“Rise of the Warrior Cop” by Radley Balko – exceprt

Published On July 12, 2013 | By CopBlock | Articles

The following is an excerpt from Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko, senior writer and investigative reporter for the Huffington Post. It was posted to AlterNet.org on July 10, 2013.

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Betty Taylor still remembers the night it all hit her.

As a child, Taylor had always been taught that police officers were the good guys. She learned to respect law enforcement, as she puts it, “all the time, all the way.” She went on to become a cop because she wanted to help people, and that’s what cops did. She wanted to fight sexual assault, particularly predators who take advantage of children. To go into law enforcement—to become one of the good guys—seemed like the best way to accomplish that. By the late 1990s, she’d risen to the rank of detective in the sheriff’s department of Lincoln County, Missouri—a sparsely populated farming community about an hour northwest of St. Louis. She eventually started a sex crimes unit within the department. But it was a small department with a tight budget. When she couldn’t get the money she needed, Taylor was forced to give speeches and write her own proposals to keep her program operating.

What troubled her was that while the sex crimes unit had to find funding on its own, the SWAT team was always flush with cash. “The SWAT team, the drug guys, they always had money,” Taylor says. “There were always state and federal grants for drug raids. There was always funding through asset forfeiture.” Taylor never quite understood that disparity. “When you think about the collateral effects of a sex crime, of how it can affect an entire family, an entire community, it just didn’t make sense. The drug users weren’t really harming anyone but themselves. Even the dealers, I found much of the time they were just people with little money, just trying to get by.”

The SWAT team eventually co-opted her as a member. As the only woman in the department, she was asked to go along on drug raids in the event there were any children inside. “The perimeter team would go in first. They’d throw all of the adults on the floor until they had secured the building. Sometimes the kids too. Then they’d put the kids in a room by themselves, and the search team would go in. They’d come to me, point to where the kids were, and say, ‘You deal with them.’” Taylor would then stay with the children until family services arrived, at which point they’d be placed with a relative.

Taylor’s moment of clarity came during a raid on an autumn evening in November 2000. Narcotics investigators had made a controlled drug buy a few hours earlier and were laying plans to raid the suspect’s home. “The drug buy was in town, not at the home,” Taylor says. “But they’d always raid the house anyway. They could never just arrest the guy on the street. They always had to kick down doors.” With just three hours between the drug buy and the raid, the police hadn’t done much surveillance at all. The SWAT team would often avoid raiding a house if they knew there were children inside, but Taylor was troubled by how little effort they put into seeking out that sort of information. “Three hours is nowhere near enough time to investigate your suspect, to find out who might be inside the house. It just isn’t enough time for you to know the range of things that could happen.”

That afternoon the police had bought drugs from the stepfather of two children, ages eight and six. Both were in the house at the time of the raid. The stepfather wasn’t.

“They did their thing,” Taylor says. “Everybody on the floor, guns and yelling. Then they put the two kids in the bedroom, did their search, then sent me in to take care of the kids.”

Taylor made her way inside to see them. When she opened the door, the eight-year-old girl assumed a defense posture, putting her- self between Taylor and her little brother. She looked at Taylor and said, half fearful, half angry, “What are you going to do to us?”

Taylor was shattered. “Here I come in with all my SWAT gear on, dressed in armor from head to toe, and this little girl looks up at me, and her only thought is to defend her little brother. I thought, How can we be the good guys when we come into the house looking like this, screaming and pointing guns at the people they love? How can we be the good guys when a little girl looks up at me and wants to fight me?And for what? What were we accomplishing with all of this? Absolutely nothing.”

Taylor was later appointed police chief of the small town of Winfield, Missouri. Winfield was too small for its own SWAT team, even in the 2000s, but Taylor says she’d have quit before she ever created one. “Good police work has nothing to do with dressing up in black and breaking into houses in the middle of the night. And the mentality changes when they get put on the SWAT team. I remember a guy I was good friends with, it just completely changed him. The us-versus-them mentality takes over. You see that mentality in regular patrol officers too. But it’s much, much worse on the SWAT team. They’re more concerned with the drugs than they are with innocent bystanders. Because when you get into that mentality, there are no innocent people. There’s us and there’s the enemy. Children and dogs are always the easiest casualties.”

Taylor recently ran into the little girl who changed the way she thought about policing. Now in her twenties, the girl told Taylor that she and her brother had nightmares for years after the raid. They slept in the same bed until the boy was eleven. “That was a difficult day at work for me,” she says. “But for her, this was the most traumatic, defining moment of this girl’s life. Do you know what we found? We didn’t find any weapons. No big drug operation. We found three joints and a pipe.”1

***

POLICE MILITARIZATION WOULD ACCELERATE IN THE 2000S. The first half of the decade brought a new and lucrative source of funding and equipment: homeland security. In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, the federal government opened a new spigot of funding in the name of fighting terror. Terrorism would also provide new excuses for police agencies across the country to build up their arsenals and for yet smaller towns to start up yet more SWAT teams. The second half of the decade also saw more mission creep for SWAT teams and more pronounced militarization even outside of drug policing. The 1990s trend of government officials using paramilitary tactics and heavy- handed force to make political statements or to make an example of certain classes of nonviolent offenders would continue, especially in response to political protests. The battle gear and aggressive policing would also start to move into more mundane crimes—SWAT teams have recently been used even for regulatory inspections.

But the last few years have also seen some trends that could spur some movement toward reform. Technological advances in personal electronic devices have armed a large percentage of the public with the power to hold police more accountable with video and audio recordings. The rise of social media has enabled citizens to get accounts of police abuses out and quickly disseminated. This has led to more widespread coverage of botched raids and spread awareness of how, how often, and for what purpose this sort of force is being used. Over just the six years I’ve been covering this issue, I’ve noticed that media accounts of drug raids have become less deferential to police. Reporters have become more willing to ask questions about the appropriateness of police tactics and more likely to look at how a given raid fits into broader policing trends, both locally and nationally. Internet commenters on articles about incidents in which police may have used excessive force also seem to have grown more skeptical about police actions, particularly in botched drug raids.

It’s taken nearly a half-century to get from those Supreme Court decisions in the mid-1960s to where we are today—police militarization has happened gradually, over decades. We tend not to take notice of such long-developing trends, even when they directly affect us. The first and perhaps largest barrier to halting police militarization has probably been awareness. And that at least seems to be changing. Whether it leads to any substantive change may be the theme of the current decade.

***

BY THE MID-1990S, THE BYRNE GRANT PROGRAM CONGRESS had started in 1988 had pushed police departments across the country to prioritize drug crimes over other investigations. When applying for grants, departments are rewarded with funding for statistics such as the number of overall arrests, the number of warrants served, or the number of drug seizures. Those priorities, then, are passed down to police officers themselves and are reflected in how they’re evaluated, reviewed, and promoted. Perversely, actual success in reducing crime is generally not rewarded with federal money, on the presumption that the money ought to go where it’s most needed—high-crime areas. So the grants reward police departments for making lots of easy arrests (i.e., low-level drug offenders) and lots of seizures (regardless of size), and for serving lots of warrants. When it comes to tapping into federal funds, whether any of that actually reduces crime or makes the community safer is irrelevant—and in fact, successfully fighting crime could hurt a department’s ability to rake in federal money.

But the most harmful product of the Byrne grant program may be its creation of hundreds of regional and multijurisdictional narcotics task forces. That term—“narcotics task force”—pops up frequently in the case studies and horror stories throughout this book. There’s a reason for that. While the Reagan and Bush administrations had set up a number of drug task forces in border zones, the Byrne grant program established similar task forces all across the country. They seemed particularly likely to pop up in rural areas that didn’t yet have a paramilitary police team (what few were left).

The task forces are staffed with local cops drawn from the police agencies in the jurisdictions where the task force operates. Some squads loosely report to a state law enforcement agency, but oversight tends to be minimal to nonexistent. Because their funding comes from the federal government—and whatever asset forfeiture proceeds they reap from their investigations—local officials can’t even control them by cutting their budget. This organizational structure makes some task forces virtually unaccountable, and certainly not accountable to any public official in the region they cover.

As a result, we have roving squads of drug cops, loaded with SWAT gear, who get more money if they conduct more raids, make more arrests, and seize more property, and they are virtually immune to accountability if they get out of line. In 2009 the Justice Department attempted a cost-benefit analysis of these task forces but couldn’t even get to the point of crunching the numbers. The task forces weren’t producing any numbers to crunch. “Not only were data insufficient to estimate what task forces accomplished,” the report read, “data were inadequate to even tell what the task forces did for routine work.”

Not surprisingly, the proliferation of heavily armed task forces that have little accountability and are rewarded for making lots of busts has resulted in some abuse.

