Counter-Strike Player's Twitch Stream Captures His Own SWATting... And Some Questionable Police Behavior

from the LOUD-NOISES dept

One of the more unfortunate side effects of police militarization isn't directly the fault of law enforcement agencies or their enablers at the Pentagon. But it is related. Thanks to the Drug War, nearly every town in the US has a SWAT team or one minutes away, whether they need one or not. This has led to the rise of SWATting -- calling in a false report in order to send a charged-up SWAT team to raid someone's home.

This has been used by scam artists against security bloggers and by trolls against celebrities, but has especially seen an increase as a form of harassment within the gaming community. A recent incident is not only notable for dragging schools into the mix, but also for being caught on tape.

Jordan "Kootra" Mathewson, who streams his sessions on Twitch, was streaming from an office near a Littleton, CO school (which was put on lockdown) when the SWAT came "knocking."

What's interesting about this (beyond the lengths griefers will go to make someone miserable) is some of the actions caught on video.


At the beginning, the SWAT team does the usual cop thing of everyone yelling at the same time because that apparently works better than having a point person designated to deliver concise, well-enunciated instructions. (Note: it does work better than other situations where officers have yelled contradictory instructions over each other ["Stand up!! Lay on the ground!!].) Bonus points for swearing because no one takes guys with assault rifles and Kevlar vests seriously unless they use variations of the word "fuck."

About two minutes in, after Mathewson has been searched and cuffed (and held on the ground by SWAT boots, just in case), an officer asks where his phone is. He picks it up and casually starts looking through it. First off, the new rules say get a warrant, although I'd imagine an active shooter situation (even if fake) falls under exigent circumstances. But there doesn't seem to be any hesitation on the officer's part. He just asks where Mathewson's cell phone is… and then takes it. He continues looking through it for the next couple of minutes while asking questions occasionally.

Also of note: around the 4:30 mark, Mathewson explains to the cops that he's streaming. Once he explains that people are watching, the attention shifts from Mathewson to the camera -- which the cops then disable. They have no reason to and they certainly don't have the right to, but they just go ahead and do with a notable lack of hesitation. (The same cop who casually started looking through Mathewson's phone leads the way.)

As the camera is gracelessly dismounted, you can hear the other SWAT member ask: "If you heard us yelling, why didn't you move?" Mathewson answers that he had earphones on, but the better answer would have been, "Because I didn't want to get shot." I can think of no earthly reason why someone being raided by a SWAT team would make any movements that he or she hasn't been directed to make. At the point that Mathewson realizes what's happening, the SWAT team is still clearing rooms. Had he decided to make a surprise appearance in the hall, there's a good chance he would have-- at minimum -- been subjected to even rougher treatment. There's also a rather healthy (ha!) chance that someone might have fired off a round or two, given that these officers were looking for an active shooter and not, say, a serial parking law violator.

Mathewson has to walk them through the whole process of killing the stream (audio can still be heard for another minute or so), leaving the rest of the narrative to be captured in police reports. Fortunately, nothing went "wrong" in this raid, so no one was wounded or subjected to excessive amounts of force. It's also rather fortunate that Mathewson was using headphones, because one can only imagine what might have happened if the steady stream of Counter-Strike gunfire had been audible.

There have been several SWATings in recent months, but none of them have given us a look at one in progress. The SWAT team did nothing wrong by taking the threat seriously, although one officer's actions definitely approach the outer edges of what's acceptable/Constitutional and he did so with a practiced ease.


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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:48am

    One has to wonder if such display was needed when they quickly noticed they were dealing with a regular gamer and there were no threats. For instance why go for his phone right away? Why cuff and stomp down a person that's clearly unarmed and didn't even react to their initial invasion?

    If I were the guy I wouldn't tell them that things were being streamed just in case things went wrong.

     

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    Call me Al, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:53am

    Re:

    I'm at work so haven't been able to watch this yet, I'm just relying on the write up. Do the police ever say something along the lines of "Hang on, there is no gun here" or do they just carry on swearing and waving their things around?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:04am

    Apparently in CT, a judge ruled SWAT teams can be held liable for fuckups now. We will see if this holds up.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:06am

    Always remember

    SWAT teams members are bullies, pussies, cowards, thugs, rapists, and assholes. They are the absolute lowest form of scumbags on any police force: the worthless losers who are FAR too stupid to do anything except scream and shoot unarmed civilians.

     

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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:07am

    At the beginning, the SWAT team does the usual cop thing of everyone yelling at the same time because that apparently works better than having a point person designated to deliver concise, well-enunciated instructions. (Note: it does work better than other situations where officers have yelled contradictory instructions over each other ["Stand up!! Lay on the ground!!].) Bonus points for swearing because no one takes guys with assault rifles and Kevlar vests seriously unless they use variations of the word "fuck."

