Police Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Police Corruption News Articles in Media
At his trial on drug charges nearly a decade ago, Ben Baker told a seemingly far-fetched tale about a corrupt band of Chicago police officers who ran a South Side housing project like their own criminal fiefdom, stealing narcotics proceeds, shaking down dealers for protection money and pinning cases on those who refused to play ball. A Cook County judge at the time said he believed the testimony of veteran Sgt. Ronald Watts and officers under his command, not Baker's accusations that Watts and his crew had framed him. But two years ago Watts was convicted on federal corruption charges after being snared in an FBI sting. Now, Baker is seeking to overturn his own conviction and 14-year sentence in a case that casts a spotlight on the police code of silence. In a court filing this week, his lawyers [cite] a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two Chicago police officers who ... faced repeated retaliation after going to supervisors about their discovery of the police corruption. FBI reports [show] that at the time of Baker's trial, Watts was already the target of an ongoing joint investigation by the FBI and Chicago police internal affairs investigators into allegations of corruption nearly identical to those made by Baker. Five years later ... FBI agents were able to build a criminal case against Watts, based in part on the undercover work by the two [whistleblowers], Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria. After Watts was charged in 2012, Spalding and Echeverria filed their lawsuit naming ... a dozen high-ranking officers as defendants.
Note: Explore an excellent website run by former police officers exposing police corruption and calling for accountability. Included on that webpage is a long list of police officers who were severely threatened, harassed, and fired for exposing police corruption. Then explore concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from the major media.
At first, Dorothy Vong assumed it was a drill - just like all the others at her work. At the Inland Regional Center, where she’s a nurse, the staff works with clients and parents of clients who are sometimes angry. They have active-shooter drills every month or so. “Drill started,” she texted her husband, Mark, around 11 a.m. She walked to a window nearby and filmed a video as law enforcement sprinted toward the building. “Oh, that is scary,” a voice says calmly in the background. “They’re all geared up!” someone else says. “Rifles and everything!” Then the reality set in. She texted her husband again: “Well it’s real.” Mark Vong said he told his wife to stay calm and not to panic. “They train for this,” he said, standing outside a police barricade Wednesday afternoon. “They know it’s going to happen.” The shooter or shooters who attacked the center apparently opened fire on a Christmas party being held by county employees, federal law enforcement sources and a witness told the Los Angeles Times. The shooting, which left at least 14 injured and at least 14 dead, happened on the grounds of the Inland Regional Center, which serves people with developmental disabilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Note: How strange they had been having active shooter drills every month or so at the exact place where the shooting happened! Could this be just a coincidence? The very same "coincidence" happened in the recent Paris shootings, on the day of 9/11 where a team was training in DC for an attack where a plane would hit a government building, and the London bombings where a team was training for a subway terrorist attack that very morning at the same stations where the bombings occurred. Explore the impossible odds that all these training happened the way they did. .
On Sept. 6, I locked myself out of my apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. A few hours and a visit from a locksmith later, I was inside my apartment and slipping off my shoes when I heard a man’s voice ... near my front window. I imagined a loiterer and opened the door to move him along. “What’s going on?” I asked. Two police officers had guns trained on me. They shouted: “Who’s in there with you? How many of you are there?” I had no idea what was happening, but I saw [that] something about me - a 5-foot-7, 125-pound black woman - frightened this man with a gun. I sat down, trying to look even less threatening. I again asked what was going on. I told the officers I didn’t want them in my apartment. They entered anyway. One pulled me, hands behind my back, out to the street. The neighbors were watching. Only then did I notice the ocean of officers. I counted 16. They still hadn’t told me why they’d come. Later, I learned that the Santa Monica Police Department had dispatched 19 officers after one of my neighbors reported a burglary at my apartment. It didn’t matter that I told the cops I’d lived there for seven months, told them about the locksmith, offered to show a receipt for his services and my ID. To many, the militarization of the police is primarily abstract or painted as occasional. That thinking allows each high-profile incident of aggressive police interaction with people of color - Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray - to be written off as an outlier. What happened to them did not happen to me, but it easily could have.