The most notorious scandal involving these task forces came in the form of a massive drug sting in the town of Tulia, Texas. On July 23, 1999, the task force donned black ski-mask caps and full SWAT gear to conduct a series of coordinated predawn raids across

Tulia. By 4:00 AM, forty black people—10 percent of Tulia’s black population—and six whites were in handcuffs. The Tulia Sentinel declared, “We do not like these scumbags doing business in our town. [They are] a cancer in our community, it’s time to give them a major dose of chemotherapy behind bars.” The paper followed up with the headline “Tulia’s Streets Cleared of Garbage.”

The raids were based on the investigative work of Tom Coleman, a sort of freelance cop who, it would later be revealed, had simply invented drug transactions that had never occurred.

The first trials resulted in convictions—based entirely on the credibility of Tom Coleman. The defendants received long sentences. For those who were arrested but still awaiting trial, plea bargains that let them avoid prison time began to look attractive, even if they were innocent. Coleman was even named Texas lawman or the year.

But there were some curious details about the raids. For such a large drug bust, the task force hadn’t recovered any actual drugs. Or any weapons, for that matter. And it wasn’t for a lack of looking. The task force cops had all but destroyed the interiors of the homes they raided. Then some cases started falling apart. One woman Coleman claimed sold him drugs could prove she was in Oklahoma City at the time. Coleman had described another woman as six months pregnant—she wasn’t. Another suspect could prove he was at work during the alleged drug sale. By 2004, nearly all of the forty-six suspects were either cleared or pardoned by Texas governor Rick Perry. The jurisdictions the task force served eventually settled a lawsuit with the defendants for $6 million. In 2005, Coleman was convicted of perjury. He received ten years’ probation and was fined $7,500.3

The following year, it all happened again. In November 2000, SWAT teams from the Byrne-funded South Central Texas Narcotics Task Force rolled into Hearne, a town of about five thousand people in Robertson County, to wage another series of coordinated raids. The raids netted twenty-eight arrests—twenty-seven of the suspects were black. One of them was Regina Kelly, a single mother. Kelly wasn’t home when her house was raided, she was waiting tables at a local diner.

The police marched her off the job in handcuffs and tossed her in a jail cell. She first thought she had been arrested for unpaid parking tickets. Kelly’s court-appointed attorney encouraged her to take a plea bargain. Plead guilty, and she’d get eighteen years’ probation. She’d get no prison time and wouldn’t lose her kids. She refused. “I wasn’t going to plead guilty to something I didn’t do,” she told me in a 2007 interview. The attorney went back to DA John Paschall, who then offered five years’ probation. Kelly again refused, and told her attorney to ask for the evidence they had used to indict her. Her attorney brought back a tape recording the DA’s office claimed was evidence of her drug sales. The tape recording was a conversation between two men. There were no female voices, and Kelly’s name was never mentioned. Kelly’s bail was then reduced from $70,000 to $10,000. Her parents were able to post bond, and she never had to go to court again. She was eventually cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

In part because of Kelly’s courageous refusal to accept a plea bargain for a crime she didn’t commit, we now know that all twenty- eight indictments were based on the word of a single confidential informant. Paschall’s office was forced to admit that the informant had both tampered with evidence and failed a polygraph test. At the civil trial for the lawsuit brought by Kelly and other defendants, the informant testified that Paschall had given him a list of twenty black men. He promised leniency for the informant’s own burglary charge if he helped Paschall convict the men on the list. The informant also testified he was promised $100 for every suspect he helped convict beyond that list of twenty. The lawsuit was settled in 2005. Of the twenty-eight people charged, seventeen were later exonerated. The 2008 movie American Violet was based on Kelly’s experience after she was arrested.

But similar mass round-up raids had been going on in Hearne for fifteen years. “They come on helicopters, military-style, SWAT style,” Kelly told me. “In the apartments I was living in, in the projects, there were a lot of children outside playing. They don’t care. They throw kids on the ground, put guns to their heads. They’re kicking in doors. They just don’t care.”

In the following years, there were numerous other corruption scandals, botched raids, sloppy police work, and other allegations of misconduct against the federally funded task forces in Texas. Things got so that by the middle of the 2000s Gov. Rick Perry began diverting state matching funds away from the task forces to other programs. The cut in funding forced many task forces to shut down. The stream of lawsuits shut down or limited the operations of others. In 2001 the state had fifty-one federally funded task forces. By the spring of 2006, it was down to twenty-two.

Funding for the Byrne grant program had held steady at about $500 million through most of the Clinton administration. Just as it had done with the cops program, the Bush administration began to pare the program down—to about $170 million by 2008. This was more out of an interest in limiting federal influence on law enforcement than concern for police abuse or drug war excesses.

But the reaction from law enforcement was interesting. In March 2008, Byrne-funded task forces across the country staged a series of coordinated drug raids dubbed Operation Byrne Blitz. The intent was to make a series of large drug seizures to demonstrate how important the Byrne grants were to fighting the drug war. In Kentucky alone, for example, task forces uncovered 23 methamphetamine labs, seized more than 2,400 pounds of marijuana, and arrested 565 people for illegal drug use. Of course, if police in a single state could simply go out and find 23 meth labs and 2,400 pounds of marijuana in twenty-four hours just to make a political point about drug war funding, that was probably a good indication that twenty years of Byrne grants and four decades of drug warring hadn’t really accomplished much.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama criticized Bush and the Republicans for cutting Byrne, a federal police program beloved by his running mate Joe Biden. Despite Tulia, Hearne, a growing pile of bodies from botched drug raids, and the objections of groups as diverse as the ACLU, the Heritage Foundation, La Raza, and the Cato Institute, Obama promised to restore full funding to the program, which, he said, “has been critical to creating the anti-gang and anti-drug task forces our communities need.” He kept his promise. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resuscitated the Byrne grants with a whopping $2 billion infusion, by far the largest budget in the program’s twenty-year history.

***

EARLY IN THE MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 13, 2000, AGENTS from the DEA, the FBI, and a Stanislaus County, California, narcotics task force conducted raids on fourteen homes in and around Modesto—the culmination of a nineteen-month investigation. One of the homes was that of Moises Sepulveda and his family. According to the Los Angeles Times, the DEA and FBI asked that the local SWAT teams enter each home unannounced in order to secure the area ahead of the federal agents, who would then come to serve the warrants and search for evidence. Federal agents warned the SWAT teams that the targets of the warrants should be considered armed and dangerous. When local police asked if there were any children in the Sepulveda home, the feds answered, “Not aware of any.”

There were. Moises Sepulveda had three children—a daughter and two sons. After the police forcibly entered the Sepulveda home, Moises, his wife, and his children were ordered to lie face-down on the floor with their arms outstretched. They were then told to remain still as officers pointed guns at their heads. Eleven-year-old Alberto was doing just that—lying still under the gun of Officer David Hawn. But shortly after the raid began, Hawn’s gun went off. The boy died instantly.

There were no drugs or guns in the Sepulveda home. A subsequent internal investigation by the Modesto Police Department found that the DEA’s evidence against Moises Sepulveda—who had no previous criminal record—was “minimal.” The city of Modesto and the federal government settled a lawsuit brought by the Sepulvedas for the death of their son for $3 million.

In response to the incident, California attorney general Bill Lockyer assembled a blue ribbon commission to review the procedures, guidelines, and performance of the state’s hundreds of SWAT teams.

The Modesto Bee reported in 2001 that the commission would look at the way SWAT teams were deployed, the use of intimidating clothing and equipment, and, in the words of one commissioner, the “overbearing-type attitudes” of SWAT teams.

Unsurprisingly, the commission found that while SWAT teams were generally justified, defended, and regarded as responders to emergency situations like hostage crises and terror attacks, they were most commonly being used to serve drug warrants. Nevertheless, the panel’s final recommendations did little to address the number of SWAT teams, how they were being used, or police militarism in general. The panel’s chief complaint was that SWAT teams were undertrained and underfunded, suggesting that local, state, and federal government should be throwing more funding and resources at SWAT teams, not less. The other recommendations consisted largely of standardizing procedures, definitions, and guidelines and communicating better with the public. The commission didn’t address any of the more urgent problems that had plagued the state’s SWAT teams over the previous twenty years, such as SWAT teams launching raids based on uncorroborated tips from informants, asset forfeiture incentivizing the use of aggressive policing, or prosecutors and judges neglecting their duty to scrutinize the warrants authorizing these violent raids.

In the end, even if every SWAT team in the state had implemented the panel’s recommendations (and they were by no means obligated to), it’s unlikely that much would have changed. In fact, if the suggestions had been implemented in the 1990s, it seems unlikely that they would have prevented the death of Alberto Sepulveda, the reason for Lockyer’s panel in the first place.

