Militarized Police Murdering Civilians

Special Weapons and Tactics is a commonly used proper name for law enforcement units, which use military-style light weapons and specialized tactics in high-risk operations that fall outside of the capabilities of regular, uniformed police. These are the only time any “Military Type” tactics should be used by a police force.  Their duties include: confronting heavily armed criminals; performing hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations; high risk arrests; and entering armored or barricaded buildings. Today this has changed to where even if it is a search warrant, our police are using excess force and killing people. I am one who normally backs the police 100% of the time but this is getting out of hand and people are dying. These units are needed, just look at what happened in California in 1997, the North Hollywood shootout, 18 officers wounded before cops were given the firepower they needed by a gun store owner watching it on the news. The police were issued 9 mm and 38 Specials with half loads because the California politicians have no clue about what danger a police officer can be; the gun store (B & B Sales) owner saved their lives by giving them the needed fire power; after the police took down the bad guys, the DA tried to press charges on B & B Sales for not doing a back ground check before giving the police the weapons; charges were later dropped. After saving countless officers lives, the B & B Sales went out of business. This is why SWAT teams are needed but this isn’t what they are currently being used.

There has been a raise in tactical police raids causing a large raise in police instigated deaths, most of which are not the subject being sought. Instead of lowering the explosion point, many police forces are raising the ignition point and people are dying. The ACLU found 79% of the time a search warrant is issued, SWAT is used, remember:

"Special Weapons And Tactics"- is a commonly used proper name for law enforcement units, which use military-style light weapons and specialized tactics in high-risk operations that fall outside of the capabilities of regular, uniformed police.

Are you telling me that these tactics are needed in 79% of search warrants? I don’t think so; it is use of excess force usually resulting in major damage to the resident’s property and in many cases, death to an innocent. Weapons found at the scene, many of which were legal, was found only 35 % of the time. The harsh tactics and shoot first attitude has cost many people their life.

Tarika Wilson, SWAT broke down her door and shot her (she was unarmed) and wounded her 14 month old child she was holding, they also shot her two dogs; they were looking for her boyfriend. Prosecutors said Chavalia recklessly fired three shots into a bedroom where Wilson and her six children were gathered, even though he could not clearly see her or whether she had a weapon. Chavalia, an officer of 32-years, had testified that he thought his life was in danger when he fired the shots. He said he saw a shadow coming from behind a partially open bedroom door and heard gunshots that he thought were aimed at him. It turned out the gunfire he heard was coming from downstairs, nowhere close to him, where officers shot two charging pit bulls. Nowhere in all I have I read could I find that Ms. Wilson was holding anything other than her baby; so why was she shot and why was the cop not convicted? You, as a cop, never fire unless you see your target and know the bullets backstop, this is the first rule of engagement which was not followed. If I as a civilian would have done the same thing, I would be in jail.

Eurie Stamp was in his pajamas, watching a baseball game, when SWAT officers forced a battering ram through his front door and threw a flash bang grenade inside. Stamp, a 68-year-old grandfather of twelve, followed the officers’ shouted orders to lie face down on the floor with his arms above his head. He died in this position, when one of the officers’ guns discharged. Officer Duncan states, he stepped to his left, (Duncan) lost his balance and began to fall over backwards. Officer Duncan realized that his right foot was off the floor and the tactical equipment that he was wearing was making his movements very awkward. While falling, Officer Duncan removed his left hand from his rifle, which was pointing down towards the ground and put his left arm out to try and catch himself. As he did so, he heard a shot. Tactical weapons just don’t go off, you have to pull the trigger or fall with your finger on the trigger. This again goes against what you are trained to do, you never have your finger on the trigger unless you confront a hostile target. His girlfriend’s son was the suspect and didn’t live at the residence and was already in custody when the shooting took place. The shooting was ruled an accident but why did they do this type of raid? There was no reason. He was lying on the floor and was shot in the back; manslaughter charges should have been filed or was this another case of the “Blue Shield”?