    The point is to dominate the room the instant they enter. One person asking you to please stand up (from the chair) and lay down on the ground is (they're not contradictory orders, you just have to execute them sequentially) is much less overpowering than 5 guys yelling and swearing at you.

    Looking through the guy's phone is only logical, to see if he made any calls or whatever relating to the hypothetic bombing/hostage situation.

    You can rightfully criticize the turning off of the stream, but the rest is pretty much as it should be.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re:

    One officer ask the guy if he has any weapons. By the time, he's in handcuffs and sitting in his chair, the situation calm.

     

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    AJ, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:20am

    I call BS

    Really?? Active shooter??? Did anyone stop and think to ask people at the scene if they heard a gunshot? No gun shots, and no one dead or injured at the scene?? Did they think the guy in a room with headphone on in an office full of people, had suddenly sat down to take a break from real life killing, to play a video game.... and everyone else suddenly just went back to work??

    WTF?

     

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    Terry, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:36am

    Re:

    I disagree, it is not dominating a room it is mass confusion, hoping to force someone into doing something that can be used to escalate violence against them.

    There are better ways to handle a situation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:38am

    I was going to suggest that the police have been reading too much Tom Clancy, but they have missed one very important step, which his characters usually do, reconnaissance. Unless there is active shooting or other immediate danger, take a few minutes to look around the building, and through windows with a camera, that way you locate sleeping babies and other innocent people, and maybe see that the problem only requires a knock on the door, and not a bull in a china shop approach.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    "Terrorist Win"

     

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    Argonel (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:43am

    I'm considering changing my phone password to "getawarrant" but I don't think I really want to be typing that dozens of times a day. For now the PIN 1234* will have to be an acceptable tradeoff between security and convienince.

    *Not my actual PIN.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Re:

    1234*? That's amazing! That's same code I have on my luggage!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:14am

    The formation of SWAT teams really started with incidents like the Austin Tower Sniper in 1966 which predates the War on Drugs although the War on Drugs certainly did increase their prevalence.

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

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:23am

    This is what is called preventive police work. Since video games cause gun violence, they are simply attacking it at it's infancy, raiding the gamer before he can turn his phone into a gun and go on a shooting spree in a daycare center on the campus of a black women's college. Makes perfect sense.

     

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    BondJamesBond, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re:

    What? 007 replaced by 1234? Heaven forfend.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah. I'd think that even a real criminal with weapons would think twice before trying anything when being met with a surprise raid from the SWAT team...

     

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    istedet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:31am

    Re:

    Those are contradictory orders. Are you telling me that in a situation with people screaming at me I'm supposed to parse what they are saying, decide in what order I ought to comply, while dealing with people that are liable to shoot me if I do the wrong thing?

    BULLSHIT. Dominating the room does nothing. If this is a shooter then he will open fire regardless of what the cops are doing. The only thing all five of them screaming does is to give the cops a nice adrenaline rush at the same time it increases the chance of the suspect doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing and subsequently get shot.

    In this situation one person giving concise, clear messages is absolutely preferable to five cops shouting at you.

    Not to mention that looking through his phone is a blatant violation of his rights. What are they going to do with the info on his phone? Are they going to start calling people to check what they are doing?

    "Hi, this is the police. Your friend shot up a school, what are you doing at this time? Not killing anyone I hope"

    This kind of behavior from the police is what crates a lot of dangerous situations where innocent people are liable to get hurt. It won't be long before one of these SWAT-ings ends with some poor gamer shot dead because he had a replica chainsaw gun next to him and appeared to be reaching for it.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    Fortunately, nothing went "wrong" in this raid, so no one was wounded or subjected to excessive amounts of force.

    Yup, because the guy didn't get up and start trying to hide, or reach under a cushion for something, or otherwise get all up in the cops faces and act all tough, ready for a confrontation.

    Perfect example, thanks for posting it!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:48am

    My Guess

    My guess is they looked at his phone to check if he's the one who called the swat team.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    Looking through the guy's phone is only logical, to see if he made any calls or whatever relating to the hypothetic bombing/hostage situation.

    Logical? May depend on your viewpoint.

    But legal? Absolutely not: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140625/10272227684/supreme-court-says-law-enforcement-cant-searc h-mobile-phones-without-warrant.shtml

    You can rightfully criticize the turning off of the stream, but the rest is pretty much as it should be.


    Except, well, looking at the phone, which the Supreme Court just declared a violation of the 4th amendment...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:59am

    That guy was way too calm. Makes me wonder if he called it in himself

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:19am

    And here we see some armored assailants at work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:20am

    So, the best way to deal with a possible situation of someone being armed and dangerous is to send in a bunch of trigger happy people who're also armed and dangerous.