Back in the early 1970s, nationwide outrage over a series of wrong-door drug raids had inspired furious politicians to hastily call congressional hearings; as a consequence, the law that had authorized those raids was repealed. Now, in 2000, an eleven-year-old boy had just been obliterated at close range with a shotgun as his parents and siblings lay on the ground beside him. And even that wasn’t enough to stop his own town from discontinuing the aggressive tactics that caused his death. The mistakes, the terrorizing of innocents, and the unnecessary fatalities would continue.

_____________________________

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko is one of the many solid pieces of content included at CopBlock.org.Library

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  • steve

    it is not going to stop.

  • http://yahoo Alvin

    Nope, once off the leash, the beast, having tasted blood, will only hunt harder.

  • shawn

    ” They were then told to remain still
    as officers pointed guns at their heads. Eleven-year-old
    Alberto was doing just that—lying still under the gun of
    Officer David Hawn. But shortly after the raid began,
    Hawn’s gun went off. The boy died instantly.”

    Of course people like t find nothing wrong with this, or the numerous of screw ups by his buddies. Anyone know if Hawn even got punished? Numerous others weren’t.
    What needs to happen is for cops to start seeing this happen to their own. T is fine with the screw ups happening to us. But maybe if it happened to him, he’ll get why swat is a bad idea.

  • http://truthspew.wordpress.com truthspew

    Back in the early 2000′s I worked for the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General as I.T. Director. We lived or died on Byrne, S-Chip, and other grants. Couldn’t buy a piece of gear without them.

    But I knew local PD’s were also benefiting and buying more paramilitary hardware.

  • steve

    I personaly dont believe t wuold think that way your looking at adam miller and common sense. i dont believe 585 would look that way either. however there are those that will chalk it up as just happened. This is not the only incident of this type there are many more. just as i have stated firearms traing is important for all. i have no idea of what has become of the idiot holding the gun that just seemed to go off, but every body that has any experience with firearm know they do not discharge in that manner unless the trigger is pulled. i have over 40 yrs experience with all types of firearms.he had to know he had a child on the ground not just a kid a child of 11 yrs.every one incharge of that mission should have been up on charges of murder and permently fired no retirement.possibilities of discharge only come from artillary, electronically fired weapons or extreem heat of which humans can not bear.

  • t.

    My guess is people looked at me like that puppy on the record label. After I read this opinion I’m sure the quizzical look on my face was numerous to passers by.

    I work as a drug investigator. Was on the SWAT team. Worked on and with various task forces. He depiction here isn’t quite accurate. Mainly what they do is work to multiple manpower. As example, task forces members from other agencies would (could) come and assist me on my drug cases if there was evidence that the suspect was connected to acts that the task force was set up for. ICE for example…the case had to have a matrix tying the suspect to the border. If not, that task force couldn’t be used. But basically, I would do my own investigations (sometimes reaching out to the task for e for buy money on really large cases) a d the task force members would only show up near the end to help. Generally.

    Assest forfeiture….on the Federal level, has very specific restrictions and only a few things that the money can be used on. Training, SWAT gear, dogs. Things like that. It’s a great way to put the money from shitbag criminals to a positive thing in the community. It’s win / win – bad guys gone, their money not going to the cartels, and more stuff to work at riding the community of other shitbags.

    Now I definitely understand why many folks here hate task forces and drug investigations and SWAT. It’s bad for their lifestyle and business.

    But overall the understanding of the articles author is truly limited. SWAT was developed in the 60′s and came into its own in the 70′s due to dangerous criminal activity. It is a life saving organization…designed to overwhelm and avoid armed conflict. The police moved to semi-auto pistol primarily after the FBI shoot out in Florida. A response to being outgunned. Officers having access to “long guns” or patrol rifles is again a response to being outgunned during several incidents but mainly the North Hollywood shoot out with extremely heavily armed criminals. Most officer still don’t have any access to rifles (many are specifically banned by their PD’s from carrying one) and lots of those who can carry a rifle buy their own. Funny how this officer ignores all of that. Hmmm

    The horrible accidents that are listed here, along with many others, are just that…horrible accidents. But the dangerous and ruthless criminals involved in the drug trade don’t have accidents. The neighborhood drive us where innocents get hurt or killed. The store robberies, home invasions, vehicle break ins and thefts, the forced prostitution, etc. all drug related crimes. Again, funny how none of that gets a mention. Hmmm.

    @shawn mentions that I would find the horrible accidents perfectly acceptable. Of course I don’t. But drug use, production, sales, and funding is a very dangerous business. Under a different thread, @dick and @alvin asked a couple of times about numbers that are acceptable. @dick asked about the murder rate. Zero was my answer. Alvin’s was something about an officer talking badly to someone. My question is how many innocents shot in drive bus is acceptable? How many robberies? Home invasions? Car break ins? Or how about how many active shooters at schools are acceptable? How about shooters at your wife’s job? Again, funny how none of that comes up. Hmm.

    Overall, this is a narrowly viewed and thought out article about a very serious issue.

  • Call it out

    Only problem is, you’re not a cop. So you didn’t work as a drug investigator, and you weren’t on the SWAT team. Other than that, your story is dead on.

    You know, with all of those policeone posts you make and all.

  • Casual Observer

    @t.,

    I know you think you’re really “smart” and all that, but you couldn’t figure out that “Rise of the Warrior Cop” is a book?

    This is a 10-minute MSBNC interview with the author Radley Balco:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbyvaq0Ajn4

    Two more EXTREMELY disturbing excerpt from Balko’s book, which documents the lethal abuses and illegal behavior of SWAT officers:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/07/07/%e2%80%9cwhy_did_you_shoot_me_i_was_reading_a_book_the_new_warrior_cop_is_out_of_control/

    http://www.salon.com/2013/07/10/militarized_police_overreach_oh_god_i_thought_they_were_going_to_shoot_me_next%e2%80%9d/

  • Casual Observer

    *excerpts

  • t.

    Call it Out: I posted there the other day. Used your moniker. Told you where to go look. Apparently you didn’t.

  • t.

    Posted another one under article about the news crew defends officer at traffic stop. It’s under an old nickname from like a million years ago.

  • RadicalDude

    Cops are terrorists.

  • Common Sense

    t

    Stop using facts and truth. Activists only function on embellishment and emotion.

  • shawn

    @t

    “Things like that. It’s a great way to put the money from shitbag criminals to a positive thing in the community. It’s win / win”

    It isn’t win / win when departments get money crazy and start getting stupid. Even the officer in the story commented on how swat will be used on very limited information. In far too many cases, it takes almost no intelligence at all, even just an anonymous tip, to justify swatting a family.
    The bar for ‘justifying’ swat is getting pretty low to the ground. Often, it seems to be just automatic for ANY situation. Like the mayor who was raided when dealers FED-EXed drugs to his home. Cops knew the family was unlikely to know, and still sent swat in.

    “Now I definitely understand why many folks here hate task forces and drug investigations and SWAT. It’s bad for their lifestyle and business. ”

    Yes, forget that many honest people who’ve never done anything illegal in their life might object to innocents being harmed by incompetent cops.
    That is just an excuse to dismiss criticism of bad behavior by cops. You know full well that honest people are not going to just smile and shrug these mistakes off.

    “Most officer still don’t have any access to rifles (many are specifically banned by their PD’s from carrying one)”

    In an urban environment, they should be. The greater the firepower, the greater the odds of collateral damage.

    “The horrible accidents that are listed here, along with many others, are just that…horrible accidents.”

    No, it isn’t just accidents. These are situations caused by excessive aggressiveness and carelessness with the lives of others.
    It is a pattern of irresponsible behavior and paranoia. Cops have taken the view that they should not be responsible for their mistakes. Like the SWAT officer who hallucinated a gun in the hands of a teen girl. Like the officer who sprayed the wall killing an teen girl when another officer shot the dog.
    I suppose the newspaper ladies incident was “Just an accident” too?

    “@shawn mentions that I would find the horrible accidents perfectly acceptable. Of course I don’t.”

    Perhaps if you ever called out the need to punish these ‘mistakes’ for the negligent acts they are, your words might mean something. But when you habitually seem to believe that these mistakes should just be accepted as the cost of doing business, your claims of concern mean nothing.
    Maybe if cops were actually punished for these mistakes, cops would start truely considering how these incidents happen, why, and how to prevent it. And they might start considering if SWAT was such a good tactic after all.

    T, this is not Iraq.

  • steve

    How many of you have been to iraq or afghan….istan?

  • t.

    Shawn: You are right. It’s not Iraq or Afghanistan. In many ways, it’s far more difficult. In those places….the military has superior firepower, armor, and personnel. People are treated as though they have no rights. Here…the police are almost always outgunned, we work most of the time completely alone (maybe if we are lucky, one other officer) and are actions are extremely restrained. Yours is an inexperienced voice.