Thomas Demint's voice is heard only briefly on the eight-minute video he took of police officers arresting two of his friends, and body-slamming their mother. "I'm videotaping this, sir," he tells an officer. After he stopped recording, Demint says three officers tackled him, took away his smartphone and then tried, unsuccessfully, to erase the video. They then arrested him on charges of obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest. Demint is part of a growing trend of citizen videographers getting arrested after trying to record police behavior. "By all accounts the situation has gotten worse," said Chris Dunn ... of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "People are more inclined to pull out their phones and record, but that is often met with a very bad response from police." What makes the situation hard to define ... is that no one is ever arrested on a charge of recording police because that has widely been upheld as protected under the First Amendment. Instead, they are being hauled into court on obstruction, resisting arrest or other charges. Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said the right to take videos of police encounters in public is clearly protected by the First Amendment. He said the trend is for police to detain people who are shooting video, and subsequently drop the charges. "State and federal courts ... have made it abundantly clear that citizens have right to film police in public," he said. "Police are ignoring this clear precedent and continue to threaten citizens."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way. The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Representative Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones. Then Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed ... to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones. Even “less than lethal” weapons can kill though. At least 39 people have been killed by police Tasers in 2015 so far. The Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department ... is hiding a full accounting of how many drone missions they’ve flown since 2012. The FAA notes 401 drone “operations” performed by the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department from 2012 to September 2014, while [County Sheriff Bob] Rost and [drone pilot Al] Frazier maintain just 21 missions have taken place. “We don’t make a practice of snooping on people,” Rost said recently. However, Rost’s statement was followed by an admission that the sheriff expects drones to be used in criminal investigations in the near future. Few noticed when HB 1328 passed with a clause allowing them to be armed.
Note: For more along these lines, read about the increasing militarization of police in the U.S. after 9/11. Also, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about ""non-lethal weapons", or read about how sophisticated and deadly some of these weapons technologies can be.
Nearly 300 documents, released by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Metro-North Railroad, reveal more on-the-ground surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists than previous reports have shown. Conducted by a coalition of MTA counterterrorism agents and undercover police in conjunction with NYPD intelligence officers, the protest surveillance ... raises questions over whether New York-area law enforcement agencies are potentially criminalizing the exercise of free speech. In [one] document, sent February 13 concerning a demonstration at Grand Central, Anthony D’Angelis, identified in the document as an MTA liaison with the NYPD’s counterterrorism division, shared and labeled a photo of Alex Seel, a local photographer. Several protesters at Grand Central say they are perturbed by the photo file’s existence, considering that Seel did not share his name publicly that night and usually only comes to the protests as a quiet photographer. Another document from a December 7 protest [includes] a photo of prominent activist and former Philadelphia police officer Ray Lewis, [and mentions] Lewis’ past activities with Occupy Wall Street. Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College [sociology professor] argues this is part of a long history of police surveillance of activists, [noting that], "in the post-9-11 environment, there’s been a ... massive expansion of intelligence gathering. Protest activity often gets lumped in with terrorism investigation.”
Note: For more along these lines, read about Cointelpro, the program used by corrupt intelligence agencies to spy on and attack the U.S. civil rights movement beginning in the 1960's. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties.
18-year-old Michael Brown ... was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson. The final few minutes of Brown’s life had been captured by a small surveillance camera rolling inside a nearby grocery shop. As protesters have taken to the streets to demonstrate over Brown’s death, even a year on, so a legion of amateur cameramen and women have begun watching officers closely, posting recordings that undermine the monopoly once held by police on the official version of events. The surge in vigilante recording is being met with aggressive resistance from police. Judges uphold the right of American people to film law enforcement officers under the first amendment of the US constitution. But officers increasingly complain that filming interferes with their duties. An increasing number are taking direct action to prevent recordings – snatching or smashing phones or demanding the handover of footage, sometimes even after it has been livestreamed directly online. For many who capture horrific acts of violence, returning to a normal life becomes impossible. They complain of harassment by police, of threats against their life and of recurring trauma as a result of the death and brutality they have witnessed. Carlos Miller [is] a former journalist who now tracks the issue on his website Photography Is Not A Crime. Already this year, the site has reported on 87 cases in which people were arrested, manhandled or threatened for filming police. The rate of such incidents has increased in recent years, Miller says.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
This week Zachary Crockett of the Priceonomics blog highlighted some eye-popping statistics on high-speed police pursuits. Crockett points to a 2007 study ... which found that these [chases] take about 323 lives each year. To put it in perspective, that's more than the number of people killed by floods, tornadoes, lightning and hurricanes - combined. These numbers ... only count deaths directly related to vehicle accidents involved in these chases. If a person is chased down by cops and eventually shot, for instance, that death wouldn't show up here. But the most shocking thing is that innocent bystanders account for 27 percent of all police chase deaths, or 87 deaths per year. This underscores a key fact that may seem obvious: high speed police chases are incredibly dangerous not just to the people involved in them, but to everyone who crosses their path. Given the high risk, you might assume that cops only give chase to the most violent criminals. But you'd be wrong. Ninety one percent of high-speed chases are initiated in response to a non-violent crime, according to a fascinating report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Institute of Justice. 42 percent involved a simple traffic infraction. Another 18 percent involved a stolen vehicle. 15 percent involved a suspected drunk driver. Is it worth risking life and limb ... to catch somebody who ran a red light? Or who failed to signal a turn?