Bounkham (Bou Bou)Phonesavanh, a 19 month old in Georgia, had the police with a no knock warrant throw a flash bang grenade into his crib; it went off and he was crying. The mother asks for her child not knowing the grenade went off next to his head, she just knew he was screaming. The authorities reassured her that everything was fine, “‘He’s okay, he’s just fine, there’s nothing wrong with him, but there was and the authorities lied about it. The Special Response Team (SRT) or another name for their SWAT team is taught to insert the “flash and bang” three to five inches inside the door so why was it tossed into a crib? The police was watching the house for a while and says a confidential informant (a druggy) made a purchase of drugs in the doorway, they also said they didn’t see any signs of children or they would have done things differently; what about the car seats in the vehicles. Authorities did not make any arrests, nor did they find anything at the house during the raid so where they watching the house or taking a druggy’s word? Anyway you look at it, a 19 month old is in a coma because of these aggressive tactics which should have been handled with a standard search warrant. It could have been worse I guess.

Aiyana Jones in Detroit Michigan was seven years old and shot by Joe Weekley. Weekley is a member of Detroit's SWAT team and was a frequent subject on A&E. Geoffrey Fieger filed lawsuits on behalf of Aiyana's family claiming the A&E footage shows that the lethal bullet came from outside, not inside as police stated. A Detroit spokesman demanded the tape from Fieger to help the Michigan State Police investigators. Fieger said he would when he received it from A&E and hoped to release it to the media. After filing suit against the city, Fieger requested the video from A&E Network; they refused. If this is an official police investigation, can’t they get a warrant to get the tape? Or is the true reason because he was one of their money makers and the Detroit cops, who have a history of corruption, don’t want the tape to be seen? I can think of no other reason.

Many people say SWAT type unit are unnecessary and need to be disbanded, I disagree, they are needed but they need to go back to what they were intended for; when situations happen that the normal officer can’t or isn’t equipped to handle; confronting heavily armed criminals; performing hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations; high risk arrests; and entering armored or barricaded buildings; not serving self initiated search warrants. 

The other side of this coin most don’t look at is asset forfeiture, not only the IRS but the police will seize your property and cash as spoils of the conquest before you have even went to trial; isn’t innocent until proven guilty in the Constitution? I have watched police and county officials try and frame a guy because they wanted the profit that would be made off the sale of his land, the only problem, he was strait as an arrow. They took two druggies and coerced them to implicate this man (came out in the investigation) so they would get off on their drug charges with a warning. So you have an upstanding citizen and two druggies and the police and county officials take the word of the druggies with no evidence to back up their warrant. The judge who signed the warrant, the cop who initiated the process and the city officials who created and ran this scheme need to all be disbarred and put in jail for Constitutional right violations. The man’s lawyers ate the city alive; he had enough money for a good lawyer but what about the small guy who doesn’t? As the New Yorker’s Stillman wrote in another piece, informants are “the foot soldiers in the government’s war on drugs. By some estimates, up to eighty per cent of all drug cases in America involve them.” So instead of doing good police work, you try the fast track of using druggies and other type of informants who have no integrity, character, or honesty; sounds like our politicians. 

Another part of this is lack of oversight and laws made to where when the police are negligent; you can’t sue them or the city. The ACLU says its racist because of all the incidents studied the people impacted were 39 % Black, 11 % Latino, 20 % white with 30% not identified in big cities like DC, but if you look at the demographics of DC, it is 50.7% Black, 9.1% Latino, and 38.5% white, so in my boat that doesn’t hold water, I do not think the cops are racist as the ACLU claims although the ACLU may be. In short, the police need to stop the massive growth of these type of raids to only when necessary, in the last twenty years they have rose by over 400% yet the crime rate has been dropping, but the casualty rate has went up astronomically with them being innocent people. Most of the police out there are good cops, they just want to do the job right and help people. Unfortunately, we have seen a influx of cops who are on power trips and believe they are untouchable and the law doesn’t apply to them. I made a statement earlier about the “Blue Shield”, this is when cops cover for cops who accidentally or purposefully commit a crime; this takes away from the integrity most police have and if you are a cop doing this, you need to show more integrity and be the officer kids want to look up to.

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