    Again, you, like the author, mention the small number of police mistakes and completely ignore the overwhelming massive amount of citizen on citizen violence. The police just respond to that violence and threat. Again, an inexperienced voice

    I get your passion a out it. But you don’t have a good position. The numbers just bowl you over.

  • Casual Observer

    My previous comment, which provided links to two other excerpts from Balko’s book (located on the Salon[dot]com web-site) is still “awaiting moderation.”

    I also included a link to an interesting 10-minute MSNBC interview with Radley Balko, which is available for viewing on the MOXNEWSd0tCOM Channel located at Youtube[dot]com. The title of the clip is: “Militarization Of YOUR Neighborhood Police For Fun And PROFIT…”

    The ill-informed comments disparaging the author who wrote “Rise of the Warrior Cop” remain visible, while my previous post which provided a more extensive background on both the book and the author are still not visible… SIX HOURS LATER.

    Does anybody else find this odd?

  • steve

    yes ,i find it odd.

  • Ariel

    Asset forfeiture has become a minor but substantial way of funding for police departments (PD). See http://www.ij.org/part-i-policing-for-profit-2. It has gone from seized because it was gained by illegal activity (RICO) to it was involved in illegal activity. The latter leads to Momma’s car being seized because her son/daughter was caught with pot in the car (even if it was the passenger’s pot). It has gone that way because it is a source of funding for PD. It has gone that way because in most cases the property seized is of less value than the cost to fight getting it back.

    In states where statutes do not allow the PD (or County Attorney’s office) to keep the funds from asset forfeiture, a simple go around exists specifically for drug related seizures: the asset is transferred to the DEA, the DEA keeps a percentage, the rest is transferred back to the PD.

    Asset forfeiture has led to seizures because people have “too much money” on them (the DEA got stung on this at an airport where the money was supplied by a major news network, how dare they entrap the DEA); police stationing themselves on a major highway, not on the side where the drugs go in, but on the side where the money comes out (let the drugs be sold, we’ll stop it by getting the money, an ass backwards way that is profitable for the PD); two towns in Texas being shut down because the PDs were funded by seizing from Black, Hispanic, or poor; the rancher in California (various officers were prosecuted); and more.

    There was a reason why asset forfeiture was considered bad by the courts until it wasn’t: it leads to corruption. The simplistic, even simple-minded, of win-win for the good guys against the bad guys is part of the problem. The larger problem is that it went from assets gained from criminal activity to assets used in criminal activity. That Momma’s car problem (that was a case in Phoenix, though I have no doubt it occurs throughout jurisdictions, she got the car back because of pro-bono work, the cost otherwise made no sense and asset forfeiture in these cases depends on the cost to fight it, PDs know that well).

    It’s like Kelo, it only leads to corruption.

  • Sukoi

    @t: “The horrible accidents that are listed here, along with many others, are just that…horrible accidents.” So say the perpetrators. The common denominator in all of them is that the police took a peaceful environment and CREATED a violent one; had they not been playing soldier boy, the likelihood of these incidents resulting in harm or death would drop dramatically.

    @t: “Again, you, like the author, mention the small number of police mistakes and completely ignore the overwhelming massive amount of citizen on citizen violence. The police just respond to that violence and threat. Again, an inexperienced voice” So tell me t, how many of these deaths are a result of police merely responding to “citizen on citizen violence”:
    http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/

    And Radley Balko knows what he is talking about as he’s been researching this subject for years. In fact, I bet that he knows more about it as a whole than almost any cop. Just Google “Balko SWAT” and see what you come up with. While you’re at it, look up “puppycide” as he’s equally knowledgeable about cops being scared shitless of pets and/or psychopathic killers.

  • Ariel

    sukio,

    The actual argument about “horrible accidents” when you shoot someone innocent because you have your finger on a trigger is that it sinks no lower than negligence. And that negligence is likely “involuntary manslaughter”, unintentional killing, except for the police discount. If the gun that killed that 11 year-old boy went off by magic, then no foul, if it went off by a finger pull, then harm through negligence. The special pleading that cops use only applies to them. Don’t forget, the cop that shot that boy has suffered enough if only because his career potential likely took a nose dive. That’s a horrible thing to suffer, think of his pension.

    “Horrible accident” is running a red light by mistake and killing people. You get prosecuted. Having your finger on a trigger, and killing someone isn’t a horrible accident, it’s negligence. In fact, it’s even foreseeable. Just like running a red light.

    Do note, each incident is isolated and not indicative of a poor practice: having your finger on the trigger when you don’t intend to shoot the person in front of the barrel you control.

  • Ariel

    sukio,

    “”Again, you, like the author, mention the small number of police mistakes and completely ignore the overwhelming massive amount of citizen on citizen violence. The police just respond to that violence and threat. Again, an inexperienced voice”. The argument of a child. Look over there, that’s more important, ignore what I’m doing. We can never end civilian on civilian crime, hell cops do it off duty, but we can deal with the problems of an organization and get it back on track.

    The argument in quotes is called a red herring. “A red herring is a figurative expression referring to a logical fallacy in which a clue or piece of information is or is intended to be misleading, or distracting from the actual question.” The money quote is “completely ignore the overwhelming massive amount of citizen on citizen violence. The police just respond to that violence and threat. Again, an inexperienced voice”. No one ignores the massive amount of civilian violence, hell there’s 375 times non-cops to cops, so even if violence rates were equal…but the actual question at hand was what the police do. Red herring.

  • steve

    ok i guess its ok when police make deadly mistakes compared to the citizen violence , that makes the numbers change to make it an ok matter.

  • t.

    Sukoi: So you blame the police for the crimes committed by the drug makers, sellers and users? Ok. At least you seem pretty honest that to you it’s all about dope love.
    The environments AREN’T PEACEFUL guy. Drug dealers shooting up neighborhoods. Users robbing stores, breaking into cars, homes and businesses. Or selling themselves…all for the dope you defend. That’s not “peaceful” guy.
    Blamo is just a reporter with a biased opinion. That’s cool. But there are lots of opinions. They’re like armpits and asshole. Everybody has them and they all stink. His is just one.
    As for how many OIS’s are there from “citizen on citizen” violence? Butt loads. Most.

  • t.

    Ariel:

    I think you phrase “Red Herring” sums you up.

    Stripping away the usual “I’m so smart” Ariel stuff…that’s leaves the supposition is that the officer had to intend to shoot these people. To intentionally want to kill a young kid. For what? To what end? So they could get a few days off with pay? Maybe they desired to get their names in the papers or on TV. How about they longed to be sued? Yeah, that must have been it. They hasn’t been in a lawsuit for awhile so they just wanted to shoot a kid. Logic in Ariel’s world I guess.

    As for child arguements. Sorry if it was over your head.

  • Casual Observer

    @t.,

    Is your complete failure to recognize the many well-documented cases of police negligence described in Balko’s book intentional?

    Any reasonable person can easily research these cases, and in the process locate the stories of thousands of UNARMED INNOCENT CIVILIANS and FAMILY PETS, who were unfortunate enough to have become the victims of police execution in the U.S. during the past few years.

    So, how many cops died on-the-job in the same time period? Or better yet… how many cops were criminally convicted for killing unarmed innocent Americans? And also, how many cops were killed by dogs in the past 50 years? I think you’ll be amazed at these numbers.

    Whether it’s an adrenalin-junkie SWAT “commando” or a trigger-happy, paranoid LAPD officer in Torrance, CA, who chooses to make the improper decision to shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later, such intentional negligence is a criminal act which violates the Constitutionally-protected human rights of their victim. PERIOD.

    By the tone of your posts, it would appear that you only harbor a bias regarding universal enforcement of the law, when such a legal universe also includes accused police officers. Everyone makes mistakes, but hiding behind a badge in order to escape prosecution is a cowardly excuse for incompetence and poor judgment… and most importantly, denies justice to the family of the victim.

    Indiscriminate and completely OPTIONAL executions of innocent Americans by police, will continue until self-restraint becomes mandated by the application of severe criminal penalties. Furthermore, without such prosecutions attached as a guaranteed consequence for such lethal and irrational acts, psychotic police officers will continue to indulge themselves, while enjoying freedom from prosecution, and months of paid administrative leave, at growing taxpayer expen$e.

    I can only think of four types of people who would publicly profess to hold the position that intentional lethal negligence on the part of police officers should be considered acceptable behavior:

    1) a person paid to protect negligent officers from prosecution.

    2) an officer who regularly exercises negligence and/or brutality.

    3) a friend or family member of a negligent and/or brutal officer.

