ACLU Digs Deep Into The Law Enforcement War Machine

from the might-as-well-lock-the-door;-they're-just-going-to-break-it-down-anyway dept

“Advocates from every corner of the political compass have produced a mountain of disinformation about the ‘militarization’ of American law enforcement.”

Doug Deaton, Lieutenant, Plano (TX) Police, writing for PoliceOne

  • 32 bomb suits
  • 704 units of night vision equipment
  • 712 rifles
  • 42 forced entry tools, like battering rams
  • 830 units of surveillance and reconnaissance equipment
  • 13,409 personal protective equipment (PPE) or uniforms
  • 120 utility vehicles
  • 64 armored vehicles
  • 4 GPS devices
  • 17 helicopters
  • 21,211 other types of military equipment

– Equipment obtained by Arizona law enforcement agencies via Dept. of Defense 1033 grants

Zambia, Slovakia, Somalia, Ghana, Hungary, Estonia, Mozambique

– Some of the countries (out of a total of 17) whose militaries have fewer helicopters than Arizona law enforcement agencies (according to statistics gathered by the CIA and posted at

The ACLU’s extensive report on police militarization shows a nation at war with itself. The War on Terror — a 13-year windmill joust that has generated an excess of military equipment — has merged with the War on Drugs, an exercise in futility seven years removed from the half-century mark.

Actual military combat, utilizing enlisted soldiers, has given birth to the same equipment now routinely being deployed to fight the crime formerly policed by normal police officers. Cell tower spoofers, surveillance drones, Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected personnel carriers (MRAPs) — all of these were developed for use by the military. And all of these have now found homes in local law enforcement armories.

The requisition forms are littered with terrorism-related terms, but the reality of the situation is much more banal. Low-level drug dealers are being dealt with like enemy combatants. Law enforcement agencies claim with straight faces that they’re falling behind in the arms and technology race, all the while acquiring the best weaponry and technology tax dollars can buy.

These are then handed over to SWAT teams, special police forces developed to take on truly dangerous situations like riots, active shooters, hostage situations and barricaded suspects. They are outfitted in military gear and sent out to perform the everyday task of serving search warrants.

These teams prefer to do this mundane task with a maximum amount of chaos and violence. Warrants are delivered with no-knock raids, ostensibly to give the police department the upper hand on the presumed-to-be-dangerous occupants. In reality, this is the sort of thing that happens far too frequently.

[B]efore 3:00am on a night in May of 2014, a team of SWAT officers armed with assault rifles burst into the room where the family was sleeping. Some of the kids’ toys were in the front yard, but the Habersham County and Cornelia police officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present. One of the officers threw a flashbang grenade into the room. It landed in Baby Bou Bou’s crib.

It took several hours before Alecia and Bounkahm, the baby’s parents, were able to see their son. The 19-month-old had been taken to an intensive burn unit and placed into a medically induced coma. When the flashbang grenade exploded, it blew a hole in 19-month-old Bou Bou’s face and chest. The chest wound was so deep it exposed his ribs. The blast covered Bou Bou’s body in third degree burns.

Three weeks later, it’s still unclear whether the child will survive. The SWAT predicated its warrant on a $50 drug purchase from someone who didn’t even live at that residence. No drugs or guns were found. No arrests were made.

Note that the police defended their actions by claiming they had “no way of knowing” if children might be present. But that lack of crucial knowledge had zero effect on its tactics. Officers didn’t throw a flashbang grenade into the house because they were sure there were no children present. Officers threw a flashbang grenade into the house because that’s what SWAT teams do when they serve no-knock warrants. The question of children was never raised, at least not until their actions had placed a child in a medical coma and now needed to be defended. A safer assumption would be that nearly every house being raided has a child in it. Most houses do.

This is how law enforcement’s new toys get used: to take down lowball drug dealers. A large majority of warrants served are drug-related. The ACLU has the stats.

The problem is more troubling than mere mission creep. The new armor and weapons are begging to be used. These acquisitions, often obtained over the protests of the populace under the agency’s “protection” (or just as often, without their knowledge), need to be justified. The terrorism threat cited in requisition forms just isn’t going to present itself. And so, law enforcement agencies deploy these against the next best thing: the neighborhood drug dealer boogeyman.

The whole report is, by turns, fascinating, brutal and deeply concerning. Some claim the militarization of the police is a misconception, an illusion generated by a handful of vocal journalists. But the ACLU has the numbers that say otherwise.

