Morning Cup O' Joe

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SWAT Abuse

I generally try to keep subject matter here on MCOJ relatively light, but after seeing the above video, I am compelled to post and propagate.

From BoingBoing:

Radly Balko of Reason posted this video of a SWAT raid on a family in Missouri. The officers found a small amount of cannabis, and so they arrested the parents on a charge of child endangerment, naturally.

“It’s horrifying, but I’d urge you to watch it, and to send it to the drug warriors in your life. This is the blunt-end result of all the war imagery and militaristic rhetoric politicians have been spewing for the last 30 years — cops dressed like soldiers, barreling through the front door middle of the night, slaughtering the family pets, filling the house with bullets in the presence of children, then having the audacity to charge the parents with endangering their own kid. There are 100-150 of these raids every day in America, the vast, vast majority like this one, to serve a warrant for a consensual crime.”

After forwarding the above video to a friend, he pointed me to the equally horrifying account of Cheye Calvo, the Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. In 2008, a SWAT team smashed into his home, shot his two dogs and terrorized his family with no warrant in hand. He was quickly exonerated of any wrong-doing, but no apology was given for the mistake.

Cheye Calvo spoke at the Cato Institute on September 11, 2008 and recounted his experience. You can view a snippet of the talk here.

The implications of this are horrifying to me. The idea of 8 to 12 officers in full armor with high-caliber firearms breaking into my house, shooting my cats (because they are major threats to fully-armored SWAT officers, naturally) and terrorizing/traumatizing my family on the basis of suspicion of trafficking a non-narcotic is straight out of a dystopic movie.

I’m sure I’d be within my rights as a citizen of the United States of America (land of the free, etc.) to defend my home from invaders. Sadly, though, I doubt that I, in my pajamas and armed with my eskrima sticks, would fare well against 8 to 12 fully-armed officers.

via BoingBoing

via CATO Institute


May 6, 2010 - Posted by | News, Rants, Video | , , , , , ,


  1. None of these show the officers treating the accused as people. They are viewed as a threat a mere thing.

    The first video is in the dead of night… a knock on the door without enough time to answer. No knock followed by a conversation “Hey, this is whats up, will you peacefully allow us to search your house?” I suppose I dont know if this guy had a record of extreme violence… but the man and firepower they are packing is appropriate for facing people with rpg and what not.

    The second one was the Mayor of the town. So outraged at this. Out of ANY possible person to go through this process, the mayor of the town should be the type where you can send 2 officers to the door (not dressed in war armor but their regular apparel) knock and have a polite conversation.

    Even if it results in criminals escaping, law enforcement should ALWAYS take the high road. Events like these are completely unacceptable.

    Terry Pratchett via Granny Weatherwax, Carpe Jungle: “There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”

    Comment by seventyfourmanx | May 6, 2010

  2. Utterly disturbing. I made the mistake of watching this last night. Didn’t get to sleep until about 3:00am and I’m still haunted by the anguish of the dog that was shot and then the owner realizing his dog had been killed.

    I don’t envy the job that the police force must do, but the tactics and outcomes are outrageous. The murder, and yes I do equate killing a dog in cold blood while it barks in defense of its home with murder, is criminal beyond belief.

    Absolutely disturbing!

    Comment by morgan | May 10, 2010

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