Note: Why would police use their vehicles to make our streets more dangerous? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The plan was ambitious: a sting operation to take on some of the nation’s most dangerous drug organizations. Posing as money launderers, the [Bal Harbour police and the sheriff's office of Glades County] became unlikely allies in a task force that took in more than $55.6 million from drug cartels and other criminal groups, while traveling across the country ... and frequently staying at luxury hotels. By the time it ended in late 2012, the Tri-County Task Force made no arrests or major drug seizures. For their role, the police laundered the money through hundreds of bank accounts - taking at least $1.7 million for themselves for brokering the deals - then returned the rest to the same criminal groups selling drugs in U.S. cities. The 12-member task force drew the attention of the Department of Justice ... in an investigation that found Bal Harbour misspent money from seizing cars and cash to pay for police salaries, leading to the resignation of Police Chief Tom Hunker in 2013. They also began withdrawing large amounts of cash ... without filing any documents to show how the money was spent. The Herald found that officers took out $547,000. Auditors have turned up [an additional] $800,000 [that was withdrawn] with no supporting records. The officers [also] began sending millions to banks overseas ... in laundering deals without alerting the DEA. Task force members said the total amount they laundered was $56 million, but records now being examined by auditors show the number was far higher - possibly $83 million.
Note: This is a summary of part one of a five part series which shows just how easily police, lawyers, and politician can be corrupted by big money. Explore other parts of this excellent series on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Chicago's leaders took a step Wednesday typically reserved for nations trying to make amends for slavery or genocide, agreeing to pay $5.5 million in reparations to the mostly African-American victims of the city's notorious police torture scandal and to teach schoolchildren about one of the most shameful chapters of Chicago's history. Chicago has already spent more than $100 million settling and losing lawsuits related to the torture of suspects by detectives under the command of disgraced former police commander Jon Burge from the 1970s through the early 1990s. The city council's backing of the new ordinance marks the first time a U.S. city has awarded survivors of racially motivated police torture the reparations they are due under international law, according to Amnesty International. "It is a powerful word and it was meant to be a powerful word. That was intentional," Alderman Joe Moore said of the decision to describe it as reparations. "This stain cannot be removed from our city's history, but it can be used as a lesson in what not to do," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stressed that Chicago had to do more than just pay the victims if it is to really get beyond this stain on its history.
Note: Jon Burge tortured false confessions out of as many as 120 prisoners, and according to the Chicago Reader, may have learned how to do this while serving as a soldier in Vietnam. Chicago police maintain hidden interrogation sites where brutal treatment of suspects is used to obtain criminal confessions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about civil liberties and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Senior members of South Yorkshire police were warned twice of the serious child abuse being carried out in Rotherham around a decade before it was discovered 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked and groomed over a period of 16 years – but no action was taken at the time. The Sheffield Star has obtained reports from 2003 and 2006 detailing the organised child sexual exploitation being carried out in Rotherham and Sheffield. Dr Angie Heal, the author of the reports, stated at the time it was “very evident” that “significant abuse” was taking place in Sheffield and Rotherham, in 2003, and in 2006 found that that the perpetrators of sexual abuse had been able to “carry on with impunity”. The reports were sent to both South Yorkshire Police district commanders, chief superintendents and CID and community safety superintendents at the time, but no action was taken. As the news of the warnings emerge, South Yorkshire’s current police and crime commissioner has [stated], “We saw these girls not as victims but as troublesome young people out of control, and willing participants. We saw it as child prostitution rather than child abuse, and I think that was broadly accepted and that’s why it all went wrong.” Dr Heal told the Sheffield Star that child sexual exploitation had been put in the “too hard to deal with tray” and a senior police officer informed her at the time that “burglary and car crime were policing priorities set by the government”.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Whenever Chicago Police commander Jon Burge needed a confession, he would walk into the interrogation room and set down a little black box, his alleged victims would later tell prosecutors. The box had two wires and a crank. Burge ... would attach one wire to the suspect’s handcuffed ankles and the other to his manacled hands. Then [he] would place a plastic bag over the suspect’s head. Finally, he would crank his little black box and listen to the screams of pain as electricity coursed through the suspect’s body. As many as 120 African-American men on Chicago’s South Side ... were allegedly tortured by Burge between 1972 and 1991. On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the establishment of a $5.5 million fund for these victims. Some of the men spent years on Illinois’s death row because of confessions allegedly obtained by Burge under duress. In 2003, Governor George Ryan pardoned four men on death row who claimed to have been tortured by Burge, [whom] the Chicago Police Board voted to fire [in 1993] for his alleged torture activities. [He] was allowed to keep his $4,000 per month pension. In 2002, Cook County appointed [a special prosecutor] to investigate Burge’s conduct. The investigation took four years and cost $7 million, but the 300-page report didn’t recommend bringing any charges against the former cop. The statute of limitations for the alleged crimes had expired, Egan argued.