Law enforcement knows this is the truth. The government’s misguided generosity has allowed local law enforcement to stockpile weapons and armor, but hasn’t given it any limitations or guidance. And the stated reason — terrorism — simply isn’t common enough to justify a one-sided arms “race,” no matter how far the definition of “terrorist” is stretched. So, the weapons and armor are used to carry out search warrants, bringing unnecessary amounts of chaos and violence to something police used to handle with an authoritative knock and possibly a scuffle or two if things went south. Now, it’s de rigueur. The tools can’t be allowed to gather dust and the War on Drugs can’t risk any more casualties — at least not on the part of the enforcers.

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Comments on “ACLU Digs Deep Into The Law Enforcement War Machine”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Just what do you intend for that to mean?

Crime is going down over all, but hype is going up.

Have YOU noticed or tried to focus yourself?

We almost have a culture of Zero Tolerance, which breads the this shit. Got an unpaid parking ticket call the swat team. Kid eats a pop-tart into the shape of a gun call the police.

Now they want dogs that can sniff out electronics? At what point do we consider it a police state? When people are getting shot for no reason while the police get by with it? That is already happening! Or how about getting stopped by the police and getting frisked without a warrant as per the 4th fucking amendment? Check out NY Stop and Frisk.

Check yo self be fo you wreck yo self!

Anonymous Canadian says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Crime is going down over all, but hype is going up.”

According to what I’ve read not just in the CFSC manual, but also on the RCMP website concerning this stuff, the statement I’ve quoted above is generally true for Canada as well; the overall crime rate is indeed going down.

Here is the really interesting thing I’ve noticed, however. The number of Canadian citizens whom are trying to get their firearms license(s) skyrocketed to record numbers shortly after the Snowden revelations. That and stories like this one are why the wife and I have decided to get our own licenses in fact.

Perhaps the government has taken notice of this fact as well and the resulting fear is what is driving police forces to become much more militarized? Insanity prevails.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m with you on that one. Americans consume violence like it’s going out of style, they a gluttons to the extreme when it comes to ultraviolent media. It’s gotten to the point i can’t even turn on my tv with my two year old around. (Not that i’d want to turn it on anyway, but you get the point.)

David says:

Here is a lesson from the My Lai Massacre

Read this link:
Q: What were the children in the ditch doing?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Were the babies in their mother’s arms?
A: I guess so.
Q: And the babies moved to attack?
A: I expected at any moment they were about to make a counterbalance.
Q: Had they made any move to attack?
A: No.

That’s the kind of thinking you get from training people as attack dogs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Military equipment is made for combat. Civilians don’t do combat well. They have neither the support nor the equipment to do so.

The police departments are turning these cities into a war zone. Undeclared but a war zone all the same. Police jobs have always had a modicum of hazard to the job. That’s it’s nature and it comes with the territory. It is part of the risk that comes with immunity.

Civilians have neither immunity nor armories. They don’t have teams to call on either. When you train cops to have semi-military methods, you are training them to kill. The military has two main uses besides shows of force. One is to break things and the other is to kill. Neither have any place in police actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Baby Bou Bou was released from the hospital

Baby Bou Bou was released from the hospital. The child’s facial injuries were largely repaired, but I would suspect that there will be permanent scarring. The child also suffered burns to his torso and legs, and had been placed in a medically induced coma. There could be long term repercussions including possible permanent brain damage from his injuries.

Whatever (profile) says:

The citizen have caused their own problems

When you see SWAT getting used for drug raids, it’s because the majority of drug dealers are armed, often barricaded, and willing to “take a bullet” if need be to protect their business.

If comes from the fact that many citizens don’t respect the police, and rather than deal with things in a level headed manner, come out swinging, literally and figuratively. It’s a pretty good assumption in a place like Arizona that everyone has a gun, so the risks are there.

Put another way: You aren’t going to send a single patrol car and couple of officers to serve a drug warrant anymore. It’s almost gotten to the point where it’s too dangerous for them just to pull someone over to write a ticket for speeding or whatever.

So when you look at the list of equipment, remember a few things about Arizona: huge problems with drug smuggling, illegal immigrants, human trafficking… and the list goes on. Most officers do wear some sort of protective vest (or more) when on duty. They have to protect themselves otherwise they will be the ones that end up as the victims.