    4) a sadist who enjoys promoting violence against the innocent.

    The members of this occupying force which claim to be fighting a war against violence, have now become perpetrators of excessive brutality through lethal negligence. Radley Balko has taken the first step by researching, verifying, and informing the American people of the horrible human toll imposed upon our nation, by a privileged class of public servants far too arrogant and paranoid, to actually demonstrate concern for the victims of their indiscretion.

    If I’ve somehow overlooked the explanation for an illogical and elitist point of view that openly supports the misdeeds of a militarized occupying force, then could you please provide me with those details in a reply?

  • Sukoi

    @t: “Sukoi: So you blame the police for the crimes committed by the drug makers, sellers and users? Ok. At least you seem pretty honest that to you it’s all about dope love.” t, I pointed you to that page because you said (I’m paraphrasing here) that the police are simply a reactionary force merely responding to “citizen on citizen violence”. That’s bullshit of course, which is why you didn’t address my question about who on that page is dead as a result of “citizen on citizen violence”.

    @t: “The environments AREN’T PEACEFUL guy. Drug dealers shooting up neighborhoods. Users robbing stores, breaking into cars, homes and businesses. Or selling themselves…all for the dope you defend. That’s not “peaceful” guy.” And what creates that not peaceful environment? Anyone with two brain cells to click together and has looked at this knows that it isn’t the drugs that cause all of the problems that you describe, but rather the prohibition of those drugs. Do you honestly believe that if drugs were legally regulated like alcohol and tobacco that there would be people “shooting up neighborhoods. Users robbing stores, breaking into cars, homes and businesses. Or selling themselves…all for the dope”? No, this is a problem created by lawmakers and made ten times worse by prohibitionist cops such as yourself. I mean, when was the last time that you heard of people “shooting up neighborhoods. Users robbing stores, breaking into cars, homes and businesses. Or selling themselves…all for the” ALCOHOL or for the most addictive substance on the planet; nicotine?

    Please point out where Balko is factually inaccurate on anything that he has written about regarding the use of SWAT, police brutality or puppycide. What he writes is more than just opinion, it’s well researched fact, and you can’t dispute that.

  • t.

    CO: Wow. So numbers then eh? Take a look at how many search warrants and arrest warrants are served in any giving time period. Your number / statistical analysis will likely turn out a number in the 10′s of thousands that are rigth / perfect to 1 where there is problem. Is that acceptable? No. Is it acceptable to allow the criminals to go I apprehended, free to continue to victimize? No. Where is the medium? Look at the posters and comme fees on just this site. How many constantly call for violence against the police and active resistance at every turn? How many brag about the cache of heavy weapons hey have and the willingness to use them? That’s your threat. If not for them, I wouldn’t be here. You work with your local PD to help eliminate that from your town, and the police will start to fade away. But instead, it’s protect the criminal, guard his rights while he stomps on those of others.

    Tone. I approach my job and my comments here from a reasonable stand point honed from years of life and police experience. If you think allowing drive by shootings to go unpunished is reasonable, we’ll just have to disagree. I’ll ask you the same thing I asked on another thread….when you strip away all of the hyperbole about this issue, that leaves you supporting the supposition that the officers intended to hurt people. Intentional though, I’m gonna go in here and kill a kid just because. Or I’m going to intentional lie about this warrant and go into the wrong house because I don’t care. Stripping all of your mess away, that’s where you stand. Why? To what end would the officers do that? W acting some time off? Or just to get their names on the news? Maybe it’s for the fun of the lawsuit? Yeah, maybe that’s it.
    That makes no sense

    “Privledged class”. Now that’s funny. We give up rights guy, we don’t get more. You are buying into the trash being sold in a we site tag line.

    “Militarized occupying force”. We, myself and several cop blockers, have already come to agreement that that is simply a lie me at only to mislead and inflame. Here is no such force. When I patrol an area of a city (of over a million) that has 39000 residents with bars, businesses, and industry….with at most 7 guys total….that’s 1 officer per almost 6000 people. My guys are armed with a handgun and a shotgun in the car. Almost everyone we meet is better armed than that. Not exactly the “occupying force” you claim.

    So yeah, I guess you missed a lot.

    Millions of police calls everyday. Most of them the most boring and mundane things you can’t even imagine. You focus only on the very few bad things. And even most of those, the police still did it right.

  • t.

    Of, I missed you paragraph about when do I see people shooting up neighborhoods and robbing stores, cars , houses, etc. for drugs…each and everyday day

  • claygooding

    There is no excuse for a wrong address raid,,none,,if you can’t get your intelligence right and execute a raid at the right house you have no business with a weapon unless you carry one bullet in your shirt pocket Barney.

  • Sukoi

    @t; you not only missed a paragraph, you also missed an entire post. Or perhaps you didn’t but you simply have no rebuttal, so you simply ignored it – which is it? I’m talking about my post above at 6:18 PM.

  • Sukoi

    Clay, you are absolutely correct. even one innocent person (or pet) harmed in any way at all is far, far too many. And that also goes for anyone harmed for non-crimes – those actions deemed illicit but do not victimize anyone.

  • Casual Observer

    The fact that you were unable to answer the four simple questions posed in my previous post, combined with continued support for police officers whose negligence deprives innocent people and their pets of life and liberty without due process, proves the existence of a militarized occupying police force with absolute clarity… even though that isn’t how you would choose to see the public servants you defend. Unarmed innocent people generally do not have shotguns, side-arms, pepper-spray, tasers, trained attack dogs and body armor.

    Many like me, only have only pity for people like you, even though you’d probably end my life if you thought you could get away with it. But since you may be completely unaware of the schizophrenic state in which you operate, perhaps you may not really be to blame… or even criminally liable for your actions. I’m sure a union lawyer would do his best follow that line of defense if it ever became necessary, and would probably use posts such as the ones in this thread to his advantage in the court room.

    Justifying the lethal negligence of rogue police officers based upon a percentage of all action taken, is an intentional distortion of fact meant to shift blame elsewhere. The term for such a process is called “projection,” and is employed in order to project feelings of personal guilt onto a chosen scapegoat. It really wouldn’t surprise me if you are/were an abusive parent/spouse who is divorced and lost custody of their children.

    Your equivocation in regards to intentional negligence, is symptomatic of an abusive person who blames the victims of his brutality. Much like an alcoholic, rapist, or child molester, who claims they wouldn’t have to hurt the victim if that person would just stop doing what they are doing or cooperate, abusive police officers often adopt the exact same attitude. If only society would change then, they wouldn’t have “only one tool in the box.”

    The fact that decent and honorable men and women within the law enforcement community continue to tolerate such behavior, or remain silent while those like yourself defend it, is symptomatic of the apathy destroying our republic. If one is paid to do a job, it is not the public’s responsibility to make that job easier, or to look the other way while innocent people and animals are victimized by those who CHOOSE to abuse their authority.

  • Casual Observer

    *best to follow

  • steve

    there are few that stand up and defend the idiotic and maniacal behavior of swat. the constant killing of dogs, the accidental discharge and death of an inocent person, the wrong addresses. the consistant behavior of people who defend these acts is unamerican,this is where the line is drawn between the brainscrewed idiots and actual humanity. it is wrong there is no defense to the mistakes its murder to kill dogs and its against the law to kill inocent people.no one can be this stupid and inhumane unless they are sick. this is called psychopathic and or sociopathic behavior. no guilt , no remorse.

  • claygooding

    SWAT teams were created for shots fired and hostage situations,,not daily exercises by dozens of under-trained overzealous with the attitude of “if it moves I shoot it”squads hitting homes across the nation at all hours.
    And the blame falls directly in the lap of the war on drugs and the bounty money paid for drug busts.
    Violent crimes go unsolved at an 80% rate because police are targeting the vast majority of their resources on chasing the “golden bust”,,the one that nets the city possible hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money. If it gets turned in. It has created a lottery for police.
    The war on drugs is a cancer within our society and it must be cut out before it consumes the host.

  • RadicalDude

    “Betty Taylor still remembers the night it all hit her.

    Taylor’s moment of clarity came during a raid on an autumn evening in November 2000. ”

    I think this kind of thing is why the police departments have an IQ limit on who they will hire. The smarter someone is, the more likely they will have such a moment of clarity and overcome the brainwashing/programming.

  • Casual Observer

    @RadicalDude,

    The policy of limiting access to police training and employment solely based upon IQ scores was found to be legal by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September of 2000.

    Since that time, a parallel policy of disqualifying candidates whose psychological testing indicates an above normal empathy quotient, has also become a national standard. While rejecting candidates for training due to a criminal record might make sense, limiting access to employment based upon criteria which actually IMPROVE job performance is the very definition of discrimination.

