Swat teams crash through doors 800 times per week
Radley Balko was on, yes, the Thom Hartmann Show discussing the militarization of the police. He's a Libertarian on staff at Reason.com, and when he popped out with that number, I literally stopped my car (It's okay, I was in a parking lot) and started taking notes on my tiny Post-It pad.
Here's what I managed to jot down:
- Most of the doors that were rammed belonged to non-violent offenders. He pointed out how such practices create violence. How productive.
- Fewer than half of the "ram-ees" end up as suspects charged with felonies.
- Innocent people have died as a result of such force. (I think it was 40 cases in 20 years)
- The most recent case was that of Katheryn Johnston, the 92-year-old woman in Atlanta who was killed in a no-knock drug raid on her home.
- During the Reagan era, surplus military weapons were turned over to the police.
To quote Balko:
Violating the sanctity of the home with a violent, forced entry -- all to enforce laws against consensual acts -- simply isn't compatible with any honest notion of a free society.
Then again, I'm not so sure you'd call our society that "free" these days.
On a related note, good riddance, Gonzo.