    Either way, you're fucked if you're the hostage.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:25am

    Re:

    "One has to wonder if such display was needed when they quickly noticed they were dealing with a regular gamer and there were no threats."

    The cops aren't so much concerned if it is "needed" as if they can just find some excuse for it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:28am

    So then what is excessive force?

    Fortunately, nothing went "wrong" in this raid, so no one was wounded or subjected to excessive amounts of force.


    About two minutes in, after Mathewson has been searched and cuffed (and held on the ground by SWAT boots, just in case),

    Did you read the earlier part of the article you wrote? How is breaking in without even cursory surveillance and then standing on a handcuffed non-threat not excessive force? You could try to claim that the police department will insist it is not excessive force. I would counter that such claims are meaningless because police departments routinely justify excessive force.

    Is it only excessive force if the victim requires hospitalization after the cops let him go? Is it only excessive force if the victim does not survive the cop's investigation?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    ...Wow. You really are something special, sometimes, you know that?

    You actually thank the fascist bastards who ignore the rule of law when it suits them, but are more than happy to fuck over someone else?

    Just fuck off. Please. Then the rest of us non-psychopaths can actually be shocked by the callous nature of the cops involved here.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re:

    I think the situation is basic psychology: If a person gets yelled at with confusing orders, the most likely action will be to freeze and do nothing, which is acceptable for the SWAT-team - and gives them a reason to handle the person rough to further intimidate. They are psychologically dominating the room as to avoid the suspect doing something stupid like drawing a weapon or setting off a bomb. Stunning a person by screaming out what seems like contradictory orders is good for closing the distance to the suspect so you can get out of a guns distance of efficacy (ie. very close to the suspect).

     

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  28.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re:

    Search a phone (ie, look at the documents on it) yes, but look at a phone to make sure it wasn't on a call (open line) or that the last call wasn't to the swat team... I am thinking that wasn't the court's ruling at all.

     

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  29.  
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    Sunhawk (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    Plus, if you see a shooter, you now know (1) where they are and (2) likely what they're equipped with.

    And also not noisily clearly each room (the streamer said "hey, I think we've been SWATted") to let everyone in all the other rooms not yet searched that they're there.

    In truth, if they were actually encountering an active shooter this would be a *very bad approach*. But these days they rarely are.

     

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  30.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    "they're not contradictory orders, you just have to execute them sequentially"

    And people are supposed to know this how? They're two orders being issued simultaneously specifying mutually exclusive actions. In a situation like that, I would be trying to do exactly what the police are demanding without imposing my interpretation.

    "You can rightfully criticize the turning off of the stream, but the rest is pretty much as it should be."

    I think the point was the abuse of the SWAT team by other players. The criticism is not how the SWAT team behaved once called, but that they were there at all.

    Personally, I think the fact that it is even possible for a citizen to make a single phone call and deploy a SWAT team is inherently flawed. SWAT should never be the first responder in situations like that. You send a regular cop to assess the situation first.

     

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  31.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Re:

    If the use of SWAT teams were limited to situations like that, I doubt many people would have an issue with them.

     

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  32.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    Lots of people respond to extreme stress in that way, actually.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: So then what is excessive force?

    What the SWAT-team does seems to be rough but not to a point where they shoot first and asks questions later. If a SWAT-team is needed as opposed to a regular police team, you will have to give them more slack since their jobs are more dangerous.

    They clearly operate in an adrenaline rush, making it easier for them to overreact. The procedure of having a person pushed down is psychological domination more than anything physical and if done right it will make it easier for the suspect to act according to orders (as in not stand up before they have secured the room and handcuffed him). If you look at the way it is done I am not even sure a civil person would get in trouble for the physical handling of the arrest.

    As for cursory surveillance that is a point for the courts. The arrest seemed more or less by the book for drug- or gun- related crimes. If it was needed is a completely separate issue. As the cop mentioned, he did not come out to them with his hands upon his head when asked to, making him more of a potential suspect (possibly disposing of evidence or preparing for confrontation).

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Looking at if a phone is on call is completely reasonable, but doesn't take any bottom-pressing. Finding last call is a completely different issue on most phones. I would have liked for him to ask if the suspect minds before starting to press bottoms even if he has the right according to a broad search-warrent. No matter if he got a "yes" or "no", he would have gotten more information about the person and since they had already started interrogation, the lack of domination in it wouldn't really hurt...

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: So then what is excessive force?

    Bull. There are plenty of reasons why you wouldn't come right out. First and foremost is that you know there's no good reason for them to be at your door, so your initial reaction is disbelief... "that can't really be me they are talking too".
    People do things like shower, shit, have sex, listen to headphones, cook, sleep, and other things which get in the way of immediately opening the front door.
    .