243 dead officers. 22 dead police dogs. Whining about police officers protecting themselves is nutty.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

“Whining about police officers protecting themselves is nutty.”
This article isn’t whining about officers protecting themselves (body armour and such)…but about the increasingly militarized tactics that they use. Read the frikkin’ article – a flashbang grenade thrown into a house into a baby’s crib during a no-knock raid just to serve a warrant?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Killing the average unarmed citizen that had nothing to do with drugs of any nature and their main crime being the cops had the wrong info is totally uncalled for and nothing will make it right.

This isn’t just a single incident. There is a ton of this going on and has been for years.

Cops get some one in trouble with the law to turn informant to save their own ass. The informant is going to give them something even if it is wrong to do that ass saving.

People have been killed in incident after incident thinking they were being robbed.

A year or so ago, a vetern was killed protecting his home from what he thought were robbers. He woke up to this going on. They were after his cousin who did not live at that place. He was riddled with bullet holes by the SWAT team.

In another incident, a granny was shot and killed protecting herself from intruders that turned out to be a SWAT team serving a no knock warrant on the wrong address.

In another incident, a man was shot and killed in his home by a SWAT team, as they served a no knock warrant once again on the wrong address, looking for his exwife who had never lived at that residence. They were looking for her for student loan fraud. Why a SWAT team for that?

These stories go on and on. One of the biggest cover ups there is dealing with SWAT teams. A good portion of them are caused by poor investigation, getting the data wrong on address and person.

So don’t go crying poor police when they are the ones doing the killing!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

“The citizen have caused their own problems”

Yup. Those people at the wrong address had it coming for sure. They made their bed, now they have to sleep in it. The police were simply protecting themselves from those people at the wrong address. It was absolutely necessary to toss grenades into that wrong address because there might be a knife or much worse – a gun!. Heaven forbid that knife or possible gun might damage the police tank outside.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Yup. Those people at the wrong address had it coming for sure.

The really sad part is that many people, like my friend, don’t think this is anything to be concerned about, because it’s never going to happen to them or anyone they know. See, they’re not doing anything wrong, so they have nothing to worry about…

andypandy says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Police escalated the situation by going in and killing drug dealers and innocents by using massive amounts of force, then the drug dealers reacted. Damn most of these case are against people who have committed no crimes and those found to have committed a crime are very low level, maybe buying or selling a few grams of mary jane for use in peoples homes.

There is no reason to have created a war on drugs , as has been seen when MJ was legalised crime dropped tremendously, yet they the swat teams use military equipment to attack many innocents. This will escalate until entire swat teams are taken out on a regular basis by innocent people defending themselves from people breaking into their homes in the middle of the night.

And if you do not agree then point out to me any other country that has this specific problem of having to use military equipment and training to retrieve relatively small amounts of drugs that are legal in other areas of the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

The drugs are illegal federally but some state governments don’t care much to enforce some of the drug laws to some extent. So the federal government would have to step in to the extent it wants them enforced to the extent state governments don’t. But I agree that marijuana should be legalized. While I don’t use it and I don’t support anyone’s decision to use it for recreational purposes I support your right to use it and I don’t think it’s worth having a government spending billions of dollars a year an an ineffective war that’s trying to stop it. If anything we should tax and regulate it so that we can make tax revenue on it instead of wasting tax dollars trying to ineffectively fight it.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

@ the human-shaped PILE OF SHIT we call whatever-

1. cops are killed on the job the least since the 1800’s, dickhead…
2. retail clerks (slightly more), firefighters (about 2X’s as much), and cabbies (about 4-5X’s as much) are killed on the job MORE than donut eaters, authoritarian suckup…
3. NO ONE keeps track of the citizens MURDERED by ‘roid-raging robo-kops, why is that, dickless moron ? ? ?
4. you are approx 8-10 times more likely to be MURDERED by a kop, than a terrorist, you supine wormtongued dingleberry…

kops are not the ones ‘in danger’, CITIZENS are, you worthless sack of putrid protoplasm…

art guerrilla at windstream dot net

Michael (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

243 officer deaths in Arizona is tragic, but let’s take a bit of a look at those numbers.

Only 137 were from gunfire and we can add in the 17 that were from vehicular assault and the 4 that were stabbed (I’m not sure I should, but I suppose any officer killed intentionally by a suspect is something officers would protect themselves from).

These Arizona statistics go back to 1865 for gunshot deaths. Nearly 1/3 of them listed are from the 1800’s. In the 20th and 21st century, they are averaging one death in the line of duty per year by suspects trying to harm the officers. Verizon has been losing more people falling from cell towers while repairing them.