    Upper level management has and continues, to put citizens at risk by employing intellectually-challenged and insensitive officers, because most accusations of wrongdoing never make it past internal review boards, whereas intelligent and sensitive officers can cost the departments a great deal of time and money, especially when they expose wrongdoing within the ranks.

    The total amount paid in settlements to those victims of brutal and abusive police behavior, is actually far less costly than training tens of thousands of promising recruits who realize how deep the corruption goes, and then choose to pursue some other career path.

    http://nyletterpress.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/police-reject-candidate-for-being-too-intelligent/

    These policies have been in place in a majority of police departments across our nation since 2000, and the results are fairly obvious to anyone who investigates issues of brutality or corruption in large urban police departments. The apple barrel needs to be completely emptied at this point, as the upper levels of management are now being populated by the less intelligent and empathetic recruits of previous cadet classes… and it shows.

  • Call it out

    Cops don’t head out with the attitude that I’m going to hurt or frame somebody, huh?

    Tell that to the people of Rampart in LA.

  • Ariel

    t.,

    Here’s what I wrote: “The actual argument about “horrible accidents” when you shoot someone innocent because you have your finger on a trigger is that it sinks no lower than negligence. And that negligence is likely “involuntary manslaughter”, unintentional killing, except for the police discount.”

    I never even implied he intended to shoot the kid, but that shooting the kid was a negligent act foreseeable because he had his finger on the trigger while pointing the gun at the kid. Basic gun safety ignored. Negligence.

    Your entire response was a non-response, something you made up so you could easily knock it down. It was a flight of fantasy. You were only playing with yourself, making this full of irony: “As for child arguements. Sorry if it was over your head.”

  • Pigsticker

    This may come as a surprise to many but, here is a link to why we have an infestation of bullies/cowards/assholes in uniforms;

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/09/27/press-tv-tragedy-of-us-police-training-by-israeli-companies/

    When the blow-flies in D.C. cuddle with AIPAC, this is just one BAD IDEA.

    Exactly what were they expecting from having a nation w/o a constitution and dubbed a terrorist state, (Judge Goldstone acting for the U.N.), “train” U.S. cops in how to handle domestic terrorists? yet another example of the lack of common sense of our “leaders”. This ranks right up there with ‘ole Hank’s speech about islands tipping over…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cesSRfXqS1Q

    When leaders are as ignorant as their constituents, there’s gonna be trouble.

  • WeedSmoker420

    If the cops just hit a fucking joint and just learned to chill it would benefit society.

  • Jason Free

    Another bullshit story by a wanna be writer. The world won’t go her way everyday so she blames the PD. Typical activist bullshit.

    steve, I still see you are spreading your bullshit lies. You were still breast feeding during the time you say you were in Iraq you fucking bullshit liar.

  • Casual Observer

    @Jason Free,

    You might want pay a little more attention to detail before proving your ignorance to everyone on the thread:

    1) “Rise of the Warrior Cop” was written by a male.

    2) Betty Taylor was a Sheriff’s Deputy in Lincoln County, MO.

    3) Betty Taylor was Police Chief of Winfield, MO.

    4) Most children born in the U.S. after 1960 were bottle-fed.

  • Jason Free

    Casual Observer – Give me a break. All the typical activist bullshit is always summed up in one book or another written by so dumb fuck activist who blames all of their troubles on the PD. In any activist written book they say the same fucking stories over and over. Fucking dinks.

  • Casual Observer

    @Jason Free,

    Most people would attempt to filter such random thoughts, before recklessly including unverifiable accusations in response to a previous post. I really must applaud you for the brave (but misguided) decision to post your obscene ignorance once again.

  • Common Sense

    Ariel

    The accidental discharges is an interesting topic. Detroit PD SWAT trial just ended in a mistrial. The jury hung on the meanings of “careless” and “negligent.”

    They reissued the charge and will go again later this month.

  • Common Sense

    Wait…what’s that coming over the hill? Oh my God! Its the BEARCAT!! RUN!!

    Hippies frighten so easy.

  • Casual Observer

    @Common Sense,

    Are sure you don’t mean MANBEARPIG?

  • t.

    Sticker: How absolutely antisemitic of you. Bring back the Nazi’s eh?

    CO: Dude, she wanted an SVU unit in her small little town went it simply wasn’t needed. That’s all.
    And what an unbiased, clearly thought out, and completely fair viewpoint that website offers.

  • Casual Observer

    @t.,

    Thanks so much for answering my previous questions. Oh, that’s right, you never did… and never will.

    Police Chief Betty Taylor was looking for funding for rape kits and to offset the cost of investigations, but nice try at tossing out another red herring.

    You know, you might want to do a little research, because there’s a HUGE difference between Zionism and Judaism. Sorta’ like there’s a HUGE difference between an Oath Keeper and Jeffrey Salmon.

    If you could explain what link you referenced, it certainly would help me to help you, and it appears that you really do need help.

  • Common Sense

    ha ha ha, I’m totally serial

  • t.

    CO: What questions? You’ve accused people of that before and there aren’t questions?

    Ask them. Clearly without any statements. Just ask.

  • t.

    CO. Oh, I referenced your link at 1236.

  • Sukoi

    Hey t, how about the questions that I posed at 6:18 PM yesterday? Did you miss that post or simply ignore it?

  • t.

    Missed it.

  • t.

    Don’t really see questions. I see comments.

    I guess it comes down to perspective and experience. YOU apparently take the position that drug manufacturers, sellers ad users are all peaceful, happy and easy to get along with. My knowledge and experience has some of that, but lots of the violence and uglyiness that go with it.
    I work everyday with it. The breakins, the robberies, the thefts and frauds. Turn on your local news. Violence…shootings, stabbings, assaults. Most are drug related. YOU may be a cool dope smoker that just chills at the house and is fully functional in life. I know a bunch that are / have been that way. But the overwhelming number that I deal with, the users that have to break in to your car or house and swipe your stuff to afford their habits. “Legalizing” it doesn’t take out / remove that component. Those that can’t afford it now as they can’t work because of their habits…still won’t be able to afford the legal drugs.

    And with these drugs goes weapons. Look at your linked page. 40 some odd cases listed since like 1991. 22 years….43 cases. Then read the stories of those case. I looked at like a dozen or so of them. Most of those where “good shoots” as these criminal were armed and ready to kill for their drugs.

    If you want to believe that the only violence comes from the police, I’ll never be able to reason with you as that is plainly wrong.

    The main reason that there aren’t more injuries or deaths from the arrests of drug manufactures, seller and users is because SWAT is used when it is called for. Are we perfect? No. Do mistakes happen? Yes. Are the problems “rampant”? Not even close. The numbers just don’t support anything you say. They are all in my favor.

  • RadicalDude

    “t. says:
    July 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I guess it comes down to perspective and experience. YOU apparently take the position that drug manufacturers, sellers ad users are all peaceful, happy and easy to get along with. My knowledge and experience has some of that, but lots of the violence and uglyiness that go with it.
    I work everyday with it. The breakins, the robberies, the thefts and frauds. Turn on your local news. Violence…shootings, stabbings, assaults. Most are drug related. YOU may be a cool dope smoker that just chills at the house and is fully functional in life. I know a bunch that are / have been that way. But the overwhelming number that I deal with, the users that have to break in to your car or house and swipe your stuff to afford their habits. “Legalizing” it doesn’t take out / remove that component. Those that can’t afford it now as they can’t work because of their habits…still won’t be able to afford the legal drugs.”

    Actually,taking the prohibition element out of it does clean up a lot of the societal problems.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/06/13/prescription-heroin-treatment-could-become-legal.html

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/11/world/americas/wus-canada-drug-safe-haven

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal

    http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf

    After a few years when the empirical data is in, I am sure people will be looking at Colorado and Oregon as the example on marijuana. Other areas will look at the benefits to CO and WA and want them for themselves, and will follow naturally, when the empirical evidence is in.
    That is just my opinion, I am speculating here, but time will tell if my predictions come true.

  • Casual Observer

    @t.,

    As you reading comprehension is solely based upon a voluntary desire to actual READ a post, I will therefore repeat the exact same questions posted above:

    1) Is your complete failure to recognize the many well-documented cases of police negligence described in Balko’s book intentional?

    2) How many cops died on the job in the past few [2011 to 2013] years?

    3) How many cops were criminally convicted of killing unarmed innocent Americans in the past few [2011 to 2013] years?

    4) How many cops were killed by dogs in the past 50 years [1963 to 2013]?

    Your failure to address these issues by fixating on the crimes of civilians, is nothing more than infantile misdirection. Your subjective evaluation is without merit, and completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    This thread is not about what YOU perceive as the problems of society. By employing crime statistics as justification for the intentional criminal negligence exhibited gangs of well-armed men in body armor who kick in the doors of innocent people and shoot their dogs and children, is beyond farcical. It is a stain on your honor, and the honor of all those who know the difference between an unarmed civilian and an armed threat. Perhaps you need a refresher course.