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re:

    Panicking is a great way to get yourself hurt or shot.

    And they were making enough noise that he could guess what was happening. If you're expecting armored men with machine guns in hand to burst in and restrain all the innocent bystanders in the room, you're going to be a lot calmer when it happens than if you are than if they come as a surprise.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    It's perfectly normal to exhibit an emotional detachment during highly stressful situations.

    Humans wouldn't have survived very long if going into a catatonic or psychotic state during high stress situations was incredibly common.

     

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  38.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re:

    It's a bunch of armed guys running into a room all shouting at the top of their lungs in such a way that no disoriented person could figure out what in the hell they're saying.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    Seemed more like he was familiar with it happening with other gamers. Apparently it's happened a few times recently.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    The guy was a hell of a lot calmer than I would be in that situation. I could well imagine myself freaking out if this happened to me. I wouldn't be 'trying to hide' or 'reaching under a cushion for something', I would simply be reacting to a bizarre situation in ways that even *I* don't know about yet. And that... that worries the hell out of me, because what happens if my twitching the wrong way is interpreted as reaching for a weapon?

    You don't have to 'get up all in the cops faces' in a situation like this to be hurt or killed. All it takes is the wrong interpretation of a body movement.

    It would be very interesting to hear what you would say if this actually happened to you, but I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

     

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  41.  
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    zip, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:31am

    swatting the SWAT defenders

    I wonder if the people who steadfastly defend police militarization, aggression, and brutality would quickly change their minds if they were swatted a few times.

    Hey, it worked with waterboarding defenders.

     

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  42.  
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    Roger Strong (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    The point is to dominate the room the instant they enter.

    The phrase you're looking for is "capture shock"

    When Khalid El-Masri was kidnapped by the CIA, he was stripped, hooded, shackled, and sodomized – in CIA parlance, subjected to "capture shock" – as Macedonian officials stood by." (Those officials later testified about this in court, after El-Masri was drugged, shipped to another country, tortured for months, and when they realized that they had the wrong person, released on a back road at night in the third country with no money or ID.)

    Just in case you're wondering where this trend is going. Kudos to the SWAT team in this gamer case for sticking to "variations on the *word* fuck."

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re:

    @ Terry
    I agree. Whoever said they were giving cmds to be followed sequentially is full of shit.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: So then what is excessive force?

    "As for cursory surveillance that is a point for the courts."

    No, it's not. It's a point of what proper police procedure should be, not what it legally permissible.

     

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    GnSThI, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    Precisely what I thought.

     

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    6, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:03am

    Re: swatting the SWAT defenders

    Indeed.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re:

    I was only responding to the assertion that SWAT teams were created due to the War on Drugs when they were actually created prior to that for a different reason. However, that does bring up a good point that I have been making throughout the entire Ferguson situation. The focus of a lot of the criticism throughout this entire ordeal has been on the military equipment not how that equipment is used by police forces which is dangerously misplaced. There is a need for police forces to have SWAT teams with that type of gear as evidenced by the situation that I previously cited. Under equipped police are not a good thing either. What is really needed is really lacking is the proper training and mechanisms to ensure the appropriate use and accountability for those officers. THAT is where the focus needs to be placed. Abuses will still occur even if you take the gear away without that. Unfortunately it is much easier to blame the equipment.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: So then what is excessive force?

    What the SWAT-team does seems to be rough but not to a point where they shoot first and asks questions later. If a SWAT-team is needed as opposed to a regular police team, you will have to give them more slack since their jobs are more dangerous.
    Except a SWAT team was not needed here, as they might have figured out if they had followed best practises.
    They clearly operate in an adrenaline rush, making it easier for them to overreact.
    Which is why it is all the more important that they be trained properly and thoroughly so they do not overreact. This guy is incredibly lucky he did not have a dog he cared about.
    The procedure of having a person pushed down is psychological domination more than anything physical and if done right it will make it easier for the suspect to act according to orders (as in not stand up before they have secured the room and handcuffed him). If you look at the way it is done I am not even sure a civil person would get in trouble for the physical handling of the arrest.
    I'm pretty sure that if I, as a civil person, roughed someone up as described in the article, I'd be brought up on assault charges and rightfully so. If that's not what you mean, I have no idea what you're trying to defend here.
    As for cursory surveillance that is a point for the courts. The arrest seemed more or less by the book for drug- or gun- related crimes.
    What illegal guns did he have? The Techdirt piece makes no mention of any contraband. I'm advocating at least cursory surveillance for the benefit of both officer and citizen safety. Rushing into unknown situations is a great way to ensure somebody gets hurt, whether it's an officer who does something stupid or a citizen who gets shot in the name of "officer safety."