I agree that police officers should take appropriate safety precautions when they can, but the one thing that they should never sacrifice for their own safety is the safety of innocent bystanders. Since the officer death numbers do not seem to be skyrocketing, it may be prudent to examine their current military-like tactics and ensure that they are not increasing the risk of injuries to others.

PlayNicely says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Your first fallacy is that you put people in two teams: police officers and citizens. Hardened criminals and innocent law-abiding people, of course, both fall into the latter category, so any aggression from that group towards the police can justify or explain any indiscriminate aggression in the other direction. This is wrong. I could use the exact same logic to justify any aggression against the police by seeing them as a group that also contains abusive and corrupt cops. People are individuals. Each individual deserves being treated as such.

Your second fallacy is “police just have to protect themselves”. Policework is somewhat dangerous, granted, but this is well known to any aspirant and kind of the point: We create a well equipped and well-trained and paid group of people to get in the way of danger so that the average citizen doesn’t have to. Their very purpose is to serve and protect, this includes resolving situations with the least possible amount of violence and danger to the public. When police causes more harm than it prevents, it clearly isn’t doing its job (which is definitely not to protect itself). There are, by the way, many professions that are more dangerous than law enforcement, but there are no pretentious memorial walls for all the dead fishermen or construction workers.

TL/DR: “But the criminals started the violence!” is no argument, because being able to professionally deal with crime and violence is the very reason we employ a police force in the first place. Right now we treat casualties among the police officers as worse than casualties among innocent bystanders. If we take the very purpose of policework seriously it has to be the other way around.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

“If comes from the fact that many citizens don’t respect the police”

You have that backwards. People don’t respect the police because the police so often behave in a manner that deserves disrespect, not the other way around.

“You aren’t going to send a single patrol car and couple of officers to serve a drug warrant anymore.”

Yes, that’s a big part of the problem.

“It’s almost gotten to the point where it’s too dangerous for them just to pull someone over to write a ticket for speeding or whatever”


“Whining about police officers protecting themselves is nutty.”

You misunderstand the complaint. It’s not about cops protecting themselves. It’s about cops abusing the citizenry and acting as if they were a military force.

TestPilotDummy says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems


The citizen have caused their own problems


When you see SWAT getting used for drug raids, it’s because the majority of drug dealers are armed, often barricaded, and willing to “take a bullet” if need be to protect their business.

I will agree with ya on this. But with an attachment called #1

If comes from the fact that many citizens don’t respect the police, and rather than deal with things in a level headed manner, come out swinging, literally and figuratively. It’s a pretty good assumption in a place like Arizona that everyone has a gun, so the risks are there.

I can’t validate that claim. I live in California. I have respect for the police, military, and the OFFICE of elected officials.

Put another way: You aren’t going to send a single patrol car and couple of officers to serve a drug warrant anymore. It’s almost gotten to the point where it’s too dangerous for them just to pull someone over to write a ticket for speeding or whatever.

Utter nonsense.

So when you look at the list of equipment, remember a few things about Arizona: huge problems with drug smuggling, illegal immigrants, human trafficking… and the list goes on. Most officers do wear some sort of protective vest (or more) when on duty. They have to protect themselves otherwise they will be the ones that end up as the victims.

I agree with wearing the vests.

243 dead officers. 22 dead police dogs. Whining about police officers protecting themselves is nutty.

thos OFFICERS should have been ARRESTING OATH BREAKERS, BANKSTERS, because then the GANG BANGERS won’t exist, since the pursuit of happiness will be actually be fruitful

A DOG is not an OFFICER. If you believe that a DOG is an sworn to the US Constitution Officer, your in kookville, and I highly suggest you do not accidentally pick me for your Juror. nullify it I will

I know jack about ya. But I will say this, you sound a lot like that idiot ex-sheriff on kfbk in sacramento spewing that propaganda blames people for all the ill’s and yet NOT ONE officials is bad, all are angels.

We got actual corruption HERE California. internal destruction oath breaking scum, passing firearms bans, and at the same time part of Chineese mafia! And then they QUIET it up. Gag it. We ain’t heard JACK!

I want that BASTARD digging a new wing at Ft Leavenworth!

After removing pinkerton management from Adlanto/Victorville, have them expand those prisons STRAIGHT DOWN, With Picks and Shovels the labor thereof by same oath breaking scum.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems


Don’t forget to look at the breakdown of those deaths.