Note: According to the Chicago Reader, Burge may have learned how to torture prisoners while serving as a soldier in Vietnam. Chicago police maintain hidden interrogation sites where brutal treatment of suspects is used to obtain criminal confessions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about civil liberties and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
A year ago, in a bureaucratic shift that went unremarked in the somnolent days before Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri, the US government admitted a disturbing failure. The top crime-data experts in Washington had determined that they could not properly count how many Americans die each year at the hands of police. For the better part of a decade, a specialized team of statisticians within the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)... had been collecting data [on] any death, of anyone, that happened in the presence of a local or state law enforcement officer. In March of last year, the bureau pulled the plug on the project. As revelations about patterns of abuse in Ferguson and beyond rattle the US criminal justice system from bottom to top, calls for a national police-killings database have once again gained urgency. But an awareness of what has been tried - and failed - remains elusive. A detailed look at what went wrong with the arrest-related deaths count reveals challenges that run deeper than the unwillingness of local police departments to file a report. From 2003 to 2009, plus 2011, the FBI counted an average of 383 "justifiable homicides by law enforcement" each year. The actual number, as estimated by the BJS study, was closer to 928.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology. Any disclosure about the technology, which tracks cellphones and is often called StingRay, could allow criminals and terrorists to circumvent it, the F.B.I. has said in an affidavit. But the tool is adopted in such secrecy that communities are not always sure what they are buying or whether the technology could raise serious privacy concerns. What has opponents particularly concerned about StingRay is that the technology, unlike other phone surveillance methods, can also scan all the cellphones in the area where it is being used, not just the target phone. “It’s scanning the area. What is the government doing with that information?” said Linda Lye, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which in 2013 sued the Justice Department to force it to disclose more about the technology. In November, in a response to the lawsuit, the government said it had asked the courts to allow the technology to capture content, not just identify subscriber location.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of privacy rights from reliable major media sources.
Taser International, the stun-gun maker emerging as a leading supplier of body cameras for police, has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices. Taser is covering airfare and hotel stays for police chiefs who speak at promotional conferences. It is also hiring recently retired chiefs as consultants, sometimes just months after their cities signed contracts with Taser. The relationships raise questions of whether chiefs are acting in the best interests of the taxpayers in their dealings with Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser, whose contracts for cameras and storage systems for the video can run into the millions of dollars. As the police chief in Fort Worth, Texas, successfully pushed for the signing of a major contract with Taser before a company quarterly sales deadline, he wrote a Taser representative in an email, "Someone should give me a raise." City officials and rival companies are raising concerns about police chiefs' ties to Taser. Charlie Luke, a Salt Lake City councilman ... said he was surprised when he learned last year that the city's police department had purchased Taser cameras using surplus money, bypassing the standard bidding process and City Council approval. The department declined to say how much it has spent acquiring 295 body cameras. Taser's competitors ... complain they have been shut out by cities awarding no-bid contracts to Taser and are being put at a disadvantage by requests for proposals that appear tailored to Taser's products.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Child sex grooming gangs have avoided prosecution due to a failure by one of the country’s biggest police forces to pursue claims against them. Greater Manchester police (GMP), the third largest force in England and Wales, has been accused by serving and former detectives of attempting to cover up failings to tackle gangs of Asian men who were abusing young girls. Responding to the claims, GMP chief constable Sir Peter Fahy [said] that officers had developed a “mindset” that victims in sexual abuse cases were “unreliable” but, while this had since changed, it was still present within the courts. The claims against GMP come just months after a damning report found at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, with “blatant” collective failings by the council and South Yorkshire police blamed for the abuse. Another GMP detective, who has remained anonymous ... revealed there was reluctance by senior officers to investigate sexual abuse claims despite her warnings the problem was spiralling out of control. In a letter seen by ITV News, one serving officer claims there has been a “cover-up” and an internal report commissioned two years ago has been “re-written on nine separate occasions”. A statement from the police force said: “Considerable resources are now invested in a number of ongoing investigations and we have already made clear that further arrests will be made.