    The courts have already ruled cops have no particular duty to protect anyone, so rushing into an active shooter situation blind because it might save one more person may sound good on the news, but it's neither legally required nor particularly wise tactically.

     

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  49.  
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    Ruben, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:12am

    Lawsuit?

    Could this guy sue the PD for something? Anything?

    Lawsuits seem to be the only way to get anything to change these days.

    Paging ALCU!

     

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  50.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think people are blaming the equipment. I think the issue is that police departments have demonstrated that they can't be trusted with the equipment and they shouldn't have it for that reason.

     

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    william (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    uhh... shouldn't they be looking for guns/weapons first instead of asking for the cell phone first?

    Oh wait, that's right, they are looking for the all powerful iPhone Gun.

     

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  52.  
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    Nom, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    Callous? I don't really think they were any more callous than they should be during a raid. It seems like there is a rather large anti-cop circle jerk in these comments.

    I find it kind of sad how people are focused on the cops rather than the sociopath who called in a gun threat because they thought having armed officers bursting into a guy's room expecting that the streamer was armed and dangerous would be funny.

    That's not to excuse the police for looking through the guy's cell phone without a warrant, but it's hardly the most concerning facet of the situation.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    hahahahha i heard that too

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: So then what is excessive force?

    Shouldn't those two allign?

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Many times I have seen reports claiming, "If you give them military grade equipment, then they will feel the need to use it," as if simply having the hardware has some magical power to turn a good police officer into a serial abuser of people. I agree, that you don't give them the tools without the proper training, but the idea that it's the tools that are the problem is severely misguided.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    and were the cops pointing loaded weapons at the sociopath or just some random guy, minding his business, doing perfectly legal things? i'll answer my own question: some random guy.

    the problem is that SWAT teams now have hair-triggers and a single phone call with absolutely zero corroboration can put many innocent people into a situation where there is a significant risk of being injured or killed. that's why we're so pissed off about things like this. it doesn't have to do with hating on the police, it is hating what they do because they do without applying even a hint of logic.

    we've trained these guys to be door-kicking ass-ramming life-taking thugs who don't go 'hey, wait a minute' no matter what the circumstances are. this is as much our society's fault as the individual cops', since we've approved by silence these policies, procedures, and practices. now that we're no longer content to be silent doesn't instantly mean we hate cops, just the way they're acting.

     

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  57.  
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    zip, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A big problem is a lack of proper safety training in the use of lethal equipment. That iconic photo of a Ferguson police sniper was a good example, using a telescope to scan the crowd looking for anything suspicious -- a scope that just happened to have a loaded (safety-off) high-powered rifle attached to it. And worse yet, not one of the numerous cops standing around him had any problem with him pointing a loaded gun at unarmed, peaceful demonstrators and putting their lives at risk for absolutely no reason (other than perhaps compensating for his failure to bring binoculars).

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you give them military grade equipment, then they will feel the need to use it,"

    Yes, which is a criticism of the police, not of the equipment.

    "that you don't give them the tools without the proper training"

    Well, yes, they would need the proper training -- however, training does not address the fundamental problem at all. The trust issue isn't that we don't trust they've been properly trained. It's that we don't trust that they will only use the equipment when it is called for (this very story is an example of them using the equipment inappropriately). That's a matter of culture, not training.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re:

    Personally, I think the fact that it is even possible for a citizen to make a single phone call and deploy a SWAT team is inherently flawed. SWAT should never be the first responder in situations like that. You send a regular cop to assess the situation first.


    A few things:
    1) it's possible for a non-citizen to deploy a SWAT team by spoofing the phone number. Citizens making the call -- not so big a deal, as they're ultimately accountable for the results. But in this day and age, someone in Mumbai can call a SWAT team down on a CS player's house in Sacramento (or in Austin, which would probably go much worse).

    2) The idea of a SWAT team is to deploy quickly in situations where regular policing could do more harm than good. By the time normal procedures are followed, someone could be dead. That's pretty much the point of SWAT teams - having the element of surprise backed up by undefeatable force.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Absolutely. No arguments there.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The root of the trust issue (especially when there is a cultural divide separated by racial differences) is a lack of communication. Police everywhere need to learn to engage the communities they serve, listen to the people that live there, get to know those people and let those people get to know them. Building positive relationships the only way trust can be rebuilt.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    I set "Get a Warrant" as my lock screen message.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    Wow, the US could really do with some adult supervision.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The idea of a SWAT team is to deploy quickly in situations where regular policing could do more harm than good. By the time normal procedures are followed, someone could be dead. That's pretty much the point of SWAT teams - having the element of surprise backed up by undefeatable force.
    In theory, yes. In practice, by the time normal procedures are followed, you might realize you almost sent a SWAT team to execute an innocent person and their pets.