Police don’t get to preemptively attack people because something might happen while they are doing their job. Well, they do, but they have no moral high ground and they are complete bastards for being that way. Don’t like it? Good,get another fucking job and hire real human beings to be police.

A lot of that gunfire, they bring on themselves by rushing and forcing situations unnecessarily.

Now, how about statistics on how many citizens die from police action unnecessarily? Especially people not involved with any crime, like, say, the people in the house these idiots raided, with a no-knock attack warrant granted by an idiot judge who probably bought the bullshit application from another lying cop or prosecutor?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

The police taking actions like this are causing the respect for the police to decline even further. It is true that police personnel have died serving warrants. It is also true that police personnel have died serving no-knock warrants when they would not have died had they knocked on the door. There are two cases in Texas in the last year where people in a house thought the no-knock warrant was an armed intruder and killed a police officer. In one of those cases, the grand jury would not indict the homeowner because they believed he only acted in self defense. In Macon, Ga, police attacked a gang occupied building and a gunfight ensued. Even according to the police, as soon as the gang members realized that the people attacking them were the police, they threw their guns down and completely surrendered. An officer was killed before the gang realized it was the police. Had the police knocked, they would have met some resistance. However, based upon the actual reactions of the gang members after realizing that the police were attacking them, the gang would not have started an all-out gunfight. SWAT tactics should be used in hostage situations, barricaded gunmen situations, active gunman-terrorist-bomber situations, etc. SWAT tactics should not be used to arrest someone of suspected student loan fraud.

my_thoughts (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you listed stats for every officer and police dog in Arizona that has ever died. How many years do you think it would take to for police to kill that many civilians and their dogs? One year? Two? Five? I would be quite surprised if Arizona police didn’t murder 22 completely peaceful dogs in a single year, every year. Obviously, you’re a cop or related to one, but hear this: you work for us, the people. You can only forget that so long before we are forced to remind you. Maybe that’s why you walk around dressed like soldiers and think you are in a war?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

These police and SWAT teams are nothing but cowards and should be removed from the force.

If you are too gutless to do your job properly, if you are too gutless to uphold your oath to protect and serve.

How does it go?

With great power comes great responsibility.

I think it is time these cowards re-learnt that lesson.

Prosecuting these cowards for the murders, assaults and a plethora of crimes that they commit, would be a good start to bringing them back under control.

I Know Math says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Highly aggregated numbers nearly always indicate misrepresentation of the situation. The numbers you quote, Mr. Whatever, are no exception. Let’s cut your 243 “officers” killed in Arizona down to a more reasonable figure.

1)Subtract the 106 officers who were killed by heart attacks, drowning, training accidents, being hit by a train, shooting themselves in the foot and other things which don’t justify the use of military tanks, hand grenades and related b.s. by the police. That gets us to the 137 deaths by gunfire figure explicitly given by the webpage you cite. It includes dogs, by the way.

2)Now subtract the 26 officers killed by gunfire prior to 1900. I really don’t think what happened back in 1800s justifies giving the “boys in blue” friggin’ hand grenades.

3)Subtract the 47 officers killed by gunfire between 1900 and 1950. I’m going to go out on a limb and claim that those deaths also had little to do with terrorism, drug cartels and all of the excuses used by modern police departments to justify militarization.

4)Subtract the 6 police dogs killed. I’ve yet to see a dog through a concussion grenade in a crib or some other type of stupidity, so I don’t think dogs are relevant to our discussion.

5)How many officer deaths are left? I get 58. That’s 58 human police killed by gunfire in Arizona — between 1951 and today (about 62 years). That’s slightly less than ONE COP KILLED PER YEAR.

Condolences to the families of dead officers, but one cop per year doesn’t justify all of the harm (including deaths of innocent civilians) that overzealous police have imposed on the citizenry. The harm will only increase, the more military “toys” we give police. Enough is enough. I’ll vote for anybody willing to rein in this country’s police departments, NSA, FBI and all the rest of so called “law enforcement” personnel. If they don’t like it, they can quit. If they stay and are uncooperative, fire them. Nobody is irreplaceable in our modern economy. It’s time our arrogant law enforcement entities learn that.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Whatever is not ootb — unlike ootb, Whatever is coherent, articulate, and intelligent. I do believe that he is serious, or at least he is articulating positions that people I personally know seriously articulate. I’ll also opine that I don’t think Whatever is, strictly speaking, a troll even though he engages in many trollish behaviors. I disagree with almost everything he says, but a troll is something different than just someone who expresses an opposite viewpoint.

