

It is a very difficult/mentally demanding job being done by men & women who (for the most part) are not as smart, dedicated, or trained as we believe they are.

Only by holding police officers to a HIGHER standard than other citizens will we move toward a police force that might truly exist “To Protect and Serve.”

SWAT/ESU units should only be used in hostage/barricade situations where normal police operations have been TRIED ALREADY, AND FAILED.

If the beat cops/detectives are feel unsafe serving a warrant on a known drug dealer in his crack house, I would say that neighborhood has problems far beyond those that can be solved by flash-bangs and MP5’s.

Sorry, confidential informants and tips are not enough.

Perhaps if some of that federal money is diverted from assault vehicles to state of the art surveilance gear, and some time and energy is invested into collecting evidence, we might be sure when the big guns are called out, they might get the right house.

Of course that would take intelligence, restraint and patience. None of which is as rush inducing as going in weapons hot, strong through the front door.

BTW- When I left the force to go back to college, my friends who stayed behind gradually placed my outside their group. I was no longer one of them. I had become a civillian.

We had an expression back on the force, it went like this:

Put 3 of any item (guns, flashlights, coffee mugs) in a roomful of cops and what will happen?

One will get lost, one will get broken, and one will get stolen.

If the SWAT/ESU/BATF boys come to my house for a no-knock raid at 0-dark-30, I will do the same thing that the rest of you will do:

Either quickly submit… Or die. Because nobody I know sleeps in Kevlar, and there are always more of them than us.

Sorry for the length of my post. Make of it what you will.


Talking the other day to DPD officers hired as part of getting a film permit in Dallas, the subject of sobriety checkpoints came up.

They said they loved them, and not because it got drunks off the street, but because they could work the system to get overtime.

They said they’d stop John Q Public. Let’s say his record is clean, they check, no warrants, nothing on their computer. Nice car. So they check his eyes, have him follow their finger. Apparently they can get a really good feel for BAC level that way. If he passes, ie, is not drunk, they’ll ask him to step out of the car, then arrest for Public Intoxication (much much lower standard of proof), or they might not do that and just arrest for dwi.


They figure a guy with a clean record and who is not really drunk will fight it.

That means they have to show up at court, which means overtime. Overtime to drive to court, go to court, and drive back.

They both said they made a lot of money each month that way. “Most” of the folsk they arrest so that they can get more overtime “get off” so they saw it as “not a problem”.


Ask me why I don't like, trust, or respect cops.