    The existence of SWAT is not inherently a problem. The problem is the willingness to use it in contexts where it does more harm than good, coupled with a systematic and absolute immunity for the officers involved even when they reasonably should have known they were doing something wrong.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Search a phone (ie, look at the documents on it) yes, but look at a phone to make sure it wasn't on a call (open line) or that the last call wasn't to the swat team... I am thinking that wasn't the court's ruling at all.



    And you would be wrong in your thinking there. In Riley v. California SCOTUS specifically rejected the suggestion that the police can look through call logs:
    We also reject the United States’ final suggestion that officers should always be able to search a phone’s call log, as they did in Wurie’s case. The Government relies on Smith v. Maryland,... which held that no warrant was required to use a pen register at telephone company premises to identify numbers dialed by a particular caller. The Court in that case, however, concluded that the use of a pen register was not a “search” at all under the Fourth Amendment. .... There is no dispute here that the officers engaged in a search of Wurie’s cell phone. Moreover, call logs typically contain more than just phone numbers; they include any identifying information that an individual might add, such as the label “my house” in Wurie’s case.

    The ruling makes it fairly clear - the police can inspect a phone to make sure it isn't concealing a weapon and that's it:
    Law enforcement officers remain free to examine the physical aspects of a phone to ensure that it will not be used as a weapon—say, to determine whether there is a razor blade hidden between the phone and its case. Once an officer has secured a phone and eliminated any potential physical threats, however, data on the phone can endanger no one.

     

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    Digger, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Gives new meaning to the term "Kindergarten Cop" - in this case, "Cops" wanting to play with their new toys in totally unwarranted and unnecessary situations, just because they're bullies and sadists.

     

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    Padpaw (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:27am

    these are not cops these are criminals dressed up as police. For all their contempt for the laws they broke willingly and gleefully they have no right to be classified as police officers

     

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  68.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re:

    sadly some people actually believe we should worship cops just because their cops no matter what they do they are justified because they are cops.

     

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  69.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " The idea of a SWAT team is to deploy quickly in situations where regular policing could do more harm than good."

    Yes, I understand that -- however, it's impossible for the police to know if something is one of those situations until they've taken a look for themselves. And it shouldn't be the SWAT team taking the look.

    This is why normal police officers should respond first. If that's not done, then we'll forever have problems with SWAT being misused like this. Aside from resulting in innocent people being killed, it will also continue to increase resentment against the police in general and SWAT teams specifically.

     

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  70.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The root of the trust issue (especially when there is a cultural divide separated by racial differences) is a lack of communication."

    A lack of communication is a serious issue to be sure, but the root cause of the mistrust is the behavior of the police.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So then what is excessive force?

    They should, but they don't. And as long as we have law enforcement agencies that are actively looking to exploit loopholes in the law, they probably never will.

     

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    Roger Strong (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    In the SWAT team's defense, "taking a few minutes to look around the building, and through windows with a camera", isn't necessarily a good idea.

    When called to the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, police first established a perimeter around the building rather than storming in with no information. They were heavily criticized, because in the few minutes that took, several more women were killed.

    This led to a "prompt intervention" policy, which is credited for saving lives in the Dawson College shooting in 2006.

     

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    Adrian Lopez, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    The only reason swatting attacks are effective is that militarized police will not show restraint and immediately attempt to neutralize the alleged threat. If police took the time to assess the situation before charging inside, swatting attacks wouldn't work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is far more complex than that though. The primary cause of all of this is income inequality and manipulation by the wealthy elite to divide and conquer the poor. Crime rates soar in poverty stricken neighborhoods out of frustration over their situation and lack of opportunity. This leads police who have not built the crucial relationships with the people of the community to view the people as mostly criminals and thugs instead of people they are supposed to serve and protect. This then results only in more frustration in the community leading to a destructive vicious cycle.

    The fact that most of the wealthy elite are white is all it takes to for the poor black communities to blame racism for their plight which is understandable given their history. However the seeds racism are fertilized by the wealthy elite that actively encourage poor white people to blame other races for the plight by getting them to believe that the reason they are poor is immigrant people of other races are taking their jobs. This distracts the poor of all races into blaming and fighting each other instead of banding together to fight those that are abusing them all.

    The corporate criminals on Wall Street are doing this purposely to divide and conquer the masses for their own personal gain and the lack of communication between the various groups is allowing them to continue to get away with it.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is really only one color hear that is at the root of this problem and it isn't black or white. It's green.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ugh! *here

     

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    JoeCool (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re:

    So to save a few lives in certain rare circumstances, they kill a dozen times as many innocent people in many other more common circumstances. Yeah - great idea.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (other than perhaps compensating for his failure to bring binoculars)

    And the spotter(s) to look through them. In that sort of situation, the sniper keeps his weapon pointed in a safe direction unless and until a spotter tells him where to point it, and what his target looks like.

