Recently, I shared a song called “No-knock raid” by Lindy about the the proliferation of violent “no-knock” SWAT raids in the United States. Since I shared the song, Reason TV created this excellent music video for the song using footage of actual raids. You may find some of the footage in the video disturbing or upsetting, but as I’ve said before people need to get upset about SWAT raids. Please share this video with your friends and family.
“No Knock Raid,” written and performed by Toronto-based musician Lindy, is a searing indictment of one of the most aggressive, ubiquitous, and mistaken tactics in the War on Drugs.
Consider only the most recent raid to cause a national outrage: On May 5, 2011, 26-year-old Jose Guerena, who survived two tours in the Iraq War, was shot and killed during a raid on his house by a Pima County, Arizona SWAT team that fired dozens of bullets through his front door. Guerena, married and a father of two, had just finished a 12-hour shift at a local mine. Law enforcement sources claim he was involved in narco-trafficking but have yet to produce any evidence supporting that claim. Officers involved in the death have been cleared of wrongdoing.
Guerena’s death is not an isolated incident. As USA Today reports, an astonishing 70,000 to 80,000 militarized police raids take place on a annual basis in America, many of them on mistaken suspects and many of them ending with injury or death for police and citizens alike.
As Reason Contributing Editor Radley Balko and others have documented, the militarization of standard police practice is a direct consequence of the modern-day War on Drugs, started 40 years ago by President Richard Nixon – and perpetuated by every administration since. (For a comprehensive report on the failure of the drug war to achieve any of its stated goals, read “Ending the Drug War: A Dream Deferred,” by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.)
Many of the raids shown in this video have been discussed on Cop Block in the past. Check here for Cop Block’s coverage of SWAT raids. Also recommended is Radley Balko’s book Overkill which examines and criticizes the proliferation of SWAT teams and the use of no-knock raids.