Walker Texas Ranger (profile) says:

Re: The citizen have caused their own problems

Hey Whatever …

Way to cite statistics like they are somehow meaningful to this discussion.

I checked the stats. Those casualties? They are inclusive of all casualties since time immemorial in Az.

Check this out:

In 2011, the agency recorded 4,693 fatal work injuries nationally. The new report showed that in 2012, that number decreased by about 300 to 4,383. The labor bureau said that number is the “second lowest preliminary total since (the report) was first conducted in 1992.”
In Arizona, data indicated there were 37 workplace fatalities in 2012, compared to the previous year’s 65.

So I guess we better get construction workers and lineman some swat gear since the death toll just keeps rising.

Police Officers and Fireman enjoy a relatively safe workplace environment. Your statistic proves it ..

David says:

This doesn't even make sense:

Note that the police defended their actions by claiming they had “no way of knowing” if children might be present.

Adults tend to get injuries from flashbang grenades as well. So do animals. So does property.

All of this damage has to be weighed against the damage the grenade may prevent. The obvious contender is loss of life or injuries for bystanders and policemen.

When do those become an issue? When we are talking about people who have something to gain (most likely an escape) or nothing to lose (like suicide bombers).

An escape can be prevented using roadblocks and backup, preferably also making clear that an escape is not feasible. Shooting police officers is only “sensible” when we are talking about patrol officers or other scenarios where there is no backup or when we are talking about crime syndicate headquarters that conceivably are manned and equipped to handle assaults sufficiently to enable an escape.

This will never be the case in a run-of-the-mill neighboorhood. We are either talking large mansions with room for things like a helicopter pad, or things like warehouses.

Which is not what we are talking here. What we are talking here is perks for policemen who get to feel like heroes by getting permission to use excessive force on people with the “they probably deserve it” label.

It’s like paintball, only with real victims.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: This doesn't even make sense:

I certainly think they did the wrong thing in this case, and the over-use of SWAT teams an military tactics is rampant in this country, but there are good reasons for them in some cases – and flash grenades probably have a place in their arsenal.

You do have to consider that every second it takes to apprehend an armed suspect increases risk to bystanders. If a suspect fires 10 shots, they go somewhere. So, reducing the time a suspect has to fire a weapon increases safety.

However, this has to be properly weighed. They are supposed to be taking precautions. SWAT is supposed to be a life-saving organization. Innocent bystanders/hostages come first, then the lives of the officers, and finally the lives of the SUSPECTS. Their procedures are supposed to minimize risk to everyone in that order. They seem to have gone overboard with the assumption that expedience is the most important part and have been missing the boat that not everyone is a suspect.

This particular incident was horrible – hopefully it will open a few eyes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This doesn't even make sense:

You do have to consider that every second it takes to apprehend an armed suspect increases risk to bystanders. If a suspect fires 10 shots, they go somewhere.

And the greater volume of fire used by the police on the slightest excuse does not endanger the public?

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This doesn't even make sense:

I totally agree. Nobody firing any weapons would be fantastic – but that is actually one of their arguments for SWAT using flash grenades and rushing a house with no-knock warrants.

The argument has merit in some situations, I just think they are making the assumption that it has merit in every situation and it clearly doesn’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: This doesn't even make sense:

If a suspect fires 10 shots?

If he fires 10 shots, he’s doing really good. Military grade rifles are capable of 5 to 700 rounds per minute. Where do you think all those rounds by the cops are going?

For this incident…

SWAT team members fired 71 times and hit Guerena 60 times, police said.

What happened to the other 11 rounds? Guerena had a weapon on safe that wasn’t going to fire unless it came off safe position.

There are over 40,000 SWAT team raids per year by one estimate. There are not that many drug dealers in homes. It’s simply overkill; literally.

Over a trillion dollars have been spent since Richard Nixon’s start of the war on drugs for military hardware and an effort to carry on the war on drugs. For all that, the war is lost. Go to any small town USA and you can find drugs or someone knows where they can be hard.

The main use that SWAT was original designed for which is hostage situations, bank robberies, school situations, work place shootings and terrorist activities. No where in all that is there a place for military style assaults on civilians in the early dawn hours for cop activities. The original theme has morphed into ‘lets do this for anything’.

