Radley Balko at Reason, who has examined the overuse and misuse of SWAT raids more thoroughly than anyone, writes about the new transparency law forced on Maryland authorities after botched raids, which included the wrong-house raid of a mayor in Prince George’s County. As Balko points out, SWAT raids were originally intended for barricade situations, hostage takings, and emergency situations necessitating this quasi-military use of force, that often involves the use of stun grenades.
Incredibly, only six percent of the raids involved these situations, while 94 percent of the SWAT raids were deployed to serve search or arrest warrants. Worse, more than half of the deployments were for misdemeanors or nonserious felonies. Balko writes about the tragic case of Cheye Calvo, mayor of the small town of Berwyn Heights, located in Prince George’s County:
“After intercepting a package of marijuana at a delivery service warehouse, police completed the delivery, in disguise, to the address on the package. That address belonged to Calvo…When Calvo’s mother-in-law brought the package in from the porch, the SWAT team pounced, forcing their way into Calvo’s home. By the time the raid was over, Calvo and his mother-in-law had been handcuffed for hours, police realized they’d made a mistake, and Calvo’s two black Labradors lay dead on the floor from gunshot wounds.”
All of this so the police could try to catch the recipient of a marijuana package.
Most of theses raids result in almost the automatic shooting of any dogs in the home, under the guise of “officer safety” that police unions and administrators claim must always come first, no matter how specious the concerns, given the outfits worn in the raids and the non-violent offenses at issue. Puppycide occurs in many non-raid situations, as well, as posted here about a recent Colorado case involving a mistaken 911 call.
Radley writes about the undisputed innocence of Calvo, and the whitewashed aftermath by police administrators protecting the boys on the home town team. There is some good news, too though. Read the entire piece here.