    Your attitude and expressions have actually begun to resemble the paranoid delusions of a raving schizophrenic. Please seek some sort of mental counseling as soon as possible, for the safety of the general public, those within your immediate vicinity, and most of all, for your own safety.

  • Casual Observer

    *your

  • Sukoi

    @t: “And with these drugs goes weapons. Look at your linked page. 40 some odd cases listed since like 1991. 22 years….43 cases. Then read the stories of those case. I looked at like a dozen or so of them. Most of those where “good shoots” as these criminal were armed and ready to kill for their drugs.” You said, and again I’m paraphrasing here, that police are a reactionary force merely responding to “citizen on citizen violence”. So I asked you how many of those on this page:
    http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/
    were killed as a result of “citizen on citizen violence”; you never answered that question. Instead you try your statistics again which really don’t mean anything as even one killing at the hands of public servants is far, far too many. So I’ll ask again: how many of those on the page above were killed as a result of “citizen on citizen violence”? John Adams, Patrick Dorismond, John Hirko, Kathyrn Johnston? Which ones, how many?

    “If you want to believe that the only violence comes from the police, I’ll never be able to reason with you as that is plainly wrong.

    The main reason that there aren’t more injuries or deaths from the arrests of drug manufactures, seller and users is because SWAT is used when it is called for. Are we perfect? No. Do mistakes happen? Yes. Are the problems “rampant”? Not even close. The numbers just don’t support anything you say. They are all in my favor.” That’s just complete bullshit and I never said that “the only violence comes from the police”, what I did say is that police invasions inject violence into otherwise peaceful situations and that cannot be denied. Here are some statistics for you to flesh out, how many of the incidents resulting in death that Balko cites in his book, or even in the excerpt above, would have never happened if the police hadn’t showed up? I mean, a SWAT team to break up a poker game? Really, a SWAT team was “called for”? SWAT teams were not created for the vast majority of the reasons that they are used for today, they were created for armed stand-offs and hostage situations, not to prevent little Johnny from smoking a joint or his father from playing poker.

    Here are the other questions that you never answered:

    When was the last time that you heard of people “shooting up neighborhoods. Users robbing stores, breaking into cars, homes and businesses. Or selling themselves…all for the” ALCOHOL or for the most addictive substance on the planet; nicotine?

    Please point out where Balko is factually inaccurate on anything that he has written about regarding the use of SWAT, police brutality or puppycide. (I know, not technically a question, more of a request…)

  • t.

    Sukio: I didn’t make it past your first paragraph. It IS citizen on citizen violence.

  • moriyah

    If Betty Taylor would like to help out the next Mayor of Toronto it would be appreciated. Especially before we turn into the next Chicago.

  • Ariel

    Common Sense @1448,

    I’ll start with the backend (keep your mind focused). Juries in use of force issues are generally lenient with cops. I can understand the hang.

    The frontend. Gun safety 101, never have your finger near the trigger even the guard unless you intend to shoot where you aim. You know the reasons. Pardon me while I sneeze, damn that was a good shiver, hey why’d you bump into me, damn that startled me, etc. Keeping your finger on the trigger while aiming a gun at someone you don’t intend to shoot is negligence because the result is foreseeable especially by someone trained.

    Ahchoo.

  • Sukoi

    @t: “Sukio: I didn’t make it past your first paragraph. It IS citizen on citizen violence.”

    Nice “cop” out there t; no answers so you make a lame bogus excuse to avoid addressing my questions. And no, it’s cop on citizen violence. Remember, YOU are the one that said that police merely respond to “citizen on citizen violence”, so YOU are making a distinction between police and average citizens. What “citizen on citizen violence” were they responding to when they murdered Kathyrn Johnston?

  • t.

    We do. When I’m see I g the search warrant at your house and decide to point a gun at me….me responding to your violence. The reason I’m serving that search warrant….the drug culture breeds violence as explained clearly above. I’m there to apprehend you to stop that violence. It’s really not that hard

    The funny thing a out your viewpoint, as it is the viewpoint of many around this site…is that you see a handful of bad things and can’t see the good. Why? Be ause that’s not “news”. Thousands upon thousands of warrants served each week. Most times you here of nothing at all. Because SWAT’s presence kept there from being a problem. Look at many of the of the stories from the link YOU provided. If I had just walked up with my part er a d knocked on the door….would we both have been killed? Would we still ha e killed the bad guy?

    You really need to see and understand the far bigger picture. If my department serves say 5000 warrants a year (big department….number could be close in total) and say 2 of them are “bad”. (Not a very realistic scenario as I don’t think we’ve had any “bad” ones. Some where people have been hurt certainly, but not bad warrants). How’s that percentage? Your link had 40 odd cases. Most of them were far from ” bad warrants”.

    You reay need to understand that the numbers simply don’t bare out your premise. They reject it. @shawn tries the same route….and each time he fails as the numbers of police actions reduce the very few instances of any police wrong doing to less than a statistical anomaly.

    Does that mean we are perfect? No. It what is? And what’s the alternative? Leave you there to victimize more people? Not an acceptable option to most.

  • Sukoi

    @t: “We do. When I’m see I g the search warrant at your house and decide to point a gun at me….me responding to your violence. The reason I’m serving that search warrant….the drug culture breeds violence as explained clearly above. I’m there to apprehend you to stop that violence. It’s really not that hard” So Kathyrn Johnston was breeding violence by trying to defend herself from home invading thugs with weapons? Really t? Even you can’t be that stupid. On that page, how many of those people created violence that you need to stop? From what I’ve seen, from drug related cases in particular, you assholes create a violent situation where there otherwise wouldn’t be one. Again, a SWAT response to break up a poker game, really?

    “The funny thing a out your viewpoint, as it is the viewpoint of many around this site…is that you see a handful of bad things and can’t see the good. Why? Be ause that’s not “news”. Thousands upon thousands of warrants served each week. Most times you here of nothing at all. Because SWAT’s presence kept there from being a problem. Look at many of the of the stories from the link YOU provided. If I had just walked up with my part er a d knocked on the door….would we both have been killed? Would we still ha e killed the bad guy?” I don’t think that it’s funny at all, but you apparently do, as you and CS are the ones who frequently joke about it here. A friend of mine sums up your mentality like this “The entire philosophy behind SWAT-style drug raids is that the death of a mother, a child, or the family pet is an acceptable risk to prevent flushing.” That’s your mentality and it’s sickening.

    “You really need to see and understand the far bigger picture. If my department serves say 5000 warrants a year (big department….number could be close in total) and say 2 of them are “bad”. (Not a very realistic scenario as I don’t think we’ve had any “bad” ones. Some where people have been hurt certainly, but not bad warrants). How’s that percentage? Your link had 40 odd cases. Most of them were far from ” bad warrants”.

    You reay need to understand that the numbers simply don’t bare out your premise. They reject it. @shawn tries the same route….and each time he fails as the numbers of police actions reduce the very few instances of any police wrong doing to less than a statistical anomaly” Numbers, ONE death is far, far too many on either side of this. If there is no life at immediate risk but you create that risk and it results in a death, then that is way too many. Just stop playing soldier boy with you hyped up friends and there will be more peaceful people walking on this earth.

    “Does that mean we are perfect? No. It what is? And what’s the alternative? Leave you there to victimize more people? Not an acceptable option to most.” If I were sitting in my living room sharing a joint or a few lines out of the pound or so that was under my coffee table, who would I be victimizing? The only victimization comes when you assholes start throwing grenades and shooting the place up. Again, injecting violence into an otherwise peaceful situation. You assholes are creating the problems that you are trying to deal with and the sad part is that you are either too stubborn or too dumb to realize it. Again, Upton Sinclair comes to mind: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”…

  • t.

    Sukoi: I don’t think crime is funny. You apparently are ready to not only accept the drugs and all of its associated violence and crimes….you seem to welcome it. I don’t. Slice it anyway you want. That’s what it comes down to. Your dope love clouds you to seeing all of the associated harms if you can’t see that, there isn’t any reasoning with you. Its not all smoke up and have fun.  The overwhelming amount of crime that I deal with has a drug component Legalizing selling, possessing and using it takes none of that away.

  • Casual Observer

    @t.,

    Yeah, that’ what the idiots and tax pirates said about the 21st Amendment too.