Where is the intelligence gathering that is supposed to go with this activity? You know, the part that says the one they are after goes to work every day at 8.00 and we can get him at the stop sign where no one is at? Or that the one they are after has never lived at that location? That seems to be missing from all this, which is half the problem.

We don’t even have to talk about the vehicles that have been riddled with bullets and the innocent people inside were the victim of misidentification of the type of vehicle with no attempt to see who was driving it or if that was who they were after.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is disgusting. No words. That poor kid, if he lives, he’s gonna be crippled for life, probably on morphine and other opiate painkillers for life, in ever increasing doses but one day they will not work anymore and he’ll be labelled a drug-seeker by the DEA when he turns to heroin because doctors refuse to give more painkillers because of the DEA breathing down doctors neck.


Digitari says:

Funny intel

How odd that they can “always” find where drugs are “allegedly” Sold, but have no idea that children are there.

In My Job I have to have one or sometimes two other people check my work, and all I do is transport electrical equipment, if I don’t get a “double check” I could be fired, but my job never kills anyone.

how odd that……

andypandy says:


time for people to start building entryways where swat forces are held in a small area until lawyers arrive to oversee their actions and question the search warrants and allow the children to escape to safety. Maybe a few drop down barriers on windows and doors that do not allow anything or anyone through until authorised by the owner. Maybe once normal citizens are doing this the police will realise if they do not cooperate with citizens they will be denied entry. Then have and underground escape plan for neighbourhoods where people can escape the onslaught of seriously abusive people.

TestPilotDummy says:

Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:37am

Re: Baby Bou Bou was released from the hospital
Someone needs to go to jail for that. Whoever made that decision, either to proceed as if there were no children, or to use a flashbang in that room. If this were a civilian and say a firework, they would be going to jail.

Morn Amigo, That’s the WHOLE POINT, it isn’t JUST this case. If you only care cause this time it hit a baby. That’s the same rationalization a drunk makes. Welp, I only ran over a parking post, I will quit drinking and driving if I EVER hit a mailbox, cause I know that’s a Federal Crime, except oops, two days ago I hit a mailbox, one day ago I hit a Parked Car thinking about the mailbox, but I will go on, hey tell ya what I will stop drinking and driving if I accidentally drive over YOU. How about the speculators, wanna go with that bet for half mil?

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Why

The DoD 1033 program is basically the eBay of US military equipment. Our military needs to spend their entire budget each year or Congress might reduce it, so they often buy more equipment than they need. This is a secondary market for them to unload it to state agencies (and charge taxpayers a second time!) so they don’t have brand new armored vehicles laying around collecting dust.

In addition, they can sell used equipment that has aged beyond the point in which it is cost-effective to maintain – so your local tax dollars can pay for super-high maintenance of out-of-date equipment that law enforcement can use in parades and to impress schoolchildren.

It’s all about protecting the citizens from having too much money.

Rekrul says:

I’ll probably be called a conspiracy nut for saying this, but it seems to me that the ever-increasing militarization of U.S. police departments is the perfect preparation for the declaration of martial law.

People are getting fed up with the government pandering to the corporations and banks while taxing the hell out of everyone else. Not to mention company CEOs who make more money in an hour than most people make in a year.

Those in power know that the population isn’t going to put up with this indefinitely and they want to be ready to crush any large-scale uprising at a moment’s notice.

The police are getting ready for war, but it will be against U.S. citizens.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The cops mostly always have been at war with the citizens. Actual law-enforcement seems to be a by-product.

But no, in the event of martial law, cops would just be n the way. Then they might get an idea of how it feels. Or not. They seem mostly to be authoritarian nuts.

After posting several comments, I almost feel bad, because there are good cops out there. But the LEO culture is very warped, and lots of places seem to employ the least intelligent, most authoritarian people they can find.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: One spoonful of sewage in a cask of wine = Cask of sewage. One spoonful of wine in a cask of sewage = Cask of sewage

Just to toss some hypothetical numbers out as an example, say you’ve got the following:

5% of a police force are through and through rotten and corrupt. They see being able to do whatever they want as just a perk of the job, and take advantage of that ‘right’ as much as they can.

90% of a police force are generally good, but for whatever reason, support, either directly with their words and actions, or indirectly, with their silence, the actions of the 5% of the ‘bad’ cops, even if they themselves are not, and would not, engage in similar behavior.