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Sometime after 9/11 strange stories began to emerge about small town police agencies all over the nation receiving grants from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security to buy all kinds of high-tech equipment to fight “terrorism.” As Radley Balko thoroughly documented in his book Rise of the Warrior Cop the military industrial complex has created a new industry: the police industrial complex. Since 9/11 the United States has been spending vast sums of money through DHS to outfit the state and local authorities with surveillance and military gear ostensibly to fight the terrorist threat at home. What we have been seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, these past few days is largely a result of that program — and an entire industry has grown up around it. In less than a month a group of militarized police equipment vendors across the nation will be gathering for an annual confab called “Urban Shield” in Oakland, California. It features dozens of sponsors, from the Department of Homeland Security and police agencies all over the country to such vendors as Armored Mobility Inc. The Department of Homeland Security disburses somewhere in the vicinity of $3 billion a year for this sort of thing. Add in the loot that’s legally appropriated by police agencies in the war on drugs and you have a massive incentive to turn the streets of Ferguson, Missouri ... into a scene that looks more like the siege of Fallujah. We’ve been spending billions of taxpayer dollars for decades to turn the streets of urban America into a war zone at the merest hint of dissent. And now it’s here.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A high-ranking friend of Cyril Smith tried to warn off police investigating claims that he had been sexually abusing boys, a report reveals. A senior detective investigating the claims against Smith said a magistrate made "veiled threats" to officers. The detective's 1970 report to the Chief Constable of Lancashire said there was "prima facie" evidence of the MP's guilt. The Director of Public Prosecution later advised against prosecuting. The 14-page report by the detective superintendent ... said that Smith would have been "at the mercy of a competent counsel", but also reported that the MP's magistrate "buddy" had warned of "unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale" should he be prosecuted. Smith was interviewed by the detective superintendent, who reported to former chief constable William Palfrey that "it seems impossible to excuse [Smith's] conduct". "Over a considerable period of time, while sheltering beneath a veneer of responsibility, he has used his unique position to indulge in a series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility," he wrote. He said Smith was "most unimpressive during my interview with him". The officer said: "He had difficulty in articulating and even the stock replies he proffered could only be obtained after repeated promptings from his solicitor. "Were he ever to be placed in the witness box, he would be at the mercy of any competent counsel. Prima facie, he appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault." The officer reported that he interviewed the magistrate who told him in his "personal opinion" he "sincerely hoped that this matter is not prosecuted before the court".
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Supreme Court unequivocally ruled [on June 25] that privacy rights are not sacrificed to 21st-century technology, saying unanimously that police generally must obtain a warrant before searching the cellphone of someone they arrest. While the specific protection may not affect the average American, the court made a bold statement that the same concern about government prying that animated the nation’s birth applies to the abundance of digital information about an individual in the modern world. Modern cellphones “hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a court united behind the opinion’s expansive language. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” Roberts said that in most cases when police seize a cellphone from a suspect, the answer is simple: “Get a warrant.” The ruling has no impact on National Security Agency data-collection programs revealed in the past year or law enforcement use of aggregated digital information. But lawyers involved in those issues said the emphatic declarations signaled the justices’ interest in the dangers of government overreach. Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University, said the decision is more than simply a warning to government officials employing high-tech forms of government surveillance. “This is a cruise missile across the bow of lawyers defending warrantless search programs,” Vladeck said.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing privacy news articles from reliable major media sources.
The American Civil Liberties Union has released the results of its year-long study of police militarization. The study looked at 800 deployments of SWAT teams among 20 local, state and federal police agencies in 2011-2012. Among the notable findings: 62 percent of the SWAT raids surveyed were to conduct searches for drugs. Just 7 percent of SWAT raids were “for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.” In at least 36 percent of the SWAT raids studied, no contraband of any kind was found. This figure could be as high as 65 percent. SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color. 65 percent of SWAT deployments resulted in some sort of forced entry into a private home. In over half those raids, the police failed to find any sort of weapon, the presence of which was cited as the reason for the violent tactics. SWAT teams today are overwhelmingly used to investigate people who are still only suspected of committing nonviolent consensual crimes. And because these raids often involve forced entry into homes, often at night, they’re actually creating violence and confrontation where there was none before. In short, we have police departments that are increasingly using violent, confrontational tactics to break into private homes for increasingly low-level crimes, and they seem to believe that the public has no right to know the specifics of when, how and why those tactics are being used.
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