  • Sukoi

    @t: “Sukoi: I don’t think crime is funny. You apparently are ready to not only accept the drugs and all of its associated violence and crimes….you seem to welcome it. I don’t. Slice it anyway you want. That’s what it comes down to. Your dope love clouds you to seeing all of the associated harms if you can’t see that, there isn’t any reasoning with you. Its not all smoke up and have fun. The overwhelming amount of crime that I deal with has a drug component Legalizing selling, possessing and using it takes none of that away.”

    The “drug component” that you speak of is a direct result of prohibition and not the drugs themselves. Again, how many people do you encounter killing each other or committing other crimes against others over alcohol or the most addictive substance on the planet, nicotine? When alcohol was re-legalized, the crime associated with it virtually disappeared and the same thing will happen with other addictive substances and a very positive effect of re-legalization will be that these substances will be controlled, regulated and as a result, there will be far fewer deaths from both overdoses AND cops. Tell me, how many people were killed or imprisoned over the last twenty years or so to reduce the addiction rate of nicotine (again, the most addictive substance on the planet)? None. EDUCATION is the answer but assholes that depend on the drugwar to further their career can’t understand that – Upton Sinclair again…

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever in a free society that any force at all should be used to protect someone from themselves. Your mentality is that “I’ll kill you to prevent you from living your life the way that you want to even if you do no harm to others”. That is what you believe t and that is just so, so fucking wrong no matter how you try to color it…

  • t.

    Alcohol related deaths are extremely common. Do you never even watch your local news?

    And why is it that you can’t deal with my comments in total? Incapable?

  • t.

    Oh, sorry…I forgot your last paragraph.

    I’ve said it dozens of times. I couldn’t care any less if you smoked yourself into obilvion tonight. The problem comes when it bleeds over to others. The violence and crime associated has nothing to do with “prohibition”. When an ounce of “headies” is 450$ its 450$ You still need the 450$ to buy it. When 10 mg oxycodones are 10$ each…that’s what they cost. Most folks can’t afford that for long. Legalizing it won’t stop that. It would just change who gets the money. California is a good example. The “legalize” pot and now they have people (growers) getting robbed for both their pot and money. So how’s that working out? You are simply accepting of the violence because you love the product.

  • Sukoi

    @t: “Alcohol related deaths are extremely common. Do you never even watch your local news?

    And why is it that you can’t deal with my comments in total? Incapable?”

    So what about those deaths? Automobile related deaths are extremely common as well, so what’s your point; that alcohol and automobiles should be illegal?

    As far as dealing with your comments “in total”, that’s rich considering YOU decide not to deal with some of my comments AT ALL… Another double standard from a cop – typical…

  • Sukoi

    @t: “Oh, sorry…I forgot your last paragraph.

    I’ve said it dozens of times. I couldn’t care any less if you smoked yourself into obilvion tonight. The problem comes when it bleeds over to others. The violence and crime associated has nothing to do with “prohibition”. When an ounce of “headies” is 450$ its 450$ You still need the 450$ to buy it. When 10 mg oxycodones are 10$ each…that’s what they cost. Most folks can’t afford that for long. Legalizing it won’t stop that. It would just change who gets the money. California is a good example. The “legalize” pot and now they have people (growers) getting robbed for both their pot and money. So how’s that working out? You are simply accepting of the violence because you love the product.”

    Damn dude, you are friggin clueless. How much does a bucket of dirt and a gallon of water cost? That’s how much it costs to grow cannabis at the lowest level. If it were legal, it would cost no more than the most expensive vegetables. What you can’t seem to understand is the fact that since it is an illicit plant at the federal level, that drives up the price because it is risky for the grower, harvester, seller, buyer and consumer. If prohibition were taken out of the equation, it would cost little to nothing and virtually anyone would be able to afford it blowing your theory completely out of the water. The same goes for any other drug of choice, most of which wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the prohibition that you support so much. You and the policies that you support are exacerbating the problem exponentially. Listen to your brethren who are far more experienced at this than you and your friends are:

    “We believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes these drugs so valuable – while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

    History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

    We believe that by eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law enforcement could focus more on crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated assault, child abuse and murder, making our communities much safer. We believe that sending parents to prison for non-violent personal drug use destroys families. We believe that in a regulated and controlled environment, drugs will be safer for adult use and less accessible to our children. And we believe that by placing drug abuse in the hands of medical professionals instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce rates of addiction and overdose deaths.”

    http://www.leap.cc/about/why-legalize-drugs/

  • Casual Observer

    @t.,

    Perhaps this video will have some affect on your point of view, since it’s being delivered by a retired police captain. Although the ability to admit you might be mistaken appears to be far beyond your capacity, one must always hold on to the hope that some day, even you might finally wake up.

    http://www.upworthy.com/every-war-on-drugs-myth-thoroughly-destroyed-by-a-retired-police-captain?g=3

  • RadicalDude

    The more they ramp up the drug war, the more out of control the drug problem gets. What is that, just a coincidence?

  • t.

    Sukoi: I know all about LEAP. There are some decent ideas even.

    But there is WAY more involved. Some of the more ignorant (sorry, but that’s what it is) say “look at Portugal” they legalized everything and it works. I say ignorant as comparing a country with the population less than some of our smallest states…that don’t have the “gun” issues that we have, nor the car culture that we have, nor the cost of living that we have. Just those issues alone are BG game changers.

    I will say that I find it refreshing and honest that tot you…it is about dope love. Most here have that at their core, but deny it at every turn.

    There are enormous cost involved in the “drug war”. Very true. But there are enormous costs involved in the open acceptance of drug use as well. Again, California can be seen as an example. The violence hasn’t stopped.

  • Sukoi

    t, we don’t need to look at Portugal and why would we look at California, drugs aren’t even legal there? But we do have a prime example here in this country that has the guns, the cars and pretty much every other variable that still exists today and that’s the devastation that alcohol prohibition caused in the 30′s and what has happened since.

    Again, I’ll ask you this question: When was the last time that you heard of people “shooting up neighborhoods. Users robbing stores, breaking into cars, homes and businesses. Or selling themselves…all for the” ALCOHOL or for the most addictive substance on the planet; nicotine?

    And I do realize that there are a few cases of people producing illegal alcohol and stealing cigarettes; in the case of alcohol, it’s a freedom thing and in the case of cigarettes, it’s because they are taxed so highly that some people see it as a worthwhile endeavor to steal them – gubmint creating problems where none exist, just like prohibition…

  • t.

    Sukoi: Are you still a college student ? The way you think makes me think you are a 20 year old college kid.

    Comparing alcohol with drugs is silly. But I’ll play along for fun….
    Go look up the stats on alcohol related traffic crashes. The deaths, serious injuries, multiple billions of dollars in property damage. Then there are the assaults, sex crimes, domestic assaults, child abuse, work place accidents and injuries. There are lots of alcohol involved murders (not necessarily the prime cause, but clearly involved). Now most folks will just steal their beer / wine. But I have known lots of embezzlers that there primary focus was their alcoholism and is asso Kate’s issues. Now this doesn’t even begin to bring into play the 100′s of billions of dollars that are spent on medical issues brought on from the alcohol or exaserbated by it. Alcohol and its misuse and overuse are a serious social problem.

    So you want me to welcome more of the same into out society? Bring on other substances to compound those issues?

    So you want to dismiss the California example. Talk about someone ducking the question / issue.

  • t.

    Oh, and nicotine has nothing on caffeine.

  • Sukoi

    t, actually I’m likely older than you are; I’ve had a career that has spanned 24 years so far.

    All of those problems that you point out with alcohol are problems for sure but they pale in comparison to the violence in the 30′s during alcohol prohibition. When was the last time that you heard of alcohol or cigarette distributors shooting it out in the streets? Every problem associated with drug use is exacerbated by prohibition. We’ve spent a trillion dollars and countless lives have been ruined or ended and for what? Drugs are cheaper and more plentiful than they have ever been; what is it that you hope to accomplish?

    How is California an example of anything regarding drug re-legalization? Drugs are still illegal in California, don’t you know that?

    Nicotine is far more addictive than caffeine. Caffeine is more widely used for sure but it has nothing on nicotine when it comes time to quit. I’m speaking from experience as I’ve quit both before.

  • t.

    Sukoi:
    Again, about California….you apparently need to look into it.

    As for you drugs = alcohol = cigarettes. That has got to be one of the dumbest comparassions ever. (Not quite as bad as your baby stroller = AK 47 comparo…but close).
    I’ll say that after you read up on the drugs issues in California, you need to get out more. Get out and see what is really going away from your cool dope smoking buddies. Not all of it goes down that way. The social ills associated with drugs….the thefts, the violence, the street crimes, the prostitution, the overdoses, the chronic medical issues, the addiction…none if that has anything to do with “prohibition”. It is the nature of the drug use itself. Its not just smoked up good times.

  • RadicalDude

    “ To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink. ”
    “ The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. ”