The final 5% are good cops, who truly believe that they are there to serve and protect the public, and act accordingly. They would never abuse their positions for personal gain or let their emotions get the better of them while on the job(or if they did, they would accept the consequences and own up to their responsibility for them), and they will actively condemn those that do, speaking out against them, providing evidence against them, and so on.

Now, some people(far too many in my opinion), would look at those numbers and claim that it meant that 95% of the police were good. After all, only 5% were actively abusing their power and authority, the vast majority are, at worst, just staying out of it, and so it’s unfair to judge the majority based upon the actions of the minority.

However, I’d argue that that is anything but the case. The actions, or lack thereof, of the 90% are what enable the 5% to do what they do. Their unwillingness to hold their own to account, their lack of respect for the law and justice as soon as the one committing the crime puts on a badge, is what allows the ‘minority’ to continue to abuse their positions and authority.

By refusing to hold their own accountable for what they do, and punish them accordingly, they are just as guilty of, and responsible for, the actions committed by the ‘minority’, in the same way the driver of a getaway vehicle can be charged as involved in a bank robbery, even if they never once held a gun or entered the bank that was robbed.

Looked at that way, even if ‘only’ 5% are directly rotten, 95% share the guilt, so it is absolutely fair to judge them all based upon the actions of the worst among them, as the overwhelming majority are not ‘good’ cops.

Too Busy For this. says:


Guys with small cocks team up with other guys, surround themselves with more cocks to make them feel secure, in reality they are closet fem and they get off on being around multiple men.

But guys without the small penis complex are busy at home taking care of their ladies. In fact, while the swat are out sausage worshiping and breaking down doors, it’s guys like me that are at their house bangin their wives…

Up the Anus!

Anonymous Coward says:

The Problem is. . .

The ‘war on drugs’ is being approached as if it is actually a war on drugs and the people caught up in it are seen as merely collateral damage. And that policy will NEVER have a positive result.

Successful public policy will always be focused on the people!

As such,
Success: Continually lowering the number of [habitual/1st time] drug users, year to year.
Failure: Continually increasing the number of arrest’s/raid’s/seizure’s, year to year.

The goal is fewer people using drugs not increasing the supply/availability of drugs… Right???

Big Bill says:

All the gear, none of the smarts

Our police forces are getting the gear to make them into paramilitary forces. The problem is, they have none of the military acumen.
Military operations are not planned when they know nothing about what they will meet on that operation. Yet, the police often say they have no idea of what they will meet, so they must go in using overwhelming force.
Unfortunately, there have been several cases of these operations going so horribly wrong that people, including police officers, have been killed as a direct result of this stupidity on the part of the police ‘leaders.’
Sure, it looks cool to be dressed up as an army man, and is even cooler to have all the gear. But to continue to *act* as though you know how to use all that gear after so many fatal mistakes directly attributable to a lack of knowledge and training have occurred is UNCONSCIONABLE.
When I grew up, we actually believed that the police were there to help. Now, it is difficult to tell that to the younger people when they can see for themselves that, indeed, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
For those who don’t understand that, here’s this: when police get new toys, they see the whole world (at least their jurisdictions) as a sandbox. If those toys are military gear, they declare war.

GEMont (profile) says:

Ah, how important the perception of evil disseminated by the Truth Free Press in the Federal Government’s phony War on Drugs, now that this war (to maintain blackmail pricing) is threatened with dissolution by a population tired of the farce and its far-too-long list of casualties.

It is thus necessary that Police pretend to be engaged in a Real War against the Evil Drug Dealing Men depicted by Hollywood in so many popular movies, if they wish to turn around the public’s perception and insure that the War To Maintain Black Market Pricing on Certain “Drugs” continues unabated – and that the huge Drug War police budgets continue ad infinitum.

We can only expect this Militarization ruse to escalate as the public becomes more and more aware that the War on Drugs is an abject failure – in fact, was designed to fail from the start in order to remain an ongoing effort, for ever.

Let’s face it. If Law Enforcement actually won the War on Drugs, then the whole reason for those monstrous Drug War Budgets would disappear, as would any need of the DEA and Police Department Drug Squads.

Those who reap the benefits of these enormous drug budgets – not to mention the graft available from Organized Crime – will do anything to keep the deal between Law Enforcement and the Black Marketeers from being ended, including killing any number of women and children in the “line of duty”.

Might as well get used to it because there is no longer any legal process for the public to access in order to prevent its continuation and escalation.

After all, the public is just another Adversary in a long list of adversaries the federal government is at war with.

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