     

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  79.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    'Getawarrant' sounds perfect, police would never be able to type it, even if you told it to them.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    How the UK police respond to a reported automatic weapon. A much calmer approach, and no damage to property or people.

     

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    TKnarr (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:41pm

    The police ought to start acknowledging reality (eg. swatting) and take it into account. If you really have an active shooter, for instance, in this day and age of cel phones everywhere you're going to have multiple reports of it coming in. If you get only a single call about it, it's almost certain you do not in fact have an active shooter. If the cops don't have the sense to figure this out and handle the two cases differently, they need their toys taken away until they go through training again and pass a test on comprehension of basic principles.

     

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    John85851 (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    Why not verify before storming in?

    Just so I'm clear about the series of events:

    Someone called the SWAT team to say a gamer was shooting people in an office in real life.
    Obviously the SWAT team has to take all threats seriously, so I don't blame them for surrounding the office building, but...

    The SWAT team gets to the building and there's no sound of gunfire, no people panicking, and nothing out of order.
    The SWAT team then goes into the hallways and there's no sound of gunfire, no people panicking, and nothing out of order.
    By now, they should have found at least one victim asking for help so they should realize something odd is going on since there's no evidence of a shooter.
    Yet they still storm the office like there's someone shooting up the place.

    And like the previous poster said, wouldn't the police and 911 receive tons of calls from panicked people?

    Like I said, I think the SWAT team should definitely storm into dangerous situations to stop the danger to people, but they also need to make sure the situation is dangerous in the first place. Does the SWAT team make it a habit of storming places when they receive only 1 phone call? This wasn't an anonymous bomb threat- it was someone claiming to be shooting up an office.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your a piece of work. Nobody is suggesting that your should worship the cops, nobody is asking you to lick their boots. All that is said is that if you are subject of a SWAT intervention, you have two ways you can handle it:

    1 - you can bitch, complain, fight, make quick moves towards what might be a hiding area for yourself or for weapons, you can call them names, you can take aggressive action, or

    2 - you can get down on the ground and assume the position and wait for the initial entry to finish. Once done, you can start to ask what is going on (and yes, they will explain it to you).

    Only one of those two choices leads to potential problems and even death.

    Say, would you like to reveal which anti-police / anti-authority / anarchist group you are front for, BTW? You are a little bit obvious.

     

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  84.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your a piece of work. Nobody is suggesting that your should worship the cops, nobody is asking you to lick their boots. All that is said is that if you are subject of a SWAT intervention, you have two ways you can handle it:

    1 - you can bitch, complain, fight, make quick moves towards what might be a hiding area for yourself or for weapons, you can call them names, you can take aggressive action, or

    2 - you can get down on the ground and assume the position and wait for the initial entry to finish. Once done, you can start to ask what is going on (and yes, they will explain it to you).

    Only one of those two choices leads to potential problems and even death.

    Say, would you like to reveal which anti-police / anti-authority / anarchist group you are front for, BTW? You are a little bit obvious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And part of the training that I was referring to is proper assessment of the situation to determine what sort of action is appropriate which was clearly lacking in Ferguson. Also, that assessment suddenly gets each whole lot easier when you have a personal relationship with the other people involved.

    Also contrast Ferguson with the situation in Austin in 1966. The police in Austin did not have the appropriate weaponry to effectively handle the situation. So what happened? Citizens assisted the police with their own personal hunting rifles which were more effective than the revolvers and shotguns that the police had. That does not happen without the respect and trust of the community.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Tell us please which choice the baby made that had the flash bang grenade tossed into her crib?

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Obviously she looked at him the wrong way. That's enough to threaten a policeman's life and necessitate deadly force, at least according to Whatever.

     

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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:02pm

    Auto-swatting

    I wonder if this was a police-initiated swatting, which I dub "auto-swatting".

    In 1990, or thereabouts, police came to my house saying someone had called from my number and complained about being abused. They wanted to look around and pressed me to give them permission to enter (I was more naive then, so I did).

    I've since reached the conclusion that this was a made-up excuse for a Fourth Amendment violation; if there was a call, they made it themselves. (Which I have since seen described as a standard police trick to justify an illegal search.)

    So, on the possibility of auto-swatting: Could the police have initiated this SWAT themselves, pretending there is a caller, so that they could detain Mr. Mathewson and search his phone?

    It'll be interesting to see if anyone is actually arrested for the swatting. If it was an auto-swatting, I would expect to see no arrest.

     

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  89.  
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    JMT (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't really think they were any more callous than they should be during a raid."

    The point is that there shouldn't have been a raid without some form of verification of a genuine SWAT-worthy threat. That's what was callous.

