Friday, August 9, 2013

Paramilitary Raids

The statistics quoted in Sarah Stillman's article SWAT Team Nation are insane:
In 1972, America conducted only several hundred paramilitary drug raids a year, according to Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” By the early nineteen-eighties, there were three thousand a year; by 2001, Alexander notes, the annual count had skyrocketed to forty thousand. Today, even that number seems impossibly low, with one annual count of combat-style home raids hovering around eighty thousand.
The federal government continues to invest in SWAT gear for the smallest of police departments as part of a massive permanent infrastructure to fight the War on Drugs. Is it any wonder that given such tools they're being used more and more? And yet the problem SWAT teams are ostensibly formed to solve are as pervasive as ever.

Even worse, these tactics seem inexorably linked to questionable civil-forfeiture laws. Click through and read the whole thing - it's eye opening.

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