    "I find it kind of sad how people are focused on the cops rather than the sociopath who called in a gun threat..."

    What's to focus on? I'm sure most commenters here are appalled at this idiot's actions and would love to see him face justice, but we have zero info to work with. Other than condemnation, which has been provided, what else can be said at this point?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 1:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is that what you say to your victims?

     

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    zip, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As with anything military, there are documented procedures for sniper teams. I would assume that the first rule is to be as inconspicuous as possible. By putting a sniper right up front on a central stage, they therefore flunk rule #1 from the start. Unless the city of Ferguson's goal was perhaps chest-beating spectacle, rather than any kind of strategic objective.

     

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    zip, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:01am

    Re: Auto-swatting

    I'm sure the cops never made any such phone call themselves -- they were simply lying to you about the [made-up] phone call so they could do a warrantless search. (with all telephone records being documented, they'd be stupid to try to falsely report a crime under an fake name. Anyway, even back in 1990, police depts had "caller ID".) Cops are allowed to exaggerate and lie with impunity - to you, that is - don't forget that. And since you gave them permission, it was not an illegal search. Even if your reasoning for allowing the search was based on false information.

    Policemen are under a great deal of pressure to find drugs, and will naturally be trying out creative ways make make people agree to a "voluntary" search that they know they'd have a hard time getting a warrant for. Of course, they won't ever say "Do you mind if we conduct a search of your house for drugs or anything else we might find?" -- it will be spun as inviting them in to 'talk' or whatever else. And if they happen to see or smell something suspicious, a search warrant is just a radio-call away.

    Unlike "casual" police searches, I can't imagine that a SWAT raid would be anything other than having complete (and legitimate) documentation. That doesn't mean that they can't follow the "slippery slope" rule. Like in the massive raid on the Fundamentalist Mormon headquarters in Texas, even when it was known to authorities that the phone call that precipitated the raid was a prank call (which they apparently never bothered to notice that it originated from another state) the operation remained "full steam ahead" by finding other excuses to use as justification.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That depends on the environment where the sniper is operating. If the sniper is operating from a position that is vulnerable, then yes avoiding detection is an important concern. If not, then it's not so much. However, snipers ideally operate in two man teams where one is a spotter using a spotting scope.

    Also, the gunner position on these vehicles were initially designed for a machine gunner rather than a sniper. In the domestic setting a machine gunner would be virtually worthless so they were adapted to place a more deliberate shooter instead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Auto-swatting

    What raid in Texas were you referring to?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Besides, normal officers are already on the streets and should naturally get there first to at least assess the situation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    If it had been me, I would not have said anything about the stream and just would have let the stream keep on flowing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re:

    Confusion for everyone else besides the officers is by design. The natural reaction to confusion is to stop and try to figure out what is happening around you. It is the exact opposite of what you think it is. This is one of the reasons why the question asked about "Why didn't you move?" is so dumb. Of course, though that question is asked after he is in custody and like most questions officers ask, the officer already knows the answer and was just trying to get him to say something incriminating.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is post action criticism not allowed in your world?.

     

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    Antsan (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think the natural reaction to massive shouting is not so much "confusion" but more "panic" and the natural reaction to "panic" is definitely not mostly "stop" but "do something, no matter how stupid".

     

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    Antsan (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 2:05am

    Re:

    Yeah, the cops come in shouting, causing adrenaline to rush through someones veins and only because the person they are assaulting has got psychological problems now they are justified in shooting him?
    Good to hear that mentally unbalanced people have no right for due process.

    Also: http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/
    Read about "self defense" and how it actually works. First aggravating someone and then shooting him when he actually reacts aggravated (which is totally natural" is not self defense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2014 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh come on, compared to throwing a flash-bang into a suspected meth lab these guys whose pretty good sense.

     

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    Eldakka (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, that because the following two situations are identical:

    1) Being called to the reported sight of a shooting, and not hearing any gunshots or finding any witnesses at the scene or running from the scene;

    and,

    2) Turning up to a scene, hearing repeated gunshots, screaming, people fleeing who say they heard gunshots and others who saw gunmen shooting and people being shot and blood and corpses and cats and dogs living together.

    Yes, I can see how the 2 situations are absolutely identical and require the same handling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2014 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Auto-swatting

    In the UK it was fairly well known that police would sometimes call in fake crime reports from public phones if they wanted to have a look around, but they'd usually just say that they thought they saw someone breaking in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    icon
    MrTroy (profile), Sep 1st, 2014 @ 12:24am

    Re: My Guess

    Why would you call the SWAT on yourself?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    PRogamer, Dec 1st, 2014 @ 10:17pm

    Re:

    hes a freaking AFKer, he deserves to be arrested

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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